Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles Eggs are an amazing food that, lucky for us, are readily available by the dozen. An excellent source of protein and other essential vitamins and minerals, each egg is a self-contained food miracle. But while they seem almost childishly easy to cook, they can be finicky to deal with, and strategies vary from chef-to-chef. Here is a quick look at common cooking mistakes made when scrambling, poaching, and boiling eggs. Scrambled screw-ups Scrambled eggs should be simple to make, but it's easy to overlook a few basic steps and techniques and end up making the following common mistakes. [Using cast iron] They look super-cool in stock images, but it's best not to use an old-fashioned cast-iron skillet to cook scrambled eggs. Yes, it can be done using a properly seasoned and well-maintained skillet, but unless you're a cast-iron aficionado, your eggs will likely stick to the pan like crazy. Just use a nonstick pan to prepare your scrambled eggs and avoid the potential headache. [Using high heat] Eggs cook surprisingly quickly, so you never want to prepare scrambled eggs over high heat. Preheat your pan over medium heat and reduce it to medium-low once you add the eggs. [Cracking into the pan] Yes, Gordon Ramsay does it for his French-style eggs, but for a firmer American-style scramble, don't even think twice about cracking directly into the pan to save washing a dish. This so-called shortcut can result in unattractive, streaky eggs that are unevenly mixed. Go ahead and use that extra bowl to mix your eggs well before adding them to the pan. [Stirring] Since eggs cook so fast, you want to move them around in the pan to create billowy curds. Leaving them there on the heat untouched while you do something else means a dry crust will form quickly on the bottom. The pan from your eggs will remain hot for some time after you remove it from the heat source, so you don't want to leave them there to linger after they've finished cooking. As soon as your eggs are done, transfer them to a bowl or plate. Poaching problems Poached eggs are beautiful to behold, but they can be challenging to make. By steering clear of a handful of common mistakes, you can enjoy delicious dishes like eggs Benedict in your home whenever you want. [Using old eggs] Poaching old eggs causes the whites to separate into streaky strands. You want to use the freshest eggs you can when you're poaching so that the whites stay cohesive, resulting in finished products that hold together. [Being too rough] Poaching eggs requires a gentle touch. You want to avoid cracking the eggs directly into the water so that you can exercise more control over their entry. We suggest cracking them into small, shallow bowls and easing them into the water from there. The temperature of your water matters a lot when you poach eggs. The key is to ease your eggs into the water when it's at a gentle simmer, meaning that some small bubbles are noticeable right below the surface of the water, but it's not roiling. [Salting the water] Since you salt your water when cooking pasta, you may be tempted to do the same when you poach eggs, and some pro chefs like Gordon Ramsay do. But we're with Alton Brown on this one. Save the seasoning for when the eggs are finished cooking. The boiled egg blues Boiled eggs are simple, unadorned beauties, but their preparation can be problematic. "Is this really happening? He can't even boil a f---ing egg!" Here's what not to do. [Starting with hot water] Cold eggs from the refrigerator are more likely to crack when put into direct contact with hot water. To avoid this, gently place the eggs in an empty pot, then cover the eggs with cold water. Allowing the eggs to cook the entire time in boiling water is a surefire way to overcook them. To avoid the disturbing gray yolks of overcooked eggs, be sure to remove the pot from the heat once the water reaches a boil. Boiled eggs require attention. If you leave your eggs in the hot water for too long after turning off the heat, the eggs will cook beyond the soft-boiled or hard-boiled stage and become sad, rubbery little things. Set a timer, depending on how cooked you prefer your eggs. While it may be tempting to immediately peel your eggs once they're finished cooking, wait a little. The cooling time allows for the egg to separate from the shell slightly, making the peeling process less like a massacre.