How To Tell If An Egg Is Fully Cooked, According To Jacques Pépin

When chef Anthony Bourdain once declared, "Eggs. The perfect food," he might've been onto something (via Kitchn). Per Healthline, a single-boiled egg contains 77 calories, 6 grams of protein, 5 grams of good fats, and 15% of the daily value for vitamin B2. Plus, they're less than 50 cents a pop at Whole Foods in Brooklyn, New York.

In one episode of Bourdain's show "Parts Unknown," musician and painter John Lurie prepares hard-boiled eggs for the chef. "So, these are eggs, which you could, you know, get from the store. If you live in a good neighborhood, they will even deliver them to your house. And then you take water... and then you boil them," Lurie explains as he cooks. "I don't think I've ever cooked for anybody before." Pretty straightforward, right? A solid beginner dish.

Yet, as chef Jacques Pépin himself once said, "If you have talent, the techniques are the engine, the means by which you express that talent" — and, when it comes to hard-boiling an egg, the technique is the name of the game. Pépin is a French chef, cookbook author, television host (who even cooked alongside Julia Child), Daytime Emmy Lifetime Achievement Award winner, and 14-time James Beard Award-winner. This is a person who knows how to boil an egg. Here's how he can tell when it's fully cooked.

Take it for a spin

So, what is Pépin's trick for telling if an egg is fully cooked? Give it a good spin. To do it, he says, take your (presumably) fully cooked egg, place it on the countertop, and spin it, Food & Wine notes. You're looking for a top-like rotation here; raw eggs won't spin, and undercooked eggs wobble. Why does it work?

According to Science World, it's all about Newton's First Law of Motion. When you spin a raw egg, it says, the center of gravity is constantly moving as the liquid yolk sloshes around inside the shell — that's why it wobbles. Conversely, when you spin a fully cooked egg, the center of gravity is fixed and unmoving, so it should spin like a top.

However, the spin test might come with a drawback. While this technique can surely differentiate a raw egg from a cooked one, it doesn't necessarily provide any solid indicators as to whether your egg is cooked fully or evenly, says Food Network. It could be cooked enough for its center of gravity to remain fixed (and therefore spin well), but it could still be a little gummy or underdone in certain spots. To be safe, give those eggs a delicate peel before you prepare your mise en place for dinner party deviled eggs.