nest egg

Fried egg

A fried egg is an egg (usually that of a chicken) cooked by frying, typically in bacon fat, butter, cooking oil, margarine or olive oil for the purpose of eating. The term "fried eggs" usually refers to eggs prepared so that the yolk is not broken; thus scrambled eggs, while technically fried, are not referred to as such.


Fried eggs are popular in North America, Australia, New Zealand, Philippines, United Kingdom, France, Colombia and Ireland, where they are normally regarded as a breakfast food.

UK and Ireland

Fried eggs are commonly regarded as breakfast food, sometimes served on toast, or in a sandwich, often with bacon or sausages. It is also an essential part of the full breakfast commonly eaten in Britain and Ireland. Fried eggs are often served with ham or gammon steak as a popular pub grub meal. They are almost always cooked "sunny side up", though the term is not used locally.

North America

North Americans may choose among the following methods:

  • 'Over well', — cooked on both sides until the yolk has solidified
  • 'Over hard', also called 'hard' — cooked on both sides until the yolk has solidified.
  • 'Over medium' — cooked on both sides; the yolk is of medium consistency and the egg white is thoroughly cooked.
  • 'Over easy', also called 'runny' — cooked on both sides; the yolk is a thin liquid, while the egg white is partially cooked. This is occasionally called 'sunny side down.' These are also commonly referred to as 'dippy eggs' or 'dip eggs' by Marylanders and by Pennsylvania Dutch persons living in southern Pennsylvania, mainly due to the practice of dipping toast into the yolk while eating. Also called 'treasure eggs' in southwestern Pennsylvania.
  • 'Sunny side up' — cooked only on one side; yolk is liquid (the oil or fat may be used to baste the sunny side, however.) The egg white is often still rather runny as well. This is often known simply as 'eggs up'. Covering the frying pan with a lid throughout cooking allows for a less "runny" egg.
  • Another style known simply as 'Fried' - eggs are fried on both sides with the yolks broken until set or hard. These are common in fried egg sandwiches and in Asian cuisine.

Spain and Latin America

A single sunny-side-up egg served over white rice is a popular side-dish eaten at lunch time in Latin American countries. In Spain, it is served with tomato sauce and called Arroz a la Cubana. In Brazil, a runny egg placed over a steak with a side dish of rice and black beans is called a Bife à Cavalo, literally "Horse-Riding Steak". A similar dish, with the name Bife a Caballo in Spanish, is also common in Argentina and Uruguay with fried potatoes and salad replacing the beans and rice. In Mexico, a popular breakfast starts with fried eggs and a fresh tomato, onion and cilantro salad. Red chile is optional, or a blender style sauce.


The Russian version of fried eggs is called yaichnitsa (яичница). Multiple eggs are cracked into a saucepan or frying pan and cooked without flipping. The whites flow together and individual portions (one or more yolks surrounded by white) are divided up after the whole pan-full has cooked.


Fried eggs with ham, sometimes with salad, is a popular western-style breakfast item in Japan. It is usually seasoned at the table with soy sauce or "sosu" (fruity Japanese Worcestershire sauce), depending on the preference of the diner.


Fried eggs are served atop the croque madame (distinguishing it from the croque monsieur), and also sometimes on other foods such as pizza and steak haché, in which case it is referred to as oeuf à cheval (literally "egg on horseback").


In Korea it is common to put a fried egg on top of a dish known as bibimbap (mountain vegetables over rice, usually with a spicy pepper sauce). However, it is more common to see fried eggs as side dish with rice.

South East Asia

Nasi goreng, one of the most popular dishes in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore, is often served with a fried egg. A fried egg served over white rice, topped with a dab of oyster or hoisin sauce, is also popular in east Asia. Fried eggs are also sometimes used in a Vietnamese breakfast roll.


In the Philippines, fried eggs are often cooked like a sunny side egg but the yolk is half cooked by sprinkling with salt and oil on it while being fried giving it a distinctive pink colored membrane. It is served in the morning with garlic rice and a choice of breakfast meat such as beef tapa, longaniza, fried milkfish, dried fish, tocino (caramelised pork), Spam, or corned beef. In addition, fried eggs are eaten in a dish called arroz a la Cubana, seasoned ground beef with raisins, cubed potatoes, tomato sauce, and olives, along with white rice and fried ripe plantains.


In India, fried eggs, usually referred to as "poached eggs," are sometimes known as omlette or bullseyes as a reference to "bullseye" targets. They are commonly served alone or as accompaniment to a variety of dishes including appam, dosa, paratha etc. Bullseyes are commonly prepared over pans smeared with a variety of oils such as coconut oil and palm oil. During or after the frying stage, they are sometimes sprinkled lightly with condiments such as black pepper, chili powder, green chilis and salt. Bullseyes are a common street vendor dish in South India. Some restaurants also refer to them as Egg Fry (over hard) or Egg 'Half Fry' (sunny side up).


This dish is made by covering the bottom of a heavy sauté pan with a few tablespoons of some sort of fat (cooking oil, margarine, butter, bacon fat, etc.). While the oil is heating, a drinking glass is used to ream a circle out of a slice of plain bread with a good crust. When the oil is hot, the bread is added and the heat lowered. The bread is browned and flipped and an egg is broken into the center and sprinkled with salt, fresh black pepper and dried herbs. The pan is then covered and the egg is cooked until the white is just set.

In the American South and other parts of the English-speaking world, this concoction is often known as "egg in a basket", "egg in a window", "egg in a frame", "egg in a fram" or "toad in the hole", not to be confused with the sausage and Yorkshire pudding dish of the same name. In Australia it is sometimes known as a "square egg". It is often a breakfast favorite among children. In New Jersey and South Philadelphia, this may be known simply as "Alabama eggs" or "Alabama-Style Eggs" (despite not actually being commonly eaten in Alabama). In parts of Texas it is sometimes known as a "Popeye" or a "One-Eyed Egyptain Sandwich". In parts of Pennsylvania it is called "spit in the eye." In parts of Alaska it is sometimes known as "Midnight Sun." In parts of Russia it is sometimes known as "Australian Toast". This style is also referred to as a "nest egg," "nested egg," "framed egg" or "egg in the hat". Another variation is to stack two slices of bread and then cut a square out of the center of both and drop two eggs in, cooking thoroughly.

Other fried egg methods

The 1918 Fannie Farmer cookbook says that fried eggs should be cooked on one side and then have molten fat spooned over the tops. An egg cooked this way is sometimes called a "basted" egg, but that can also refer to adding a small amount of water and covering the pan, in order to steam the top side.


'Sunny side up' eggs have experienced a decline in popularity as fears of salmonella poisoning have become more prevalent. Some restaurants have added legal disclaimers to their menus, warning against eating undercooked eggs. (In some of the United States, such as Michigan, this disclaimer is required to be present for all restaurants serving eggs.)

Other meanings

The term "fried egg" may also refer to:

  • The ball landing in a sand bunker in golf, with at least half the ball under the level of the sand.

See also

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