Cracking an egg is one of the simplest kitchen tasks there is—most of us don’t even think about it as we’re making scrambled eggs or adding a few to cake batter. But even though it’s an almost-mindless habit, a lot of people have their own methods for cracking eggs; some use the side of the bowl, some hit the flat top of the counter, others create a crack using the edge of the counter. While any of these methods can get the job done, we’re here to tell you that yes, there really is a "best" way to crack an egg.
According to the Better Homes & Gardens Test Kitchen, using the countertop to make that first crack is the way to go. There’s an actual reason why you shouldn't use the bowl (or the edge of the counter) if you can help it. Cracking an egg on the side of a mixing bowl makes a thinner crack than using your countertop. When you use your thumbs to pull the shell apart, you have to break it even more to get the egg open, which creates more tiny pieces of shell that can fall into your food.
On the other hand, if you use a flat surface, like the top of your counter (not the edge, which will also give you a small crack), you’ll end up with a bigger break, and it’ll be easier to gently pull the shell apart with your thumbs and avoid any shell pieces. This advice comes straight from our Test Kitchen, and you can trust us when we say that they’ve cracked enough eggs to know the best method (they go through about 4,800 eggs every year, for an average of 92 each week).
While using the countertop for cracking is less likely to create shell pieces, it’s still not completely foolproof. That’s why the Test Kitchen also recommends cracking your eggs into a separate bowl first, then adding them to your recipe. We know, we know, it’s an extra step and an extra dish you’ll have to clean up later, but it’s much easier to pick a tiny piece of shell out of a ramekin with one egg in it than losing it into a bowl full of cookie dough.
We know how to crack an egg can spark as much debate as whether you should store your butter on the counter or in the fridge, or whether or not tomatoes should be refrigerated. Still, if you can break the habit of cracking eggs on the side of your bowl or the edge of the counter and use the flat top instead, you’ll have an easier time separating the shell and fewer pesky pieces to pick out of your eggs (or, if you’re committed to using the edge, you crack them into a strainer that will take care of any pieces). That means less time spent working on your egg-filled recipes, and more time enjoying the delicious results!