How to Prepare to Fry an Egg and Prevent a Mess

Categories: How To

Photos by John Kiely
These eggs are going to get fried, and not just for breakfast.

I am not going to tell you how to fry an egg. If you can spell it "egg" instead of "eg," then you can fry an egg. No, this is about the preparation to fry an egg, to make it easier to do in the morning when you may have ten other things going on while you cook breakfast, and to make cleanup easier.

1. Get an Egg Pan

A skillet with a non-stick surface gets great results and is easy to clean, but many of them are flimsy aluminum models with bad heat retention. I'll highly recommend the Calphalon 1390 ten-inch skillet, with a heavy disk of conducting metal on the bottom. The pan costs $30 at Target, but even the finest non-stick coating rarely lasts more than three years, so think of it as leasing a skillet for $10 a year.

Check out the heat disk on the bottom. The handle is comfortable and insulated.

Cast-iron skillets work beautifully, but they're heavy and high-maintenance, and there's a supertaster in my house who can taste the iron, and hates it.

2. Buy The Right Eggs

Sun-Up brand large eggs in the yellow carton are common in Houston. They are produced by Cal-Maine, the company that sells pricier red-stamped Eggland's Best.

A mass-produced brown egg is neither tastier nor healthier than a white egg. The only difference in taste would come from the way the eggs are raised. I've had some free-range chicken eggs that were noticeably tastier than regular eggs, but I'm not that particular.

Some urbanites are raising chickens in their backyards to get "yard eggs". In fact, I received some yard eggs from a co-worker. They were more delicious than store eggs, and their yolks had a deep-yellow color. However, six of them had those tiny black spots on the yolk and one of the 12 eggs was fresh but nasty -- no telling what kind of worm (or worse) the chicken ate before laying that stinker.

3. Preheat the Pan

I turn the heat to medium to start with, and put a splash of water in the pan. When the water boils, the pan is hot enough for eggs. This keeps the pan from overheating, which can result from the non-stick coating peeling off a few days later.

When the water boils, the pan is hot enough.

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FattyFatBastard topcommenter

Another nice trick for sunny side up eggs is to cover the pan and allow the steam to cook the top part of the eggs.  This keeps the egg whites cooked and the yolks nice and runny.

Wade Woodard
Wade Woodard

Ignore the expiration date on carton of eggs.  Instead look for the 3 digit Julian Date, which is when eggs were washed, graded and placed in carton (which was also probably the day they were laid).  Julian code Jan 1 is 001 and Dec 31 is 365.

Wade Woodard
Wade Woodard

@johnnybench the USDA allows 45 days past Julian date as expiration.  Fresher are better with the inner white tighter to the yolk.

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