Coddled eggs may have gone out of fashion, but they are always a delight.
One of the last gifts my mom gave me was a set of egg coddler cups from Williams Sanoma. They were beautiful little treasures in Delft white with blue, which she knew I loved, with shiny stainless-steel tops. She thought my guests at the inn would like them, and she was right. How special to be presented with your own little covered pot of slowly coddled eggs (baked), thick jammy yolks with whites mixed with cream, sitting atop some lovely little surprise of mushrooms or vegetables. It turns eating an egg into a special event; you are coddling not only the eggs, but your guests as well.
Coddle: To treat indulgently; baby. synonym: pamper.
Coddled and shirred eggs have completely gone out of style. However, if one is feeding a large group breakfast, they can all be cooked at once in the oven so you’ll save a lot of time standing over the stove, and the presentation is quite special.
Shirred versus coddled
A shirred egg is an egg that is baked in a custard cup, ramekin, or coddling cup. Usually, they are baked at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or so. A coddled egg is cooked in a similar manner, but placed in a bain Marie, a hot water bath, which keeps the cooking more even. This method will also take just a minute or two longer.
Of course you can use a custard cup!
When I was a kid, mom would make hers in custard cups, which are perfect for this. She used evaporated milk or, in more lush times, cream. I’ve also successfully used half-and-half, and also coconut milk if you need to avoid dairy. You don’t use much, and the cream mixes with the egg whites to make a custard-like consistency.
A world of possible fillings
The old-school filling on the bottom was often chopped spinach and onions, which is delicious. But you can use your imagination. I’ve used left-over home fries minced up, artichoke hearts, chili, garlic croutons, even leftover truffled mashed potatoes (husband’s favorite), just about anything you might want to serve with an egg on top. However, my hands-down favorite is sautéed shiitake mushrooms and onions. Simple but delightful.
Everything in moderation!
Since my husband’s heart attack, we’ve been quite careful about how many egg yolks we consume, and just one of these along with whole grain toast and some fruit is a perfect Sunday morning breakfast or brunch. Even though eggs are expensive right now, a one- or two-egg meal is still a bargain, and we always get lovely local eggs that are humanely raised and have a higher content of omega-3 fatty acids. Higher in minerals and antioxidants, those bright orange yolks mean more beta-carotene in their diets as well.
A very short learning curve
If you don’t have a set of special coddler cups from your mom, any custard cup or ramekin will work perfectly. Fashion a little top out of foil. Shirred eggs are a little easier for a beginner, you won’t have to mess with the water bath, but either way, keep an eye on them and if they are still unset, pop them back in the oven for a minute or two. You’ll get the hang of it!
Coddled Eggs with Shiitake Mushrooms
- 4 oz. shiitake mushrooms, sliced
- ½ small onion, diced
- Pinch of tarragon
- 2 large local organic eggs
- 2 tbsp. cream or light coconut milk
- Dash of hot sauce, optional
- Salt and pepper
- 2 tbsp. cheese of choice, grated
- Parsley, optional
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and put a kettle of water on to boil.
Sauté mushrooms and onions in a little butter or vegan butter. Add a pinch of tarragon and salt and pepper to taste.
Butter the egg coddling cups, custard cups, or ramekins. When the mushrooms and onions have browned, place in the bottom of the cups, filled about half-way up.
Make an indentation in the filling so the yolk will stay centered in the pot. Gently crack an egg in each one, coaxing it with a chopstick if necessary to stay centered. Add a couple of teaspoons of the cream and a shake of hot sauce if using, sprinkle with salt and pepper, cover, and place in a roasting pan. Bring to the oven, and add hot water to at least half-way up the cups.
Set your timer for 12 minutes. Remove the covers and sprinkle with the cheese. This is the messy part! The egg whites should be just starting to set around the edges.
Pop back in the oven for another 8 to 10 minutes, check at 8. They are done when the top just jiggles a bit and a gentle prodding on the outside of the egg feels set. This is not an exact timing situation, each time it will be a little different depending on the size of your eggs and what else you have in the cups.
Sprinkle with a bit of parsley, and enjoy!
Mom’s ramekins work fine, too! Here we have simply shirred eggs on mashed potatoes, with a bit of cheese on top.
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75 Comments Add yours
It’s the first time that I hear about egg coddler cups but they look so pretty! And when are from your mom, I’m sure are extra special! What a delicious meal!
She was always buying me little things for the inn table, a cute little set of ceramic napkin rings, little salt spoons, tiny treasures all.
I love the idea of serving them on a bed of mushrooms or mashed potatoes!
They are good sitting atop so many things, and the mash and the mushrooms are two favorites for sure!
I’ve always wanted to make these. Now I shall. Thanks.
Have fun with them Roland!
I’ve never made or eaten eggs like this! They sound delicious!
Thanks Marilyn! They really are tasty!
I have never made coddled eggs. Your recupoes look delicious and I am sure I would like these dishes.
Thank you Jovina! Sometimes these oldies stick around, and other times they fall by the wayside!
Interesting post!! Have always been curious about coddler cups but never made eggs that way. Oh to be a guest at your inn. 🙂
I’m glad I had a little useful information Jama! You don’t see them much any more, but it is a good technique.
Thanks Dorothy! We use coddlers to make a tofu flan with dashi and ginger. We also use them to make an orange flan.
What a perfect use for them! The dashi and ginger in particular sound really delicious!
Easy and delicious recipe.
Thank you!l They are indeed easy, but feel special.
Great recipe! I often make coddled eggs, but it’s been a long time since I’ve made shirred eggs. no doubt I’ll be making them soon! 🙂
They are so easy to forget about since we don’t see or hear of them often. But it is a wonderful technique.
So true! Thanks for bringing this tasty dish back. 🙂
You are very welcome!
I am fairly certain I have never eaten either, but the coddled eggs sound very intriguing with your special additions. I might need to coddle myself, since I do not get a lot of coddling any more! I love shitake spinach bread pudding in little individual servings, so perhaps I shall make some to accompany my coddled eggs. The coddler cups are beautiful, as are the basket of eggs and the presentation. You are just awesome, and I wish I could have dined at your inn also!
These sound delicious, Dorothy, particularly with onions and mushrooms – yum!
I’ve been making a salmon dish sitting atop spinach and onion (pre-cooked) then baked wrapped in pastry. I do believe you inspired that dish too. Have I mentioned that your recipes are the inspiration for so many of the meals we now enjoy? I do believe I have! Worth repeating…. 🙂
Oh, thank you so much Carolyn! You are always so kind, and it makes me happy whenever I read your posts! I try to have fun with food, and to make family and friends really feel like they are being ‘coddled’ with love!!!!
“‘coddled’ with love”
And you do it so well…. 🙂
Hi, Dorothy – I hadn’t heard of Egg Coddler Cups before. Yours are absolutely beautiful!
Thank you! I was delighted when Mom presented them to me. She was so proud, and our guests adored them as well. Such a nice way to start the day!
This egg recipe was so delicious. I should try to make this . Let’s follow our blogs. Thanks for sharing this idea. Anita
Thank you Anita! They are pretty easy, and really delicious!
Add me to the list of those who’ve never coddled an egg. I do want to try now, thanks to your excellent directions (and best post title ever!). I love soft boiled and poached, so I’m sure I’ll love these, too.
If you love a poached egg with jammy yolk, you will love these! Have fun with them!
I did not know what shirred eggs were! Thanks for all of this. great recipes.
Thanks Mimi! I think we hear about shirred eggs even less than coddled, and it’s funny because they are a little easier to make. The coddled eggs are more forgiving because they take a bit longer to cook and you’re less apt to leave them in too long.
I remember my mother making these eggs! They were delicious.
They do bring back lots of memories, don’t they! An oldie, but a goodie!
These sounds scrumptious! I’m going to try them. Thank you for the recipe Dorothy 🙂
Thank yo Anne-Marie! I hope you enjoy making and eating them!
Clever title for this one, Dorothy! Coddled eggs, I think my hubby would like it. I don’t like the taste of eggs unless they’re an ingredient in something where I don’t get much (if any) egg flavor. I’ve been like that for several years now. There was a time when I loved the taste of eggs!
It’s so strange how our tastes change as we travel through this life! I’ve always loved eggs except when I was pregnant with my second child, couldn’t even be in the same room where they were being cooked!
I love coddled eggs and have a whole collection of cups that I don’t use nearly often enough. And as for their fashionable-ness, I was traveling last week and had a super fancy dinner at which one course was a coddled egg with caviar and chanterelle cream. So you’re ahead of the rising trend here!
Maybe I’m setting a trend Jennifer! That egg sounds delicious!
Oh my this looks divine!! It remind me so much of the Japanese egg custard dish Chawanmushi which is one of my all favorite egg recipes!
I will have to look that one up! I’m sure they are delightful!
There is a first time for every thing…I have never coddled an egg or eaten a coddled egg ..love your Egg Coddler cups, Dorothy 🙂 x
Thank you Carol! You don’t see these much any more, and I checked Williams Sonoma and they don’t carry them any longer. I see them at fleas sometimes.
I love a good flea market…It seems coddling eggs is a dying art in this day and age …I hope you have a lovely week 🙂 x
This week it has been in the 50s! We lost all our snow, and no one is crying except the skiers!
Great recipe! I often make coddled eggs, but it’s been a long time since I’ve made shirred eggs. no doubt I’ll be making them soon
Oh, yeah baby! Look at that yolk!
Love this and your opening line is killer! Happy Valentine’s Day, D. May you be sufficiently coddled! 💝
You too, my friend! May your day be filled with lots of love and chocolate!
Thanks, D! It was filled with both and the best part of the day was the report that my husband has been cancer free for 4 1/2 years. We’ll have a 5-year celebration in August. 💝 🙏🏼
What wonderful news! No better gift! 💕❤️💕
For sure! 💕
I have never had this, but if you had served it to me at the inn, I would have felt like a very special guest! With eggs being so expensive at the moment, this is a lovely way to elevate them into something extra nice.
Yes, and just one egg with a little side of fruit or greens make a lovely little meal! Of course, my husband would disagree and want two!
Dorothy, you have certainly mastered the art of serving guests at the crack of dawn. Such elegance and presentation is a wonderful way to start the day. Blessings. 🌞🍃
I am actually not sure how I did it all those years since I’m not a morning person…
You did it because you loved it! And it takes a special person to be a great hostess! 🍃🌸💕
It’s true. 🍃💜
I remember my mother making coddled eggs when I was a young child. I wouldn’t touch the thing then, but now I bet I’d like them. Thanks for the memory and the idea.
You’re very welcome Ally! Love tickling those memories!
I see those cups in Antique stores. I have never had these kind of eggs. But next time I see these cups I will buy them and try these kind of eggs. Thanks!
I was surprised Williams Sonoma carried them for a time. They really are quite out of fashion!
I love the idea of coddled eggs with mashed potatoes—yum! 🙂
The mashed potato bed was absolutely perfect for these babies!
I have not seen coddles eggs in a long time. The classics remain strong! Looks yummy! 🙂
Thank you so much! They were quite yummy, and it would be nice ifthey came back in style!
You have no idea how long I’ve wondered about how to use those adorable egg cups! I’ve been intrigued for years but shied away from purchasing some because I didn’t know how to use them! Ordering two now on Amazon! I’m smitten. Thank you Dorothy! 💕C
You’re going to love them Cheryl! So much fun to play with!
I just bought two off Etsy! Vintage! I’ll have to print out your post so I have it when they come! Whoot! Hoot!
Yeah! And the fun begins!
I never knew what coddled eggs were. I had read about them in various mysteries set in the 30’s and 40’s.
I haven’t seen anyone make them for years, but they are an easy way to get everyone’s breakfast eggs served up at the same time!
This dish sounds lovely and like something my husband would enjoy.