How to Make Your Best Omelet Yet
From French rolled omelets and fluffy diner-style egg pockets, to Japanese tamagoyaki and Spanish potato omelets, here’s your guidebook to navigating the egg-cellent world of omelets.
In Europe, it’s called an omelette; in the states, we drop the final letters. But no matter how you spell it, omelet is the word we’ve settled on for eggs that have been beaten and cooked into a fluffy, foldable, fillable meal. And whether you prefer your omelets for breakfast, as or as an easy supper, there’s plenty of ways to customize this simple, eggy treat.
Some omelets, especially ones prepared in the classic French style, have a reputation for being difficult to master, but as with all cooking skills, those omelet varieties just require practice. Trying out omelets beyond the half-folded, American-style ones can also expose you to flavor combinations that you haven’t already tried. But if you simply want to learn how to make an omelet at-home reminiscent of your favorite diner, there’s no shame in that either! Just follow our guide and soon you’ll be able to wow your housemates with restaurant-quality brunch without ever leaving the house.
Step One: Choose Your Eggs
As the saying goes, you can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs (unless, of course, you prefer liquid eggs or egg substitute). Before moving on to the other steps in this guide, decide whether you want your omelet to contain both egg yolk and whites, or if you’d prefer a lighter omelet made with whites only. Don’t crack open your eggs before choosing a recipe though, as some omelets may require you to separate the white from the yolk.
Of course, chicken eggs are the most common choices for omelets (and pretty much all egg meals in the US). If you have access to other types of eggs, however, like duck or quail, there’s certainly nothing stopping you from making an omelet using those. You may have to experiment some with the instructions for these recipes when using those alternative eggs, but the experimentation will be worth it for the chance to chow down on a duck egg omelet or to serve miniature, quail egg versions of the classic dish.
Step Two: Choose Your Cheese
Get the Recipes: Oven-Baked Omelet with Farmer’s Cheese, Cheeseburger Omelet, Ricotta Omelet with Swiss Chard, Greek Omelet with Feta, Veggie Omelet with Cream Cheese, Vegetable-Swiss Omelet, Southwestern Omelet with Cheddar
After figuring out which eggs will go most excellently in your finished recipe, you can move on to choosing your cheese. Pretty much any sort of cheese can go well in omelets, but some softer cheeses may need to be added later in the cooking process, or could even be added in directly with the eggs, rather than saved as a center filling. Cheese can also be used to adorn the top, or can of course be left out for those who’d prefer to skip it altogether.
Step Three: Choose Your Fillings
Get the Recipes: Persian Herb Omelet, The Big Easy Crawfish Omelet, Asparagus-Mushroom Omelet, Fresh Herb, Omelet, Potato Mushroom and Pesto Omelet, Chicken Liver Omelet, Vegetarian Bacon Omelet, Smoked Chops and Cheese Omelet, Garden Omelet, Moroccan Omelet, Oyster Omelet, Corn Omelet, Chicken and Gravy Omelet, Poke Omelet, Cajun Omelet with Shrimp
As usual, the filling stage is where cook’s are free to experiment and play with different flavors. Nearly anything can be used to fill an omelet, from familiar ingredients like sausage, ham, bacon, chicken, peppers, and mushrooms, to oysters and crawfish tail meat. If you want a fragrant and fresh take on the Persian New Year dish kookoo sabzi, you could mix a plentiful amount of coriander, tarragon, dill, chives and feta into your eggs and top the cooked omelet with edible rose petals. If you’re missing poke, then you can make an omelet with freshly marinated and flash-cooked mahi-mahi, complemented with nori and masago roe aioli. Or, if you’re feeling something a little less fancy, but still hearty and delicious, you could make an omelet version of chops-and-cheese. Omelets can truly be as simple or as complex as you like, so feel free to create your own omelet version of a favorite dish.
Step Four: Prepare Your Omelet
With all your ingredients gathered, it’s finally time to make your omelet. But what style of omelet should you make? If the idea of flipping your meal to finish it intimidates you, or if you’re curious whether you have what it takes to create a soft, buttery French omelet, then feel free to browse our selection of omelet styles below. The methods below represent a range in both difficulty and in the type of egg texture the finished product yields, but by experimenting, you’re sure to find the omelet best suited to your table.
A note—the vast majority of these recipes are cooked on the stovetop using an oiled pan or medium or medium high heat. Some, however, may require more or less butter or oil, or a higher or lower heat to reach the egg texture called for. Feel free to experiment and find which heat levels work best for your kitchen.
How to Make a Fluffy, Diner-Style Omelet
Most fluffy omelets rely on egg whites beaten into stiff peaks and then folded into a beaten egg yolk mixture gently to achieve their height. That method will certainly yield you fluffy, diner-style omelets. Of course, if you’re not feeling like whipping up egg whites, then you can skip this step by adding a small amount of pancake batter into your egg mixture before cooking. That trick, famously used by IHOP, yields fluffy omelets with much less time and effort, and provides incentive to cook up some flapjacks to complement your meal.
How to Make a Classic French Omelet
As Julia Child explained in a 1980 Good Morning America clip, it really doesn’t take all that much time or skill to make a French omelet. In fact, she could get one done in less than 30 seconds. All that’s required is butter and a little higher heat than most omelets are cooked at to achieve the velvety, soft inside that French omelets are known for. To start, blend your egg mixture, and then melt a teaspoon of butter in your pan. Pour in the eggs, let them cook for a few seconds, and then tilt the pan to cover any holes so that the pan is completely covered. Gently run your spatula under the eggs to loosen it, push the omelet to the edge of the pan and then roll it up until you’ve achieved a tube-like shape.
How to Make Tamagoyaki (Japanese Omelet)
Get the Recipe: Baked Tamagoyaki
Japanese omelets, or tamagoyaki, share a similar shape to some French omelets, but the process is very different. A traditional tamagoyaki is made with egg seasoned with mirin, soy sauce and dashi; that egg is then cooked in thin layers using a specialized rectangular pan called a makiyakinabe. Those pans are available in some specialty stores and online if you’re a particular fan of this Japanese dish. However, if that level of commitment sounds off-putting, don’t fear. You can still make a version of these eggs by using an adaptation created by Brooklyn restaurant owner Yuji Haraguchi. That recipe is more like a casserole than the traditional dish, but it will provide the same flavors without the level of practice needed to master the classic variation.
How to Make a Spanish Potato Omelet
If you’ve got a mandolin, some potatoes, some onions and a few eggs, then you have everything needed to make a Spanish potato omelet, a delicious variation on this egg dish that will definitely have you coming back for more. For this recipe, roast some thinly sliced potatoes and onions for about an hour. Once they’ve cooled, stir them into an egg mixture and then pour the mixture into a large pan over medium heat. Be careful at this stage, as the pan will likely be full. Shake the pan gently from time to time, and when the eggs begin to set everywhere except the top, gently invert the omelet onto a plate and then slide the omelet back in to finish cooking. The omelet will be ready to slice and serve one the bottom has cooked. While this dish can be made using only potatoes and onions, additional ingredients, like chorizo, can impart even more flavor.
How to Make a Lao Omelet
Get the Recipes: Lao Omelet with Dill Scallion and Thai Chile
This savory Laotian version of an omelet packs a punch, with fish sauce and Thai chile imparting a number of salty and spicy notes. Even if you’re not familiar with Laotian flavors, it’s definitely worth a try. Like the Spanish omelet above and the open-faced omelets below, this dish is presented unfolded and cut into wedges before it is served. Feel free to top it with additional green onions or cilantro, if you’re especially craving strong flavors at breakfast.
How to Make an Omelet Casserole
As the tamagoyaki adaptation above proves, it’s not hard to create an omelet approximate using the oven. These casseroles will make it simple for you to whip up a sliceable omelet big enough to keep your household full. If you decide to make the Denver omelet casserole listed above, be sure to add the grits used in the dish gradually (a process called tempering) so as not to scramble the eggs.
How to Make an Open-Faced Omelet
If you’re not feeling like folding your omelet, then there’s no shame in serving your finished dish open-faced, as seen in a couple of presentation methods cited above. This method can especially be handy if you’re hoping to serve your omelet on top of toast, as with the pastrami omelet mentioned above. An open-faced omelet can also make it easy to put together a store of frozen biscuit sandwiches, meaning you can feed your family not just for one morning, but for a number of mornings to come.