Some people seem to whip up perfect eggs effortlessly. They have complete control of the yolk gooeyness level in fried eggs, the curd size in scrambled, and the pan flip when cooking an omelet.

It’s not a mysterious art. In fact, egg cooking is rooted in science, in how egg proteins react as temperature in the pot or pan creeps up, the way wet heat differs from dry heat, and the fact that there are two different textures of egg white in every egg.

And yet, eggs are also totally mundane, even pedestrian, says egg whisperer Kenji López-Alt. The Serious Eats culinary director and author of The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science has spent hours testing whites and yolks, trying to decode better practices for the home cook. 

“They’re inexpensive, they’re healthy, and they’re good,” he says. “They’re the first thing a lot of people learn how to cook, and there are probably more ways to cook an egg than anything else.”

That means that while eggs are easy to learn, they’re harder to fully master. With López-Alt’s help, we’ll get you on your way to understanding the nuances of various methods and preparations—whether that’s yellow-centered boiled eggs, crispy-edged fried eggs, perfectly oozy poached eggs, or scrambled eggs with exemplary curds.

Here's the complete guide to cooking eggs at home.