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Eggs, sunny side up, frying in a pan.
Fried eggs are traditionally eaten for breakfast in English-speaking countries, but may be eaten at other times of the day in other cultures.

Fried eggs are distinguished from other forms of eggs cooked in a frying pan, such as scrambled eggs and omelettes, in that the white and yolk are kept distinct rather than beaten or mixed together.

Regional adaptations or peculiarities

UK and Ireland

This traditional full English breakfast includes bacon, fried egg, grilled tomatoes, fried mushrooms, fried bread, baked beans and sausages.
Fried eggs are sometimes served on toast, or in a sandwich, often with bacon, sausages,or a variety of condiments. 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. The egg is cooked on a slow heat as hot fat is splashed onto the top of the egg. This results in a custard-like yolk with a cooked surface.

North America

North Americans use many different terms to describe fried eggs, including:
  • A style known simply as fried — eggs are fried on both sides with the yolks broken until set or hard.
  • Over well, also called over hard or 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. "Over easy" fried eggs are also commonly referred to as dippy eggs or dip eggs by Marylanders and by Pennsylvania Dutch persons living in southern Pennsylvaniamarker, mainly due to the practice of dipping toast into the yolk while eating.
  • Sunny side up — cooked only on one side; yolk is liquid; the egg white is often still a bit runny as well. This is often known simply as eggs up. Gently splashing the hot cooking oil or fat on the sunny side uncooked white, i.e., basting, may be done to thoroughly cook the white. Covering the frying pan with a lid during cooking (optionally adding a cover and half-teaspoon of water just before finishing) allows for a less "runny" egg, and is an alternate method to flipping for cooking an egg over easy (this is occasionally called sunny side down).

Spain and Latin America

A single runny egg served over white rice is a popular side-dish eaten at lunch time in some 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 a 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. In Chile a fried egg forms part of the dish lomo a lo pobre, Chorrillana, etc

Russia, Belarus, Ukraine

Two dishes commonly eaten in Russia are known as glazoyn'ja ( ) (sunny side up) and omlet ( ) (omelet). A generic term for both dishes is yaichnitsa ( ), ( ). Another way of preparation is to have multiple eggs 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 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 œuf à cheval (literally "egg on horseback").

The Netherlands

A Dutch uitsmijter spek en kaas: fried eggs with bacon and cheese
In the Netherlandsmarker, a fried egg (gebakken ei) is normally served on top of a slice of buttered bread (white or whole wheat), often with fried bacon, for breakfast or lunch.

An uitsmijter is a dish consisting of two or three fried eggs, sunny side up, which have been fried together with ham and cheese (uitsmijter ham en kaas) or bacon and cheese (uitsmijter spek en kaas) and served on a few slices of bread accompanied by a small salad and/or pickled gherkins and pickled onions. It is a common lunch dish served in many cafés, lunch rooms and canteens in the Netherlands. Uitsmijter literally means "out-thrower", and it is also the Dutch word for a "bouncer". The Dutch name of this fried egg dish probably refers more to the fact that it is quickly made ("thrown out of the kitchen" so to speak) than that it has any connection to the similarly named doorman.


In India, fried eggs are sometimes known as bullseye, as a reference to "bullseye" targets, or poached eggs in eastern India. They are commonly served alone or as accompaniment to a variety of dishes including roti, dosa, or paratha. Bullseyes are commonly prepared over pans smeared with a variety of oils such as mustard oil and vegetable oil. During or after the frying stage, they are sometimes sprinkled lightly with condiments such as black pepper, chili powder, green chili and salt. Bullseyes are a common street vendor dish in South India and also known as "half-boil". Some restaurants also refer to them as "egg fry" (over hard) or "egg half fry" (sunny side up).


The Chinese fry the egg on both sides, often lightly salted or added soy sauce. It can also be garnished with sliced spring onion. It is called "lotus-wrapped egg"(literal meaning) or more correctly "purse(-like) egg"(荷包蛋; Pinying: he bao dan), and is commonly served as breakfast. Although it appears in lunch or dinner, scrambled eggs are more seen as a main course in meals.


Fried eggs of 'sunny side up' type are a popular breakfast item in Japan. It is often called (medamayaki), literally 'fried eye', supposedly comparing its yolk and white to the iris and the white of an eye.It is usually seasoned at the table with soy sauce or "sosu" (fruity Japanese Worcestershire sauce), or sometimes simply with salt, depending on the preference of the diner.


Eggs are fried in soybean/vegetable oil, sometimes with a sprinkle of salt. It is common to put a fried egg on top bibimbap (mountain vegetables over rice, usually with a spicy sauce). One easy-to-make meal that many students eat at home consists of a bowl of hot rice drizzled with a spoonful of gochujang and/or sesame oil with a fried egg on top.

Southeast Asia

Fried spam with rice and eggs is a common meal in the Philippines
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 Thai cuisine, the words khai dao (Which can roughly translate as "star egg") after the name of a dish, mean that one wants that dish accompanied by a fried egg. The very popular kraphao mu rat khao khai dao, for instance, translates to "basil fried pork on top of rice with a fried egg".

In the Philippines, fried eggs are often cooked like a sunny side egg but the yolk is half cooked by sprinkling it with salt and oil 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 à la Cubana, seasoned ground beef with raisins, cubed potatoes, tomato sauce, and olives, along with white rice and fried ripe plantains.

Variation -- Egg in the Basket

"Eggs in a basket"
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 or cookie cutter is used to ream a circle or other shape 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 Jerseymarker 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 Texasmarker it is sometimes known as a "Popeye" or a "one-eyed Egyptian sandwich". In parts of Pennsylvaniamarker it is called "spit in the eye." In parts of Utahmarker it is sometimes known as a "camel's eye". In parts of Alaskamarker it is sometimes known as "midnight sun." In parts of Massachusettsmarker it is sometimes known as "gas house eggs" or "egg in toast." In the 10th edition of the Boy Scout Handbook, they are referred to as "one-eyed jacks". In parts of Russia it is sometimes known as "Australian toast". This style is also referred to as a "nest egg", "nested egg", "egg in the nest", "framed egg", "egg in the hole", "ace in the hole" or "egg in the hat", certainly not "egg in the bread". 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, or have chosen to not offer the dish at all. (In some parts of the United States, such as Michiganmarker, this disclaimer is required to be present for all restaurants serving eggs.)

See also



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