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Help! How do I cook eggs over easy without breaking the yolks?

I love eggs over easy but have no luck when I flip them over - the yolks either break or stick. I make sure the pan is hot enough but I'm doing something wrong. Suggestions please.

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  1. Why are you flipping eggs if they are overeasy? Flipping it over will most definitely overcook the yolks.
    I do one of two things for over easy. I either cover the pan for some of the cooking time or spoon some of the hot butter from the pan over the yolks. Both methods will give the yolk a skin but the entire yolk will still be runny.

    6 Replies
    1. re: ESNY

      Over-easy eggs are flipped over, otherwise they're not over-easy.

      What are you cooking your eggs in? If you use butter and have a clean pan, you should have no problems in the sticking department. Not sure why it is, but oil doesn't really have the same effect.

      You can practice the actual wrist-flick thing when you flip them over (just bring them to the back edge of the pan and flip as though you were sauteing) but if you're using a spatula, make sure the spatula goes under the yolk(s) and flip a quick 180 degrees. Do it gently (not from a great height) and everything should be good.

      1. re: afoodyear

        Thanks for everyone's suggestions.

        I haven't been using butter in the pan but a little olive oil. I wonder if this is why they stick.

        1. re: Beau711

          I use olive oil with no problem or sticking. What type of pan? It could be your pan causing sticking. If it's a non-stick and has some scratching or if you've ever used pan spray in it for instance.

          1. re: Beau711

            Butter and Olive Oil should work the same. Try a non-stick pan as well and cleanit really well with a scrunge sponge.

            When are the yolks breaking? When you flip them or when you try to remove from the pan to the plate?

            1. re: jfood

              When I flip the eggs over - it's not "easy" :)

        2. re: ESNY

          spooning the cooking oil over the top of the egg is "basted" not "over easy". Just being pedantic. :)

        3. You're flipping too early.

          Flip only after you see that the inner white part (the white closest to the yolk) has set, or is about to set. This usu. takes about 15 seconds, give or take depending on the heat of your stove.

          1. This is the tried and true southern Granny's way of cooking over easy. Use a good cast iron or nonstick frying pan. Fry enough bacon to give 1/4 inch or more of grease. You could add some oil, but Granny used pure bacon grease. With your pan heated to medium, gently place your egg in the pan. Let it cook a few seconds to set the bottom of the egg. Then use a spatula to flip the hot grease over the yolk. You control how done the top of the egg is...no broken yolks.

            3 Replies
            1. re: southerngal

              THE best -- especially with the tiny little bacon particles that spread over the egg. oh. so. tasty! and you can get the nice crispy edges on the cooked white, without diminishing the runniness of the yolk. darned near perfection.

              now, i need some good grits!

              1. re: southerngal

                This reply might be a bit late, but this is the best way of cooking them in my personal opinion. I'm a completely trashed college kid (sadly by myself :( ), and was able to cook them using this method. I set my stove on a fairly low heat though, and waited for about 7 minutes (if my scale of time is correct) until I could LIGHTLY tap the top of the yolk without it breaking; luck was on my side with the first tap. What makes this method great is that it's intuitive if you've ever cooked eggs in bacon grease (the best non-stick agent). I actually found this site after double-checking if this was in fact how over-easy eggs were made. I've cooked the best dishes of my life drunk :)... or so I thought at the time.

                1. re: southerngal

                  Yep, what we southerners call basted eggs - yummy!

                2. You probably don't have enough oil. If there isn't enough oil, the bottom of the egg will stick to the pan (even if it is a non-stick pan).

                  1. I was never able to flip eggs at home until I started working in a diner- the combo of the flat grill (wider work surface) and the egg spatula (with a long end, so you slide it quickly and firmy under the well-greased egg on the side of the spatula, instead of on the front)- totally changed my egg-making experience. I was always using a smaller, rounder pan, and a front-to-back spatula.

                    My husband still prefers 'Granny's' method with the grease... but it makes me shudder.

                    1. An alternative is a smaller, lighter pan. Slide the spatula under the egg, lift, lift and invert the pan over the egg with the other hand, continue to rotate the two close together and closer the more you rotate, the egg will come to rest "flipped" on the pan at the end of the movement. All in a single second of fluid two-handed motion.

                      1. I rarely had this trouble when using oil in a non-stick pan. But I'm now using the sunny-side-up method. When the eggs have cooked a bit, put in a Tb or so of water and slap a lid on. The steam does the rest.

                        1. Two things to try-
                          First, use the best quality eggs you can find. They'll be sturdier (and taste better too).
                          Second, get the pan hot before you put the oil or butter in.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: badifat

                            Im a cook and you need a small pan that is used only for eggs... then practice, good oil and practice. fresh eggs help but you just have to flip a lot of eggs

                          2. Or you could switch to poached (my favorite), small fry pan with little water, use the spatula to splash the top several times to cook the top slightly. (also use a splash of vinegar - helps to keep the whites together when you first drop the egg in). Awesome on toast with hot sauce.

                            1. I have always hated my "home" eggs out of a non-stick pan... wanted a real diner type egg (crispier edges, some browning on the yolk itself, but still runny),

                              Went to the all-clad stainless steel pan, with a thin, steel spatula (think diner, like the other post mentioned). Melt some butter, let the egg set enough on the first side. Slide that spatula fully under the yolk. Give it the quick, gentle flip, and it should hold up. The second side is done much faster.

                              1. do you "break" the whites a little bit when you crack the eggs into pan? this made a difference for me, since it helped the whites cook more evenly and then made it possible to flip the egg nicely.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: fudisgud

                                  I do over easy eggs in my cast iron all the time with just a smidge of butter. I usually just use a silicone spatula to nudge the egg over. I guess I'm doing OK with seasoning my cast iron!

                                  I'm rather partial to the bacon grease method myself, though. YUM.

                                2. I have started cooking my eggs at a lower temperature - say med-lo - for longer time. I have been using a non-stick pan but with some oil and I put the lid on so the egg steams, too. They have been much better than previously when I had a hot pan. Also, the fresher the eggs, the less they spread out and will be easier to turn

                                  1. Beau
                                    Even though it's been mentioned that "over easy" by definition means flipping, I never flip and I never break or overcook the yolks. Heat butter over a pretty high flame until it browns, quickly add the eggs, immediately cover with a tightly fitting lid cook about 10 sec then add a tablespoon of water, re-cover and lower the heat a bit.(The eggs should 'sizzle').The steam from the added water will cook the top of the eggs and the browned butter will 'crisp' the edge of the white. Once the yolks turn opaque, you spoon a bit of the butter over the white part closest to the yolk to finish the cooking
                                    .If you prefer the 'flipped look,' put your plate over the pan and plate 'over'... Easy! :-}
                                    Perfect every time. .

                                    9 Replies
                                    1. re: Tay

                                      That's exactly how I do mine - I never flip and I always add a splash of water with the lid on. I don't use a non-stick pan, just a bit of butter or olive oil. I like my eggs runny with a bit of skin on top - and that's exactly how they turn out. I like working on my eggs from the soft part on top to the crispy edge on the bottom.

                                      1. re: morefuuud

                                        Both of those techniques sound delightful but they give you sunny side up eggs, not over easy. It's not just the flipping that makes over easy eggs, it's the fact that the whites are lightly browned on both sides, with a completely runny yolk. You can cook the white completely using this technique, but you can't brown both sides, and that's a key element of the whole over-easy experience.

                                        1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                          All you have to do to get that 'browned' effect is rotate the pan so the hot browned butter continues to cook the whites.
                                          Is it "eggs-actly" ( sorrry, couldn't resist) the same as over easy?.. No, but does it pretty much assure no breakage? Absolutely :-}

                                      2. re: Tay

                                        Tay, I think what you're doing with the eggs is what we always called "basted." You baste the top of the egg with the cooking fat, and typically serve these sunny-side up. Barmy's description below on the over-easy method, is, for us afficionados, the correct one.

                                        BTW, I've also seen the eggs done with the steam-under-cover method referred to as basted eggs.


                                        1. re: cayjohan

                                          O my gosh! All these years I've been calling it over-easy! No one's ever told me any different! I think I'll venture out of my comfort zone of the basted eggs and try to master this over-easy.... guess what I'm having for breakfast this morning!? Thanks Barmy & Cay.

                                          1. re: morefuuud

                                            You should definitely try to master the technique. I just don't do it anymore because I get really, REALLY annoyed (with myself) if the yolk(s) break, so I opt for the 100% control of the brown and baste, method.

                                          2. re: cayjohan

                                            You're absolutely right. 'Over easy' in the true sense of the term, requires actual flipping of the eggs. I'm just sharing with the OP a sure fire method for those of us who want the top of the eggs slightly cooked but don't want to risk breakage. I used to flip them all the time. While my % of intact Vs broken was pretty good, using the water /steam and then butter basting has upped it to 100%.

                                            1. re: Tay

                                              Sorry that this is being mentioned but having one side browned (sunny side up) vs both sides (over easy) are just not the same texture-wise. It's like frying chicken vs the baking chicken to mimick a fried chicken. Even they may be close, they are just not the same.

                                              May be for some people they can compromise on basted egg/sunny side up, but to me if I get a sunny side up when I ordered over easy in a diner, i will retrun the dish. To me over easy is better.

                                              1. re: kobetobiko

                                                While I have already stated that "over easy" is...well..over easy,
                                                I can cook them without flipping them and absolutely duplicate the texture. There is no compromise. Having said that, I agree: If I order eggs prepared a certain way, I too expect to get them prepared that way :-}

                                        2. I always make sure that I have a nonstick pan that is devoted exclusively to eggs -- that makes sure I don't accidentally scratch the surface while I'm cooking something else. I also find that cheap nonstick pans are actually better for eggs than more expensive ones, because they tend to have flatter, slicker surfaces. I also have a wide plastic spatula with a very thin leading edge.

                                          If I'm doing over-easy eggs, I never have the flame higher than medium. I melt a decent knob of butter, slowly, then crack two eggs into the pan from a low height. As the eggs are cooking on the bottom, I regularly jiggle the pan lightly to make sure they're not sticking, and I use the thin edge of the spatula to shape the eggs a bit. Because I have years of practice, I've gotten good at flipping both eggs at once. You might want to keep the eggs separated until you feel confident with your technique.

                                          When the bottoms are fully cooked and I'm confident that they're not stuck, I slide the spatula FULLY under the eggs, and with a quick, gentle flick of the wrist, flip them right over. Shake the pan again, gently, and about thirty seconds after you flip the eggs, slide them out of the pan onto a waiting plate.

                                          I think I'm making eggs in the morning...

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                            BFP your method is Right On for those wanting to master the successful repeatable technique: Dedicated pan, wide spatula, medium heat, jiggle, form the outflow boundaries with spatula. It's a "Note Bene" for the OP's question.

                                            The beauty of eggs is that they respond sensitively and differently to so many parameters. Some of us steam-baste, some oil baste, etc to get unique results.

                                            There are many right ways to do an overeasy egg, but BFP has described the classic core, the mean, from which to deviate.

                                            1. re: FoodFuser

                                              FoodFuser, this is music to my ears...

                                              I agree that there is the classic, "by-definition" procedure, to be modified and adapted by the individual cook as needed or desired.

                                              The true essence of cooking.

                                          2. Get fresh eggs. Yolks that break easily are old and starting to decompose.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: Passadumkeg

                                              Ditto. In older eggs, the yolks absorb water from the whites and become more likely to break. Also, the white becomes runnier with older eggs so more difficult to flip because it spreads out too much.

                                            2. I don't think you want the skillet to be too hot or the eggs too cold. A skillet with a nice, smoothly transitioning radius on the side allows me to flip them with a quick but gentle wrist action. They do need to be fresh.

                                              1. I used to be a master of flipping an egg over in the pan. Now that I have a new pan (non-stick, just like the old one), with slightly higher edges, I have not been able to get a decent flip. Half of the egg flies out of the pan, or sticks to the sides, and it is an overall disaster. It really is starting to p!ss me off. I have not changed my method at all, so I can only guess the pan is the problem.... I might try the covering method.

                                                4 Replies
                                                1. re: linguafood

                                                  lingua, I have one pan that is perfectly shaped for the one-handed, no-spatula, jerk-the-pan egg flip. I will sob when it goes (it is a non-stick). The sheer joy of impressing teenagers by executing a no-utensils egg flip is sublime. (Hey, Moms need that self esteem!)

                                                  Try to find another pan like you had. I know I am on the hunt for the heir to mine.


                                                    1. re: Scargod

                                                      Cripes, Scargod, you overwhelm me! (And tempt me with your links,) Really, the egg frying pan I use is in my house because of a good coupon at a grocery store: buy "this" and and get x, y and z free. I have to say it's excellent. I just checked the label: MegaWare. Italy. It's of a surprisingly substantial weight (aluminum), has a nice slope, 10" diameter, no rim. Are these real pans (in the "label" way), or is this just some made-up scam by a grocery store looking to push merch? I have no idea. But it works.

                                                      Until, perhaps, I have the resouces for All-Clad. Scargod, I will be saving the links. Thanks!


                                                      1. re: cayjohan

                                                        You are welcome. I have a lot of "favorites" saved for cookwear and knives.
                                                        Looks like Megaware is for real. They're on Amazon, eBay, etc., and sure are cheap. Did you get one with fancy pattern painted on the outside? It looks to have a very good shape and should do eggs or an omelet nicely. The thing I like about my All-clad is I can pop all of it in the oven or under the broiler. I do that with omelets to finish them off.

                                                2. The high fat methods mentioned here sound great, but if you're looking for something a bit more healthy I like to just put a lid over the egg for 1-2 minutes. It warms the yolks nicely. Sure it's not technically over easy, but I prefer it to the bacon fat or butter method. Well, I prefer it health wise I suppose! :)

                                                  7 Replies
                                                  1. re: Rick

                                                    If someone's looking for something a bit more healthy, I'd recc an egg subst product :-}
                                                    I'm curious isn't 2 minutes a long tijme to cook eggs w/o hardening the yolks?

                                                    1. re: Tay

                                                      I never pay too hard attention to the time, I just do it by look so you're probably right, probably closer to one minute, though it will vary based on the heat setting.

                                                      1. re: Tay

                                                        Not necessarily -- the real key to making really good eggs (not just over easy, but just eggs in general) is that you want to cook them over a pretty low heat. I never cook over easy eggs at more than medium heat at most, and my yolks are never hardened.

                                                        This morning's eggs were quite lovely. Heated up a can of Ranch Style beans and cooked some leftover corn tortillas over a bare flame, flipping them with tongs until they were perfectly toasted and pliable.

                                                        1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                                          But do you get the crispiness on the bottom of the egg if you do it over low heat? Btw, I cheated today and used a spatula to flip, which worked. But I am peeved that I apparently can't pull off the no-utensils egg flip with the new pan. Dang.

                                                          1. re: linguafood

                                                            Not low heat, but medium heat. And the fat really is essentially to get the crispiness. And get the fat properly hot first, as poaching in fat just really isn't the point with the egg. When I fry an egg, I like to hear the sizzle-pop-pow-spatter in the fat medium.


                                                            1. re: cayjohan

                                                              I cook 'em high heat and quick time...
                                                              I find it very cool that we all use different heat settings and seem to get the same good results :-}

                                                      2. re: Rick

                                                        that is what I am doing now - bit cooler pan and put the lid on for a minute or so. Eggs are easy to handle without breaking yolk.

                                                      3. The solution is obvious. Harumph. Young man, are you using cast iron? It's no joke, to prevent a broken yoke, you have to put a little stiff iron into your egg to have a fertile, perfect product.

                                                        1. I tried many of your suggestions - and guess what? My over easy egg yolks still broke! I'll never be a short order cook.

                                                          Any other suggestions for fool-proof over easy eggs will be appreciated.

                                                          4 Replies
                                                          1. re: Beau711

                                                            Although I mentioned my favorite - poached. When I want over easy, I use a non stick pan and flip without the spatula, quick action with the pan back fast and forward (sort of). Check this out Beau - it might help.

                                                            1. re: lexpatti

                                                              lexpatti, thanks very much for the video link. I noticed the chef flipped the eggs twice. Once to lightly cook the yolks and flipped them back again before sliding them on the plate. This is gonna take practice for me! I'll probably need to cook up 12 dozen eggs before I get it right but I'm gonna try.

                                                            2. re: Beau711

                                                              "I tried many of your suggestions - and guess what? My over easy egg yolks still broke!"

                                                              Using the 'non flip' method, that's just not possible.

                                                              1. re: Beau711

                                                                Are they breaking when you flip or them or when you try to remove them?

                                                              2. Seems no one has suggested the best method to achieve success.


                                                                2 Replies
                                                                1. re: FrankJBN


                                                                  And a lot of buttered toast.

                                                                  1. re: homebaker

                                                                    Bingo. I broke an awful lot of eggs, but then I ate an awful lot of eggs, too! And then I just started not breaking them, except for maybe one out of a dozen or so (which I always give to myself). I've learned the easiest way for me is to slide the spatula in sideways to a little past the center, lift the egg so the trailing edge of the white is sliding on the surface, pull that to the side of the pan, then gently lay it down on what had been its upper side and let the rest of the egg slide onto the pan as the spatula moves back towards the center. It takes about a hundredth of the time to do as it did to write... For the record, my pan is a 10" black iron skillet, my lubricant of choice is olive oil with a dollop of bacon grease, and the spatula an ancient slotted dime-store thing with a plastic handle that's been allowed to rest on too many hot burner grids.

                                                                2. I use a non stick pan and cooking spray for best release and the least fat but a good dose of butter would work the same for release and taste better. I don't use a spatula and just flip. 9 or 10 times they don't break.

                                                                  1. Get duck eggs. The yolks are so tough, you could drop them on the floor and thy wouldn't break. Great flavor too. Or an ostrich egg, you only need to flip one to feed 4!

                                                                    1. Hooray! I was finally able to cook eggs over easy without breaking the yolks. Here's what I did, besides following all the wonderful CH suggestions you gave me - I bought a non-stick crepe pan and a very wide plastic spatula. The wide spatula helps flip the eggs and the low sides on the crepe pan make it easier to flip the eggs onto my plate.

                                                                      Thanks again for all your suggestions.

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: Beau711

                                                                        Way To Geau, Beau.

                                                                        There is a direct relationship in the mastering of the egg: "chef" and "oeuf". The legend of the origin of the pleats in the chef's hat seem to refer to the many way to do the Egg.

                                                                        a quick link for further egg adventures:


                                                                      2. Good chance your using older eggs. Older eggs have weak yolk membranes already. try purchasing some new eggs and give it a try again! Goodluck!

                                                                        1. My hubby was having trouble getting the eggs IN the pan without breaking the yolk, He was holding the egg too high off the pan after he cracked it and opened it and dropped onto the pan. You may be doing the same when flipping it. Be very gentle, and careful. Start checking the edges that they are not sticking and run a little butter around the edges and they usually don't stick. Butter is your friend!! At least with eggs!!And we have a well seasoned cast iron skillet.