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Best pan for flipping eggs

josephnl Jan 19, 2014 09:47 AM

I love over-easy eggs. Whenever trying to flip them with a spatula, more often than not I break a yolk. I want to learn how to flip them in the air. I've watched a few videos about how to do this, and apparently the keys are a pan that has a good non-stick surface, and a shape with rather sharply sloping sides. Does anyone here flip eggs in the air, and have a pan that makes this easy, even for a novice?

  1. z
    zackly Mar 23, 2014 06:18 AM

    You can approximate over easy eggs by briefly putting a tight fitting lid on the pan. I do this when my concoction is too precarious to flip. Yesterday I fried some leftover corned beef then topped with two whole eggs, avocado slices and sliced American cheese. Flipping the whole mess would be dicey so I put a lid on the pan just until the ingredients were warmed through but the yolks were still runny.

    1. j
      josephnl Mar 22, 2014 04:03 PM

      Well, it's now 6 weeks later and I've pretty much mastered the technique. Using an 8" non-stick pan and a small pat of butter, I can flip a couple of eggs with ease. It really is pretty cool...and I'm just about ready to do it over the stove (rather than over the sink). The things that helped the most were practicing with a piece of toast, then one egg, then two, and learning to not be too hesitant...just go for it! At first I just put one egg in the pan and kept practicing flipping it many times (it of course became inedible). It's really fun and I recommend that anyone who enjoys fried eggs over easy (or even well), give it a try...it's not that hard to learn.

      4 Replies
      1. re: josephnl
        Veggo Mar 22, 2014 04:11 PM

        Cool. This is sort of how the Flying Wallenda's got started...:)

        1. re: Veggo
          josephnl Mar 22, 2014 04:23 PM

          Funny you should mention that. I've strung a high wire in my back yard 50" off the ground...but I'm using a safety net for now!

        2. re: josephnl
          Jessiet Mar 22, 2014 04:27 PM

          Now you've rekindled my fire to try this with two eggs! Good for you--maybe a You Tube video is in order! :)

          1. re: Jessiet
            josephnl Mar 23, 2014 06:08 AM

            Sorry. Videography is definitely beyond my skill level at this time. Perhaps one day...

        3. v
          VeganVick Mar 10, 2014 06:32 PM

          The 8" de buyer is awesome for this task

          2 Replies
          1. re: VeganVick
            c oliver Mar 10, 2014 06:44 PM

            Where's the egg?

            1. re: c oliver
              josephnl Mar 11, 2014 03:00 PM

              I hope not on the floor...but if the moniker VeganVick is any clue, there probably is no egg!

          2. s
            Shann Mar 10, 2014 08:25 AM

            If you don't want to flip them, spatula or not, heat up pan with a little butter, put in eggs, cover with lid let them sit on heat for one minute, remove from heat and let them finish off heat (still covered) for another minute or so.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Shann
              Jessiet Mar 10, 2014 08:41 AM

              I don't have a problem flipping with a spatula; I do them that way now. I have done them the other way, too, but prefer literally "over".

            2. Uncle Bob Mar 10, 2014 07:58 AM

              It's not the arrows....it's the Indian.

              It's not the pan...it's the cook

              Practice with a piece of toast....then eggs.

              26 Replies
              1. re: Uncle Bob
                Jessiet Mar 10, 2014 08:15 AM

                Thanks for the suggestion--never blamed anyone but the cook! :) I do feel, however, that flipping eggs will be an entirely different thing than flipping toast.

                1. re: Uncle Bob
                  josephnl Mar 10, 2014 11:55 AM

                  I'm sure that for the expert or professional chef, the pan is irrelevant. But as a novice "egg flipper" (I'm the op) the pan absolutely makes a difference. Select a non-stick, the smaller the better (no larger than 8") with reasonably high sides...and do practice with toast. I started flipping one egg(using a good dab of butter), and after a few weeks and 2-3 dozen eggs, I'm a pro with one egg, and about 80-90% there with two. It's just practice. I still do the flipping over the sink...just in case. The actual flipping is not that hard...it's not breaking the occasional yolk that's the challenge.

                  1. re: josephnl
                    Sirrith Mar 10, 2014 05:55 PM

                    If you need to add butter to nonstick, might as well go carbon steel. I thought one of the big points of nonstick was less/no fat needed? It'll be just as nonstick in CS with that "dab" of butter. I flip eggs easily in my very thin newly seasoned (not old, well seasoned) carbon steel pan :)

                    1. re: Sirrith
                      petek Mar 10, 2014 07:13 PM

                      Whether you're using non stick or carbon steel, butter/fat= flavor.. yes?

                      1. re: petek
                        Sirrith Mar 10, 2014 08:00 PM

                        Yes, but that is missing my point. What I meant (and in your defence I wasn't quite clear about it as much of it was implied), was that if you're going to use butter, you might as well use a more durable pan which cooks better than nonstick and has no disadvantage compared to nonstick due to the use of fat regardless of the material.

                        1. re: Sirrith
                          GH1618 Mar 11, 2014 06:03 PM

                          A steel pan may be more durable, but the T-fal pan I use to fry eggs is more than 20 years old and as good as new. I expect it will last longer than I do. I don't agree that anything "cooks better" than a Teflon or similar nonstick pan for frying eggs.

                          1. re: GH1618
                            c oliver Mar 11, 2014 06:08 PM

                            Is you T-fal pan induction capable, meaning will a magnet stick to a bottom?

                            1. re: c oliver
                              GH1618 Mar 11, 2014 07:25 PM

                              No. I don't have an induction unit. I was thinking of getting one, and read that it would shot down if the pan was removed for only the few seconds needed to flip a crêpe. The makers of these things don't document this "feature" well. I need to know exactly how many seconds and whether the unit restarts automatically when the pan is put down. A cook who flips his eggs and crêpes should not have to think about the time constraints and definitely should not have to do anything to restart the unit.

                              Every technology has its advantages and disadvantages.

                              1. re: GH1618
                                c oliver Mar 11, 2014 09:19 PM

                                I've never timed it but certainly the few seconds it would take to flip an egg is fine.

                                1. re: c oliver
                                  GH1618 Mar 11, 2014 10:27 PM

                                  But do you have to do something to restart it if it turns off? One I took the trouble to ask about shut off in about seven seconds and did not automatically restart. That is not fine.

                                  1. re: GH1618
                                    c oliver Mar 12, 2014 08:18 AM

                                    I just did a little test :) and after a minute it was still on and I just put the pot back on.

                            2. re: GH1618
                              Sirrith Mar 11, 2014 07:00 PM

                              Each to his own. I find eggs are better in pans that aren't coated in non-stick material.

                              1. re: Sirrith
                                c oliver Mar 11, 2014 07:01 PM

                                Can I assume you've done blind comparisons?

                                1. re: c oliver
                                  Sirrith Mar 11, 2014 08:24 PM

                                  Can I assume that a person who does blind comparisons at home by himself is a bit odd?

                                  No, I haven't done blind side-by side comparisons. What I have done is eaten eggs for many years cooked in non-stick pans, and noticed a difference immediately upon cooking them in my new CS.

                                  1. re: Sirrith
                                    c oliver Mar 12, 2014 08:19 AM

                                    Oh, lordy, "odder" things occur daily on CH :)

                                2. re: Sirrith
                                  josephnl Mar 11, 2014 07:18 PM

                                  I find it hard to believe that you can tell the difference. For the novice "flipper" like myself, using a non-stick pan makes flipping easier, and I can assure you that my palate tastes only butter and eggs

                                  1. re: josephnl
                                    Sirrith Mar 11, 2014 08:25 PM

                                    I've never flipped eggs before. I did it successfully the first time in a newly seasoned CS pan without any trouble whatsoever. Since eggs don't stick in CS, I don't see why nonstick would make it any easier...

                                    1. re: Sirrith
                                      josephnl Mar 11, 2014 09:13 PM

                                      You're probably a more adept cook than I. It took me some practice time with toast and a few tries with eggs before I started to get the hang of it. Maybe you can convince me to try a CS pan for eggs. Which specific one would you recommend for easy care and maximum non-stick with eggs right out of the box?

                                    2. re: josephnl
                                      Jessiet Mar 12, 2014 03:15 AM

                                      I agree with Sirrith. A non-stick pan changes the texture of the egg, making it seem more "rubbery". Don't know the scientific reason, but it's true. I'm sure Harold McGee would know.

                            3. re: Sirrith
                              GH1618 Mar 10, 2014 07:39 PM

                              I always put butter in my T-fal to cook an egg. I don't know that it's a "need," it's just the right way to cook an egg, I think. I don't have a thing about avoiding butter.

                              1. re: GH1618
                                petek Mar 10, 2014 07:50 PM

                                <I always put butter in my T-fal to cook an egg.>

                                Exactly.. otherwise you might as well boil or poach your eggs.

                            4. re: josephnl
                              Jessiet Mar 11, 2014 02:51 PM

                              Good for you, josephni! Just flipped my first egg this morning--piece of cake (probably beginner's luck)! I used my trusty heavy aluminum omelet pan, which I reserve for eggs only (like the one Julia Child used). I am somewhat hesitant about a non-stick because the butter doesn't cover the entire surface of the pan, so you don't have even lubrication. I have a heavy carbon steel one I'll try next. It's very well seasoned.

                              1. re: josephnl
                                petek Mar 11, 2014 04:18 PM

                                < I'm a pro with one egg, and about 80-90% there with two. It's just practice.>

                                Gimme a call when you can flip 3 eggs w/o breaking the yolk... :D

                                1. re: petek
                                  josephnl Mar 11, 2014 04:37 PM

                                  You don't want to wait until I can flip a half dozen?

                                  1. re: josephnl
                                    Veggo Mar 11, 2014 04:43 PM

                                    When you can juggle half a dozen flaming chain saws, post the video for us and you'll go viral on Jimmy Fallon.

                                    1. re: josephnl
                                      petek Mar 11, 2014 04:53 PM

                                      half a dozen eggs! that's crazy talk..

                              2. breadchick Feb 24, 2014 06:20 PM

                                I've never thought of flipping eggs. (I have thought of flipping other things as needed.)

                                My husband loves easy-over, so I'm wondering what is the difference with flipping or just using a turner.

                                Well, possibly the coolness? :)

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: breadchick
                                  petek Feb 24, 2014 06:50 PM

                                  so I'm wondering what is the difference with flipping or just using a turner.

                                  Wrist power vs spatula... and once you've mastered it, it is pretty cool. :D

                                  1. re: breadchick
                                    josephnl Feb 24, 2014 07:17 PM

                                    One less utensil to wash, less chance of breaking the yolk, but most importantly coolness. I'm the op, and it's taken a few weeks and eggs for breakfast (for 2 of us) perhaps a half dozen times, and I've pretty much mastered flipping one egg. Now I'm advancing to 2!

                                    1. re: josephnl
                                      Jessiet Mar 10, 2014 07:45 AM

                                      Can't wait to try this! I'm sure there's a learning curve. I remember when I first started flipping other things, like veggies or nuts, how many fell on the floor! BUT, with perseverance, even I mastered it! I'm up for the challenge!

                                  2. Will Owen Feb 24, 2014 04:47 PM

                                    I've pretty much had it with Teflon, and the fancy "magic" nonsticks are too pricey for me, but a chef I camp with twice a year, when I was watching him flip morning aggs for several of us, told me he just gets the black-on-aluminum $15-20 8" pans, and when that wears out he gets another. So several months back I was in Target (I think) and saw an 8" Orgreenic for $14. I liked the color and it was the slickest dry surface I'd ever felt, so I got it. First, it transformed my usual scrambled eggs – no more scraping except to turn the mass - and flipping the whole thing was dead easy. Then I tried it with fried eggs, and then omelets. I use a bit of oil and a pat of butter, medium to low-medium heat, and start shaking the eggs as soon as they' begin to set on the bottom. As soon as they're tied together and you can position them by swirling, you can flip them.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Will Owen
                                      Will Owen Feb 25, 2014 04:23 PM

                                      I should add that I think everyone gets at least part of one on the stove top in the learning stages. I was lucky in that I had my friend's example, cooking on a tailgate with a canned-gas burner, tossing the eggs over as though dropping one were impossible. So I tried it that way and Bingo! The one I messed up was the second one …

                                    2. j
                                      josephnl Feb 24, 2014 12:16 PM

                                      Need to report back. I decided to try to learn with an 8" Calphalon nonstick pan that I've had forever. I practiced a bit by flipping a piece of toast. I then started having eggs for breakfast every 2-3 days and used plenty of butter and not wanting to mess up the stove, made my over easy eggs by flipping them over the sink. After several broken yolks, and about a dozen and a half eggs, I'm pretty much a pro at flipping a single egg. It really was not that hard to learn. The key is not to be too hesitant in flipping. Now I guess I'll have to try to graduate to flipping 2 eggs. I suspect I'll be eating broken yolks for the next week or so!

                                      I think ideally it would be better to use a smaller pan, perhaps a 6-7". I've not seen one in the stores.

                                      4 Replies
                                      1. re: josephnl
                                        GH1618 Feb 24, 2014 12:33 PM

                                        Yes, a smaller pan just large enough to hold two eggs comfortably works better.

                                        1. re: GH1618
                                          josephnl Feb 24, 2014 03:25 PM

                                          Have you a specific smaller n/s frying pan that you like. I've been unable to find one.

                                          1. re: josephnl
                                            GH1618 Feb 24, 2014 04:38 PM

                                            I mentioned it in the first reply to this thread, but it isn't a current model.

                                        2. re: josephnl
                                          letsindulge Feb 24, 2014 04:22 PM

                                          It's fun isn't it? Now you can do similar with pan saute! Same motion, just continuous.

                                        3. z
                                          zackly Jan 31, 2014 02:19 PM

                                          It's more about the technique than it is about the pan. Get yourself a cheap 8" slope sided Teflon frying pan and practice flipping with a non-food item like a drink coaster or anything round & unbreakable that approximates a couple of eggs.

                                          1. k
                                            kseiverd Jan 22, 2014 02:12 PM

                                            Have to tout Calphalon non-stick! EXCELLENT replacement policy! Returned 2 skillets and a sauce pan a year or so ago. None abused, just not so non-stick any more. Hadda pay to ship out, but NO receipts required and brand new replacements in a week or so.

                                            1. letsindulge Jan 21, 2014 05:37 PM

                                              A 6" sloped-sided, non-stick pan works great for 1 to 3 eggs. Important to use sufficient oil, or butter. When eggs whites start to firm up take ahold of the handle and swirl the pan in a circular motion to loosen the eggs. Slightly tip the futhermost side of the pan down then a quick, small motion forward will cause the egg to move forward in the pan. Next a quick jerk back, and downward will cause the eggs to climb the pan's wall and land softly flipped over. In culinary school we used a piece of dry toast to practice the motion.

                                              1. c
                                                Cynic2701 Jan 20, 2014 08:37 AM

                                                This is one of the few times I would recommend using a non-stick pan.

                                                You can do it in a very well seasoned cast iron pan with a smooth - not rough - bottom. Carbon steel would work as well. I have a small cast iron pan that I only use for eggs and can flip in.

                                                5 Replies
                                                1. re: Cynic2701
                                                  RealMenJulienne Jan 31, 2014 07:21 AM

                                                  Well... maybe. Seasoned cast iron and carbon steel are slightly stickier than teflon when it comes to frying eggs, but they have the advantage of being useable with metal spatulas. A thin-bladed steel turner is very helpful for getting under the egg and flipping it. I've never had much luck with the thicker wood or plastic spatulas you have to use with nonstick pans.

                                                  But the best pan for frying an egg is the carbon steel wok in my opinion. The oil pools in the rounded bottom, creating a mini deep-fryer effect which crisps the outer white without overcooking the yolk. Perfect for creating a lacy brown edge which I consider to be a requirement for eggs over easy.

                                                  1. re: RealMenJulienne
                                                    josephnl Jan 31, 2014 10:30 AM

                                                    I hate any browning of fried eggs! I guess it's a matter of taste.

                                                    1. re: josephnl
                                                      souvenir Feb 24, 2014 02:29 PM

                                                      Since you don't like browning, perhaps (re)consider sunny side up eggs? I used to make over easy, but lately have preferred sunny side up. I like really soft yolks, and sunny side up has helped me not overcook the yolks. Another benefit is no need to flip and potentially break the yolks, :).

                                                      1. re: souvenir
                                                        josephnl Feb 24, 2014 03:24 PM

                                                        Over easy are perfect for me. The way I make them the white is totally opaque, but there is no browning whatsoever and the yolk is very runny.

                                                    2. re: RealMenJulienne
                                                      Theta Mar 23, 2014 10:58 AM

                                                      I totally agree with the carbon-steel wok. The natural curved sides of the wok make it so easy to flip the eggs.

                                                  2. scubadoo97 Jan 19, 2014 02:25 PM

                                                    I have a very small non stick pan with sloping sides. Big enough for 1 egg. I can flip with ease. It's all in the wrist.

                                                    1. m
                                                      mwhitmore Jan 19, 2014 12:09 PM

                                                      Used to do this all day with a standard-shape non-stick frypan, but not actually required. The eggs must be unstuck before you try to flip. And they don't really go high in the air, just barely flip over to the other side while mostly maintaining contact. After that, it is just a matter of practice, you will break the first few. Get a dozen or two eggs, work on your wrist action. You will master it.

                                                      4 Replies
                                                      1. re: mwhitmore
                                                        fldhkybnva Jan 31, 2014 05:47 AM

                                                        Yes, I agree. I lift one edge of the egg and then move the pan to meet the top of the egg.

                                                        1. re: fldhkybnva
                                                          josephnl Jan 31, 2014 12:04 PM

                                                          Fidhky...I don't understand your technique. You say you lift one edge of the egg...how do you lift it...with a spatula? If you lift the edge of the egg closest to you, then it sounds like you are flipping the egg away from you...no? From looking at several videos and observing cooks, I think most flip the egg inwards towards themselves.

                                                          1. re: josephnl
                                                            fldhkybnva Jan 31, 2014 02:08 PM

                                                            Lift it with a spatula, the edge closet to me, then flip the egg away from me to meet the pan. I guess I'm not like most :)

                                                            1. re: fldhkybnva
                                                              c oliver Feb 24, 2014 03:38 PM

                                                              That's pretty much what I do also.

                                                      2. Chemicalkinetics Jan 19, 2014 10:32 AM

                                                        Either use a nonstick pan or a carbon steel pan. Something which sticks the least for your eggs. Make sure the egg is able to move freely before you start to flip. You can use a spatula to make sure it is movable, or you can just shake the pan a bit and see if the egg will slide.

                                                        After that it is more about technique than anything else. You really don't need a "rather sharply sloping side". A curved slop will work rather well. My DeBuyer works fine, and it does not have a sharply sloping side.


                                                        I have also used my cast iron skillet to slip eggs, and it worked great. It has a completely different side than my carbon steel pan.

                                                        As long as your egg is not sticking to the pan, then you are fine. Don't put way too much focus on cookware. Concentrate on the technique.

                                                        If you cannot keep your eggs from sticking, then it is a different topic.

                                                        4 Replies
                                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                          petek Jan 19, 2014 10:49 AM

                                                          <Either use a nonstick pan or a carbon steel pan.>

                                                          I find my carbon steel pan a bit too heavy for flipping eggs(even though I have massive arms), but it can be done. My small non stick is for eggs only. Let the eggs set a bit before moving them around.

                                                          1. re: petek
                                                            Chemicalkinetics Jan 19, 2014 02:46 PM

                                                            <I find my carbon steel pan a bit too heavy for flipping eggs>

                                                            Really? It is heavy, but I only have to do it once. Maybe because you are in the food industry and you need to do this repeatedly. At home, I only have to flip once or twice, so it is not a big deal.

                                                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                              petek Jan 19, 2014 04:39 PM

                                                              You obviously have bigger "pipes" than I do.. :D

                                                              1. re: petek
                                                                Chemicalkinetics Jan 19, 2014 06:02 PM

                                                                Oh yeah. I forgot. My carbon steel is Force Blue DeBuyer. Your is the Carbone Plus. Yours is thicker and heavier.

                                                        2. g
                                                          GH1618 Jan 19, 2014 10:04 AM

                                                          I just finished my usual breakfast, flipping a pair of eggs in the air. My pan for this is T-fal Encore 2 frying pan, with a diameter of seven inches at the rim and five inches at the inside bottom. The height is about an inch and a quarter. The sides have just a slight curve to them. This is a perfect pan for two eggs, but is no longer available.

                                                          As for technique, I use butter in the pan and fry gently at very low heat. When I'm ready to flip, I turn the heat up briefly (I have a gas range) which makes the butter run freely. When catching the eggs, it is important to move the pan down as the eggs settle into it, lowering the differential speed, much as you would catch a hard-hit baseball.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: GH1618
                                                            petek Jan 19, 2014 10:19 AM

                                                            The smaller the pan the better(5"-7" bottom diameter)
                                                            Technique is just as important as the pan. Tilt the pan slightly forward when flipping. takes some practice to ace it.

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