Here’s How to Crack an Egg Like Jacques Pépin

updated May 24, 2019
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(Image credit: Leela Cyd)

Look, if you’re going to trust anyone about best practices when it comes to eggs, it’s a safe bet to go with the man who named them as his desert island food. So, when it comes to cracking eggs, it’s worth pausing to listen to what egg whisperer Jaques Pépin has to say about how to do it right.

(Image credit: Leela Cyd)

Flat Surfaces Are Better than an Edge

At this point, you’ve probably seen JP make a French-style omelette. So elegant with that flip of the wrist, right? I’m always amazed that he can make this hallmark cooking technique look so effortless. But did you catch how he cracked the egg? Not on the side of the bowl, but on a flat surface.

He offers that cracking an egg on a flat surface prevents any bacteria from the shell from coming in contact with the yolks and white. But with this method you get the added benefit of no shell in the bowl, no broken yolk, and no egg running down the side of the bowl. That first crack against a flat surface needs to be just assertive enough; one firm smack will do it. “You want to make an indentation,” says Jacques. “Then, pull the shell apart with your thumbs.”

This is my primary mode of cracking an egg. I’ll admit that I sometimes wish I could do that badass one-handed cracking trick, but I’m just not that gifted.

Now, Jacques isn’t the only person who’s about this technique. Cooks Illustrated suggests it, and so does Alton Brown. But Jacques also taught me how to cook better hard-boiled eggs and how to save eggs from overcooking, so it comes as no surprise he was the one to illustrate how to crack an egg the proper way as well.

More egg wisdom from Jacques Pépin