How to Make an Omelette (2-ways!)

5 from 14 votes
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Learn how to make an omelette using my easy tips and tricks for both American and French-style eggs. No matter how you like it, mastering the technique will make breakfast even better.

American-style omelet on a plate with toast

Scrambled eggs are quick and easy, but you can transform eggs into a sophisticated omelet (or omelette in French) with a little more effort. Don’t worry. Those creamy, fluffy curds are still there, just folded inside with some extra fillings. You can add sauteed vegetables, meats, and of course, melty cheese to wrap up in a golden edible package.

There are two omelet recipes that I want to teach you how to make. First is American-style, which is lightly browned on the surface and generously stuffed inside. Similar to what you’d get at a greasy spoon diner, but leveled up and not so dried out. The other is a classic French-style, it’s rolled up with no browning, just a delicate velvety texture throughout. Give both a try, see what you like. It might surprise you!

Egg quantity

I find that 2 large eggs provide a hearty individual portion, that’s also enough for filling.  If you’re using different sized eggs, make adjustments as needed. For reference, the monster-sized omelets you find at diners usually contain 3 to 5 eggs. If you are hungry, go for it! Just increase the seasoning, liquid, and use a larger 10-inch pan.

Seasonings and liquid add-ins

Season the uncooked eggs with salt and pepper, and a small amount of liquid like water, milk, half-and-half, or cream. The salt and extra moisture yield lighter, moister, and tender eggs. The fat in the dairy adds just a touch of richness to the protein. I use no more than 1 to 2 teaspoons of liquid per one large egg. However, you do not have to add the liquid if you enjoy a stronger eggy taste. 

Whisking the egg mixture

To avoid those pesky pockets of egg whites that sneak up, use a large enough bowl to give plenty of room for movement. Whisk the eggs using a quick, side-to-side motion for the most shear force. This technique will effectively break up the yolk so that it’s a more uniform mixture with the slimy albumin protein. Don’t over mix! Too much can deflate the air trapped inside and create a less puffy omelet.

Spatula folding a cheese omelet

Pan material and size

I find that an 8-inch nonstick skillet works the best for a two-egg omelet. The egg mixture volume fills up the pan about ¼-inch high to make thick curds to fill inside. The pan size also provides plenty of room for the raw eggs to flow to the edges, creating a circular shape. The nonstick coating makes it easy to fold the omelet, roll, and transfer to a plate.

Cooking with butter

Frying with butter enhances the flavor as the milk solids lightly brown and has a nutty taste. This ingredient is vital for American-style omelets, which have the characteristic golden surface. The butter accelerates the color change. However, for the French-style omelette, I use a lower heat temperature to control better the egg’s final color, which should be an even sunshine yellow hue.

The American-style omelet

American-style omelet in a skillet

For fluffy centers and a golden-brown crust, add the eggs to a pan over medium-high heat. This temperature immediately cooks the proteins and causes the moisture to turn to steam, which is then locked inside the curds when they set and firm up. Use a spatula to quickly pull the set edges in towards the center, working around the pan, and letting the liquid run to the edges of the pan. 

I turn the heat down to low when the surface is still shiny, but mostly cooked. Now you can add fillings like cheese, vegetables, and meat to one half of the egg. Fold the omelet and enjoy right away.

The French-style omelette

French-style omelette in a skillet

For soft scrambled centers and delicate texture, cook the eggs over medium-low heat. This temperature gently heats and coagulates the proteins without adding much color to the surface. There’s not as much steam generated, so the egg will be less fluffy, but creamier. 

Fold the omelette into thirds or roll into a tight cigar shape and serve seam-side down to keep its form. Traditionally this type of omelette is not filled. However, you can add sauces and other ingredients into a slit cut down the egg’s length on top.

Adding fillings

  • Cheeses like cheddar, mozzarella, and swiss, use 2 to 4 tablespoons. 
  • Protein such as bacon or sausage, chop them into smaller pieces and use ¼ to ½ cup. 
  • Vegetables like chopped mushrooms, onions, bell peppers, spinach, and zucchini, add about ½ cup. Make sure to saute them first, otherwise, it will make the center soggy as it sits.

What to serve this with

Using oil instead of butter

Oils like olive, avocado, and vegetable are good substitutes for butter. However, the absence of moisture will make the texture slightly more crisp, especially for American-style omelets cooked over higher heat. Butter contains water, which helps keep the surface of the omelet moist. And the golden color mostly comes from the browning of the milk solids in the butter.

How to Make an Omelette (2-ways!)

Learn how to make an omelette either American-style or French-style. Mastering these techniques will make breakfast even better.
5 from 14 votes
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time2 minutes
Total Time7 minutes
Servings 1 serving
Course Breakfast
Cuisine French

Ingredients 
 

  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons milk, whole milk, cream, or water (optional)
  • teaspoon kosher salt, see note
  • teaspoon black pepper, plus more for seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons cheese, ½ ounce, grated cheddar, swiss, mozzarella, brie
  • 1 teaspoon chopped chives, or parsley (optional)

Instructions 

American-Style Omelet

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk (if using), and salt. Whisk using a side-to-side motion until uniform in appearance, do not over mix.
  • In an 8-inch nonstick skillet, heat the butter over medium-high heat until it just begins to bubble and foam, but does not brown.
  • Add the eggs to the pan, use a spatula to immediately pull the cooked curds from the pan’s edges toward the center, allowing the raw egg to run underneath, tilting the pan to help move it to the bottom. Start from the top of the pan and create curds around the entire omelet, about 1 to 1 ½ minutes.
  • Once the eggs mostly cook, similar to soft scrambled eggs with a glossy and slightly wet surface, turn the heat down to low.
  • Sprinkle the cheese on one half of the omelet. Using a spatula, fold the other half on top. The surface will be golden brown.
  • Transfer to a plate and garnish with pepper and chives, serve immediately.

French-Style Omelette

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk (if using), and salt. Whisk using a side-to-side motion until uniform in appearance, do not over mix.
  • In an 8-inch nonstick skillet, heat the butter over medium-low heat until it just begins to bubble and foam, but does not brown.
  • Add the eggs to the pan, then wait for 10-seconds until the edges begin to set. Use a spatula to pull the cooked curds from the pan’s edges toward the center, allowing the raw egg to run underneath. Tilt the pan as needed. Start from the top of the pan, and work to create curds around the entire omelette, about 2 to 2 ½ minutes.
  • Once the eggs mostly cook, with a glossy surface, turn the heat off.
  • Using a spatula, fold one side to the center, then the other side, creating a rolled shape. The surface should not be browned.
  • Invert the omelette onto a plate with the seam-side down. Garnish with pepper and chives, serve immediately.

Equipment

Notes

  • Adding Liquid: This makes the egg softer and more tender but lessens the egg flavor. Dairy also adds extra richness.
  • Saltier Eggs: Use ¼ teaspoon of kosher salt instead of ⅛ teaspoon.
  • For Cooking 3 to 4 Eggs: Use a 10-inch skillet and look for the appearance change. The cook time will be seconds.
  • Adjusting Batch Size: For every large egg, use ½ teaspoon butter or oil and 1/16 to ⅛ teaspoons of salt. See pan size recommendations in the full article.
  • For a less browned surface on the American-style omelet, use medium instead of medium-high heat.

Nutrition Facts

Serves: 1 serving
Calories 306kcal (15%)Carbohydrates 2g (1%)Protein 20g (40%)Fat 24g (37%)Saturated Fat 12g (60%)Cholesterol 415mg (138%)Sodium 624mg (26%)Potassium 138mg (4%)Sugar 1g (1%)Vitamin A 966IU (19%)Calcium 284mg (28%)Iron 2mg (11%)

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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  1. Jody says

    You know I think I have been making omelettes wrong forever. I always put all the fillings in when I wisk the egg in a bowl before cooking it in the pan. Then I add the cheese and fold it over. Is there such an omelette as this?

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Are you mixing the ingredients into the egg and letting that cook in the pan? Seems more like a scramble without breaking up the curds, or a frittata, but folded.