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Omelets - to flip or not to flip

I have seen some resources that call for flipping the omelet prior to adding fillings and/or folding. Others do not flip prior to folding. What is the traditional way?

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  1. I can't speak for "traditional" methods but I don't flip, I lid.
    Once the eggs start to show signs of firming, I add my toppings then place a lid on the pan. I fold when transferring to plate.

    1. Add stuff, fold, and, after a bit, flip!

      2 Replies
      1. re: Sam Fujisaka

        A correct fold and flip is among the top 25 measurements of masculine proficiency. There must me no leakage of "stuff", or asymmetry to the fold. Changing flat tires doesn't even move the needle, any Bubba can do that.

        1. re: Veggo

          Concentration on the "correct" fold and flip may lead to unwarranted and shameful leakage. Modern Bubbas have a run-flat and a reduced diameter option.

      2. not sure what's correct, but I like sauteeing veggies (par-cooked potatoes, spinach, zucchini, etc or whatever I am using), then add eggs, then flip, then add cheese, then fold. Just my preference since uncooked egg gives me the heebie jeebies. :-)

        1. I never flip...if chopped veggies need to be sauteed beforehand, they are sauteed & removed from pan...eggs go in over medium low heat...as they begin to set, the veggies are sprinkled over one half of the eggs...the other half is very gently folded over...then I allow it all to continue to cook, til cheese (if used) is a bit melty and eggs are still a bit oozy. I'm going out on a limb here, but I don't think Julia Child ever flipped her omelets and that's who I think I try to emulate when making omelets.

          1. Depends on the "customer" ...
            My wife likes to have them filled, folded, then flipped. I admit that, because she likes them "brown", I will often flip them for her before adding a few drops of water to the pan. Then I put a cover on the pan to finish them in steam. That's because I can't stand to look at an omelet that's been browned (and I'd prefer not to put my name on one) but if she's eating it I guess she's entitled to have it the way she wants it. The steaming helps reduce the amount of browning that has to take place for her to consider the eggs completely cooked.
            Some friends and associates prefer them filled, and then folded when plated.
            If I'm making an omelet with beaten egg whites into which I've folded the beaten yolks, I will fill, fold, the finish in either a hot oven or under the broiler.

            1. The traditional way is no flip.

              1. Which kind of omelet are we talking about? The 30 second one that made Julia famous, or a thicker one cooked over low heat, or - well you describe it.

                3 Replies
                    1. re: FoodFuser

                      personally, i thnk she uses too large a pan for the amount of egg she adds. I prefer the provencale style, or at least what I learned from a Provencale chef which involves hot pan lots of butter adding the eggs tilting the pan and lifting th4e cooked egg, and just when there's almost no more liquid egg to run under the edge, popping it a couple of inches from the broiler to just barely set the top and puff it. It is then slid partway onto the plate and the top folded over the part that's already onto the plate. I will usually strew a little grated gruyere or other cheese just before the broiler. this process produces a fluffy, but not overcooked , light omelet that doesn't leak on the plate but remains creamy and soft.

                  1. Not flipped, not folded, but rolled. After adding filling, use a rubber spatula to lift up one edge a bit, slide the omelet towards that lifted edge and using the spatula to nudge the edge into the top side allow the omelet to slide and roll over on itself, then onto the plate.

                    1. I roll mine if I'm making an omelette, and save the flipping for frittate.

                      13 Replies
                      1. re: tmso

                        Mine wouldn't roll without splitting because of the fillings....you rollers out there do you add fillings to the top? Micro-dice the fillings? What's the rolling secret?

                        1. re: HillJ

                          nope. I put tomatoes, or a sauce around one side, perhaps a little sour cream, but not to the top.

                          1. re: HillJ

                            Fillings spread down the middle in a strip about 2 to 3 inches. If your omelet splits when it's rolled, too much filling was used. I use sliced sauteed mushrooms, sliced thin, sometimes including onion, with cheese or just cheese on its own, or sometimes peppers, onions, tomatoes, and/or ham. Just a few tablespoons of filling per omelet should be adequate for most diners. I don't microdice or put fillings on top, just control the quantity.

                            1. re: janniecooks

                              My family loves FILLED omelets...the rolling style wouldn't work for us...as I suspected. Thanks for sharing your methods.

                              1. re: HillJ

                                In that case you're better off piling the fillling on one half and folding over for a half-moon shaped omelet.

                                1. re: janniecooks

                                  right! I usually pour in the egg mixture (egg, herbs, light cream) and when the mixture hits the "just jiggly" stage I add the fillings and place a lid on the stove pan. Once firm to our liking, I flip the omelet in half and plate. We use a dozen eggs and feed all eight of us from that one yummy omelet. A few sides and fresh juice-breakfast (& sometimes dinner) is good to go!

                                  1. re: HillJ

                                    I am a folder as well, usually let it sit a bit after folding, then off to the plate it goes.

                                    1. re: HillJ

                                      Wel, that does 'splain things. I never make more than a three-egg omelet, usually just a two-egg because they cook faster and are less likely to break apart. I just make as many omelets as diners (and we are only two, so...wouldn't make omelets when we have guests). That must be one monster pan you've got!

                                      1. re: janniecooks

                                        "That must be one monster pan you've got!"
                                        A true hand-me-down treasure (from Dad, the king of the omelete makers) because it has a lid....and hasn't warped Yet!

                              2. re: HillJ

                                I'm not sure just how much filling you're talking about, but I find that omelettes still roll no problem with equal volumes of egg and filling (not counting cheese). The other day, I made 2 eggs, the same volume of chopped tomatoes (roughly 1/2" cubed), plus the same volume of grated parmesan. The filling poked out of the top some, but that's not a problem, because that ends out being the bottom when you flip onto the plate.

                                1. re: tmso

                                  In the recipe I'm referring to I'm using strips of virginia ham, swiss cheese and prepared pan-fried mushrooms in the filling. It's a hearty omelet that won't roll without bursting open. So fold is easier.

                                  When I make a steak & potatoes omelete for instance I'm serving it open-faced and prefer to slice it like a pizza for my family.

                                  1. re: HillJ

                                    I bet if you grate the cheese and chop instead of slicing the mushrooms it would work rolled. Steak and potatoes, yeah, that's frittata time.

                                    1. re: tmso

                                      tmso, next time I make an omelete for just dh & myself I'm going to try the roll method and add the filling to the egg mixture first (maybe not the cheese).

                                      With 12 eggs, intended for my family to share, I know it will crack an otherwise nice presentation.

                                      We'll see :)

                            2. Hmmm... sounds like for those of you who are flippers, you fold and then flip. The videos I had seen show the eggs being flipped and then folded. It's time to experiment I guess...

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: Jimmy Buffet

                                I flip, then fold. The flip I'm talking about, and I think you are too, is to cook both sides i.e. no runny/soft middle. Sometimes instead of flipping I will pop a lid on the pan and cook the eggs on top that way, so they are more tender than if I had flipped it over but not runny. All a matter of whether you like your omelets softer in the middle or well-done all through.

                                1. re: dubedo

                                  That's "eggzactly" (sorry) what I do. Cook both sides (but carefully so the eggs stay tender) and then flip. I also like have sauteed spinach IN the eggs. For some reason I like the texture that way.

                                  1. re: poptart

                                    Ick. If you're not going to roll, at least cook, add the fillings, then fold, flipping again if you need to.

                                  2. re: dubedo

                                    Right... "flip" to me is to flip the whole disc. "Fold" is to fold in half or into thirds

                                2. yep me too as far as not being sure what is the best technique, but for me its this.
                                  I let the egg cook fairly well, with custard like in the center, then I add cheese, or ham or bacon. Sometimes avacado or bacon and sauteed onion with cheese and fresh tomatoes. Fold one side over to cover the first third, then I tip the pan and roll and slide all at the same time onto a plate. No flipping. And more important, no brown stuff.

                                  1. jfood uses the following method:

                                    1 - melt butter, gotta have
                                    2 - add anything that sauteeing is required, whether onion, pepper, bacon, shrooms, ham, etc
                                    3 - add the eggs and as they cook pull the cooked edges towards the middle while the pan swirls
                                    4 - when no more swirling is possible, let it sit until the side to the heat is done
                                    5 - big flip
                                    6 - add the ingredients for the middle-world, cheese, bacon, ham, etc
                                    7 - fold into a semi circle and cook one side
                                    8 - flip over and cook last semi-circle side
                                    9 - slide onto plate

                                    1. The method I use for omelets is from Pomiane's French Cooking in 10 Mins. Add the eggs to the pan. As it's setting lift the edge with a fork and tilt the pan to let unset egg settle in underneath. Once it's fairly "empty" on top add the fillings. Generally grated cheese, some diced meat or sliced mushroom, but whatever, let set just a bit. Fold one edge slightly, slide that side onto your plate first and fold the balance over the top. Lifting the edge and tilting the pan is the secret that makes the fluffiest omelets I've ever been able to make.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: Scott D

                                        Thats the way I have been making them and was taught to make them...and why I was so amazed when I saw videos and references that flipped them.

                                        1. re: Scott D

                                          That's the way I was taught, too, Scott. I always use three eggs and add about a tablespoon of water (never milk) before beating the eggs to make the eggs fluff up when later steamed. I use a non-stick 10-inch saute pan and after it begins to heat up, I add a pat of butter. Once I add the eggs, I use a spatula, tilt the pan slightly and move the set eggs from the middle to the upper edge of the pan, allowing the unset egg to roll to the bottom of the pan to begin to set. This makes the bottom portion a bit thinner than the top. I add my fillings and cheese to the thinner part of the omelet, so that they will heat faster. Then I reduce the heat and cover the pan for about two minutes. This steaming process really fluffs up the omelet. Then to serve, I slide half the omelet onto a plate and flip the top half with the edge of my pan. Works every time.

                                        2. Okay, for what it's worth I was taught to make omlettes by a French girlfriend in the late '50s, and here's how I do it:

                                          First the omlette pan. The truly best omlette pans are very heavy aluminum, well seasoned with butter, and never touched by water. You scrub them out with table salt after each use.

                                          Okay, first beat three eggs with a fork until well mixed but not frothy. Then fill the largest half egg shell with water, pour into eggs and beat some more. Season "to taste." I use a pinch of kosher salt and either green or red Tobaso sauce or freshly milled white pepper, but there's no law that says you can't use a few grinds of fresh black pepper. It's all good.

                                          Set your omlette pan over high heat, gas preferred but electric will work too. Let the pan heat up until placing your flattened hand about an inch and a half above the pan surface senses that it's good and hot. Add a good sized knob of butter (a tablespoon or two) and swirl it in the pan until melted, almost through frothing, and just starting to turn a light brown around the edge of the pan. Set pan back down over flame.

                                          Add eggs all at one time. Allow to cook until the edges are just beginning to set. Using a fork or a heat resistant rubber spatula, work your way around the edge of the pan pushing the cooked egg into th middle. As you do this, the uncooked egg will come flooding in to fill the bare spot. Continue doing this at an unrushed pace until the egg no longer rushes in and you have to tilt the pan to fill the voids. Reduce heat to low.

                                          Using the handle of the pan as 12 o'clock, spread your fillings of choice across te middle of the pan from 9 o'clock to 5 o'clock. Continue cooking until egg is almost cooked. Like a roast, it will continue cooking, even after you plate it.

                                          Shake pan gently to see if the omlette is free. If it doesn't slide, then holding the handle firmly with your left hand, thump that hand with your right fist until the omlette does slide freely. Lift the pan with your left hand, palm facing up.

                                          Holding the 6 o'clock edge of the omlette pan over the edge of a dinner plate, gently tip omlette onto the plate until it is half plated, then tip it back onto itself in a fold covering the filling. The ideal is to have a bit of the filling ooze out around the crescent edge. The omlette should have a convoluted golden crust that is "finished" by glazing it with butter. A glistening omlette looks so much more appetizing that a dry dull finish.


                                          For savory omlettes: Cheese. Any kind of cheese. Or several kinds. Mushrooms in wine sauce. Marinara sauce. Heated salsa. Asparagus spears with blue cheese. Hot tzatziki. Warm ratatouille. Ham and Swiss. Bacon and sauteed onions. Leftover Chinese take out. Leftover beef Stroganoff. Anything in the refrigerator that looks good. The omlette is often finished with a spoonful of the reserved filling across the center, then sprinkled with a touch of chopped parsley or shaved parmesan. The empty half of the plate can be filled with toast points, toasted muffins, potatoes, apple sauce. Whatever rings your chimes.

                                          For dessert omlettes: Any kind of fruit jam or preserves as the filling, then folded and topped with a sprinkling of powdered sugar. Really exceptional strawberry preserves are great! Figs sauteed in red wine with a lttle goat cheese. Or make a large thin two egg omlette, cook, fill with any great souffle batter such as chocolate or lemon, fold and bake in oven, then sprinkle with powdered sugar for presentation. Fill with bananas Foster, peach Melba, candied or pureed marrons. Fill with sliced strawberries coated with thin layer of hard crack sugar. You can make dessert omlettes as plain or fancy as you like. When I want an over the top dessert, I've been known to do the crackling sugar coated strawberry slices as the filling, then topped with a sugar coated strawberry fan, all draped in webs of spun sugar. When served by candlelight, the webs of sugar dance!

                                          Omlettes are one of the most versatile dishes known to man (or woman). But to answer your question more succinctly, "classic" omlettes are filled, folded and have a nice shiny browned finish to them. I absolutely cringe when I see these TV "chefs" who roll out a long thin pale yellow egg enchilada. Which is not to say someone else won't find them mouthwatering. They just don't ring any bells for me.

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: Caroline1

                                            Dear Caroline, I am like Pavlov's Dog now as I read this...

                                            1. re: Caroline1

                                              okay, C1-first time I'm using the print function.
                                              This ones a keeper.

                                              1. re: Caroline1

                                                Jimmy B and HillJ. you guys have made my day! Thank you, and enjoy!

                                                Oh, and there is one minor detail I forgot to add... It is optional to add about a teaspoon of granulated sugar to the raw egg mixture for a dessert omlette, but if you do, it may brown faster so you will need to reduce the heat sooner. But it's a matter of personal taste. I like the unsweetened egg with most dessert omlettes.

                                                Oh, and obviously my proof reading skills are not what they once were! It should say spread the filling across the middle of the omlette from 9 o'clock to 3 (THREE!) o'clock, not 5. Sorry!

                                              2. Traditional is lift and tilt, then run under broiler, then slide and fold. no flip. it crushes the omelet, which should be light and fluffy. further, the briol seals the soft egg so it doesn't run when plated, even though the center is liquid-y.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: chazzerking

                                                  Jose Andres in TV series 'Made in Spain' shows a version of the Spanish potato omelet (tortilla), which has a soft egg center, producing what he describes as a 'water pillow'. It involves a couple of flips, using a intermediate plate. We discussed this a bit on a 'food media' thread. There are links to video clips from this show.