Perfect Fried Eggs

Published July 1, 2013. From Cook's Illustrated.

Why this recipe works:

A hot nonstick skillet, a touch of butter, and a lid combine to produce perfectly cooked fried eggs—with crisp edges, tender whites, and runny yolks—in just a few minutes.

A hot nonstick skillet, a touch of butter, and a lid combine to produce perfectly cooked fried eggs—with crisp edges, tender whites, and runny yolks—in just a few minutes.

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Serves 2

When checking the eggs for doneness, lift the lid just a crack to prevent loss of steam should they need further cooking. When cooked, the thin layer of white surrounding the yolk will turn opaque, but the yolk should remain runny. To cook two eggs, use an 8- or 9-inch nonstick skillet and halve the amounts of oil and butter. You can use this method with extra-large or jumbo eggs without altering the timing.

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. 1. Heat oil in 12- or 14-inch nonstick skillet over low heat for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, crack 2 eggs into small bowl and season with salt and pepper. Repeat with remaining 2 eggs and second small bowl.

    2. Increase heat to medium-high and heat until oil is shimmering. Add butter to skillet and quickly swirl to coat pan. Working quickly, pour 1 bowl of eggs in 1 side of pan and second bowl of eggs in other side. Cover and cook for 1 minute. Remove skillet from burner and let stand, covered, 15 to 45 seconds for runny yolks (white around edge of yolk will be barely opaque), 45 to 60 seconds for soft but set yolks, and about 2 minutes for medium-set yolks. Slide eggs onto plates and serve.

Technique

Flawless Fried Eggs: It’s All in the Details

PREHEAT THE PAN: Preheating your pan on low heat for 5 full minutes guarantees that there will be no hot spots in the skillet that could lead to unevenly cooked eggs.

USE TWO FATS: We use vegetable oil, with its high smoke point, while preheating the pan. Butter, added just before the eggs, imparts a diner-style richness.

ADD EGGS ALL AT ONCE: Cracking the eggs into small bowls makes it possible to add them to the skillet simultaneously so they cook at the same rate.

COVER IT UP: Adding a lid to the skillet traps heat and steam so the egg cooks from above as well as below, firming up the white before the yolk overcooks.

FINISH OFF HEAT: Moving the pan off the heat after 1 minute of cooking allows the whites to finish cooking—gently—while keeping the yolks liquid.

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