What are Egg Cookers?

A Kaminsky

Tired of poached eggs turning into an inedible slurry? Hard-boiled eggs turning to rocks with green centers? There are actually appliances to remedy these woes: egg cookers. Egg cookers are appliances that boil or poach eggs to the desired state of doneness by maintaining an even, appropriate temperature, which some stove tops may not be able to do.

A cracked egg.
A cracked egg.

Average egg cookers consist of an electric heating element enclosed in a base which can be filled with water. A rack holds eggs to be boiled, or cups hold poached eggs, and the top is covered by a plastic dome to hold in the heat. The cook just fills the base with water, puts in the eggs, turns on the cooker and sets it for soft, medium or hard-boiled eggs, then puts the cover on. When the timer goes off - ding! - perfectly cooked eggs. What could be simpler? Putting eggs in a pan with water, possibly, but that wouldn't be nearly as much fun. And the results are more predictable with egg cookers, since they have a thermostat to maintain a steady temperature.

Egg cookers can boil eggs.
Egg cookers can boil eggs.

One model among egg cookers even features small points in the boiled egg rack that pierce the eggshell to leach out the sulfur in the egg, resulting in lemon yellow yolks every time. No more green yolks! This model is perfect for egg salad or deviled eggs.

To poach an egg, the cook again fills the cooker's base with water. Next, the cook sprays one of the egg poaching cups with nonstick cooking spray, breaks an egg into it and sets it into the poaching rack inside the cooker. The controls are set to poach, the cover is placed and ding! - impeccably poached eggs.

Most of the major small appliance manufacturers offer egg cookers, so finding one is easy. Most models also have selections for hard, medium or soft-boiled, as well as a separate setting for poaching eggs. The main difference among brands is how many eggs they will boil or poach at a time. One model has a domed cover in the shape of a hen, and the timer "clucks" when the eggs are done. Egg cookers range in price from US$20 to US$60.

Cooks who use a lot of boiled eggs, or who frequently poach eggs, will undoubtedly find egg cookers useful.

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