An over-easy eggs on toast is a simple breakfast treat, but these eggs are equally at home atop a bed of rice, a burger, or even a piece of pizza. Finding that sweet spot where the whites are fully cooked but the yolk is still nice and runny isn’t difficult — you’ll just need to learn how to perfect it.
First, you’ll need the right pan, and that pan is a nonstick pan with sloped sides. Unless you have the most seasoned cast iron pan known in all the lands and are particularly skilled in the cooking-eggs department, a nonstick pan is going to make this much easier.
Next, throw at least a tablespoon of butter in there, rub it all around, and heat the pan on low. Once the butter is done with its dramatic foaming, it’s time to add your egg. You can crack yours directly in the pan, but others, like Alton Brown, like to crack them into a ramekin first for more control over where the egg goes. The choice comes down to preference.
Place the egg along the edge of the pan that is furthest from you, then tilt it away from your body to keep the white from running everywhere. If you need extra help keeping that white in place, enlist a silicone spatula to gently put it back where it needs to be.
Once the egg white has settled down and learned its place (this takes about seven to 10 seconds), lower the pan back down and let the egg cook until the whites are opaque and just set (about a minute). Give the egg a few nudges with your spatula to make sure it can slide around with ease, then flip. You can do this with a thin, silicone spatula by gently sliding it under the egg while tilting the pan then, in one smooth, quick motion turning the egg yolk-side down in the pan. If you’ve never done this before, you could definitely break a yolk or two trying to perfect your flip game. That’s OK. These broken yolks are still edible and very tasty.
You can also flip the egg using only the pan by quickly moving the pan away from you and snapping the far edge upward. This also takes some practise, but once you master this sexy move, you will never look back. Once the egg is flipped, let it hang out for another seven to 10 seconds, then slide it onto a plate, piece of toast, burger, or any other food you think would benefit from a perfectly cooked over-easy egg.
This is part of The Grown-Up Kitchen, Lifehacker’s series designed to answer your most basic culinary questions and fill in any gaps that may be missing in your home chef education.
This article has since been updated since its original publication.