Can someone please give an explanation of different egg preparations?

  • When we go to a restaurant for breakfast and order eggs, we are often asked how we want them. I have a handful of ways that I will eat them (I often prefer over-medium) and I am sure there a large number of ways to prepare eggs I am unfamiliar with.

    I have a question then on the various technical definitions of these preparations if I were to go into the kitchen and prepare eggs for someone else. Sorry if this question is too open-ended such that it would require pages and pages for a proper response. Like a good start would be the difference in over-{insert proper word} preparations or distinctions between some of the more popular methods.

  • Fried Eggs:

    Sunny Side Up -- Not flipped, unbroken yolk. The top of the egg is just barely set.

    Basted -- Sunny Side Up, hot fat spooned over until the white surrounding the yolk is opaque.

    Over Easy / lite -- Flipped, whites fully cooked, unbroken yolk, yolk runny.

    Over medium -- flipped, whites fully cooked, unbroken yolk, yolk creamy (not completely runny).

    Over Medium Well -- Flipped, unbroken yolk, yolk cooked to have a firm but wet-appearing center.

    Over Hard -- Flipped, broken, fully-cooked yolk.

    Over Well -- Flipped, intact, fully-cooked yolk.

    Broken / Lightly Scrambled -- Broken in pan and gently stirred while cooking - yolk and whites should not be mixed entirely.

    Scrambled Eggs -- Made in many different ways. Generally the eggs are mixed in a bowl before being put into the pan, and often stirred while cooking. Some recipes add fat to the eggs in the form of milk, cream, butter, or oil. A distinction can be made between Wet/Loose or Dry, which refers to the degree of doneness.


    Filled Omelette -- Eggs mixed before cooking, possibly with added fat as in Scrambled Eggs. Cooked in fat in a saute pan; when set but the interior still wet, previously-cooked fillings (cheese, onions, mushrooms, peppers, tomatoes...) are added, and the eggs folded over into a half-moon shape.

    Spanish Omelette / Western Omelette -- Same as filled, but the egg mixture is poured over the fillings in a hot pan and cooked, thus incorporating the fillings into the egg.

    Fluffy Omelette -- Whites and yolks beaten separately. Yolks are gently folded into the whites without breaking the structure of the whites. Optional toppings are added. Cooked slowly in a pan, or baked (an electric frying pan with a lid works well for this preparation).

    French Omelette -- Cooked soft & creamy with no color on the egg. Omelette is folded 1/3 in the pan, knocked to the edge so it can be rolled out onto the plate. It ends up being folded into thirds and is very creamy and soft.


    Cooked in shell in water for a timed period. Some people will refer to degree of doneness by cooking time, i.e., a "3-minute egg" is soft-boiled with some runny white around the yolk. Some recipes call for eggs to be added to boiling water, others to be started in cold water. In the cold-water start, the pot may be left on the heat or removed when the water reaches a boil. The eggs may be shocked in ice water when removed.

    Soft -- Yolk runny, potentially with slight unset white around the yolk.

    Medium -- White completely set, yolk firm but with a dark, wet appearance.

    Hard -- Yolk completely set and pale yellow.


    Egg cooked, out of shell, in water, stock, or other liquid -- excluding fats or oils -- at a temperature in the range of 160-180˚F (70-82˚C). There are possible degrees of doneness, however the typical poached egg has a runny but warm and thickened yolk and fully-set white.


    An egg that has been very lightly cooked (poached eggs are sometimes considered coddled). This can either be accomplished with an egg coddler or cooking an egg in its shell with water that is slightly below boiling point.


    An egg cooked in an oven at the low-mid 300's˚F (~160˚C), contained in a ramekin, until the whites are just set and the yolk is runny but thickened. Often butter or another fat is placed on top before cooking.


    Very similar to shirred eggs, but the ramekin is covered with some aluminum foil and put in a steamer for 7-15 minutes.

    In a basket: Eggs fried in a hole made in a slice of bread

    It's community Wiki. Feel free to edit it in.

    Wonderful start! That should help tremendously in case I ever have to cook for a crowd.

    Very nice answer. +1.

    My grandfather used to call what you have as 'Lightly Scrambled' as 'Silver and Gold' (crack eggs into the pan, give the whites a few seconds to set up, then scramble it ... he wouldn't eat regular scrambled eggs after his time w/ powdered eggs in the Army)

    Re poached eggs I have found being very specific as to whether it is soft, medium or well cooked is best. For instance if you want soft yolk and no runny white ask for medium, most of the time this works.

    I've heard "in a basket" also called "toad in the hole", but it seems that's a different dish in Great Britain.

    You should prepare each kind, and provide pictures in here. :) Until then, I'll try to find pictures from online when I get the chance.

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Content dated before 6/26/2020 9:53 AM