Cloud Eggs Are The Breakfast Miracle You've Been Looking For

When the pandemic has got you down, and the monotony of the everyday threatens to crush you, sometimes you just need a few eggs in the shape of a cloud to turn everything around. Cloud eggs aren't going to cure diseases or help Helen figure out where the mute button on your work Zoom call is, but they sure will put you in a better mood as you deal with both traumas. 

These puffy, friendly-looking little guys experienced a popularity spike in 2017, thanks to their Instagram-ability, but we're at the stage of the pandemic where we're not only looking ahead to potential food trends of 2021, but revisiting some previously viral food trends...because why not? Cloud eggs are simpler than sourdough starters, tastier than learning to knit, and way less work than getting a dog. So buckle up; they might just be the divine inspiration your quarantine breakfast needs right now.

They are fast and easy

Though the blessed internet offers many variations, making your basic cloud out of an egg could not be easier. According to Bon Appétit, you start by separating the egg white from the yolk, and whipping it into a frenzy to form a fluffy, foamy white. Add salt and pepper (and cheese, if you'd like), make a little indentation for your egg yolk, then plop it in and bake for five minutes. Some recipes have you bake the whites first, to stiffen them up a bit, before adding the yolk and baking for a few minutes longer. The result is the same: a sunny, yellow egg yolk on a pillow of cloudy whites. Super easy.

In 2017, exercise pro Joe Wicks, who you may recognize from his popular YouTube channel, The Body Coach, posted a cloud egg tutorial on his Instagram page. In addition to his workout programs for adults and kids, Wicks is known for his "Lean in 15" hashtag, in which he shows followers how to create a healthy meal that takes 15 minutes or less — the perfect category for our cloud egg pal. Wicks douses his cloud eggs with a bit of smoked paprika before sticking the cloud on a green sky of smashed avocado on toast. Quick, easy, and so good for you.

Cloud eggs are kid-friendly

The part of parenting no one ever tells you about is the lengths to which you may go to get your kid to eat an egg. Boiled, scrambled, poached, or doesn't matter how great a chef you are, if there is something about the texture, or look, or general vibe your cooked egg gives off that doesn't sit right with your kid, they are simply not going to eat it. Enter the cloud egg, whose name and appearance might spark a little one's imagination just enough that they'll give it a go, which is all you can ask for, really.

Bonus: It's not too hard to turn a cloud egg into a party cloud. Check out this recipe from Delish, which adds parmesan, ham, and chives to the mix, resulting in a colorful confetti of protein and veggies. Perfect for the kid whose meals require a bit of pizzazz to get them on board with the ritual (or the adults who are bored with breakfast looking the same every day).

Cloud eggs are a science and a history lesson in one

Speaking of kids, if you're in the homeschooling doldrums or simply looking for a side of research to go with your breakfast, there is plenty to learn as you create your clouds. Both Delish and Joe Wicks recommend using an empty water bottle to separate your yolks from your egg whites, which is a fun lesson in suction. NPR points out that beating egg whites into foamy clouds is you tapping into your inner biochemist, turning a liquid into a solid, cumulonimbus state. The proteins in the egg whites will break down and then bind, which creates the structure of those stiff peaks. "They start to arrange themselves into a network, like a net, as they bond to each other and stretch out," Daniel Gritzer, culinary director of Serious Eats tells NPR.

If history is more your bag, NPR is happy to school you on "eggs in snow," the original cloud egg. It turns out, French cooks in the 1600s loved to flex their influencer muscles, too — preaching to followers about a revolutionary way to bake eggs by foaming the whites, plopping a yolk on top, and heating the creation over a fire. In those days, they used a 17th century broiler, called a salamander, to bake the eggs from above, and added a pinch of sugar before serving (via NPR). But what was true then remains true today: When you're the one performing the miracle of making clouds, you can do whatever you want.