Here's Why Your Fried Eggs Look Like Plastic

If you're like the 65 percent of Americans that like to eat eggs at breakfast (according to a survey conducted by OnePoll for Sabra), you're in luck, because there are plenty of ways to prepare the golden orbs (via FoodNavigator). Or perhaps you're even like Giada De Laurentiis and only eat them for lunch or supper, per Food & Wine. Either way, the options are truly endless, but some of the most common ways to make them include scrambled, over easy, sunny side-up, hard-boiled, and fried. While none of these cooking methods are particularly difficult, some are trickier than others. 

Take fried eggs, for instance. While they only require one ingredient (eggs, obviously), they take a little more technique and attention to detail than you might realize. A broken yolk is one of the biggest mistakes people make when cooking fried eggs, but another common complaint is that the eggs come out looking waxy. What is giving your fried eggs that unappetizing plastic appearance? It's due to how you're cooking them and fortunately, it's an easy faux pas to correct.

You're overcooking your eggs

Plastic-looking fried eggs are so common among home cooks that there have been numerous Reddit threads created just to discuss the issue. According to commenters, the reason your eggs are getting that not-so-appealing sheen is that you're overcooking the eggs. One person explains that this is because egg whites are a natural polymer (plastic is a man-made polymer). Medium breaks down the science behind why eggs look plasticky when overcooked, describing how high heat causes the water in the egg to evaporate and the proteins to unravel. The result? A "tightly knit gel" of proteins that turns your eggs into rubber. Yuck.

To prevent this, Southern Living recommends using either low or medium heat on the stove, but never high heat. They note that over medium heat, the eggs should take about three to four minutes to be cooked through. Any longer and you risk crispy, chewy egg whites and a chalky yolk.