Omlettes are a breakfast stable, though you could easily have them for lunch or dinner, no one will stop you. So if you’re just getting the hang of how to cook these beauties, you may be faced with a problem: do you flip the omelette ?
Most omelettes break apart when you try to flip them. But if you let the eggs cook through and then flip, they turn dry and rubbery. So are omelettes even supposed to be flipped ? Can you just… leave them as-is ? Let’s talk about it, because it’s something a lot of people struggle with, many mornings.
Do you flip omelettes ?
Flipping omelettes is optional. A flipped omelette will get a nice browning on both sides, but is very difficult to achieve. The standard American omelette is not flipped, but rather folded over. You do see flipped omelettes, partly as a show of the cook’s skill and partly to make sure the ingredients are fully cooked.
In the end it’s completely up to you if you want to flip the omelette or not. It’s still an omelette and it’s still delicious. Let’s take a look at a couple of options you have, when you don’t flip the omelette.
You can leave the omelette open-faced
When making your omelette we recommend using medium0low heat instead of high heat. Place a glass lid on top and let the contents cook through. The eggs are already whisked with the melted butter, so the top layer will not taste like boiled egg. Instead it will be a buttery, soft omelette.
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The steam will cook the top part without frying it, but the butter will allow plenty of flavor. And by using a glass lid you can easily see when the top is done. This usually takes about 5 minutes from the moment you put the lid on.
Any toppings you may want to add can be sprinkled on the top before you put the lid on. If using something moist like cheese keep in mind the cooking time will be longer.
You can just fold the omelette over
Another option, possibly the most common, is to simply fold the omelette. You still need the eggs cooked on medium-low but the lid is no necessary. Without a lid the omelette will not puff us as much, making it more flexible. This means that it’ll be easier to fold without breaking or cracking.
Any toppings you want can be added to half of the omelette before you fold it.
Stick the omelette under a broiler
A third option is to cook your omelette in a pan that is oven-safe. Turn on the broiler and when the top is still a bit runny, let the omelette cook under the broiler. This will eusre the top is cooked through and even a little browned.
This brings it closer to a frittata, we know, but it’s still an option. You risk the omelette ending up a little dry if you’re not careful, so don’t leave it there for too long. If the eggs don’t move when you jiggle the pan it’s done, even if it’s not browned.
Common reasons omelette flips go wrong
If you’re asking whether you should flip the omelette or not, you’ve likely had some mishaps in the past. Don’t worry, omelettes can be challenging for a lot of people, especially flipping them. It’s their fluffy softness that seems to be what makes them so delicious yet annoying to cook.
So let’s take a look at some of the most common reasons an omelette fails to flip, and if there’s anything that can be done.
1. The eggs aren’t properly set, the top is runny
If you’re cooking your omelette on a high heat the lower part is completely cooked through but the top layer is still soft. Actually it’s still runny, and that’s the problem. If you leave it on the heat more, the eggs on the underside will dry out. So you flip it, and it goes everywhere because half of it is still runny. What a mess.
This is more likely to happen with an omelette that is very large and takes up most of the pan, especially in terms of height.
Fix: use medium-low heat from the get go, allow the top so set just a little, then flip.
2. You have very soft, wet fillings and the omelette breaks apart
If your omelette has fillings that melt and add a lot of moisture, like white cheese, feta, halloumi, mozzarella, or even aged cheese, it’s likely very soft. That makes total sense and it makes for a delicious yet impossible to flip omelette. The same goes if you whisk in some milk or cream.
Fix: medium-low heat, put a lid on top, do not move anything for 5 minutes. The jiggle the pan to see if the top is still soft. If yes, let sit for another 5 minutes. If it’s starting to set, leave it for another 2 minutes. Do no flip this omelette. It’s so soft yet heavy that it will break apart. The best you can do is fold it over.
3. You’re using your entire arm instead of your wrist
If your omelette better is absolutely amazing yet you somehow mess up the action if flipping, you’re likely directing too much force by using your entire arm. When flipping the omelette you need to use a combination of moving the pan, and flipping with your wrist. It’s a very quick move and hard to explain in writing. But once you’re there with the pan it’s easier to understand.
You can practice this with a cold, clean frying pan, a clean spatula, and a flour tortilla. It’s flexible yet holds together and imitates the structure of a slightly dry omelette.
4. Your spatula isn’t wide enough and/or too flexible
The spatula you’re using to flip your omelette can make or break that wrist flip. If your spatula is a soft and/or thin one, such as a rubber spatula, you do not have enough control. An omelette is fairly soft, so you need a wide spatula that is barely flexible. We recommend an offset spatula with slats.
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5. You’re flipping with the pan
Flipping with the pan may seem interesting, and in truth it’s a test of your skill. But it’s completely unnecessary, and it can easily go very wrong. Unless you’ve got fast reflexes and excellent hand-eye coordination, your omelette will end on the stove.
Perfect your spatula flip first, then start learning to flip with the pan if you really must.
So in short you don’t have to flip an omelette at all. you can just cook it with the lid on, or fold it over and serve it like that. But if you want to flip yours, we hope the above points helped you figure out why your flips go wrong.