Common Problems With Omelettes

Omelettes are quite simple to cook once you know how, but there are a few problems that can occur while you are still learning the trick of it. Don’t despair if your first attempt doesn’t come out right. Just check this list of common omelette making problems and have another go.

What’s that saying? You can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs!

The omelette comes out too brown and tough.

This is usually because the heat is too high and the butter has burned. The heat should be medium high. When you put the butter in the pan it should melt quickly and foam, then the eggs should be put into the pan just as the foam is subsiding and before the butter browns. If the heat is too high this will all happen too quickly for you to control and the eggs will toughen and colour before you’ve had time to move them about the pan. Try again with the heat slightly lower and work quickly.

The omelette doesn’t set quickly enough and is stodgy.

The heat is not high enough – the butter may have melted without foaming and sizzling. Omelettes need a heat high enough for them to form a first skin on the base of the pan within about 5 seconds, so that you can carry on pulling back and swirling the egg. It all should have cooked in about half a minute to one minute. If it is taking longer than that, turn the heat up a bit higher and try again.

The omelette sticks to the pan and falls apart

Your pan may need proper seasoning. Make sure a non-stick surface is undamaged. Season a cast-iron or steel pan regularly to maintain a natural non-stick finish. Some makers recommend seasoning a pan every time you use it, but if you keep a pan just for omelettes and clean it carefully between uses it should maintain its surface with only occasional seasoning.

The omelette is too runny in the middle

Usually you cook the omelette in the pan until the top surface is soft but no longer runny. The swirling about of the pan should have sent all the liquid egg to the sides and base of the pan to cook quickly against the hot surface. Once it is no longer runny enough to do that, the soft egg on top should then easily firm up inside once the omelette is folded and the heat finishes the cooking. If this doesn’t happen it could be for one of two reasons:

The omelette is too dry and tough

It sounds like you have cooked it too long. Omelettes should be slightly soft and moist inside and firm on the outside. Once the base is set and the top is almost but not quite set, it is time to fold the omelette onto a warm plate. The inside will continue to firm up in its own heat. Don’t try to cook it all through completely in the pan, as any egg dish will continue to cook for a few minutes after it has left the pan – think of scrambled eggs, which also firm up after cooking is finished.

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