The Simple Way To Ensure Your Sunny Side Up Eggs Cook Evenly Every Time

Whether you prefer them softly scrambled in butter, gently poached in olive oil, folded around fillings in an omelet, or used to bind vegetables in a frittata, there's no denying the deliciousness of that kitchen staple, the humble egg. As the center of a meal or worked into a baked good, eggs are an American favorite, with the average citizen consuming upwards of 280 per year, per Statista.

We're willing to bet that a good number of those 280 eggs per year are eaten fried, whether in butter, olive oil, or even in heavy cream. According to a YouGov poll asking nearly 1,300 American adults to weigh in on their favorite breakfast foods and beverages, 41% of respondents said that they preferred fried eggs of various types, whether sunny side up, over easy, or over medium.

With all the people out there frying eggs on a regular basis, you'd think it would be easy peasy. And yet fried eggs always seem to turn out with too-hard yolks or too-runny whites. Sound familiar?

Always fry eggs in a covered pan

Those of us who prefer sunny side up eggs know that a perfect specimen boasts firm whites and a still-runny yolk (via Jamie Oliver) — a feat that's more difficult to achieve than you might think. All too often, as America's Test Kitchen notes, a still-runny yolk means dealing with undercooked, gooey whites, while fully-cooked whites go hand-in-hand with a too-hard yolk reminiscent of a hard-boiled egg. This is due to the fact that while egg whites are fully-cooked at 180 degrees F, egg yolks will already be set by the time they reach 158 degrees F.

In order to get around this discrepancy in white and yolk cook times, the outlet recommends always using a lid when frying eggs. Doing so traps steam in the skillet, heating the eggs from both below and above, which helps the whites and yolks finish cooking at the same time. The only trick is to cook the egg until almost done, then turn off the heat and let carryover cooking take the eggs the rest of the way (while still lidded) to prevent either the whites or yolks from overcooking (via Simply Recipes). So the next time you're frying eggs at breakfast, make sure to grab a lid for delicious, evenly cooked sunnies.