Here’s how to fry an egg perfectly. No more chewy or overcooked whites. Learn how to fry eggs sunny-side-up, over easy, medium, and over hard using any pan!
One of the first things I learned to do as a child was how to fry eggs perfectly. There is nothing worse than an over-cooked egg, with an egg white that is so burnt that you think it beat the tan that you got during the summer. Sunny side up eggs with a little salt and pepper are a staple around here for a quick breakfast.
It’s easy work when you get the hang of things! What do I find to be a perfectly fried egg? An egg, sunny side up (of course), fried in butter or oil with no chewy whites or burnt edges.
Learning how to fry an egg perfectly is essential, especially if you like to eat them regularly. They’re very simple to prepare. Just be sure to keep an eye on the egg when you’re frying it because it does cook rather quickly!
WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO FRY EGGS? WHAT KIND OF FAT SHOULD I USE?
Depending on what you’re going for at that moment, you always want to use some sort of fat– be it butter, oil, bacon grease, goose fat, chicken fat, or even duck fat (like in these potatoes). Do keep in mind, however that using butter will result in a luscious, soft-edged and soft-bottomed egg. Fats such as olive oil–depending on temperature, pan, and how much is used– will result in a crispier edge on the egg.
WHAT DO I NEED FOR FRIED EGGS?
• Eggs – We’re talking about chicken eggs here, but this would work for duck, or even quail eggs.
• Butter – Unsalted, preferably. You can also opt for oil, bacon grease, goose fat, chicken fat, or even duck fat.
• Skillet – Preferably non-stick, but cast-iron or even carbon steel would work.
HOW LONG DO YOU FRY AN EGG FOR?
Generally, you would fry an egg for about 3 minutes, or until the white is set. Depending on how you like your eggs, you may want to cook it longer if you prefer not to have a sunny-side up egg.
DO YOU FLIP A FRIED EGG? WHAT DOES IT MEAN WHEN AN EGG IS OVER-EASY, MEDIUM, OR OVER HARD?
You only flip a fried egg when you’re cooking an egg over-easy, medium, or over hard. Over-easy means that you are still preserving the integrity of the runny yolk inside the egg without showing its vivid yellow yolk like a sunny-side up egg would. Over medium means the egg is fried until the egg white is completely set and some of the egg yolk is set as well– it is not entirely runny. Over hard means the egg is fried until the egg white and egg yolk are completely set and not runny.
WHAT IS THE CORRECT PAN TO FRY AN EGG IN?
For ease and comfort when it comes to making eggs, the best pan for this job is a non-stick skillet. Non-stick skillets allow you to use a smaller amount of fat compared to a cast-iron or a carbon steel pan (more on those in a moment). Something between 8-in / 20 cm and 10-in / 25.5 cm works perfectly. Avoid using stainless steel pans when frying eggs– eggs tent to stick to them, and they can be more headache than necessary (though if you must, you may need to shallow-fry your egg using the cast-iron method below).
WHAT KIND OF NON-STICK SKILLET DO I NEED TO FRY AN EGG?
The non-stick you use to fry eggs is your choice; go for something affordable and well-made. non-stick skillets tend to have short lives, no matter how nicely we treat them, so go for something you’re comfortable buying if you don’t have one already. You do not want a skillet that is super-inexpensive– you want a pan that you feel comfortable using for all your other cooking as well. I’m currently enjoying my Sardel non-stick skillet; it’s durable, dishwasher safe, and it gets the job done. However, I don’t suggest shelling out $90 on a non-stick skillet, especially for this task. I have used this pan by Farberware that I really enjoy. It makes amazing eggs, including omelets. I’ve also used this Rachael Ray one, and that is great too. The size of the pan is up to you.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I PREFER TO USE CAST IRON OR CARBON STEEL FOR EGGS?
If you prefer not to use anything but cast-iron or carbon steel to fry your eggs, make sure your pan is well-seasoned and expect to use more fat than you would when using a non-stick skillet (about 1/8-inch of oil). It’s just the name of the game, and it’s worth it. When I want a more crispy-edged egg, I use my Iwachu cast-iron skillet from Japan, though this pan is quite versatile and does allow me to achieve a soft-edged egg as well. I’ve also used my ever 100-year-old cast iron skillet that is well-seasoned, but I always gravitate back to my Japanese cast-iron. It’s just perfect.
MORE COOKING & BAKING HOW-TOS
Update (April 15, 2020): This post was updated from the archives with more images and more information about frying eggs.