The Difference Between Eggs Over Easy and Sunny-Side-Up

updated Sep 7, 2022
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(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

How do you cook your morning eggs? As a big fan of yolks, over-easy and sunny-side-up eggs are two of my favorite ways to fry eggs. Each results in a slightly different experience: over-easy eggs have a really runny yolk perfect for dipping and sunny-side-up eggs have a slightly more set yolk better suited for sandwiches.

Both get grouped together so often, it can be hard to distinguish, especially when ordering your eggs quickly in the morning. Here is what makes an egg over easy or sunny-side-up, so you can have your perfect egg every morning.

What Are Over-Easy Eggs?

An egg cooked “over easy” means that it gets fried on both sides, but it’s not cooked for very long on the second side, so the yolk doesn’t get cooked through and stays runny.

To make one, you cook the raw egg just until the whites are set on the bottom, then you quickly flip it over to cook the other side. “Over” refers to flipping the egg, and “easy” refers to the doneness of the yolk. You can also cook eggs “over medium” and “over hard,” depending on how cooked you prefer the yolk.

(Image credit: Megan Gordon)

What Are Sunny-Side-Up Eggs?

An egg cooked “sunny-side-up” means that it is fried just on one side and never flipped. The yolk is still completely liquid and the whites on the surface are barely set.

You can cover the pan briefly to make sure the whites are cooked or baste them with butter. I have always assumed that the name refers to the way this egg looks like the morning sun.

7 Great Ways to Enjoy Over-Easy and Sunny-Side-Up Eggs