How to Ace the One-Handed Egg Crack

May  8, 2018

Lately, I’ve been in an eggs-for-breakfast kind of mood. They’re filling, fast, affordable (and, to state the obvious, delicious). But despite my morning ritual, I still can’t get the hang of gracefully plucking an egg, tapping it open, and separating yolk from shell in one swoop. I’m a two-handed egg cracker dreaming of single-handed speed.

Chef Nick Korbee knows egg-actly what he's talking about. Photo by Egg Shop

To learn, I reached out to Egg Shop’s Nick Korbee, a chef who cracks nearly 1,500 eggs on any given Sunday. And I started out with the tough questions: flat or sharp surface?

“If you want to build your speed to egg-cracking speed freak, I suggest finding a sharp surface,” Korbee says. “The mistake most people make is that they slam an egg down to crack it. It doesn’t require that much pressure.”

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But a gentle hand and sharp edge are just two components. To master the one-handed crack, hold the egg with the top (the slightly pointier side) in between the first knuckle and crook of your index finger. The base rests where the thumb meets the palm. From there, it’s what Korbee calles “a little thumb and finger workout.”

“You rear your thumb and finger back, pushing your thumb forward while pulling your fingers, and that should pull the shell and egg enough to let gravity do the work,” he says. “As you pull, the weight of the egg will increase the crack you made.”

Sunny-side up, poached, scrambled, hard-boiled—Korbee uses this technique for any and every type of egg dish. On those 1,500-egg days, Korbee cracks four at a time (two in each hand) to make scrambled eggs, keeping shells out with a chinois. He recommends home cooks begin with the same method.

“Get out a strainer and go nuts. Start with one. Then go to one in each hand. Build skill. You’re setting yourself up for failure unless you’re making something that needs to be scrambled,” he says with the seriousness of a man who’s survived many a brunch service.

I’m happy to sacrifice (and scramble) a few of my eggs to learn Korbee’s method. Here are some egg-cellent dishes I plant to practice on:

Have you mastered the single-handed egg crack? Is it worth it? Share your tips and stories in the comments section!

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Katie is a food writer and editor who loves cheesy puns and cheesy cheese.