Electric egg cookers offer speed and convenience, but are any worth buying?
Published Apr. 3, 2019.
Electric egg cookers promise to turn out perfect hard-, medium-, and soft-cooked eggs without a stove or a timer. They can also make poached eggs and sometimes include special trays for making omelets. Capacities range from six to 10 eggs, though you can cook fewer if you prefer. Since we last tested these gadgets, several of our recommended models, including our winner, were discontinued or redesigned. So we began the search anew, rounding up six widely available electric egg cookers, all priced less than $30.00, and putting them to the test.
These egg cookers are essentially tiny steamers. Each model has a hot plate in its base; you add water to the hot plate, suspend cold eggs in a tray over the water, and cover the entire unit with a lid. When you turn on the machine, the hot plate heats up and boils the water, creating steam that cooks the eggs. Once the hot plate reaches a certain temperature (usually after all the water has boiled off), the cooker either alerts the user that the eggs are done or shuts itself off.
The volume of water you use varies according to the number of eggs you're cooking and the doneness level you want. Counterintuitively, the more eggs you cook, the less water you need. It turns out that using cold eggs is important here. As the hot steam comes into contact with the cold eggs, it condenses back into water and drips down onto the hot plate, lowering the ambient temperature of the interior and beginning the steam cycle again. The more cold eggs there are, the greater the opportunities for condensation to occur, so the less water you need to start. With fewer cold eggs, less condensation is created—steam just escapes out through vents in the lid—so you need more water to make sure there's enough steam to cook the eggs properly.
Because these small gadgets use so little water in general—a bit more than a tablespoon, in one case—they take less time to cook eggs than conventional methods, which require you to bring larger volumes of water to a boil. It took just under 9 minutes to make 10 soft-cooked eggs in the best model, compared with about 14 minutes to make six eggs using our method for soft-cooked eggs.
The trouble is, the egg cookers often didn't cook the eggs well. All but one model made perfect hard-cooked eggs when filled to capacity, and most were fine for cooking smaller batches of hard-cooked eggs as well. But with poached eggs and soft- and medium-cooked eggs, they frequently faltered, either undercooking or overcooking the eggs, especially when we didn't fill them to capacity. What was happening?
Most of the models inc...
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Miye is a senior editor for ATK Reviews. She covers booze, blades, and gadgets of questionable value.