Culinary Arts

How to Cook Over Easy Eggs: Tips, Techniques, and Recipe

Written by MasterClass

Mar 15, 2019 • 3 min read

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The darling of the dinner plate, and perhaps the most fragile of the fried eggs kingdom, over easy eggs have all the runny yolk goodness of sunny-side eggs, featuring a delicate seal from a quick double fry.


What Is an Over Easy Egg?

Over easy eggs are fried eggs cooked on both sides for a very short amount of time, until the egg whites are just about set, and the yolk is still runny.

What’s the Difference Between Eggs Over Easy, Over Medium, and Over Hard?

In egg-speak, “over” can be understood as the action of flipping, and what comes next corresponds to the doneness of the yolk. There is no one perfect egg (although Chef Gordon Ramsay’s poached egg comes close)—only the perfect egg for right now.

  • Over Easy. Eggs “over easy,” as the second to lowest rung (after sunny side up), means a completely runny yolk set in lightly set whites.
  • Over Medium. Eggs cooked “over medium” result in firm whites and a yolks like a loose custard. (jammy, like in soft-boiled eggs).
  • Over Hard. “Over hard” eggs are fried until the yolks are fully cooked through and have reached a flaky, crumbly texture, similar to the center of a hard-boiled egg.

What’s the Difference Between Eggs Over Easy and Sunny-Side Up?

A sunny-side up egg is only fried on one side, leaving the yolk raw and the whites just barely set while over easy eggs are quickly fried on both sides for a lightly sealed and contained runny yolk. Each method only takes a few minutes, with an extra 20-30 seconds for over easy.

2 Ways to Make Over Easy Eggs

Cooking eggs can be wondrously complex, but unless you’re whipping up a fluffy meringue or a fussy multi-step hollandaise, there’s no need to overthink it. Just don’t take your eyes off them and a fried egg will treat you right.

  • Stovetop. The most common way to make over easy eggs is fried in a pan or skillet on the stove. Simply heat a greased pan, and crack eggs onto its surface. Cook until just set, gently flip, and cook for 20-30 seconds more.
  • Microwave. Making over easy eggs in the microwave is really more of a sunny-side up egg, since you won’t get the signature seal without a pan surface: preheat a microwave-safe plate and melt a little butter over the surface. Crack an egg onto the plate, then return to the microwave and cook for about 45 seconds, until whites are set.

How to Flip an Over Easy Egg Without Breaking the Yolk

To flip an over easy egg, gently slide a spatula under the fried side of the egg and lift from the pan’s surface. Tip the spatula slowly (but also swiftly—don’t hesitate!) until the uncooked corner touches the pan, then lay the egg yolk-side down. Once the seal forms, it will be easy to slide the spatula under again without breaking the yolk.

4 Ways to Serve Eggs Over Easy

  • In a breakfast spread with slices of toast, strips of bacon or sausage, and home fries to soak up the last bits of yolk.
  • With salsa verde and bread for dipping.
  • In the center of your favorite pizza.
  • Layered into a burger or a sandwich.

Perfect Over Easy Egg Recipe

1 egg
Prep Time
1 min
Total Time
4 min
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tbsp butter, ghee, or oil of choice
  • Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
  1. Heat butter or oil in a nonstick skillet (only use a very well-seasoned cast iron pan and use plenty of preferred fat; eggs stick easily to these and can be a nightmare) over medium heat.
  2. Crack egg into the pan and cook until whites are just beginning to firm up, about 3 minutes. Gently (but decisively!) turn to the other side, taking care not to break the yolk on impact. Leave the egg where it lands for 30 seconds, then flip again to return it yolkside up, and slide or transfer from pan. Repeat as desired, re-greasing the pan in between eggs as needed. Bring to a low heat if it begins to burn.
  3. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve immediately.