How to Make a Sunny-Side Up Egg
A sunny-side up egg is a healthy breakfast option that’s easy to make and delicious with a piece of toast, bacon, or stack of pancakes! Here’s how to make them.
You’ve probably enjoyed sunny-side up eggs at your favorite breakfast spot, but they’re also easy to make at home! With the right technique, you can get the perfect sunny-side up egg, easy-peasy, and never greasy or rubbery.
While eggs didn’t always have the healthiest of reputations, things have changed and now we know eggs are a great option for a healthy breakfast! They pack in a lot of protein with relatively few calories, and they’re rich in vitamins and minerals too, including iron and B12.
All things means: sunny-side up eggs are a breakfast you can feel good about eating!
About this sunny-side up egg recipe
Even better, sunny-side up eggs are simple to make—the hardest part is probably cracking the egg!
Tip for cracking eggs: A trick for that is to give the egg a whack on your countertop, rather than on the rim of a bowl. The little bits of shell will stick to the membrane that way, so you’re less likely to end up with shell in your egg!
A sunny side up egg is an egg that is fried on only one side, and the yolk stays intact. The egg white is cooked until it is firm and the edges are crispy (if you’d like), while the yolk remains soft and runny. It’s similar to a basted egg, but a with a basted egg, the yolk is cooked a bit more (either by steaming it or by gently spooning butter over it).
Sunny-Side Up Eggs vs. Over-Easy Eggs
Both types of eggs are cooked until the whites are firm but the yolk remains runny. The main difference between a sunny-side up egg and an over-easy egg is that an over-easy egg is flipped, and a sunny-side up egg is not flipped.
Sunny-Side Up Eggs vs. Fried Eggs
A sunny-side up egg is a fried egg, just like an over-easy egg! Sunny-side up means the egg is fried on the bottom only, while over-easy eggs fry both sides.
What you need
- Butter, oil, or ghee – You may use more than what’s indicated if desired, but this is just the right amount if you prefer an egg that’s not very greasy. Of course, if you’re using a high-quality non-stick pan, you can make your egg without oil, but the flavor is best with a small amount of fat. As a general rule, at a low heat, you’ll get more browning on your egg if you use butter than if you use oil or ghee.
- Large eggs – Choose fresher eggs if you prefer for your white not to spread far in your pan.
- Kosher salt – We love the large pieces of kosher salt for bursts of salty flavor, but you may use whatever salt you like. Try a smoky sea salt for something different!
- Freshly ground black pepper – Coarsely ground pepper adds lots of flavor and a bit of texture, but a finely ground pepper will season your egg more evenly.
How to make sunny side up eggs
Prepare. Set a nonstick pan or well-seasoned cast iron skillet over medium-low heat. Add the butter or oil.
Crack the egg. Once the butter has melted or the oil is shimmering, crack the egg into the skillet. If you have room in the skillet, repeat with the other egg.
Tip: If you don’t have the best track record with cracking eggs, you can always crack them into a bowl first.
Cook the eggs. Season the eggs with salt and cook until the egg whites are set (you don’t want a runny white!), and the yolks are still soft, about 2 to 4 minutes.
Tip: Notice the edges are browning faster than you’d like? Turn down the heat to slow things down a bit.
Finish. Sprinkle the sunny-side up eggs with pepper and serve immediately.
The yolk of a sunny side up egg is still runny, so the egg is technically not cooked all the way through, but it’s not quite raw either.
There is a small risk of salmonella from eating raw or undercooked eggs. If you are concerned about eating raw eggs, you can purchase pasteurized eggs for this recipe, or try over-hard eggs or basted eggs instead.
No, you do not flip a sunny-side up egg. The egg is cooked on one side until the whites are firm and the edges are crispy. The yolk remains soft and runny. If you flip the egg, it becomes an egg over-easy!
How to serve sunny-side up eggs
Here are some of our favorite ideas for enjoying sunny-side up eggs!
- Serve your sunny-side up eggs with your favorite hot sauce.
- Pair them with toast, an English muffin, or a biscuit, along with bacon or sausage for the quintessential savory breakfast.
- Place them on a bowl of hash so the runny yolk drips down onto the potatoes.
- Add them to a bowl of grits or your favorite meal bowl recipe.
Leftover sunny-side up eggs can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 days.
That said, sunny-side up eggs aren’t really ideal for making in advance. I strongly recommend making them and eating them right away. If you do have leftovers, you can save them, but I wouldn’t intentionally make more than you need, or plan on having these for meal prep breakfasts. Scrambled eggs, hard boiled eggs, or even poached eggs are better for making ahead.
Reheat leftover sunny-side up eggs in a nonstick skillet over low heat until they’re warmed through.
More egg recipes
Get the Recipe: Sunny-Side Up Egg
- 1/2 tablespoon butter, oil, or ghee (more if desired)
- 2 large eggs
- Kosher salt to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Heat a nonstick (or well seasoned cast iron) pan over medium-low heat. Add butter or oil and allow butter to melt.
- Carefully crack egg into skillet (you may wish to crack them into a bowl first to make this step easier).
- Season with salt and cook until egg whites are set and yolks are still runny, 2 to 4 minutes. Turn down heat if the edges are browning too quickly.
- Sprinkle with pepper and serve immediately.