How to Order Eggs the Way You Like Them

Menu Terminology for Brunch Lovers

Plate of Breakfast
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Whether you like your eggs firm or runny, fried or poached, it isn't always easy to decode the breakfast menu or tell your server the answer to "How do you want 'em?" at your favorite brunch spot. 

How to Order Your Favorite Egg Dishes

With so many ways to cook eggs, there is an ordering language just for eggs. Here is an egg glossary so that you won’t be left speechless the next time you are asked how you’d like your eggs prepared.

  • Hard-Boiled: A hard-boiled egg is an egg that is cooked in boiling water with the shell intact and cooked through until both the whites and yolk have completely set.
  • Soft-Boiled: A soft-boiled egg, similar to a hard-boiled egg, is cooked in boiling water with the shell intact. The difference is soft-boiled eggs are cooked only to the point when the whites are set but the yolk is still liquid.
  • Poached: Poached eggs have been removed from their shell and then cooked in a hot liquid. The cooking liquid can be water, broth, or any sauce. Poaching in water is often used as a way to cook eggs without having to use extra fat. Poaching in broth or sauce adds flavor to the cooked egg. 
  • Sunny-Side-Up: An egg is broken into a skillet or frying pan carefully leaving the yolk intact. The fried egg is never flipped or cooked yolk-side down. The whites cook until completely or partially set while the yolk remains liquid.
  • Over Easy: An over-easy egg starts off as a sunny-side-up egg, but, once it's cooked on one side, it is flipped and cooked yolk-side down only long enough to create a film over the top of the yolk, leaving the center of the yolk liquid.
  • Over Hard: An over-hard egg is an over-easy egg that is cooked longer until the yolk is completely cooked through. It is a fried egg that is cooked on one side, then flipped and cooked yolk-side down until the yolk is no longer liquid. You can also order your eggs as "over medium" if you'd like it somewhere in the middle.
  • Scrambled: Raw egg whites and yolks are beaten together and then added to a skillet to make scrambled eggs. Sometimes milk, cream, sour cream, or cream cheese is added to make them fluffier or creamier. The beaten egg mixture is gently mixed as it sets to create a curdled texture.
  • Eggs Benedict: Eggs Benedict is an open-face egg sandwich. Traditionally, a poached egg is served on top of an English muffin with ham or Canadian bacon, and Hollandaise sauce. Twists on this traditional version may replace the ham with tomato, spinach, crab cakes, and even lobster.
  • Omelet: An omelet uses one or more beaten eggs that are cooked quickly (usually flat) in a frying pan. Omelets are often folded over a filling of cheese, vegetables, meat, or a combination of ingredients. Most restaurants will also offer an egg white omelet where only the egg whites are used.
  • Frittata: A frittata is made of an egg mixture. Eggs are beaten along with ingredients such as cheese, vegetables, and meat. The mixture is then cooked slowly over low heat and either flipped or placed under the broiler to brown the other side.
  • Shirred or Baked: Shirred or baked eggs have been baked in a ramekin (sometimes with butter, cream or other sauces) until the whites have set but the yolk is still liquid.