11/04/2011 11:18 am ET Updated Aug 31, 2012

How To Make Sunny Side Up Eggs

For 60 years, The Culinary Institute of America has been setting the standard for excellence in professional culinary education. In this video series, experienced chefs and educators show you how to tackle essential cooking techniques.

Watch this video to learn how to cook sunny-side-up eggs with the proper degree of heat and pan movement.

Video Transcript

I'm Chef Scott Swartz from the Culinary Institute of America, and I'm going to show you this kitchen basic: how to make a sunny side up egg.

Whenever I prepare a sunny side up egg, I like to crack it into a bowl first, because one of the things that makes that sunny side special is keeping the yolk whole. I crack it on the counter because I find that by cracking it on the counter, you don't push the shell into the egg. So we crack it gently on the counter, and then we break our egg.

The other thing you can do is you can look for the quality of your egg by seeing the chalaza, the white cord on top of the egg. That shows us the egg is very fresh, and we want the freshest eggs possible -- especially for an egg that's going to be sunny side up, because the quality of the yolk is going to be very important.

I start with a nonstick pan and turn it on a medium to medium low heat. I'm going to add some whole butter to it, partially so it won't stick to the pan, but also for flavor - if you want to do it a little lower fat, you can use a nonstick spray.

With a sunny side up egg, or an over easy egg, you actually do not want them to turn brown. So we want to do them on a little lower heat, a little more gently, so that we don't brown our eggs at all. Browning our eggs is a sign of overcooking. I'm going to gently add my eggs to the pan, season them immediately, and adjust my heat so I get just a little bit of bubble on my eggs, but they're not frying and bubbling too hot. What that would do is brown my egg white, and result in a tougher, chewier finished product.

I'm looking for the beginning of the bubbles here, and that's telling me I've got good heat. When I'm cooking this I'm looking for it to be able to slide along the bottom of the pan, which tells me that it's not sticking. if it does stick a little, I just gently nudge it with my spatula.

I'm looking for my egg white to be fully cooked. If my white is starting to get cooked and my yolk isn't, I can take this plate and cover it for about thirty seconds, which will create a little bit of steam and allow the rest of my egg white to cook. Then when I remove that, my egg white is fully cooked, my yolks are nicely firm, and now we'll take it and slide it out onto the plate. You can take your spatula and tip it just underneath - and there you go, you've got a perfect sunny side up egg.