How to Fry an Egg

published Jun 15, 2024

Master every style of fried eggs with this one simple method.

Serves1

Prep1 minute

Cook5 minutes to 10 minutes

Jump to Recipe
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Knowing how to fry an egg is one of the most useful skills to learn in the kitchen. Fried eggs are a must-have for breakfast, or really any meal. As long as you can fry an egg, you can take a piece of buttered toast, a bowl of salad greens, or a scoop of steamed rice to the next level. Here’s a step-by-step guide to cooking fried eggs exactly the way you want them, whether it’s sunny-side-up, over-easy, over-medium, or over-hard. 

Why You’ll Love It

  • Once you’ve mastered this basic technique, you’re set! The technique starts the same way for every style of fried egg. We’ll teach you how to customize your fried egg by deciding if you’ll flip it or leave it sunny-side-up, and how long to let it cook to reach your desired yolk consistency.
  • It’s extremely versatile. You can dress up your eggs by frying in feta cheese, cooking in chili crisp, or basting in butter
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe; Food Styling: Brett Regot

Key Ingredients in Fried Eggs

  • Eggs: This recipe was tested using fresh large eggs straight from the refrigerator, and cooked one at a time. (If you need to cook a big batch of fried eggs all at once, we’ve got you covered.)
  • Neutral oil: Wipe a thin layer of oil over the surface of the pan. Too much oil can lead to over-browning of the whites.
  • Salt and pepper: Season the eggs with a pinch of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. 
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe; Food Styling: Brett Regot

How to Make Fried Eggs

  1. Heat and oil the pan. A nonstick pan is the best pan for fried eggs, but if you have a well-seasoned cast iron skillet, you can use that instead
  2. Add the egg. Slowly add the egg to the warm pan, letting the whites set as it is added. This minimizes a leggy look to your egg! You can add the egg directly to the pan, but it’s easier to control if you crack the egg into a small dish first.
  3. Cook the egg. Let the egg cook until the egg white closest to the yolk begins to set.
  4. For sunny-side-up eggs: This style of egg is cooked on one side only and never flipped. Cover the pan to steam the top of the egg, and cook until the yolk is set to your preference.
  5. For over-easy eggs: Use a thin spatula to flip the egg and cook briefly, to just set the outside of the white; the yolk should remain runny.
  6. For over-medium: Flip the egg, and cook until the white is set and the yolk is partially set on the outside and thickened yet runny on the inside.
  7. For over-hard: Cook the flipped egg until the white and yolk are creamy and set.

Storage and Make-Ahead Tips 

Fried eggs are best eaten immediately after cooking. Because they take just a few minutes to make, it’s easy to cook eggs to order. 

What to Serve with Fried Eggs

Fried Egg Recipe

Master every style of fried eggs with this one simple method.

Prep time 1 minute

Cook time 5 minutes to 10 minutes

Serves 1

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon

    neutral oil, such as vegetable or canola

  • 1

    large egg

  • 1

    pinch kosher salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper (optional)

Instructions

  1. Heat a small nonstick skillet over medium-low heat for about 1 1/2 minutes. Wipe the bottom of the skillet with a paper towel dipped in 1 teaspoon neutral oil.

  2. Crack 1 large egg into a small bowl, and gently tip into the center of the skillet, letting the white begin to set before the yolk hits the pan. (Alternatively, you can slowly crack the egg directly into the skillet.) Sprinkle with 1 pinch kosher salt, and let the egg cook undisturbed until the whites close to the yolk start to set, about 2 minutes.

For sunny-side up:

  1. Cover and cook until the white is set and the yolk is done to your preference, about 30 seconds for runny and 1 1/2 minutes for set.

For over-easy:

  1. Carefully flip the egg with a thin spatula and cook briefly until the white and yolk touching the pan are set, but the yolk is still runny, about 30 seconds.

For over-medium:

  1. Carefully flip the egg with a thin spatula. Cook until the white is completely set and the yolk is creamy and partially set on the outside and slightly thickened but still runny on the inside, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes.

For over-hard:

  1. Carefully flip the egg with a thin spatula and cook until the white and yolk are completely set, 4 to 4 1/2 minutes.

  2. Transfer to a plate and top with a few grinds of black pepper if desired.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Fried eggs are best eaten immediately after cooking.