clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The Secret to Fried Eggs With Still-Runny Yolks

Because you deserve better than mini hockey pucks

Jaya Saxena is a Correspondent at, and the series editor of Best American Food Writing. She explores wide ranging topics like labor, identity, and food culture.

This post originally appeared in the April 10, 2023 edition of The Move, a place for Eater’s editors and writers to reveal their recommendations and pro dining tips — sometimes thoughtful, sometimes weird, but always someone’s go-to move. Subscribe now.

The crispy fried egg is the backbone of my at-home lunches. It is a half step up from a regular fried egg, done over high heat and basted with oil, that feels a tiny bit chef-y even if I’m still in my pajamas when I cook one. My spouse and I, who both typically work from home, have had lots of opportunities to experiment with just how many ways one can eat a crispy egg — over rice, with roasted vegetables, in tortillas, or doused in any variety of sauces and condiments. But recently, they came to me having thought of a new technique for the egg itself, which resulted in not only a crispy lace of whites but a perfectly runny yolk. It turns out we should have been separating our fried eggs all along.

My spouse got the idea when they realized that, though the crispy egg is delicious, the high heat does risk giving you a pretty done yolk if you’re not careful, rather than one that oozes over rice or potatoes. But we soon found it is a known technique — specifically, The Practical Kitchen says to separate the whites from the yolk for a fried egg with a runny yolk. Regular fried eggs too often leave you with floppy whites when the whites could be a great vehicle for texture. The separated crispy egg is essentially a perfect combination of a regular crispy egg and an over-easy one.

To make a separated crispy egg, first, separate the egg and the yolk into two bowls. Heat a pretty generous amount of neutral oil in a pan or wok (no scant tablespoon here) until it’s roaring hot, and pour the egg white in. Tip the pan so the oil pools to one side, and baste the egg white with a spoon until it’s bubbling and the edges are deep brown and crispy. Then, add the yolk into the center, basting it again once or twice until it is just set.

Of course, the separated crispy egg works on anything you’d already eat a differently prepared fried egg on, whether that’s toast or over a crisp salad. But to me, its magic is that it allows the egg to exhibit all its best textural possibilities at once. It’s crispy and runny and rich and charred, for just a smidge more effort than your standard frying method.