In an interview with Fast Company, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos bragged that he "can crack eggs with one hand." He said he learned to do it back at his first job working at McDonald’s. He said he’d "get a big bowl and crack 300 eggs into it." You’ll notice that even at McDonald’s in the bygone days of yore, no one was cracking eggs right into a pan.
It’s a tough thing to hear that you’ve been cracking eggs wrong your whole life. It seems like a simple equation to knock the egg open right on the side of the pan and get straight to cooking. While this might save precious seconds, it can quickly wreck an otherwise flawless meal.
There are many reasons to avoid cracking eggs directly into the pan. There’s the issue of controlling where in the pan your eggs land, keeping shells out of your culinary creation, and allowing them to cook more evenly. Plus, if you run across a literal bad egg, not cracking it into the pan prevents it from tainting your cooking surface.
To keep command of your eggs, crack them into a separate bowl
There’s no such thing as a pan that heats entirely evenly. As it sits on a burner, there are going to be various zones of warmth, with the area directly over the burner being hotter than points around it. Because of this, it’s helpful to be able to decide exactly where you want food to land in the pan. If you’re rapidly smashing an egg open and then dumping it in, you don’t have the same control as you would if you were pouring the egg from a separate container.
Chef Alton Brown, for instance, suggests using a receptacle to ensure more careful pouring and even cooking in his recipe for over-easy eggs. "Never crack eggs directly into a pan — always crack them into a cup or ramekin," Brown writes. "It’s the only way to make sure they cook evenly, and you can pour them into the pan right where you want them." The same method applies to eggs of nearly any style.
Cracking eggs into a bowl also reduces the number of shells
Anyone who’s bitten into an egg and encountered a bit of shell knows that it can taint the entire dish. It always seems to happen on the first couple of bites, and it can make you wonder if you somehow chipped a tooth. Then, you’re likely to eat slowly and carefully, for fear of another crunchy, chalky experience.
Self explains that when you crack eggs right into a pan, it’s not always possible to get the shell pieces out before they’re cooked into the eggs. The other issue is that you’re trying to get the shells out of a hot pan, which is more difficult than it would be with a cool bowl. You can also see the shells more easily, as they aren’t blending into the whites as they cook.
Though you can streamline your life by cracking eggs right into the pan, the suffering that can come from it, and the loss of control are hardly worth the time you’ll get back. Plus, you’ll be able to make your best egg dishes even better — and free of errant, unwanted crunch.