Eggs are one of the most versatile ingredients in a kitchen. This high-quality protein works for breakfast, lunch, or dinner — or a midnight snack — and can be prepared a myriad of ways, inexpensively. Yet they’re also one of the hardest things to get right. So, we asked some of the top talent at Food Network and Cooking Channel to spill their best tips and tricks for mastering eggs.

Scrambled

“Most people tend to cook eggs too fast and at too high of a heat. You need to slowly fry them in whole butter (a French 85% butter fat) and season liberally — there’s nothing worse than an under-salted egg. Also never cook eggs cold.” — Chef Geoffrey Zakarian of The Lambs Club and The Water Club at Borgata

“I like creamy scrambled eggs with really soft curds, so I always add butter to my eggs before putting them in the pan and then again at the end to slow down the cooking process and keep them super creamy and fluffy. And never stop stirring! Also, for scrambled eggs, add the salt at the end. If you add salt at the beginning, it will thin them out, and then you get rubbery eggs.” — Chef Michael Symon of Angeline and Lola Bistro

“My favorite way to prepare and eat eggs is soft-scrambled with Pecorino Toscano cheese and black pepper. I whisk them with a splash of heavy cream. Then heat very gently, over a low flame, in a non-stick pan, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula in a circular motion, moving across and around the entire pan to ensure that no large curds form. This technique requires a lot of time and patience, but it’s worth it! For about four eggs, it might take up to 20 minutes to successfully cook the eggs and the end result will be the texture of polenta— very creamy with tiny curds. At the very end, I add a generous amount of black pepper, Pecorino cheese (or any other slightly sharp grating cheese), [and] salt, and stir everything in well. These eggs are delicious on top of toasted, crusty bread. To take it to the next level, add a couple of pieces of thinly sliced prosciutto on top of that.” — Chef Angie Rito of Don Angie

“For a multi-ingredient egg dish, my general rule is that it should be a mix of in-season vegetables, a handful or two of greens, freshly grated hard cheese like Parmesan, and a combo of one or two soft cheeses. Hot sauce, heavy cream, and Worcestershire are a few of my secret ingredients. Add them to your eggs before scrambling. Pesto is another one of my favorite accompaniments to eggs, but I also love salsa, tomato sauce, and even kimchi. Last but not least, make sure you’re using farm-fresh eggs. Trust me, the flavor is just so much better.” — Chef Alex Guarnaschelli of Butter

Poached

“Poach eggs ahead of time (this can be done the night before). Once they are finished, drop them immediately into an ice bath. This will stop the cooking process. Hold them in this water until you are ready to use them. Once you’re ready to top your eggs Benedict, just pop the eggs in a pot of simmering water and warm them back up gently. It’s as easy as that!” — Chef Alex Baker of Yves

“Poach eggs in red wine by boiling the wine until it reduces in half. Wine already has acid, so there’s no need to add vinegar, and then you have really cool poached ruby red or pink eggs. A simple hack and alternative to hollandaise is to take mayo or yogurt, lightly warm it up in a water bath, and add flavor like sriracha sauce, garlic, and herbs. Ranch dressing also works great as a sauce for eggs — you can make it your own by whisking in olive oil and fresh-squeezed lemon juice.” — Chef David Burke of Woodpecker

Fried

“For frying multiple eggs for the family in one shot, a heavy bottomed, non-stick, flat-surfaced, short-walled nonstick pan is crucial. It’s easy for slipping and has plenty of room for four eggs. For scrambling eggs, I use a medium non-stick skillet, heat-resistant spatula, and plenty of butter. For sunny side up, I go with a medium non-stick with a tight lid and a little bit of olive oil.” — Chef Jeff Mauro of Food Network’s The Kitchen

baked

“While certain eggs are meant to be made and eaten immediately, my best hack for making eggs for a large group is a frittata! They’re easy to make, sharable, and look very impressive. I always like to use any fresh herbs or vegetables I have around and add a delicious cheese.” — Chef Marc Murphy of Landmarc

“For big brunch parties, shakshuka (an Israeli baked eggs dish) works. First, sauté onions with garlic in a simple tomato and red pepper sauce. Let the sauce reduce so it’s a true sauce rather than stewed tomatoes. Then to assemble, heat the sauce in a large pan and make wells to put the eggs in, cover, and cook until the eggs are to your desire.” — Chef Eden Grinshpan of Dez and host of Cooking Channel’s Eden Eats and Food Network’s Top Chef Canada

If you need even more guidance, you can catch these pros demo’ing it up at this year’s Food Network & Cooking Channel New York City Wine and Food Festival from October 11 to 14.

Want eggs all day? Follow us on Pinterest!

(Photos via Getty)