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How to practice the flypan flip

dmd_kc Feb 28, 2009 11:48 AM

Or, alternately, "How not to flip half an omelet directly onto the burner."

Yes, I stink at flipping large things in my nonstick All-Clad frypan with a flick of the wrist. I know what the problem is: I choke at the last second and lose my confidence. People who do it well just jump in without overthinking it.

Those of you who've mastered it -- how did you get to that point? Are there good (cheap) practice foods? Or maybe some clever non-food trick to try?

  1. i
    iamafoodie Feb 28, 2009 12:02 PM

    Rule #1, keep the pan over the burner.
    Rule #2, think about what you are trying to accomplish. First, visualize it happening.

    Practice with a bean bag or a small spice package. Use a cold pan. You want to make an elliptical motion with the pan that tosses the items upwards as you quickly move it forward, then upward. Quickly then pull the pan back towards you, lowering it and getting back under the falling items just in time to catch them. Keep practicing. Most folks master it in a few minutes.

    1. j
      jaykayen Feb 28, 2009 12:31 PM

      there's a julia child video on youtube of her making an omelette.

      1. a
        AHan Feb 28, 2009 12:45 PM

        Why would you flip an omelet?

        1 Reply
        1. re: AHan
          todao Feb 28, 2009 01:47 PM

          That's my question too. Why would you "flip" and omelette? They're typically folded.
          But, to get to your question about "flipping", I don't believe any written description could help much. Perhaps a written description coupled with a visual, which is the best method I can recommend.
          I flip pancakes, pan breads, eggs (but not omelettes) crepes, and the like. It's really not that difficult to master. Mix up an easy batter of any kind and oil up your pan, then start practicing. With batter it might be better to practice over the sink rather than the stove, but I' m confident that you'll be pretty good at it within about fifteen minutes.
          If batter makes you nervous, try scrambling an egg and flipping it after the top firms up. You can always cut it up and use it as an ingredient in fried rice after practice.
          If you don't want to jump right into a complete flip, try practicing flipping to mix:


          Practice with a piece of toast:

          Another toast practice routine. It's a good way to get the feel for how to move the pan out, up, back and out:

          The Frittada method:

          A novice (he likes getting a lot of air) but it worked:

          This guy has it down pat:

          I included some examples that reflect how some people are having the same difficult you appear to be having. Perhaps that'll give you some confidence. Remember that the guy in the last video started just where you are.

        2. alanbarnes Feb 28, 2009 01:12 PM

          Put a layer of dried beans in the bottom of the pan, then practice flipping. You'll have the motion down pretty quickly.

          1 Reply
          1. re: alanbarnes
            billieboy Feb 28, 2009 01:39 PM

            Beat me to it.

          2. bayoucook Feb 28, 2009 02:23 PM

            I started with pieces of loaf bread, and it really does have to do with confidence. I'm not saying I haven't dropped a few eggs on the stove ever...but I'm getting better.

            1. greygarious Feb 28, 2009 03:28 PM

              Until you have the technique down, don't hold the pan in the air. Keeping it on the stove, rapidly push it toward the back of the stove, then instantly yank it back toward you. Dry beans or nuts will show you if you've got the motion right (the heat doesn't need to be on).

              1. d
                dmd_kc Feb 28, 2009 09:19 PM

                I was really talking about classic omelet technique - folding it back on itself, then upside down onto the plate without any utensils. Maybe "flip" wasn't exactly the right word, but it's kind of a flip.

                Thanks to jaykayen for the Julia on YouTube idea. Just checked it out, and it's EXACTLY what I wanted. I'm talking about just what she does at about 5:13 here:


                However, the saute toss is something else I overthink and screw up too! I fling onions on the floor all the time. One of the cats likes that. At least when I just lose SOME of what's in the pan, it's not a total disaster.

                Thanks again to everyone for the great tips.

                4 Replies
                1. re: dmd_kc
                  jaykayen Feb 28, 2009 09:29 PM

                  yup, I need to practice my omelette fold, too.

                  The saute toss or crepe flip are different animals.

                  1. re: jaykayen
                    dmd_kc Feb 28, 2009 10:30 PM

                    That whole crepe flip thing -- I'm not gonna be able to master that one, sorry. Lucky for me crepes aren't high on my list of "must makes."

                  2. re: dmd_kc
                    AHan Mar 1, 2009 04:29 AM

                    I just fold it right onto the plate. Couldn't be easier. Tilt pan so one edge of the omelette is on the plate, draw pan back while turning over to fold the omelette onto itself.

                    1. re: dmd_kc
                      billieboy Mar 1, 2009 04:41 AM

                      Oh God, how I miss that woman. (heart)

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