You may think cooking eggs is easy, until you find that your eggs burn and stick to the pan. What are you doing wrong? Are you using the wrong pan, or is there something amiss with the eggs themselves?
Thankfully, it doesn't take too much work to solve this problem. You can enjoy nicely cooked eggs that don't stick to the pan as long as you follow the basic techniques to get this done.
Contrary to what you might hear, you don't need to use an expensive nonstick pan to deal with the problem. The secret lies in preparation and cooking, not necessarily in the pan you use.
Why Do My Eggs Keep Sticking to the Pan?
If you've ever prepared pastries, empanadas, or pie crusts, you may already know that you can use eggs to seal them. Eggs act like glue, which means they're naturally sticky.
When you cook eggs, their proteins bond chemically with the metal of your pan. You can only prevent this from happening by putting enough oil to cook the eggs. The layer of fat prevents the proteins of the eggs from sticking to the pan.
This is also how the nonstick coating of a pan works. It serves as a layer that prevents the proteins from getting attached to the pan's cooking surface.
How to Fry Eggs Without Sticking: 6 Tips
Here are some simple tips that will help you keep eggs from sticking to the pan:
1. Use Fresh Eggs
Eggs slump and slacken as they get old and lose their firmness. This doesn't mean that you have to throw older eggs away, but you should avoid frying, griddling, or poaching them. Instead, you can use older eggs for hard-boiling.
As an egg gets older, the air pocket under their shell expands, so they become easier to peel. This is something that's most noticeable when you hard-boil fresh eggs; the shell clings tightly to the egg, making it harder to peel off.
The white part of a fresh egg is compact and tight, and its yolk points upwards and straight. This is why the egg does not get all over the pan once you crack it open, and it also holds its shape when you poach it.
How do you know that an egg is fresh? The easiest way to check is with the water test.
Fill a glass or bowl with cold water and put the egg inside. An egg that sinks directly to the bottom and stays lying on its side is very fresh. If it sinks but stands on its end, it's older, but still fine to eat.
If an egg floats completely, that's your cue to discard it.
2. Whisk Your Eggs
Whisking is a crucial step in preparing scrambled eggs and omelets. It blends the yolk and the white parts of an egg, combining them for a temporary emulsion.
It's important to do this vigorously for a minute before pouring it into the pan. Ideally, I'd suggest using a whisk to add more air into the egg, but you can also use a fork or even a pair of chopsticks.
You have to whisk the egg until it has a uniform yellow color. This process helps so that you won't see flecks of white in your cooked egg. The point of whisking is to make the egg frothy by whipping air into it.
You have to whisk right before adding the scrambled eggs to the pan. This is the secret to cooking light, fluffy scrambled eggs or omelets. If you wait a while before cooking the whisked egg, you'll lose the air and froth, and the result will be flat and might stick to the pan.
3. Use the Right Frying Pan
While you should be able to make eggs properly in any frying pan, the type of cookware you use does play a role in how easy it'll be.
The safest choice to avoid eggs sticking is to use a nonstick pan. There are pans available in many sizes depending on the number of eggs you typically cook.
For example, an 8-inch pan can cook two eggs perfectly and have ample space on the sides so you can easily flip them. If you're cooking for just one person, you can buy a dedicated egg pan.
However, you can use other types of pans as well, including a cast-iron skillet. To prevent the eggs from sticking, you have to add enough oil and pre-heat the pan before cooking. Oil will prevent the eggs from moving, so they won't have a chance to bond with the cast iron pan.
4. Use Butter or Oil
Even if you're using a nonstick pan, you'll still want to add a little butter to the heated pan before you fry eggs. The fat will prevent the eggs from getting unevenly cooked or burnt. Without oil, your eggs might have a bland or dry texture.
However, if you're using a stainless steel pan, it is a must to add oil or butter before cooking. Make sure your pan is preheated before adding the oil. You can also season it to make it less sticky in the future.
We don't recommended using nonstick cooking spray since it can damage the cooking surface of some pans. You can use butter or coconut oil instead. Coconut oil is healthy in moderation, so you don't have to feel guilty about the amount of fat you're using.
Add more oil to the pan depending on the number of eggs you're cooking. Remember that your goal is to prevent the egg proteins from sticking to the pan, and oil will help.
Once you pour the scambled eggs in the heated pan and oil, allow one side to cook undisturbed before flipping. You'll will disturb the oil if you scrape the pan; this will result in certain parts of the egg touching parts of the pan without oil, so they will stick.
5. Preheat Your Pan
Your pan must be hot enough before putting butter or oil inside.
If you've ever placed butter into a pan that hasn't been preheated and it melted, so you put the eggs right away, you will notice that the eggs will remain in place without any noise.
It's very different when your pan is preheated before melting the butter. In this instance, the eggs will produce a sizzling sound and begin cooking right away after you've placed them in the pan.
You may be wondering why the butter melted if the pan was not hot enough. Well, the heat can melt the butter, but it's not enough to cook the eggs. Cooking the eggs this way will also result in the butter ending up on top of the eggs.
Without a layer of fat between the eggs and the pan, the eggs' proteins won't have a shield to will prevent them from sticking to the pan.
Always preheat your pan before melting the butter or adding oil.
6. Use the Right Temperature (Low to Medium Heat)
When cooking eggs, it's best not to use any heat above medium. This will help prevent them from burning and sticking to the cooking surface. The temperature your pan can handle will depend on its material.
For example, stainless steel tends to handle heat better than other pans. However, cooking on anything above low-medium will make your food stick.
With aluminum and Teflon-coated pans, you never want to overheat them, as there may be health concerns associated with the fumes they emit.
To be safe, always cook your eggs on low-medium heat.
Conclusion: Prevent Eggs from Sticking to the Pan
Before cooking your eggs, perform the basic steps to prevent sticking to the pan. Ensure that you have fresh eggs when cooking grilled, scrambled, or poached eggs. You can cook the older eggs hard-boiled because they peel easily. Use a nonstick pan if you have, or add enough oil to a metal or stainless-steel pan.
Also, make sure that you preheat the pan before adding the oil. Whisk the eggs only before putting them into the pan. Let each side cook without stirring before cooking the other side. Remember all these simple steps to have your eggs cooked perfectly all the time.