Culinary Arts

What Is the Difference Between Over Easy and Sunny-Side Up Eggs? Plus Cooking Tips

Written by MasterClass

Apr 29, 2019 • 2 min read

Perfectly cooked eggs with set whites and runny yolks can be tricky to nail, which is why there’s more than one way to fry an egg. The two most famous methods are sunny-side up and over easy.


What Makes an Egg a Fried Egg?

Fried eggs are cooked in fat, such as butter or olive oil, on the stovetop in a frying pan (or on a flat top grill). This direct-heat cooking method means that an egg cracked into a hot pan receives heat from below, quickly cooking from the bottom up.

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

Both sunny-side up and over easy eggs are fried in fat until their whites (albumen) are set. A sunny-side up egg is cooked undisturbed until the whites are just barely set, and the yolk is still raw and translucent. Over-easy eggs are flipped “over” to lightly sear the top of the egg, containing the still-runny yolk in a package of set whites.

3 Tips for Cooking Sunny-Side Up Eggs

  • To make a sunny-side up egg with fully cooked whites, you can gently run a spatula through the whites to spread out the runnier part of the albumen. Cook undisturbed until the white is set, but not rubbery, and the yolk is still runny, 1-2 minutes.
  • To help cook the top of the egg you can add a teaspoon of water and a lid to use steam to cook the white, but make sure to keep an eye on your egg otherwise it'll become overcooked.
  • Another way to set the egg white is to “baste” it by spooning a little fat over the white during cooking.

Tips for Cooking Over Easy Eggs, Plus Two Variations

  • To make an over easy egg, fry the egg until the bottom has set, about 1 minute. Use a spatula to gently flip the egg over and cook until the white is set but the yolk is still fully runny, about 15-30 seconds.
  • Over medium eggs are cooked a little longer, about 30-60 seconds after flipping, to yield whites that are firm and yolks that are jammy, like soft-boiled eggs.

Over hard eggs are cooked even longer, about 2 minute after flipping, until egg yolks are firm and fully cooked through with a powdery, crumbly texture like hard-boiled eggs.

Find a quick and easy recipe for over easy eggs here.

How to Serve Fried Eggs

Once you’ve fried perfect eggs, you need a place to put them! Try fried eggs:

  • With buttered toast, seasoned with salt and pepper, and topped hot sauce or ketchup.
  • On fried potatoes, sweet potatoes, or hash browns.
  • In a grain bowl with farro or quinoa and your favorite veggies.
  • Over buttered jasmine, basmati, or brown rice.
  • On kimchi fried rice.
  • In Eggs Benedict, in place of the usual poached eggs
  • On a warm corn tortilla with salsa verde, queso fresco, cilantro, and hot sauce.
  • In a sandwich, such as a BLT.
  • With a side of bacon, ham, or sausage.