How To Make The Perfect Fried Egg

How to make a perfect fried egg explains a tried-and-true method will give you a perfectly cooked egg sunnyside up with a fully cooked white and soft yolk every single time. Includes how long to cook it.

A perfect fried egg in a small black skillet.

How to make the perfect fried egg explains how long to cook an egg sunnyside up and at exactly what heat for a soft, runny yolk and tender whites that aren’t overcooked or crunchy at the edges. And the method used is sorta brilliant. In fact, it’s incredibly brilliant.–David Leite

☞ Contents

The Perfect Egg

A perfect fried egg in a small black skillet.
Ever wondered how to make a perfect fried egg every single time? Here's how.

Prep 4 minutes
Cook 1 minute
Total 5 minutes
1 servings
89 kcal
4.80 / 5 votes
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  • 1/2 teaspoon unsalted butter or olive oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • Heat a small cast-iron or nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add the butter or oil and swirl it to coat the skillet. Immediately crack the egg into the skillet. Add the water to the pan, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook for 1 minute.
  • Remove the egg from the pan immediately. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.
Print RecipeBuy the Mad Hungry: Feeding Men and Boys cookbook

Want it? Click it.

Show Nutrition

Serving: 1eggCalories: 89kcal (4%)Carbohydrates: 0.4gProtein: 6g (12%)Fat: 7g (11%)Saturated Fat: 2g (13%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0.02gCholesterol: 186mg (62%)Sodium: 110mg (5%)Potassium: 69mg (2%)Sugar: 0.2gVitamin A: 270IU (5%)Calcium: 28mg (3%)Iron: 1mg (6%)

#leitesculinaria on Instagram If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We’d love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.


#leitesculinaria on Instagram If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.


  1. Wow, looks good, I’ll try it next time I cook eggs. However, since I know another way to cook a perfect fry egg, I’d like to share it with whoever chances to land here.

    Put a cast iron -or non-stick- skillet over high heat. Add olive oil, enough so the egg will halfway float aided by the heat bubbles when you drop it, somewhere around one finger deep. Let it warm till it’s hot, but not too hot. You can drop a clove or two of garlic (unpeeled) if you like the scent, the oil should be ready when the garlic trembles. Then crack the egg in. You can shake it a few times with a skimmer (or whatever similar utensil you use) to ensure it won’t stick (although it shouldn’t) and so the waves of oil over the yolk will cook it slightly, depending on your taste. (I personally don’t like overdoing the yolk.) In perhaps 20 to 30 seconds total, during which you can salt to taste, the egg should be ready, although really the point is when the crispy ripples on the outside of the white are golden. Then remove and serve. If properly done, the white is silken but not raw and bits of it crispy and the yolk, although perhaps covered in a film less luscious looking than in the picture, is nevertheless just a bit thicker than raw, perfect for dipping.

    Alternatively, I heard that at a restaurant famed for their fried eggs, they fried them one after another in a tall pot full of oil and retrieved the ready eggs as they floated back to the top.

    1. Joe M, you had me rapt as I read your comment. I love fried eggs and, as such, am intrigued by your description. I shall be trying this technique quite soon. Perhaps as a midnight nosh…thank you!

  2. Okay, David, I’ve always wanted to cook the perfect egg. Is perfection in the taste of the beholder?

  3. 5 stars
    Just perfect! Simple and easy. I will never forget this technique. What have I been doing to eggs all this time? I love Leite’s.

  4. 5 stars
    How simple and how good is this way to cook eggs! Every Sunday night I cook a rosti with par-boiled grated potatoes and leftovers and eggs on top, with a bit of salad on the side. The eggs crisp too much on the bottom while I wait for the tops to cook. It never occured to me to cook eggs this way until I read your email. Tried it, and the result was perfect. Thanks so much for your website and the time and dedication you put towards it and sharing so many great recipes. Recipes of yours have become family favourites. Now, how do I make the perfect poached egg?! Regards, Cheryl

    1. It’s been a long time, but…

      While I never tried it myself—never even poached an egg—I saw a cook on TV do the following and produce beautiful poached eggs. Into his pot with boiling water he threw a short dash of vinegar, then stir the water vigorously and as it was making a whirlpool, cracked an egg in, and soon removed it. Then stirred again, add another egg. The whirling water made the egg stay together round, somewhat resembling a boiled egg yet the white was filmy and not in a chunk. Perhaps the vinegar helped there.

      1. Years ago I watched Julia Child use a very similar technique with one egg at a time. Keep cooked eggs warm in slightly heated water.
        Don’t stop to take a phone call.

      2. Joe M, I’m with you on preferring frying to poaching when it comes to eggs. I have actually tried the method you just described, and while it didn’t work quite so magically in terms of appearance, I think perhaps I just need a little practice. Thank you for the reminder. Anyone else perfected this little poaching trick?

        1. Yes, I don’t mess around with that vinegar or swirling nonsense, and I also don’t have to cook them one at a time. My trick is to take a very fine strainer and crack the egg into it, then run the lowest pressure water I can in the spray mode over the egg to wash away all of the loose white. I load them into small juice glasses so that I can lower them into the pot of almost boiling water slowly and slide them out. They may sink to the bottom and create a flat spot, but that’s not the worst thing if you’re going to be making eggs Benedict or something. After they start to firm up, I flip them over to make sure they’re even, drain them on a paper towel, and you’re ready to serve.

        2. I’m sorry for your eggs. My memory failed me a bit, I just saw it but haven’t tried it myself. I found the recipe online and the process is a bit different. You stir the boiling water with a beater, then add all the eggs and turn down the heat to minimum.

  5. This is true. I do this with my one egg-size Le Crueset pan (orange exterior, white ceramic interior.) I learned this by error one day, while cooking something else, in a “disaster” kitchen (you know the kind). I had nowhere else to park a lid from the soup pot while I stirred. On my egg the lid went. It had some moisture from the soup, and started sizzling, so I turned its heat off but left it while I stirred. Well, what’s the saying? The mother of invention. Something. I used to think I was going to have to poach ONE egg. Nope!

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