The 5 Best Ways to Fry an Egg (Depending on How Crispy You Like the Edges)

published Apr 30, 2021
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four eggs on toast garnished
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Pearl Jones; Prop Styling: Vanessa Vazquez

The best way to fry an egg has long been a topic of debate. Some swear by olive oil, and some by butter. Others will wax poetic about their pan of choice. And while there is, say, a definitive method to cooking many other breakfast foods (we can all agree that we only want the crispiest bacon, right?), the technique you choose for fried eggs really depends on how you like to enjoy them. Are you a fan of lacy, bronzed edges or do you prefer the whites just set (à la your favorite diner)? Are you making brunch for a crowd or just cooking one up for leisurely solo enjoyment? Here are five techniques to help you get the style you desire.

Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn

If You Want Crispy Edges: Olive Oil (Spanish-Style)

To get an egg with golden edges, take inspiration from Spain. This method cooks the egg in a pool of olive oil, which you use to baste over the whites until just set. Make sure the pan is hot (but not smoking) to help get that crunch factor.

If You Like Diner-Style Eggs: Water-Basted

Instead of frying eggs in just fat, this technique calls for adding a little hot water to the pan. Basting with the water as the egg cooks will lead to soft, tender edges rather than crispy ones. It’ll feel just like an over-easy egg — no flipping required!

If You Want an Indulgent Egg: Heavy Cream

Frying an egg in heavy cream may be one of the most decadent ways to enjoy the breakfast essential. As the ingredients cook, the cream simmers and breaks into milk and butter solids, resulting in an intensely-flavored egg with caramelized edges and a runny yolk.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Styling: Brett Regot

If You Like in-Between Eggs: Butter-Basted

Perhaps the most classic technique, butter basting will get you the best of both worlds when it comes to fried eggs: one that’s not too crispy or too tender. Cooked on medium heat in a nonstick pan, the egg is gently covered in browning butter until just set, then ready to drape over toast, salads, and rice. Consider this your easy, everyday egg.

If You’re Cooking for a Crowd: The Sheet Pan

Yes, it’s possible to make fried eggs for a group without standing at the stove all morning. The secret? Your quarter sheet pan. Preheat a generously-oiled tray in a 450°F oven for 15 minutes. Once ready, crack a dozen eggs into a large bowl and slide them gently onto the pan. In five minutes, you’ll have a pan full of diner-style eggs for divvying up any way you want to.

Make it a frittata: Sheet Pan Veggie Frittata