How to Make a Perfect Omelet

Learn how to make picture-perfect omelets in your own kitchen with these easy step-by-step instructions.
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Photo By: Laura Agra

Photo By: Laura Agra

Photo By: Laura Agra

Photo By: Laura Agra

Photo By: Laura Agra

Photo By: Laura Agra

Photo By: Laura Agra

Photo By: Laura Agra

Photo By: Laura Agra

Photo By: Laura Agra

Relax, It's Just an Omelet

Making an omelet at home from scratch is easier than it seems. Whether you prefer it rolled up, open faced or folded in half, this easy step-by-step guide will help you perfect the omelet of your dreams.

Get the Recipe: Mushroom and Cheese Omelet

The Eggs

A typical omelet is made with two or three large eggs (if you have a 7-inch pan, use two eggs; if you have a 9-inch pan, use three; if you have an 8-inch pan, you can choose depending on how thick or thin you like your omelets). More than three eggs is hard to manage in the pan, and also makes a pretty big omelet.

Whisking

If you know you will be making more than one omelet, you can whisk up all of the eggs at once, and then ladle them out in 1/2-cup portions (each of which is about 2 1/2 large eggs) to make each omelet. You can use a whisk or a fork to beat the eggs, but you don't want to overbeat them; just stir until they are blended.

The Pan

In The Way to Cook, Julia Child discusses the perfect omelet pan in affectionate detail, explaining that a thin iron pan, with a 10-inch top diameter, a 7 1/2–inch bottom diameter and a 2-inch depth, is what was traditionally used in French cooking. If you have access to that exact pan, lucky you. If not, you will be looking for an 8-inch omelet pan, preferably nonstick, or a similar 8-inch shallow skillet. If you don't have a nonstick pan, try giving the pan a nice spritz of nonstick cooking spray before heating it.

 

Heat the burner to medium or medium-high, which will allow the eggs to cook through and turn slightly golden on the outside but prevent the bottom from getting too brown before the top and middle get cooked. Heat the pan first, then add the butter, let it melt, and swirl the pan so that it coats the bottom evenly.

Cooking the Omelet

Pour the eggs into the hot pan, and quickly shake and swirl the pan so that the eggs cover the entire bottom of the pan. Let the eggs start to firm up on the bottom, about 30 seconds, then use a rubber spatula to lift the edges of the omelet up so that any uncooked egg on the top runs underneath. Repeat until there is no more liquid egg that will run underneath. The top should not be too runny, but should not be at all dry – how runny vs. dry is up to personal preference, with the understanding that once you add the filling and fold it up, the center will continue to cook a bit more.

The Filling

Filling an omelet is actually optional, though most of us think of our omelets with something into the middle. An omelet can be rolled or folded, and technically it can also be flat, which is more commonly known as a tortilla in Spain and Mexico, or a frittata in Italy, with the fillings cooked right into the top of the eggs. Fillings can include vegetables; ham, bacon, sausage or other meats; smoked fish; cheeses or even jam.

Filling & Folding

You'll want about 3 to 6 tablespoons of filling, and the filling should be crumbled or chopped into very small pieces so that the eggs will easily fold over it. Cooked fillings should be warm, since they won't have time to heat up in the omelet itself. When the eggs have set on the bottom, sprinkle half of the eggs with whatever filling you choose, or put it in a swatch down the middle. Cook for another 15 to 30 seconds, allowing the omelet to finish cooking through. Adjust the heat as needed.

The Half-Moon Fold

There are a couple of choices here. The simplest is to use a spatula to fold the unfilled side of the eggs over the side with the filling, and leave the omelet in a half-moon shape.

The Rectangular Fold

Another option is to put the filling down the middle of the omelet, and fold the two sides over the middle so you have a more rectangular shape. A little bit more dexterity will allow you to use a fork or a spatula to roll the omelet up, starting from the side with the filling, and rolling it toward the plain egg side. If you are feeling more ambitious, you can fold it without a utensil, which is a sure way to impress anyone who’s watching. You can do this by holding the pan handle in one hand, at the end of the handle, and using your other hand in a fist quickly rap the handle at the edge of the pan so that the edge of the eggs flips over the filling. Some agile cooks are able to achieve the same results by swiftly jerking the pan away and towards themselves, so that the eggs roll up over the filling. This will take some practice, and should be first tried in privacy, or with someone who loves you unconditionally.

And Serve

You could sprinkle a bit of fresh herbs over the eggs and, if you're really feeling fancy, lightly brush the top with melted butter to give it a bit of shine. Whatever you do, serve it hot.