Those who know me know I can make a pretty mean omelet. It is both in the flavor but also the texture.
My goal is maximum fluffiness. I find most brunch places are after speed and don't take the time or steps needed to make a truly fluffy omelet.
Developing this technique all started with my mom who was a pretty good cook. I took an interest in learning how to cook breakfast and would always be in the kitchen with her on the weekends learning her tips and tricks for eggs, pancakes, waffles, and baked treats.
She taught me her trick to making super fluffy omelets, but her method did take some skill with the flipping action. I've adjusted her method slightly to make it even easier and more full proof by using the oven broiler. Here is the recipe and methods:
- 1-2 teaspoons cooking oil - olive, vegetable, even a pad of butter
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup diced add-ins that need cooking. Go as much or as little as you want: bacon, sausage, diced ham, peppers, onions, mushrooms, spinach, tomatoes, herbs, zucchini, asparagus, etc.
- 3 eggs
- pinch of salt
- pinch of pepper
- 1 tablespoon milk, milk substitute, or water
- 1/4 cup cup shredded cheese
- Start with the pan. It ideally is an 8-inch non-stick (and I mean non-stick) skillet. Even the slightest of scratches or wear to it can cause sticking and frustration. You also want the sides of the skillet ideally to flare up to 90 degrees. If at 45 degrees, when you go to flip, your omelet will flip out of the pan instead of over the pan.
- For technique #1, you will need a lid that fits the skillet. For technique #2, turn on your oven broiler to high and ensure your skillet can handle oven temps.
- Heat the skillet over medium heat and add the cooking oil.
- Add the diced add-ins and cook for 3-5 minutes until soft and translucent. Maybe stagger things a bit like adding the meat, peppers, and onions first and the spinach, tomatoes, and herbs last since they don't take as long to cook.
- While the add-ins cook, prepare the egg mixture. Crack the eggs into a bowl. Add the salt, pepper, and milk or water.
- Now beat the egg mixture really well. Ideally you want a smooth, even texture and even the start of some frothy bubbles. This is the first trick to a fluffy omelet including that extra bit of moisture from the milk/water. I can do this with a fork but I was a drummer so can get my wrist going pretty fast. If you can't, use a whisk for ease.
- When the add-ins are sufficiently cooked and softened, spread them evenly across the skillet and then pour in the egg mixture. Here is where the two techniques diverge.
Technique #1 (my Mom's method)
- Immediately cover the skillet with the lid. The trick is to keep it covered as much as possible to preserve that moisture and allow the fluffiness to develop.
- After 20-30 seconds, remove the lid. With a spatula (ideally rubber or silicone to preserve your skillet's non-stick coating), starting from an outside edge, push the egg mixture towards the center. You may even be able to get under the egg mixture and lift it up some. Allow the uncooked mixture to flow under the cooked part and hit the pan. You can tilt the pan to one side or the other to spread the liquid mixture around.
- Continue to do this until you work all the way around the pan. You may end up with a concentration of toppings in the middle so feel free to redistribute those evenly as best you can.
- Put the lid back on and let cook another 20-30 seconds.
- Do the same scraping, lifting, and spreading action until any other liquid mixture spreads and goes underneath the cooked mixture. At this point, you should have only the slightest bit of wet mixture left on top and it can't really spread around even when tilting the skillet.
- You can cover again for a final 20-30 seconds just to allow the top to set some more.
- Now you are ready for the flip. You want to flip the entire thing over. We are not going for the fold at this point. That comes later.
- For the flip, you can practice using something like a coaster or pot holder in a dry pan to get a feel for it. The best tip is with your wrist, shake the omelet to the top of the pan until it starts to curl over. Then in one confident and swift motion, give it a flick of the wrist first going up and then pulling back towards you. This should cause the omelet to jump out of the pan and start the flip rotation. Now just ensure the pan is where it needs to be to have the omelet land back inside. Trust me, it will take some epic fails before you get the hang of it. And anytime you get a new pan, it will take relearning all over again.
- Now it is time for the cheese, sprinkle that around. Then recover with the lid. This will give it it's final fluffy rise.
- After one final 20-30 second wait, the cheese should be melted and the omelet should have risen. The bottom should also now be fully cooked. You can get your plate out and shake the omelet out of the pan and onto the plate. You can keep it open faced or fold it over itself after it is halfway out of the pan.
- Note you may need to play with the medium heat seating during cooking. The goal is to have it cook quickly but not burn. You may also find that medium is good for cooking the add-ins and to start the egg mixture, but then medium low is best for getting the egg mixture to set and for cooking it after it flips. It will definitely take practice.
Technique #2 (simpler oven broiler method)
- This method involves no lid and no flipping, just an oven broiler.
- After adding the egg mixture, you still need to work the pan every 20-30 seconds to get the liquid parts under the cooked parts by scraping and lifting the eggs as they cook. Redistribute the toppings evenly if they start to concentrate in the middle. No need to worry about covering with a lid while you do this.
- Once the egg mixture is mostly set and no liquid really moves around when tilting the pan, you you can place the pan in the oven near the broiler, no lid or anything.
- The broiler will cook the top of the omelet and the oven will seal in the moisture to create the same rise effect as using the lid from Technique #1.
- Just watch it closely because the top cooks fast. After 1-2 minutes, the top should be cooked and the omelet should have risen and gotten fluffy. You can add the cheese at this point and just let the carryover heat melt it as you plate it or you can pop it back under the broiler for another 30 seconds to completely melt the cheese.
- Once cooked to your liking, shake the omelet out of the pan and onto a plate. You can keep it open faced or fold it over itself after it is halfway out of the pan.
- Note you may need to play with your oven broiler if it cooks the top too fast before the omelet has a chance to rise. If that's the case, turn the temp down to low or move the rack lower away from the broiler but know it will take a bit longer under the broiler.