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If you’ve always wanted to learn how to fry an egg, this quick guide is exactly what you need. You’ll learn how to fry an egg in 4 ways: sunny side up, over easy, over medium, and over hard, including the difference between each. Become an egg master to serve breakfast for the family with their favorite fried egg type. It’s so simple to do and only requires a pan and a touch of oil or butter, your choice!
Table of Contents
- WHY learn to fry eggs properly
- What are the different types of frying eggs?
- HOW TO fry an egg 4 ways
- Is Butter or Oil Better for Cooking Eggs
- TIPS FOR the best fried eggs
- What to serve with fried eggs
- HOW TO REHEAT & STORE fried eggs
- FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
- MORE egg cooking tutorials:
- How to Fry an Egg Recipe
Eggs for breakfast are so common and frying eggs is a cooking method every home cook should master. There’s subtle differences between the four most popular ways to fry eggs, and it boils down to how you like your yolk. In my home, we make over medium eggs most often, but I love switching it up and it’s so helpful to learn the differences to perfect each type of fried egg.
WHY learn to fry eggs properly
- Eggs for all. Not everyone likes the same fried egg style. Some enjoy extra runny, toast-dipping, jammy yolks, while others would rather not see a bit of runniness and prefer their egg to cook all the way through. Either way, you’ll find a happy medium for a fried egg to fit everyone’s appetites.
- You’ll learn something new. Maybe you already know how to fry an egg, but not the different cook temperatures and how to achieve them. This guide teaches you how to fry an egg in 4 ways confidently for all your recipe needs.
What are the different types of frying eggs?
- Sunny Side Up Eggs: An egg is fried only on one side and never flipped for completely liquid yolk and barely set whites.
- Over Easy Eggs: An egg is fried on one side, then flipped for runny yolks and soft whites.
- Over Medium Eggs: An egg is fried on one side, then flipped for jammy yolks and hard whites.
- Over Hard Eggs: An egg is fried on one side, then flipped for hard yolks and whites.
HOW TO fry an egg 4 ways
- Heat butter or oil in a non-stick skillet until melted, and swirl the skillet to coat the bottom. Crack the egg into the frying pan and immediately lower the heat.
- For over easy and over medium eggs, cook until the egg whites just start to set before flipping.
- For sunny side up eggs, continue to cook without flipping until the whites are completely set, and the yolk is still runny.
- For over easy eggs, once the egg whites are just set and still loose (like in image 2), flip over and cook just a moment longer, leaving the whites just a bit soft and the yolk still runny.
- For over medium eggs, once the egg whites are just set and still loose (like in image 2), carefully flip and continue cooking until the whites are cooked, and the yolk is still jiggly.
- For over over hard eggs, carefully flip and continue cooking until the whites are cooked, and yolks appear fully set. Break the yolk when first cracked into the pan for a fully fried over hard egg.
Remember that each fried egg type’s cook time will vary from about 2 minutes up to 5 minutes.
Is Butter or Oil Better for Cooking Eggs
There is no correct answer here for whether butter or oil is best for frying eggs. It will really depend on your preference. Here is the difference in using the two types of fat.
Butter: Frying an egg with butter will be way more flavorful than frying an egg with oil. It adds so much flavor, adds an amazing mouthfeel, and is my choice of fat for frying eggs.
Oil: Using oil to fry eggs is ideal if you like a crispy fried egg. It doesn’t add much flavor unless you use olive oil, but does cook the eggs well without sticking to the pan.
TIPS FOR the best fried eggs
- Try it in a stainless steel skillet. You don’t have to cook eggs in a non-stick skillet. You can use a stainless steel one. The key is to make sure the pan is heated completely and to use more oil than you would with a non-stick skillet. I recommend 2 teaspoons oil per egg.
- Use a really slim spatula or two if needed. The key to not disturbing the yolk, especially for sunny side up eggs or over easy eggs, is careful removal or flipping of the egg. I find that a sturdy slim spatula does the trick.
- Lid the pan instead of flipping. My quick way to fry eggs without flipping them over is to simply cover the pan with a lid. You can add a tablespoon of water if you’d like, but just the steam from the moisture of the eggs will help to finish cooking the eggs without worrying about flipping. This cooking method is also referred to as a steam-basted egg.
- Make sure the butter/oil is hot before dropping in the egg. Even with a nonstick skillet, you’ll want the butter or oil to be heated first. This will allow the egg to cook quickly and prevent it from sticking.
What to serve with fried eggs
- Avocado Toast with Egg
- Yogurt Chaffles
- Sweet Potato Toast
- Cauliflower Waffles
- Tex Mex Breakfast Bowl
- Savory Oatmeal
- Huevos Rancheros
- Sweet Potato Breakfast Bowl
- Pesto Toast with Eggs
HOW TO REHEAT & STORE fried eggs
The only egg I suggest storing for reheating is over hard. It won’t be easy to reheat any other types of fried eggs because they will need to reach 165 degrees to consume safely and will overcook.
To reheat fried eggs, microwave in 2 15-second intervals, flipping once. Alternatively, heat a skillet with just a bit of oil or butter and heat through.
HOW LONG WILL fried eggs LAST IN THE FRIDGE?
While they are best enjoy fresh, fried eggs can be made up to 1 day ahead of time and stored in the fridge.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Any skillet will work for frying an egg. You will just need to prepare them differently. A nonstick skillet works great and just needs a bit of oil or butter heated in the pan. If using a stainless steel pan, heat it up until water beads dance around the pan before adding oil (more than for a nonstick). Allow the oil to heat up before dropping in an egg.
Yes! Drop 2 eggs into the pan per person if that’s what you prefer. The trick will be flipping both eggs at the same time. Carefully use your spatula to lift and roll the eggs over. If you’re feeling adventurous, learn how to flip an egg without a spatula! When the eggs are ready to flip, lean the pan forward, where the eggs settle on the side edge of the pan. Then, flick your wrist in a forward-up-backward motion to flip the eggs over. It’s a fun technique to learn, and you may break a few yolks along the way, but you’ll be flipping eggs like a pro in no time!
If you’ve cracked your egg in the pan and a piece of the shell fell in, don’t fret! Take a part of the broken shell and gently lift the piece out of the pan. It will stick right to it for easy removal! To prevent any shells from being cooked into the egg entirely, crack the eggs in a small bowl and then transfer them to the pan.
Learning how to fry an egg 4 different ways is easy, and you’ll be able to serve the best eggs for everyone. Whether one person wants a runny over easy egg to serve over toast or potatoes or an over hard egg for a breakfast sandwich, this guide walks you through each cook temp for the best-fried eggs!
MORE egg cooking tutorials:
- How to Make Scrambled Eggs
- How to Make Devilled Eggs
- How to Make Natural Dye for Eggs
- How to Boil Eggs, or in the Instant Pot, or in the Air Fryer
- How to Make an Omelette
- How to Poach an Egg
- How to Make an Egg Wrap
- How to Make Crepes
- How to Make Quiche
- How to Make Frittata
- How to Make Cloud Eggs
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How to Fry an Egg
- 1 teaspoon butter
- 1 large egg
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Heat butter in a small non-stick skillet over medium-high until melted and swirl the skillet to coat the bottom.
- Crack the egg into the frying pan and immediately lower heat to medium-low. Cook until the whites are set for each egg cook: about 1 ½ – 2 minutes for over easy, 3 minutes for over medium and sunny side ups, about about 5 minutes for over hard.
- For sunny side up, remove from heat when the whites are set but the yolk is still runny.
- For over easy eggs, carefully flip and immediately remove from heat when the yolk and egg whites are still runny
- For over medium eggs, carefully flip and continue cooking until the whites are cooked and yolk appears somewhat set, but jiggly in the middle, about 1 more minute.
- For over hard eggs, carefully flip and continue cooking until the whites are cooked and yolks appear fully set, about 3 more minutes.
- Season with salt and pepper and enjoy immediately.
Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.