The New York Times and spanish chef José Andrés shared this pictorial guide to frying a perfect egg. “My whole life, I have been trying to cook an egg in the right way,” said Andrés.

91 Responses to “Step-by-step guide to frying the perfect egg”

  1. thatbob says:

    I like to imagine that Beth Gibbons spent the 11 years between the last couple Portishead records similarly perfecting the soft-boiled egg.

  2. Sweet sassy molassy, in terms of butter, that’d be like using half a stick.  I get that the method needs it, and you’re not consuming it all, but dang.

    • Ashen Victor says:

       You can always reuse the oil for frying other things, like fish, croquettes or french fries… 

      • bob says:

        So what do you do to store the partially used oil? 
        Leave it in the pan on the stove?

        Put it in a container int he fridge?

        Put it back into the clean oil?

        • Nah, that’s easy. Just strain it and put it somewhere airtight.  I wouldn’t wanna re-use it for much other than tiny fry projects like this, though, ’cause presumably you’re gonna want to use a pretty nice olive oil for a preparation like this, but you wouldn’t really wanna fry most things in that.  *shrug.*  

          • Ashen Victor says:

             You can really fry most things in that, in fact, that´s the way in Spain.
            Unless you use the olive oil to fry very smelly  food, like fish, you can reuse it to fry cheaper or less exigent food.  And even if you use it to fry fish you can use it to fry another batch of any kind of fish.
            Olive oil is expensive, but even reused it tastes great, that´s why nearly no one in Spain cooks with butter.

        • snowmentality says:

           I strain my used frying oil into a canning jar, screw the lid on, and put the jar in the fridge. Seems to work okay.

        • bcsizemo says:

          I recycle the oil I use for fried chicken.  Strain it, and place it in the fridge.  Plus the left over cooked flour/spice mix left in the bottom of the pan is placed in it’s own container in the fridge.  I add a tablespoon of that to some flour/butter when making the gravy.  It really is a key ingredient for making good brown chicken gravy.

        • Andor says:

           Usually, on Spain, when frying things that leavo no odour or taste on the oil (potatoes, eggs…) you can keep a small deposit of oil, usually with a filter on top, to reuse that oil later. Looks like this:

          http://www.grupoandreu.es/imagenes/grasera-colar-aceitesrp95001/graseras-para-aceite.jpg

          You can even keep another one just for oil used for frying fish. You don’t want your fried eggs tasting like fried fish.

  3. BarBarSeven says:

    As a native New Yorker who grew up in the non-trendy parts of NYC, alls I has to say is: Ugggh, this is why they hate us…

  4. rob_cornelius says:

    Sorry, but the best way to fry an egg I know was told me by my mother. (sorry to be sentimental but its true)

    Basically you crack the very fresh egg into a cold pan then put it on a very gentle heat. Let it cook very very slowly. The yolk is nice and runny and the white cooks evenly. You can leave it alone for a while while you get on with cooking the bacon. Best of all it doesn’t stick to the pan at all so its easy to wash up.

  5. Kevin Pierce says:

    Up next: Step-by-step guide to boiling the perfect water
    (requires only a single stick of butter)

  6. Senor Schaffer says:

    Runny yolks are gross.

    *prepares for flame war*

    • dculberson says:

       It’s okay for you to be wrong some times. ;-)

    • OtherMichael says:

       Sometimes they’re gross (like in a fried-egg sandwich, or in a breakfast sandwich-that-has-fried-eggs-in-it-yet-is-not-a-fried-egg-sandwich), but a nice runny yolk when you’e got a perfectly browned-and-buttered slice of toast standing by, still warm? mmmmmm…

      No, softboiled-eggs: those are the devil’s spawn.

      • snowmentality says:

         Runny yolks for eggs served on top of anything — toast, hash, vegetables. Runny yolks are a delicious sauce. I even like them in fried-egg sandwiches, although they’re messy.

        I like softboiled eggs if they’re being used as a replacement for poached eggs. But to just eat an egg by itself, I prefer hardboiled.

        As a kid, I hated runny yolks and always poached my eggs until they were completely solid. I can’t remember when or how my taste changed. But it did. Now poached or fried eggs with solid yolks seem overdone to me.

    • SumAnon says:

      Runny yolks aren’t gross, they are vile. The whole point of frying the egg is to make sure it is damn well cooked all the way.

    • Andor says:

      You may not like the delicious tamago kake gohan:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tamago_kake_gohan

      ;)

  7. twianto says:

    This egg isn’t fried; half of it is still raw. Disgusting ;-)

  8. Look at how chuffed my man Jose looks in picture 7!  “They can never take this moment away from me” he seems to be saying.

  9. krusty_ar says:

    Please use units that trhe rest of the world can understand :D,  it hurt my eyes to see a text that mentions “4 spoons” and a picture with half a liter of oil (that’s about a millionth of a swimming pool for you americans)

  10. travis swain pendlebury says:

    my not so secret ingredient to frying the perfect egg is BACON GREASE!

  11. Dub Google says:

    Interesting to note he’d removed the egg from the shell before heating the pan.
     My father used to discard any eggs whose yolk split after shelling. (I don’t know how valid this is).
    No mention  of the freshness / source of the egg (e.g. Free range). No mention if egg should be at room or (as is more likely for me) fridge temperature.

    • Andor says:

       Room temperature: take it out from the fridge 10 or 15 before frying if possible. Cold eggs splash a lot more of oil when frying, and you dont like that ;)

  12. MarkVent says:

    So…the perfect fried egg is deep fried. Or poached in oil, depending on the temperature. Also, folks, don’t use extra virgin olive oil for frying.

    • bcsizemo says:

      I’ve always wondered what it’d be like to deep fry a turkey in clarified butter…

      • MarkV says:

        The smoke point of butter is actually high enough that it doesn’t need to be clarified. Clarification removes some of the buttery flavor. I would add a little vegetable oil for better liquidity, though.

    • Andor says:

       Not poached, fried is fried ;)
      Anyway, there are beautiful extra virgin olive oils, with a less strong flavour, that are very good for frying :D

      • MarkV says:

        Like I said, whether you’re poaching or frying depends on the temperature, just like poaching vs. boiling. You can use extra-virgin olive oil for certain low-temp frying applications, of course, but it’s pointless, since the flavor of the oil will be destroyed by the heat. You flat-out shouldn’t use it for anything above around 320 degrees F due to the smoke point. Extra-virgin olive oil is an ingredient or topping, not a cooking oil.

        • Andor says:

           Each food has its oil. You cannot do stir-frying with e.v. olive oil, too much heat, but you can cook almost everything else up to 170C with it, and e.v. olive oil will infiltrate less your food and last longer than nasty refined or pomace.

          What I meant by ‘fried is fried’, is that, if you are doing a fried egg, but you poach it, then it’s not a fried egg, but a poached one ;)

  13. Lisa says:

    He should keep trying to find the perfect way, because that’s not it.

  14. Come back next week for my NYT piece: “Scotch Eggs: The REAL Perfect Fried Egg.”

  15. snowmentality says:

    This method makes me wonder what would happen if you actually deep fried an egg. I’m up for trying it. I hope it won’t explode.

  16. That is a fried egg only in that it is cooked in oil.  The proper description for the end result here would be to describe it as basted easy, as I don’t see him flip the egg.  Fried generally defines an egg cooked hard in fat without flipping.  Over hard is a fried egg that is flipped while the yolk is still soft enough to break when flipped, and then cooked solid.  Over-easy is flipped sooner and more gently, so that it is cooked on both sides, but the yolk is intact and just runny. 

    • bcsizemo says:

      I’m from the Southern US and around where I live in the mom and pop places you can order your eggs fried.  That’s what we called it growing up.  It’s similar to over-easy with the runny yolk, but it’s a lot hotter and faster.  The whites tend to get a little chewy on the edge, but the egg typically has more of a buttery/greasy taste.  But you say you want your egg fried to most places and they just give you the bert stare.

    • Soon Lee says:

      So sunny side up isn’t technically fried?  That doesn’t seem right.

    • Itsumishi says:

      Or where I’m from a fried egg is a fried egg is a fried egg. The egg has been put in a frying pan, with oil, where it is fried, ergo it is a fried egg.

      Fried does not define how hard the egg is cooked, nor what flipping does or does not occur.

  17. AlasdairGF says:

    Gotta say, if I was served a single deep-fried egg with fancy ham and BROWNED GARLIC (ffs!), I’d head straight off to the greasy spoon and get me two eggs on two pieces of toast with proper flippin’ bacon, maybe some beans, deffo some mushrooms and a cup of strong, sweet tea.  Copy of the Guardian and a wet, miserable Sunday morning… now THAT’s a breakfast!

  18. I cook my eggs similar to this but I aim for a flat egg with yolk slightly runny.  Instead of pooling the oil on the side I cook mine spread out in the center then flip the egg just long enough to get the yolk crust, then pop the yolk and allow a little of that run off to harden.  You get a nice flat easy egg that fits on toast nicely.

  19. Finnagain says:

    For the perfect egg, you have to speak French: mollet.

  20. KaiBeezy says:

    dot of butter
    nonstick pan, medium
    crack cold egg into hot butter
    couple twists of the peppermill
    glass pot lid over top
    cook until yolk whites over but still jiggles
    top is steamed
    bottom is fried
    pepper aromatic
    oh, perfection

  21. jeligula says:

    I fry them on medium heat for a few minutes until the yolk just starts to bubble.  Dump in a shot glass of water and cover for 20 seconds.  The steam cooks the rest of the egg and it is perfect every single time, no flipping required.  My uncle taught me this and he can’t remember where he picked it up at.   Before I learned this method, I didn’t like frying eggs at all and rarely did, even though I love them.  I am not about to spoon hot oil over the top of the egg, although I have seen people who have.

  22. bcsizemo says:

    I do my fried eggs in a stainless skillet.  Preheat it to searing.  1/2 tablespoon butter, swirl it fast, crack in 2 eggs.  Let them set about a minute, maybe two if you like your yolk more solid.  Flip and drop heat to low.   Cook until desired yolk consistency.

    When you are done, add some water and a drop of detergent, makes clean up a snap.

  23. soithascometothis says:

    Um, maybe the perfect “Spanish fried eggs?”

    The traditional French/American idea of “perfect” for an egg requires adding a dash of salt to the area of the yolk/white interface to help the proteins located there cook at the same rate as the rest of the white and a tiny bit of water be added in some way. For scrambled, you just mix it in; for fried you add a dash and immediately cover for a few seconds. If you are a “crispy fiend” crank up the heat right at the end and you’ll get it, you can also crisp the top if you are an “over” type.

  24. randomroyalty says:

    Adding the salt while the egg is in the pan makes it less rubbery. Scrambled or not.

    Steaming the top of the egg is gross. Might as well poach.

  25. RJ says:

    That egg looks great, but I think I’ll just keep cooking them the wrong way. It’s easier.

  26. piminnowcheez says:

    So I just gave this a try.  Results: bottom of the egg was brown and downright chewy; the white covering the yolk blew up like a balloon, popped, spraying oil on me and cooking the yolk through.

    Things I think I did wrong:
    1) didn’t get the oil hot enough (I had to guess at “medium hot”)
    2) probably cooked a little too long, although the top never browned
    3) thought I needed a new way to fry an egg

    After I finished, I dumped out the oil, put in a pat of butter, and fried an egg like a normal person.  Which I want to say I’ll do from now on, but honestly, the impulse to experiment is still there… I have to try this steaming business that some commenters have mentioned, for instance.

  27. CH says:

    Eeeh… that might be his perfectly fried egg, but it didn’t look that appetizing to me. I’ll continue using my own frying methods where I get the perfectly fried egg… for me.

  28. Steven Stark says:

    I tried it — though with less oil — and it was tasty. Only caveat is that I had to flip mine over for a sec to get the white cooked on top.

  29. dr says:

    I expect that when the whole process is over these eggs will taste remarkably like Iberico ham, and not very much like eggs.

  30. Ian Fleming says:

    Huh. For a southerner like me, a ‘fried’ egg is somewhere along the lines of an egg over easy or over medium. It doesn’t take any sort of fancy technique or years of practice to do well at home: just preheat a nonstick pan with just a tiny bit of butter or cooking spray for a few minutes on medium-low to medium heat (this part just requires getting to know your range). Then crack up to two eggs into the pan from a low height and use a nonstick spatula to keep the whites sort of tucked around the eggs. When they start to become opaque, quickly (but gently!) flip the eggs and turn the burner off; the residual heat will easily finish the other side after a minute or so. Add a dash or two of salt, some freshly ground pepper and you’re all set.

  31. Bad Juju says:

    Just ate some cooked this way – pretty tasty!
     Especially the browned whites, which actually have some flavor to them now, vs just a snotty blah.   The key is to keep the oil hot if you’re doing multiple eggs..should have let the oil to heat back up for subsequent eggs.
    Also, they cook really fast, which is nice.  There is bit more mess to clean up after the fact, but I’d do this again, for sure.

  32. strangefriend says:

    The New York Times lets you have ten free articles a month, then it cuts you off.  Use NYTClean http://marklets.com/NYTClean.aspx

  33. Pim Té says:

    Don’t mean to be persnickety, but that is NOT four tablespoons of oil, olive or otherwise, in that picture. That looks more like half a cup, if not more. It’s not possible to cook an egg that way–swimming in oil–with so little oil (4T=1/4 cup). That’s like doing the Butterfly in a kiddie pool. No way, José.

  34. sean says:

    I find it easier to use Instant water. Just add 2 cups of water and mix well. Yields one cup of water.

  35. Cowicide says:

    I like my eggs fluffy so I cook them in a microwave.  1) Put 3 eggs in microwave-safe bowl large enough to handle the expansion of the nuked eggs.  2) Heat for 50 secs, stir. 3) heat another 20-30 secs, stir.  4) Repeat until runny stuff gone.  5) Fold over shredded mexican 4-cheese ‘n eat.  No salt needed, it’s in the cheese.

    Oh, and I agree with others here that runny yolks are puke.

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