TikTok Taught Me: How To Prevent Eggs From Exploding in the Microwave

Bonus: It also happens to be the easiest way to poach an egg.

A single poached egg on artisan hand sliced toasted bread. The egg is split to reveal a runny yolk. White dinner plate, non-descript dark wood table and chair just about visible in the background.
Photo: Getty Images

Have you ever tried to cook an egg in the microwave? If you were a college student living the "dorm life," a microwave was your entire kitchen in one. I've had my share of microwaved eggs, and I've also had the same share of explosion cleanings. Yes, eggs tend to explode in the microwave. Don't fear because there is a TikTok video making the rounds that shows the perfect way to cook eggs in the microwave without the explosion. Bonus: you will find this is the easiest way to cook an egg (especially if you are looking for one that's perfectly poached). However, the reason why this trick is necessary requires a brief scientific understanding of an egg.

Why Do Eggs Explode in the Microwave?

An egg has two main components that we eat: the yolk and egg white (albumen). The yolk is is comprised of more fat than water, and has the majority of the nutritional benefits such as vitamins and minerals. The yolk also has lecithin, which is an emulsifying agent. The albumen or egg white, has more water than fat. It also has the majority of the protein found in an egg, about 40 different proteins to be exact. This network of proteins is complex and are folded onto one another. Adding heat or agitation can denature these proteins and break those strong bonds.

So if an egg is mostly water, you might say an egg is a liquid, right? It's actually neither a liquid nor a solid. It is described to be a gel-like structure and plasma. In science, a gel is when a liquid can behave like a semi-solid based on its increased viscosity. Thus, this allows water particles to be dispersed in a complex network of proteins. When direct heat is applied from the microwave, it is believed that some water particles that were trapped in that network are exploding by the uneven heat.

How To Prevent Eggs From Exploding in the Microwave

How To Poach an Egg in the Microwave

The hack in the aforementioned TikTok video isn't just great for preventing your eggs from exploding, it also happens to be the easiest way to poach an egg. Just place your egg in a microwave-safe ramekin and top with water to cover. Water is a great heating medium—especially in a microwave which works by activating water molecules to heat your food. Submerging your egg in water allows the egg to cook more evenly, preventing those heat pockets from exploding. It also gives you a result similar to poaching eggs in a pot of water for that Instagram-worthy avocado toast topping.

Other Ways To Prevent Eggs From Exploding in the Microwave

If you aren't looking to make a poached egg, here are some other methods to try whether you want your eggs scrambled, over easy, over medium, or over hard.

  • Use a fork to prick the yolk before microwaving. This will allow those heated water pockets to escape with steam and not get trapped.
  • Simply cover your cooking vessel. This helps to steam the egg (which more gently cooks it), but in the event that your egg still explodes it's contained inside your ramekin and prevents that big microwave mess.
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