Recipe Review

I Tried the Viral Crispy Fried Eggs and They Definitely Live Up to the Hype

published Dec 2, 2023
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Fried eggs on bed of breadcrumbs on plate
Credit: Nathan Hutsenpiller

It doesn’t matter what anybody says, breakfast will always be the best meal of the day. It has the power to determine what kind of morning you’re going to have, therefore influencing your entire day. As someone who doesn’t really eat until it is well into lunchtime territory, I still stand by my statement as breakfast (or brunch) being all-around amazing. 

For most people, the star ingredient of any breakfast is eggs. Eggs complement many different types of recipes and can be prepared in a wide variety of ways to accommodate a myriad of tastes. Personally, I love a good runny fried egg just as much as some silky scrambled eggs or an omelet. But there is just something about that warm runny yolk acting as a condiment to the rest of the meal that is exactly what I love about a properly prepared fried egg. 

Recently, after stumbling across Wes Martin Cooks on Instagram and his post in which he shares a delicious looking recipe for Breadcrumb Fried Eggs, I hadn’t been able to get his unique egg dish out of my head. In his video, Wes describes the popular breakfast rendition as being the creation of the late Judy Rodgers, who was a longtime chef of Zuni Cafe, a landmark restaurant in San Francisco. The now iconic dish consists of toasted breadcrumbs with eggs cooked on top until sunny and runny, with Wes’s version making a few small substitutions. I’m already a big fan of one-pan recipes and this one seemed to check all of the boxes I was looking for in my search for something new. I was excited to try it out, so here’s how it went.

How to Make Breadcrumb Fried Eggs

Start by adding 3/4 cup of panko breadcrumbs to a skillet, followed by a 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese. Mix the cheese and bread crumbs together, then add dried thyme, smoked paprika, and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add an additional 2 tablespoons of sherry vinegar and then warm up the pan over medium to high heat. 

Flip the breadcrumbs while heating them up until they’re golden brown. Once you’ve reached a nice golden color, create four spaces for the eggs and coat each space with a splash of olive oil. Crack 1 egg into each of the 4 created spaces, then cover the skillet with a lid and cook until the egg whites turn white and the yolk is still runny. You’ll want to keep an eye on your eggs at this point, as the idea is for the yolk to not become overcooked. 

When ready, remove the eggs from the heat and sprinkle with your desired amount of black pepper, kosher salt, and extra Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately with your favorite breakfast sides and enjoy!

Credit: Nathan Hutsenpiller

My Honest Opinion of Breadcrumb Fried Eggs

I love a recipe that comes together in under 20 minutes, and this one is no exception. I did struggle a bit with time allocation, as I believe I had the breadcrumbs heating up for too long before I added the eggs. While waiting for an ideal color of golden brown, I definitely missed the window to add the eggs and in the end I almost burnt the bottom of some of the breadcrumbs. 

However, this shortcoming did not ruin the recipe and I was still able to taste what all of the fuss was about. I thoroughly enjoyed learning a new way to prepare breakfast and I especially loved the idea of frying eggs on a crunchy bed of breadcrumbs. The overall taste was exceptional, despite some burnt bits underneath, and the runny eggs acted as the perfect complement to the crunchy nature of the breadcrumbs. 

I’ll definitely be trying this recipe out again, as I am determined to perfect the process and experience breadcrumb fried eggs in all of their fantastic glory. If you’d like to try it out for yourself, consider the tips I leave below as a little guideline for first-timers. And for a list of the exact ingredient measurements, as well as an addition of spinach, you can find the full recipe detailed here.

Tips for Making Breadcrumb Fried Eggs

  • No sherry vinegar, no problem. Don’t substitute sherry cooking wine if your grocery store does not have any sherry vinegar. Japanese rice vinegar, on the other hand, will act as a perfect substitute. Basically, sherry cooking wine is real wine and contains alcohol and salt. In sherry vinegar, the alcohol is converted to vinegar and usually does not contain salt. 
  • Careful not to burn the breadcrumbs. Wait until you’ve added all the ingredients to the pan (minus the eggs) before heating up the breadcrumbs. If you heat the breadcrumbs for too long while waiting for them to reach a golden brown color, you will run the risk of them burning during the process of cooking the eggs. Tread carefully during this part of the recipe.
  • Experiment with other ingredient additions. If you’re looking for a way to add a little extra color and substance to this recipe, spinach can be added on top of the eggs and included within the cooking process while the skillet is covered.