Learn how to fry an egg! This step-by-step guide will teach you how to cook a fried egg with crispy edges, firm whites, and yolks however you like them.
Cooking a perfect fried egg is easy…but it’s also easy to mess up. A fried egg might stick to the pan, it might come out closer to over-hard than over-easy, or–worst of all–its yolk might break as you attempt to flip it. I’ve made ALL these mistakes over the years. While they were disappointing in the moment, they paid off in the long run. Each one taught me a valuable lesson about how to fry an egg, and over time, I’ve worked out a foolproof fried egg recipe, which I’m sharing below.
Follow it to make a quick and easy breakfast, or cook up a fried egg to serve over polenta, add to a grain bowl, or top onto fried rice. With crispy edges, just-set whites, and yolks however you like them, fried eggs are a simple, delicious way to add a boost of protein to almost any meal.
How to Fry An Egg
Here are my top three tips for how to fry an egg perfectly every time:
- Choose the right skillet. I recommend foregoing stainless steel and opting for a nonstick skillet or well-seasoned cast iron skillet instead. Fried eggs LOVE to stick to the pan, so choosing nonstick cookware increases your chances of fried egg success.
- Crack the egg into a small bowl or ramekin instead of cracking it straight into the skillet. This way, you won’t end up with any bits of shell in the skillet, and you’ll be able to carefully slide the egg into the pan, reducing your chances of breaking the yolk or allowing the egg white to spread too much.
- Cover the pan after 1 minute. The lid will capture steam in the pan, cooking the egg from the top as well as the bottom. This is key if you like a fried egg whose whites are firm but whose yolk is still runny.
With these tips in mind, cooking a fried egg is a breeze!
Heat the skillet over medium heat, and add 1 teaspoon of butter or oil per egg, enough to prevent the egg from sticking and to help it cook up with nice crispy edges.
Reduce the heat to low and carefully add the egg. Let it cook for 1 minute. Then, cover the pan and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes, or until the egg whites are set.
Season with salt and pepper to taste!
Fried Egg Recipe Variations
How do you like your fried eggs? Sunny side up, over easy, over medium, or over hard?
You can adapt this recipe to make any of these variations!
- For a sunny-side-up egg, cook the egg over low heat for 2 to 3 minutes after you cover the pan, until the whites are just set.
- For an over-easy egg, uncover the pan after 2 minutes. Use a spatula to carefully flip the egg. Briefly cook on the second side, about 15 seconds, or until the whites are just set. Quickly remove the egg from the pan so that it keeps its runny yolk.
- For an over-medium egg, cook the egg longer on the second side, for 15 to 30 seconds.
- And for over-hard eggs, cook the eggs on the second side until they have firm yolks, for up to a minute.
Find the complete recipe with measurements below.
How to Serve A Fried Egg
This simplest way to serve fried eggs is on their own. Paired with toast, breakfast potatoes, and/or fresh fruit, they’re a classic American breakfast.
But your options don’t end there! You can top a fried egg onto just about anything for extra richness and protein. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:
- Put it on avocado toast. Add pickled radishes or red onions for a bright pop of color and flavor!
- Make a fried egg sandwich. This breakfast sandwich recipe is fantastic with a fried egg and sautéed spinach instead of the omelette!
- Top it onto fried rice. I love it on my cauliflower fried rice (pictured above).
- Add it to a grain bowl. A fried egg is a traditional addition to Korean bibimbap. I also love the combo of farro, roasted chickpeas, sautéed Swiss chard, and a fried egg.
- Serve it over polenta with a swirl of pesto and roasted tomatoes.
- Tuck it into a taco. Make breakfast tacos with fried eggs instead of scrambled!
How do you like to serve fried eggs? Let me know in the comments!
More Favorite Egg Recipes
If you loved learning how to fry an egg, try one of these basic egg recipes next:
- Hard Boiled Eggs
- Soft Boiled Eggs
- Poached Eggs
- Scrambled Eggs
- Baked Eggs
- How to Make a Frittata
- Best Shakshuka
- Or any of these 25 Easy Egg Recipes!
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil or small pat of butter
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Crack the egg into a small bowl or ramekin.
- Heat the olive oil in a nonstick or well-seasoned cast-iron skillet over medium heat and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. Carefully pour in the egg and reduce the heat to low. Cook, uncovered, for 1 minute, then cover and cook until the whites are just set, 2 to 3 minutes. For an over easy egg, carefully flip the fried egg and cook until the whites are fully set, about 15 seconds, longer for an over medium or over hard egg. Transfer to a plate and season to taste with salt and pepper.