The Egg Flipping Hack To Stop Broken Yolks Every Time

Fried eggs make a hearty breakfast and, when used to top a variety of other dishes like burgers and ramen, they're one of the most satisfying ways to cook eggs for dinner, too. But, when it comes to flipping them, that's not always so satisfying as anyone who's ended up with a disappointing broken yolk suddenly streaming across their pan can testify.

If that's a frequent scenario, you may want to step away from the spatula because there's another, better way. And it involves a utensil you already have in your kitchen: a pan lid. The method is quick, simple, and foolproof for perfect intact yolks every time.

Simply fry the egg in oil or butter as usual. After a couple minutes, when it's ready to flip, hold the pan above the lid and slide the egg into it. Then place the frying pan upside down over the lid while it still contains the egg, and flip the whole thing over again. The pan will be the right way round, with the egg flipped perfectly, and no mess or fuss.

The lid hack lets you flip multiple eggs at once

The other great thing about this hack is it's great for batch cooking. Unlike flipping eggs with a spatula, in which it can be tricky to turn more than one at a time without rupturing any and spilling the precious golden yolk, the beauty of the lid method is that you flip multiples all in one go. So it's a great trick when cooking brunch for a crowd or feeding the family.

You don't need to separate the fried eggs in the pan, either, so don't worry if the whites are joined together. Just slide the whole lot out into the lid at once. Then put the pan over the top, and flip to cook the other side of the eggs. Lightly spraying the lid with cooking spray first will ensure they don't stick, either, if you're nervous about that outcome.

This unique lid method can also be used for more than just cooking over-easy fried eggs. Try it when flipping omelets, which can otherwise sometimes be tricky to turn over without them folding or breaking. It can also be used to efficiently turn scrambled eggs, too.

More tricks for cooking over-easy eggs like a pro

Eggs have become the hero of breakfast dishes across the globe, but if you want to ensure the protein-packed superstars hit your plate with no breakages, there are some other tricks that can help. If you don't want to use a spatula to flip fried eggs, and don't have a lid handy, you could try the pan thrust method, just like tossing a pancake.

Favored by some professional chefs, it involves holding the pan with the fried egg at an angle, pointing downwards and away from you. Then with a flick of the wrist, thrust the same edge up again as the egg leaves the pan, and flip mid-air before you catch it again in the pan. This method only really works when cooking a single egg, and while fun, it can take a bit of practice to perfect.

If that sounds too stressful, you can also get perfect over-easy eggs without any flipping at all. This method also uses a pan lid. Just melt butter or oil in a pan, and begin to fry the eggs. Then add a couple of tablespoons of water into the pan (being careful not to directly pour onto the eggs) and quickly place a close-fitting lid over it. The steam created by the lid helps to form a thin film of egg white over the yolks, with no flip in sight. With these tips, over-easy couldn't be easier.

How to stop an egg breaking before it even hits the pan

While the pan lid technique makes flipping eggs a whole lot easier, sometimes, an egg can break before you even begin to cook. Cracking an egg straight into a hot pan only to see yolk immediately start to spread, scattered with bits of shattered shell, feels like a ruined breakfast before you've even got the day started. But luckily, there are some top tips to prevent a prematurely pierced yolk in the first place — and part of it relies on where you crack the egg.

Tapping an egg directly on the side of the pan is common but not the best method as it can cause the shell to break into multiple pieces, as well as increasing the chances of the yolk breaking. But, another method to crack with more confidence is to use a flat surface such as a kitchen counter or cutting board. Firmly tap the egg and then hold it over the skillet, and gently pull the shell apart before releasing the contents of the egg into the pan.

Alternatively, an even easier method is to crack the egg into another receptacle, such as a small bowl, cup, or ramekin, rather than directly into the pan. This makes it simple to remove any bits of shell that may have broken apart as well as reducing the risk of a broken yolk. Then simply slide the egg from the bowl into the pan from a low height.