Tasty, filling and full of essential fats and proteins, eggs are a cornerstone of many diets. The average egg has less than 100 calories and can be great for those watching their waistline. Sadly, most eggs are served overcooked and flavorless. Eggs are difficult to master, but these methods will have you well on your way.

Scrambled

Scrambling is probably the easiest method, but even this simple preparation can go south in a hurry. Crack your eggs into a bowl and beat with a fork or whisk until smooth and even-colored. Consider adding a tablespoon of water for every egg prior to mixing. This helps keep them moist and allows them to endure vigorous whisking. Do not add salt prior to cooking, as this causes over-firming. Heat a nonstick pan over medium-low heat and add a teaspoon of butter, allowing it to melt. Pour the eggs into the pan, and allow them to cook for 30 seconds or until they start to set. Then use a spatula to turn, continuing this until most of the eggs are cooked. Turn off the heat, stir a few more times and plate immediately. They will continue to cook in the pan if left to sit.

Soft Boiled

Anyone can hard boil an egg, but soft boiling is a different animal. Soft boiling, as the name implies, involves cooking so that the white is firm and the yolk is still soft or runny. Fill a saucepan or small pot half full of water, deep enough to completely submerge the eggs. Bring to a rolling boil, add the eggs and set your timer. If a runny yolk is desired, boil for five minutes. For a soft, partially set yolk, boil for seven minutes. Crack and peel carefully, eating immediately.

Fried

Deceptively difficult, frying requires careful temperature control and a steady hand. If cooking multiple eggs, crack them into a bowl or cup before adding to the pan. This ensures even cooking times. As with the scrambled eggs, melt one or two teaspoons of butter in a pan over medium-low heat. The mistake most people make is cooking too quickly, allowing the eggs to set before the chef can react. As soon as the butter is melted, add the eggs to the pan. From here, you have a choice to make: if you want sunny side up, allow to cook until the whites are completely set and the edges are starting to crisp up. If you want both sides cooked, or a firm yolk, you are going to have to flip them. For novices, simply use a thin spatula to gently flip. For the more adventurous, flick your wrist, tossing the eggs up the side of the pan, allowing them to flip in mid air, and catching them as they start to descend. Obviously this takes practice, but it is very reliable once learned. Cook for another minute or two, depending on desired firmness. Serve immediately.