How to Make an Omelette

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


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Appears in

Craig Claiborne’s Kitchen Primer

Craig Claiborne’s Kitchen Primer

By Craig Claiborne

Published 1969

  • About

The most important thing about omelette-making is the pan. It should be a heavy pan with curved sides, an unmarred surface and, for most home purposes, a nonmetallic handle. Sizes of omelette pans vary from one for a two-egg omelette to those for forty eggs. The ideal size for home use is a pan for a two-egg omelette or a three-egg omelette. A pan with a 6-inch bottom is suitable for two eggs; a 7- or 8-inch bottom for three.

When the pan is first purchased it must be treated. First scrub well with a non-metallic scouring pad and rinse well. Dry and add approximately ½ inch of oil to the pan and set it over moderate heat. Let stand just to the point where the oil starts to smoke. Let the oil cool in the pan and then discard the oil. Wipe the inside of the pan well with paper toweling and it is ready for use.

After each session of omelette-making the pan should be wiped with paper toweling and a little table salt. If the pan has not been used in some time, it is best to wash it, wipe with paper toweling and a little salt, then brush with oil.


  1. For each omelette, break 2 or 3 fresh eggs into a mixing bowl. Add a bit of salt and beat well with a table fork.

  2. Meanwhile, place the omelette pan over moderate to high heat. The pan should be heated so that the butter, when added, will melt immediately but without burning. The classic test for temperature is to flick, with the fingers, a few drops of water into the pan; if the drops skitter around quickly, the pan is hot enough. When the pan is hot enough, add 1 tablespoon of butter, using a fresh table fork. Swirl the butter around in the pan to cover the bottom and sides and quickly add the eggs.

  3. Grasp the pan handle with the left hand and shake in a fore-and-aft motion. Simultaneously, stir the eggs around in the pan, with the fork held more or less parallel to the bottom of the pan. Use a circular motion and try not to scrape the bottom. Remember that the omelette must be made in seconds, no more than 30 seconds at the outside.

  4. When the omelette is still very moist in the center but firm on the bottom, raise the handle to tilt the pan. Give a quick, forceful knock near the point where the handle joins the pan and this will force the omelette toward the bottom of the pan. If there is a filling, it should be hot and ready. Add it to the center of the omelette, which should, at this point, be curved slightly. With a table fork push and fold the edges of the omelette toward the center.

  5. Drop the table fork and transfer the handle of the pan to the right hand. Quickly cover the pan with a hot plate, then, presto, set the plate upright while simultaneously inverting the omelette pan over its center.

  6. The omelette should fall into the center of the plate. Ideally the omelette’s ends should be pointed. This effect can be encouraged with a fork or with the fingers.