The Freezer Trick For Perfectly Runny Fried Eggs

A perfectly cooked, runny fried egg is a work of art on a breakfast plate. From the set (though not rubbery) white to the luscious, still-liquid yolk, it's a taste and textural pleasure. Still, as home cooks know, it can be easier said than done. But one easy trick may revolutionize your next sunny-side-up breakfast.

Chef Michael Gallina creates his fried eggs by first freezing them (still in their shells) for at least two days and then thawing them before use. He tells The Kitchn this process leaves the white unaffected but produces a "gel-like" texture in the yolk that he calls "egg butter." They're then fried as usual, with the yolk gently warmed by basting with butter or other fat from the pan. The science behind the technique stems from the water and proteins that make up the egg yolk. When frozen, the water forms ice crystals, which permanently alter the proteins around them. Even when thawed and cooked, these modified proteins maintain a distinctive texture, which can almost take on a sauce-like character. 

Other egg-frying considerations

Home cooks should exercise some caution when taking advantage of this hack. Eggs frozen in shells can sometimes burst, resulting in a mess when defrosted. Some, like The Pioneer Woman, suggest cracking eggs into muffins or ice trays, or similar receptacles and covering them before freezing to reduce this risk.

This isn't the only hack for the best-fried eggs of your life. Simple tricks like using a quality nonstick pan can dramatically improve your egg game, as can pairing olive oil with butter in the cooking process for extra color and crispy edges. On the flip side, you should also avoid the big mistakes everyone makes when frying eggs. These include using old eggs, which thin out more than new ones, and starting with a pan that's too hot (cooking the yolk before the whites set) or too cold (allowing them to spread too much before setting). However, with no special equipment or fancy techniques needed, lovers of a delicious runny egg should keep their freezer in mind the next time they plan breakfast.