Fried eggs form a delicious part of many meals; they don’t just have to be for breakfast. For example, many people like to slap a fried egg on top of a hamburger. They’re also a popular topping for ramen noodles, and it’s not hard to understand why. They’re hot and savory, with a runny yolk that coats your noodles with gooey goodness.
That said, there’s an art to making a fried egg. Undercook it, and you end up with a raw white – and a potential case of salmonella. Overcook it, and your yolk cooks solid all the way through. Here’s how to fry a perfect egg to go on top of your noodles.
How to Make a Perfect Fried Egg – 5 Easy Steps
There are many ways to fry an egg, but most people like their ramen eggs sunny side up. The yolk sits on top of the white, and remains mostly liquid when the egg is finished. We broke the cooking process down into five simple steps. Let’s walk through each one.
1. Heat the Pan
Start by putting your pan on the burner on high heat. Let it sit for a minute or two until the pan comes up to temperature. You can test this by getting your fingers wet and flicking some water onto the pan. If the skillet is hot enough, the droplets should boil away almost instantly. When that happens, you’re ready to start cooking.
2. Add Oil
Even with a non-stick pan, you’re going to want to add some oil. This is essential for creating the crispy edges you want on a good fried egg. That said, you don’t want your egg to be drowning in oil. A single tablespoon of light vegetable oil will do the trick. At this point, reduce the heat to medium-low.
3. Add Your Egg… Slowly
One of the toughest things about making fried eggs is getting a clean, round shape, instead of splattering egg white all over the pan. To do this, crack your egg into a small bowl or a deep saucer. Then, gently transfer it from the bowl to the pan. This will keep it as close to round as possible, so it will cook more evenly.
4. Add Water and Cover
Let your egg cook until it’s turned white around the edges. At that point, add a tablespoon of water to the pan, and cover it as securely as possible to trap any steam. Leave the egg covered until the white is completely solid.
5. Remove and Serve
While the yolk is still runny, remove the egg from the pan. Now comes the fun part: serving it up. All by itself, a fried egg makes a good addition to many ramen recipes. You can make your egg on one burner while you prepare your noodles on the other. It won’t take any extra time, and you’ve given your ramen a big boost of flavor, texture, and nutrients.
But why stop there? You can add some veggies, make your own sauce, and mix in your own spices to create a unique meal.
Eggs are the perfect topping for ramen; we’d argue they’re almost a necessity. Check out our list of favorite ramen toppings here.
And if you’re looking for your new favorite instant ramen flavor, Mike’s Mighty Good has a variety of craft ramen packets and cups, from spicy pork tonkotsu that’s reminiscent of a ramen bar to vegan kimchi for our plant-based fam.
Over Easy or Over Hard
The instructions we just gave were for standard sunny side up eggs. That’s the most popular type of egg for ramen, since you have plenty of runny yolk for your noodles. But some people prefer an egg that’s a little bit more thoroughly cooked. In that case, you can prepare your eggs over easy or over hard.
Start the same way you would for sunny side up eggs, but use two tablespoons of oil instead of one. When the outsides of the whites turn solid, flip them over. Do this briskly but gently, so as not to pop open the yolk. Leave the egg in this position for about a minute for eggs over easy, with a thicker, gooier yolk. Leaving it for around three minutes will create eggs over hard, with a firm yolk similar to a hard boiled egg.
Tips for Making the Best Fried Eggs
So far, we’ve focused on the method for cooking your eggs. But there are other important factors that go into making a great fried egg. Here are a few tips to getting the best results.
- Fresher eggs are better – In the US, it can be hard to get your hands on farm fresh eggs. Unless you raise your own chickens or have access to a local farmstand, you’re probably out of luck. Even so, use the freshest possible eggs – the ones with the latest expiration date. Fresher eggs have a firmer membrane around the yolk, which makes it less likely to break while you’re preparing it.
- Choose your oil wisely – Different oils will get different results when you’re frying. Darker oils like olive oil and avocado oil can be delicious, but they have a low smoke point that makes them unsuitable for use at high temperatures. Lighter vegetable oils work better, because of their higher smoke point. Butter is another popular choice, but be careful not to use salted butter for ramen eggs. There’s already more than enough salt in your ramen’s spice packet.
- Choose the right pan – If you’re making a single bowl of ramen, a small, 8-inch skillet will be more than enough for your one or two eggs. You can fit three or four eggs on a larger, 12-inch skillet. For larger batches, you’ll need to use a griddle. As for the type of pan, cast iron is preferred for its excellent heat retention properties. Nonstick pans are easier to work with, but tend to have worse heat retention. The exception to this is enameled cast iron, which is the best of both worlds.
Other Ways to Prepare Ramen Eggs
Who says your ramen eggs have to be fried? Depending on your recipe, you can prepare your eggs several different ways. Before we wrap up, let’s discuss a few of these possibilities.
When it comes to ramen noodles, it’s tough to go wrong with egg drop. Scramble your egg, then dribble it into the pot right before your noodles finish cooking. It’s worth noting that traditional Chinese egg drop soup is made primarily with egg whites, with approximately two whites for each yolk. Here's a recipe for cheesy egg drop ramen.
Poached eggs are another popular choice, because they’re convenient. The lazy among us can just crack an egg and dump it into their noodle broth while it’s cooking. However, the egg can get battered around by the noodles, and your broth will taste like egg. It’s best just to poach your egg in a separate container, then add it to your completed ramen bowl.
Hard boiled eggs are delicious in their own right, and can be sliced or chopped and spread over your noodles. Another nice thing about hard boiling your eggs is their fridge life. You can make a dozen of them at a shot and keep them in your fridge. Then, add them to your ramen whenever you like.
Soft boiled eggs are similar to hard boiled eggs, but with a yolk that’s still gooey. You can even eat the top off one, then use the yolk-filled bottom as a dipping cup for your noodles. If you haven’t tried it, you should; it’s delicious! Soft boiled eggs will last for about a week in the fridge, so they can also be stored and used later. You just can’t expect the kind of fridge life you’d get from hard boiled eggs.
A fried egg is a quick, easy way to add protein to your ramen bowl. It’s crispy on the bottom, runny on the inside, and combines well with many other types of topping. It’s no wonder so many people like to top their ramen with one or two delicious fried eggs.
Need a ramen recipe to add a fried egg to? Check out the ones below: