How to Cook an Omelet - Tips for Making Great Omelettes

Have you given up making omelets because they end up dry and resemble scrambled eggs? Or are they tough like rubber? This article provides the tips and tricks to make the perfect omelets every time and some simple recipes to try. Omelets used to be primarily a breakfast dish but today you can have various omelets for lunch or dinner, especially in Asian restaurants. There are 3 general types of omelets: flat ( or non-fluffy), fluffy and soufflé. Omelets can be cooked flat or folded over with added filling ingredients inside. The differences are mostly due to the amount of beating before cooking the omelet. More beating introduces more air into the mixture, which makes the omelet more fluffy, providing you cook it correctly. Less beating means less air is introduced which means a flat or less fluffy omelets.

A soufflé-type omeles is produced by separating the whites and yolks - beating the white of the egg folding in the yolk. Making a soufflé omelets is difficult and the hardest to make and is not described in this article.

Omelettes make a wonderful snack and lunch meal
Omelettes make a wonderful snack and lunch meal. Source: Public Domain

Tips for Making Great Omelets

Preparing the Egg Mixture

Choose high quality eggs with yellow yolks that are as fresh as possible and are at room temperature. There is many differences of option about mixing or beating the eggs. Usually a small amount of liquid such as milk, cream, water or chicken stock is added when mixing the eggs.

The Cooking Pan, Skillet or Omelet Pan

There are several points to consider for the pan. It should be just the right size and it is best to make an omelet for each person. If the pan is too large the omelet will not cook properly. If the pan is too small it will not cook through. The simplest and best option is a non-stick skillet or a special omelet pan. Cast iron pans work very well provided they are seasoned (cured) properly. You should also be aware than the pan retains a lot of heat and so the omelette should be removed from a cast iron pan immediately its cooked. As a basic guide, you need a 15 cm (6 inch) pan for a two-egg omelette and a 25 cm (10 inch) pan for a 4 to 6 egg omelette. Most people will have skillets of this size in their kitchens.

The Oil used for Cooking Omelets

Various types of cooking oil can used but select one with a high smoking point. This is because the pan should be very hot, especially when you first add the eggs. Some cooks recommend butter, but it is a goo idea to add a little high temperature vegetable oil to increase the smoking point. Omelets cooked in pure butter tend to brown when cooked and this may not appeal to some people. Make sure you don't burn the butter. Olive oil also has a low smoking temperature. For high temperatures the best options are corn oil, grape seed oil, rice bran oil, canola oil or peanut oil.

Cooking Temperature for Omelets

Place the skillet on the stove set at medium high and allow it to get medium hot before adding the cooking oil. Turn the heat to high. Let the pan and oil get very hot. Add the eggs and then lower the temperature to medium low for the final setting of the omelet.

Cooking Method for Omelets

To completely cook an omelet should only take one to two minutes for a plain omelet. Do not over-cook the omelet as it will tough and rubbery. The bottom of the omelet should have a light brown color, and not be too dark. Pour the egg mixture into the hot skillet in one go. Don't touch it the egg mixture for about10 seconds. As the eggs begin to set (dry and firm and bubbling around the edges) start drawing the edges with a spatula towards the centre and tilt the skillet about 45 degrees to make the liquid eggs on top pour onto the hot skillet. Tip the pan in the other direction and spread the liquid egg mixture. Keep tilting the pan to one side and the other, dragging in the edges. This cooking process will only take about 30 seconds. Continue this method until there is no liquid egg remaining on the top. As the eggs start to set, the entire omelet should be bound together and slide freely back and forth in the skillet. For a folded omelet, wait until the eggs are have just set on top, use a spatula to lift one side and fold the omelet in half. Remove the omelet from the pan to a plate and serve immediately. 

Adding Extra Ingredients to Omelets

You add almost anything to an omelet. However make sure you use ingredients that compliment each other. Also the ingredients will not be cooked in the omelet, but merely heated and so you should ensure that items that need to be cooked and partly cooked before hand. This includes any meat and firm vegetables such as celery, carrots, onions, broccoli and green beans. All sorts of the fillings can be added to omelet include chopped onion and bell pepper, prawns and seafood, ground beef with onions, tomatoes, chili powder and jalapeno pepper. There are many options. These ingredients should be added to the eggs just before they are completely set and folded over. This means adding these ingredients in the last 10-20 seconds of the cooking.

When to Serve the Omelet

The final tip is to ensure you serve the omelet hot. You can keep an omelet hot for a few minutes by placing it in a glass baking dish, loosely covering it with aluminium foil, and then place in the oven set to very low. Don't leave the omelet in the oven for more than 5 minutes or it will dry out and many become rubbery and not very appealing. Since it only takes a few minutes to cook an omelet when you have all the ingredients prepared in advance, organise yourself to cook the omelets for your guests at the last minute.

Omelet Recipes

Simple Goat Cheese Breakfast Omelet



Lightly whisk three eggs with a generous pinch of salt and a sprinkle of freshly ground black pepper. Melt the butter in an omelet pan (or small heavy frying pan). When the the butter starts to foam, but before it browns, add the eggs. Cook for 1 minute, and then using a fork drag the cooked egg from the edges towards the middle, to create folds. Continue to cook and drag the outer cooked parts into the center until the base is cooked and just turning golden brown. Then, crumble the goat cheese over the top. Next move the omelet over to one side of the pan using a spatula. Fold the edges of the omelet over, and cook for 1 minute. Serve immediately on buttered toast, topped with fresh herbs.

Simple Perfect Omelet Recipe

Ingredients (Serves 1)


Stir the white and yolks of the eggs together until just mixed, then season. Have any fillings prepared well before hand. Heat a medium-size pan over a moderate to high heat. Add the oil and swirl to distribute. When the foam begins to disappear, pour in the eggs. They should sizzle immediately. Swirl the pan to distribute the eggs evenly. Then cook for about 10 seconds until they begin to bubble. Add any filling to the top. Using a spatula or fork, draw in the sides of the egg mixture into the centre while swirling the pan to redistribute the liquid to the edges. The omelet is cooked when still slightly runny in the middle. Take off the heat, and fold over the edges into the middle. Tilt the pan to finish the cooking. Then turn out your omelet on to a warm plate. Season, top with herbs or cheese and eat immediately.

Simple Cheese Omelet Recipe

Using a fork, gently whisk the eggs with about 1 1/2 tablespoons of water. Melt about 1 tablespoon of butter over medium-high heat to cover the bottom of pan. Reduce the heat to low and pour in the eggs. Cover and cook slowly for about 3-5 minutes. When eggs appear cooked (the upper surface is only slightly liquid) spread the cheese on top and some very thin sliced scallions or other filling ingredients. Cover the pan, switch off the heat. Fold the omelet over enclose the melted cheese. Serve immediately topped with extra cheese and herbs.

Simple Filled Omelet



Add the oil to a heavy medium size pan heated to medium high heat. Dice the onion and bell peppers. Add to the pan, together with the garlic, green chili and the capers. Sautee and set the filling mixture aside. Whisk the eggs. Heat the pan again with a covering of oil. When hot pour in the eggs. Swirl the pan allowing the beaten eggs to spread out evenly. When the eggs are partially cooked but still runny on top spoon the filling mixture onto one half of the omelet, and fold it over with a spatula. Carefully flip once and cook until done. Remove from the heat, add salsa and serve immediately

Other filling options are: sauteed leeks, wild mushrooms, mozzarella, Brie, sharp cheddar, Swiss Cheese, crumbled blue cheese, maple smoked bacon, fresh tomatoes, capsicum, herbs, handfuls of scallops, shrimps or other seafood. Use chutney, curry sauce or diced tomatoes or spring onions instead of salsa.

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Omelettes are very easy to make in a pan or wok
Omelettes are very easy to make in a pan or wok. Source: Public Domain
Omelettes are great for breakfast
Omelettes are great for breakfast. Source: Public Domain
Asian style omelettes are full of fresh vegetables and herbs
Asian style omelettes are full of fresh vegetables and herbs. Source: Public Domain
All sorts of fillings can be added to omelets such as whole asparagus spears
All sorts of fillings can be added to omelets such as whole asparagus spears. Source: Public Domain
Adding cheese to the mixture tends to create an omelet with a firm texture
Adding cheese to the mixture tends to create an omelet with a firm texture. Source: Public Domain
Omelettes with fresh vegetables and sprouts
Omelettes with fresh vegetables and sprouts. Source: Public Domain
The filling maketh the omelet
The filling maketh the omelet. Source: Public Domain
Discover the secrets of making perfect omelets with delightful fillings
Discover the secrets of making perfect omelets with delightful fillings. Source: Public Domain
See the great tips and simple recipes for the perfect omelet
See the great tips and simple recipes for the perfect omelet. Source: Public Domain