How to Fry Eggs: A Step-by-Step Guide

These step-by-step tips will teach you how to make fried eggs, whether you like them sunny-side up or over easy.

June 16, 2022

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By Fraya Berg for Food Network Kitchen

Fraya is a chef and a contributing writer at Food Network.

Frying eggs is easy – or is it? Whether you don’t want any browning or prefer lacy, golden edges, there’s a bit of technique involved. We walk you through the ins-and-outs to achieving the perfect fried egg.

Multi Colored Chicken Eggs in Carton on Beige Colored Linen Tablecloth.

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Multi Colored Chicken Eggs in Carton on Beige Colored Linen Tablecloth.

Photo by: MirageC/Getty Images

MirageC/Getty Images

The Best Eggs for Sunny-Side Up, Over Easy, Medium and Hard Fried Eggs

When you’re frying eggs, you can use any size you’d like, and for the egg lovers among us, they’re a good excuse for jumbo eggs. If you’re lucky, you might get a few with double yolks.

The most important factor is that you use the freshest eggs you can find. If you have more than one container of eggs in your fridge, choose the freshest for frying and use the older ones for a batch of cookies or brownies.

Fresh eggs have thick egg whites. When cracked into a pan, fresh egg whites will stand tall and make the yolk rise in a high, beautiful dome. As eggs age, the whites thin out. When you crack an older egg into a pan, the whites will spread out across the pan into a large surface area, flattening into a thin layer that can become tough and chewy.

How to Fry Eggs

Our guide here lays out the steps to fry eggs over low heat, so you can achieve fried eggs with no browning (i.e. the most traditional type of fried eggs). For a seriously crispy edge and even some bubbles in the whites, check out our article The One Thing You Should Always Do When Making Fried Eggs and you’ll learn the tricks to frying eggs in a hot pan and get to enjoy those super-crispy-crunchy edges.

How to Make Sunny Side Up Eggs

Food Network Kitchen’s How to Fry Eggs A Step By Step Guide Sunny-Side Up Crack the Eggs and Add to the Pan, as seen on Food Network.

FNK_HowtoFryEggsAStepByStepGuideSunnySideUpCracktheEggsandAddtothePan_

Food Network Kitchen’s How to Fry Eggs A Step By Step Guide Sunny-Side Up Crack the Eggs and Add to the Pan, as seen on Food Network.

Photo by: Renee Comet

Renee Comet

Crack the Eggs Into Individual Bowls

Crack each of the eggs into individual small bowls. Doing this allows you to look for little pieces of shell, and it will give you good control when adding the egg to the skillet.

Food Network Kitchen’s How to Fry Eggs A Step By Step Guide Sunny-Side Up Cover When the Edges Turn White, as seen on Food Network.

FNK_HowtoFryEggsAStepByStepGuideSunnySideUpCoverWhenTheEdgesTurnWhite_

Food Network Kitchen’s How to Fry Eggs A Step By Step Guide Sunny-Side Up Cover When the Edges Turn White, as seen on Food Network.

Photo by: Renee Comet

Renee Comet

Heat the Pan and Add the Eggs

For sunny-side up eggs, start with a nonstick skillet heated over medium. Swirl in a little butter. Olive oil or bacon drippings will work great, too. Add each egg slowly, so the white starts to cook just a little bit before the yolk hits the pan – this will give you neatly defined fried eggs with centered yolks.

Food Network Kitchen’s How to Fry Eggs A Step By Step Guide Sunny-Side Up They're Ready, as seen on Food Network.

FNK_HowtoFryEggsAStepByStepGuideSunnySideUpTheyreReady_

Food Network Kitchen’s How to Fry Eggs A Step By Step Guide Sunny-Side Up They're Ready, as seen on Food Network.

Photo by: Renee Comet

Renee Comet

Cover the Pan When the Edges Turn White

In about 1 minute, the outer edges of the egg white will turn opaque. This is your cue to cover the pan and lower the heat. A lid traps the steam and gently cooks the top of the white while the yolk stays runny.

Food Network Kitchen’s How to Fry Eggs A Step By Step Guide Over Easy Eggs, as seen on Food Network.

FNK_HowtoFryEggsAStepByStepGuideOverEasyEggs_

Food Network Kitchen’s How to Fry Eggs A Step By Step Guide Over Easy Eggs, as seen on Food Network.

Photo by: Renee Comet

Renee Comet

Fry the Eggs

Wait 4 minutes and you'll have perfect eggs — no sticking or breaking. The longer you cook the eggs, the harder the yolk will be. If you want medium yolks, cook the eggs for 5 minutes. A hard yolk will set in 6 minutes. Season them with salt and pepper to taste and that's it!

How to Make Over Easy, Over Medium and Over Hard Eggs

If you like your eggs over easy, start them just like the sunny side up eggs, then flip the eggs when the outside whites start to set. Use a confident, gentle motion when flipping. Cook the egg, uncovered, for about 1 minute on the second side for over easy results. Cooking for 2 minutes on the second side will yield over-medium results; 3 minutes will give you over-hard results.

Recipes for Fried Eggs

HyperFocal: 0

HyperFocal: 0

Photo by: Matt Armendariz

Matt Armendariz

Fried rice isn’t the only way to use leftover rice: a rice bowl is faster and easier to prep and cook, and the flavor combos are endless. A fried egg on top is instant easy protein.

Lentils with tomato and aromatics can be the base for anything. But add a fried egg with a runny yolk, and it’ll make an instant sauce for the lentils when you cut into it. You might need some crust bread on the side.

Food stylist:  Cyd Raftus McDowell
Prop stylist: Marina Malchin,Food stylist:  Cyd Raftus McDowell
Prop stylist: Marina Malchin

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Food stylist: Cyd Raftus McDowell Prop stylist: Marina Malchin,Food stylist: Cyd Raftus McDowell Prop stylist: Marina Malchin

Chicken Chilaquiles with Fried Eggs are a great alternative to huevos rancheros. Make the chicken and sauce and the tortillas the day before, then mix them together and cook them while the eggs fry for an easy breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Photo by: Ryan Dausch

Ryan Dausch

Cooking the grits with grated tomato brings the dish to another level: the perfect base for fried eggs and cheese.

Weeknight Cooking

Photo by: RYAN DAUSCH

RYAN DAUSCH

This is not your diner’s steak and eggs. You don’t need a wok to make the steak the eggs or the fried rice: one skillet does everything for a quick, easy cleanup.

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