Help me figure out how to microwave an egg
November 13, 2008 4:10 PM   Subscribe

If I cook an egg in the microwave it explodes, often with spectacular and messy force. If I microwave one fully immersed in water, will the same thing happen, or will the water absorb all the microwaves, so that the egg will effectively be boiled?

One of the prior answers dredged up by Ask Metafilter's automation suggested cracking the egg before microwaving it, but I've had eggs explode even when I've cracked and beaten them.

I'm staying in a hotel room with a microwave, and I'm trying to figure out how to make my usual breakfast. In the past I've had eggs explode with such force that a fair portion was blown through the grill and into the microwave chassis, and I'd prefer to avoid that here. Plus, I don't have any convenient containers for controlling the potential blast.
posted by Coventry to Food & Drink (22 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
First link
Looks hard boiling won't ever work.
posted by lee at 4:26 PM on November 13, 2008 [1 favorite]

It does work, but you need a custom egg egg cooker. Kiki will explain.
posted by lee at 4:33 PM on November 13, 2008

Cooking eggs (completely!) covered in water should work.

Fun fact:

Note that eggs do not technically need to "cook". They just need to be heated above 62°C to solidify. Cooking for, say, 5 minutes at 100°C just means that the temperature at the center will only rise to only ca. 62°C due to the short time the egg stays in the boiling water. You can "cook" an egg at 62°C for an hour and it will still be edible - with a more even consistency, because all parts off the egg were at 62°, instead of the outer parts at 90° and the center at 60°.
posted by uncle harold at 4:36 PM on November 13, 2008

I have done this.

The explosion sent egg all over the room, blew the microwave door open violently, and the microwave itself never worked again.

Does that answer your question?
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 4:40 PM on November 13, 2008 [5 favorites]

Here's how my Dad does it- for a hard-boiled egg, he uses a corn poker (that thing you stick into the ends of your corn) to drill a little hole on the top and bottom of the egg (like you do at Easter to blow eggs), immerse in water, cook in microwave. You get a perfectly hard-boiled egg with little strands of egg coming out each hole. The shell remains intact.

For soft-boiled eggs, he heats the water ahead of time and cracks an egg directly into the water, careful not to drop it (slide it in if possible to maintain egg integrity) and cooks in the microwave.

He's kind of crazy in the kitchen, but it is something he's always done that works perfectly. Except that first time he did it in 1981. And that other time he decided to try to melt paraffin in his Mom's microwave right after they were invented and ended up melting the jar and destroying his Mom's fancy new microwave. Me? I hard-boil my eggs on the stove.
posted by arnicae at 4:41 PM on November 13, 2008 [1 favorite]

When I'm in a rush I crack an egg in a coffee mug, cover the top of the mug w/ a small plate (the egg will have little minor explosions but it's not like the whole microwave gets covered in egg slop) and after about one min on high you have a nicely cooked egg that fits perfectly onto a bagel or something.
posted by BrnP84 at 5:16 PM on November 13, 2008

My mom used to make me a poached egg in the microwave by filling a mug/small bowl/what-have-you with water and cracking an egg into it (don't beat the egg - just let it hang out in there like a science experiment), and then microwaving for a minute or two. Then she'd pour out the water, put salt/pepper on there and kinda dice it up with a fork for me.
Nothing says love like a hastily microwaved egg from mom.
posted by RingerChopChop at 6:37 PM on November 13, 2008

I second St. Alia. I did this as a kid, put the egg in a glass, filled glass with water. Blew the door off, embedded glass in the wall.

PLEASE DO NOT try this.
posted by Ponderance at 6:41 PM on November 13, 2008

I have had a lot of success with scrambling an egg in a small dish with a little milk added. It almost never explodes when scrambled. What it does do is expand with a huge air bubble, but it stays in the container!
posted by Black_Umbrella at 6:47 PM on November 13, 2008

I make poached eggs similarly to RingerChopChop's mom, but i use salt water, and get it nice and hot before adding the egg. delicious.

my dad has been experimenting with microwaving eggs with his very old low power microwave with some success. I'll have to get details from him.
posted by jrishel at 7:27 PM on November 13, 2008

Ponderance, St. Alia of the Bunnies: wait. The microwave seriously exploded?
posted by niles at 7:41 PM on November 13, 2008

I've cooked eggs in the microwave to put into a mcmuffin style sandwich. Since microwaves are so uneven I tend to avoid the high setting, and I also keep an eye on it. I only go for a few seconds at a time and wait to let the temperature equalize before repeating. Even with the best intentions it still usually ends up a bit rubbery.

I would probably try poaching, although I'd heat the water and then put the egg into it.

Also, in Cook's illustrated their method for hard-boiling eggs is to heat the eggs in water just until it boils, then turn off the heat and let them sit for 10 minutes. You could certainly try heating water until nearly boiling and putting an egg in at that point.

Another idea would be to put the egg in the coffee maker and run the machine (minus coffee, of course) to pour hot water over the egg.
posted by O9scar at 7:58 PM on November 13, 2008

If I cook an egg in the microwave it explodes, often with spectacular and messy force.

I really enjoy the image of you exploding hundreds of eggs in microwaves and dutifully recording the effects of each explosion.
posted by b1tr0t at 8:04 PM on November 13, 2008 [3 favorites]

I really enjoy the image of you exploding hundreds of eggs in microwaves and dutifully recording the effects of each explosion.
Yeah, that was clumsily written. I've tried about five permutations at various stages over the last twenty years. Sometimes they work the first time, but make a huge mess subsequently.

And thanks for the dire warnings. I had no idea I was playing with such fire! I'll never let an egg near a microwave again!!
posted by Coventry at 8:21 PM on November 13, 2008

Ponderance, St. Alia of the Bunnies: wait. The microwave seriously exploded?



As in, if I had been standing in front of it instead of on the other side of the kitchen doing laundry, I would have probably gotten seriously hurt. It sounded like a bomb going off.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 8:40 PM on November 13, 2008

how come nobody has commented yet on the incredibly strong--bad--odor of microwaved egg?
posted by subatomiczoo at 8:47 PM on November 13, 2008

Have never tried any other variety, but scrambled eggs in the microwave are pretty simple. Crack a couple of eggs (I've done up to four at a time) in a bowl (or any other microwave safe container), add a bit of milk (or even water) if you like, beat them a bit with a fork, and put them in the microwave for 30 seconds.

At 30 seconds, take them out, beat them again, lather, rinse, repeat until they look like they'll be done in one or two more repetitions. Stop. They're done now. Trust me. Take them out, the carryover heat will finish cooking them. Season as desired, eat.

Depending on the microwave and number of eggs, this will take about 2 - 4 minutes of your time, and produces fairly acceptable (but okay, far from gourmet) scrambled eggs. As they start to firm up, you can consider incorporating other stuff if you like (a bit of ham, some cheese, salsa, whatever rocks your eggs).
posted by nonliteral at 9:02 PM on November 13, 2008 [4 favorites]

When poaching eggs in the microwave, you can avoid most of the explosive potential by piercing the yolks with the tip of a sharp knife before cooking. (I usually stab them again after 20 second, because coagulating yolk at the yolk-white boundary can make a seal).
posted by xchmp at 3:00 AM on November 14, 2008

i cook scrambled eggs in the microwave ALL THE TIME, in a similar way to nonliteral's directions above. my way:

1. spray the interior of the coffee cup with cooking spray (a MUST- otherwise you get permanent crusty egg stuck to your cup, FOREVER).
2. crack an egg into the cup. add a splash of milk and salt and pepper. stir/beat with a fork.
3. microwave on high for 1 to 2 minutes, depending on how you like your eggs. it will balloon up, similar to microwaving a marshmallow, but it won't explode.
4. meanwhile, toast your bagel or cook your biscuits.
5. when the egg is done, simply tip it out onto your biscuit, add a slice of cheese, and voila!
posted by kidsleepy at 7:42 AM on November 14, 2008

Mwave water to boiling in a coffee mug first and then take it out and drop the whole egg in. Just let it sit there. 10 mins later it should be soft boiled.

If you want hard, take the soft boiled egg, shell it and zap it for 15 seconds by itself.
posted by Xhris at 9:13 AM on November 14, 2008

They make a microwave egg poacher at the discount stores for a couple of bucks. It has wells, and you put a teaspoon of water in the bottom of each well and break an egg into it. There's a lid that snaps on. You can do them as hard or soft as you wish, and they don't blow up. If the yolk splits, it just goes on the lid and not violently.
Our motto when traveling is, "There's always a Walmart where you're going". You can always buy something you need when you get there.
posted by unrepentanthippie at 10:09 AM on November 14, 2008

Whatever happened to the spirit of experimentation? Put one in some water, microwave it, and see what happens...
posted by krisak at 10:37 AM on November 14, 2008

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