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I know how to crack an egg, but is there empirical evidence as to the best way to crack an egg? With best I'm referring to a method of cracking eggs that has the lowest chance of egg shells ending up in the receptacle.

Some chefs suggest cracking an egg on a sharp edge (like a knife), presumably to ensure the cleanest cut, and therefore the lowest chance of bits falling off the egg shell.

Other chefs recommend knocking an egg on a flat surface to obtain a circular shatter pattern, where you can place your thumbs to guide the shell with opening.

All techniques I'm aware of crack eggs along the smallest axis of the egg, so it can probably be a given that having a smaller radius helps to ensure a clean crack.

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    I have a sudden desire to try to crack an egg lengthwise...
    – user141592
    Dec 3, 2021 at 15:17
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    I don’t know, but I can tell you that if you notice a bit of shell in your freshly cracked egg, use the half of a shell to scoop it out— it won’t run away from you the same way it would if you used your fingers or a spoon
    – Joe
    Dec 3, 2021 at 15:25
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    Ha. The age-old crack-it-on-the-edge-of-the-bowl vs. tap-it-on-the-counter debate. We have proponents of both camps in the house and I am looking forward to an authoritative answer.
    – Stephie
    Dec 3, 2021 at 16:34
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    @user141592 I have actually cracked an egg lengthwise. All you need to do is lightly hit the egg once, to start a crack, and then use a finger to lightly tap it which propagates the crack towards your finger. If you circle the egg lengthwise like that, you can actually separate it into two halves, lengthwise. Dec 4, 2021 at 21:42
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    @Stephie I suspect that you will be disappointed
    – FuzzyChef
    Dec 6, 2021 at 20:15

2 Answers 2

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Many sources come out in favor of the "flat surface" method for cracking an egg:

All of these sources say more-or-less the same thing:

The flat-surface method is far less likely to result in broken yolks, or eggshell ending up in the bowl or pan.

While I know many people use the edge-of-bowl method, and a few use the knife method, I couldn't find any sources advocating for those methods. And while Serious Eats advocates for the one-hand method, it is specifically not on the basis of avoiding bits of shell.

And what none of the flat-surface sources had was any evidence to back up their assertions. Even ATK simple baldly states that the flat surface method is better, but does not do any testing with a couple dozen eggs to find out.

So, here's the obligatory answer of "there is no such study", which you can pick if it turns out to be true. Of course, maybe a member of SA is willing to ruin a whole carton of eggs to find out ... here's hoping!

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    I've tried the one-hand method (using the edge of the pan) when I had to crack 120 eggs in one go then scramble them. I was surprised how few yolks I broke given that I wanted to - until the bottom of of the pan was covered in a thick layer of liquid egg, I could almost throw the contents into the pan and break the yolk that way, but after a point they just splashed, and very few broke as I broke the eggs. I broke one egg in one hand (rather than one in each) as it was easier to deal with bits of shell that way
    – Chris H
    Dec 6, 2021 at 20:10
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You're right, so many opinions and still no definite answer, supported by s study. I crack eggs both ways (on the edge of a bowl or on a flat surface, whatever I find more handy at the moment). I use a knife only to crack a soft boil egg end separate "the cap". Anyways, I think it's more important to use just the right amount of "force" when cracking an egg. Not too much but just enough to "slightly open the shell" so that the egg white and the yolk don't "escape", but you can easily separate the cracked shell with your fingers (preferably in halves). Practice makes it perfect and there are so many recipes for quick and simple egg dishes, so give them a go and I bet you'll find out what works for you best.

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    You make a good point, and I also use 2 methods (bowl or knife, depending on what I'm about to put the egg in). But one thing I've noticed is that the "right" amount of force can be very different between eggs. These days I get eggs mainly from a small flock of hens of different breeds and ages, and even 2 eggs that look the same might have different shell - and membrane - strengths.
    – Chris H
    Dec 6, 2021 at 20:03

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