Fried Eggs Over-Hard on a white plate next to greens with breakfast potatoes and orange juice in the background (with logo overlay)

Fried Eggs: What’s the Difference? + Fried Eggs Over-Hard Recipe

There are so many ways to cook fried eggs. Sunny-side-up, over-easy, over-medium, over-hard. But do you know the difference? Which is the perfect fried egg for you?

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Sunny-side up, over easy, over medium, over hard….. there are so many options for fried eggs. Do you know the difference? I had no idea until recently, but knowing the difference will definitely make it easier to order eggs when we are out for breakfast!

For me, I almost always go with scrambled eggs. It’s safe and hard to mess up and I know I’ll be getting exactly what I want. But when we are at home, I like to experiment a little more with and try different ways of cooking eggs.

Various Ways to Fry an Egg


An egg that is done “sunny-side-up” means that the egg is never flipped. The yolk (sun) is left completely intact and stays mostly uncooked. The white of the egg is cooked most of the way through and usually is left with just a little bit of sheen to it. This seems to be one of the most popular ways to fry an egg. If you do a search online for fried eggs almost all of the photos and recipes are for a sunny-side-up egg. 

Eggs Over-Easy

Similar to sunny-side up, when you make fried eggs over-easy, you want the yolk to barely get cooked. It should still be very runny and intact. The only real difference between sunny side up and over-easy eggs is that an egg made over-easy is flipped once while being cooked. This means the egg white gets cooked a bit more and usually doesn’t have that sheen to it.

Eggs Over-Medium

As we get further in the descriptions, the eggs get cooked a little more. Over-medium eggs are cooked the same as over-easy because they are flipped while frying, but are just cooked a bit longer. The yolk in an over-medium fried egg is only slightly runny.

Eggs Over-Hard

Personally, this is the only way I will eat a fried egg. When it’s cooked over hard, the yolk is cooked completely through, similar to hard-boiled eggs with a firm yolk. As with the others, the egg is flipped while it is cooked, and it is done longer. Both the egg white and yolk are cooked until they are considered done and nothing is raw. You oftentimes will get crispy edges to your fried eggs when you cook them over-hard. 

My only drawback to fried eggs is the fact that I don’t like egg whites on their own, which is why I prefer to break the yolk when I make my fried eggs. I also can’t stand a runny yolk. It reminds me too much of a raw egg and totally grosses me out! I couldn’t ever eat an egg sunny-side-up or over-easy because of the texture of runny eggs. That’s why, in this recipe, I am showing you how to make a fried egg over-hard because I do have to eat this food after I make it and this is my favorite way to make a fried egg! We like to serve fried eggs with seasoned potatoesavocado toast, or crispy bacon in the air fryer

Fried Eggs Over-Hard on a white plate next to greens with breakfast potatoes and orange juice in the background (horizontal)

Best Equipment for Fried Eggs

No matter which way you choose to make a fried egg, make sure to use a nonstick skillet or grease the pan well. Eggs will stick really badly to the bottom of the pan. I love my non-stick pan from Caraway Home. It’s the type of pan I always dreamed of… nonstick, cleans easily, and looks nice, too! If you don’t have a good non-stick skillet, another great choice is a well-seasoned cast-iron skillet

You’ll want to use a frying pan with a small edge to it to hold the egg in. And don’t forget the turner or spatula. I find having one that’s very thin and made of silicone, works best. 

​How to Test Eggs for Freshness

There are a variety of ways to test fresh eggs to see if they truly are fresh. The easy way is by smelling them. I always say, especially with food, if it doesn’t smell right, don’t eat it!

The simplest way to test if you have the freshest eggs is by floating them in water. Use a small bowl or small glass cup and fill it with water. Place a large egg in and see what happens. If the egg sinks to the bottom, turns sideways, and stays there, you have a great egg because it is very fresh. An egg that sinks, but then starts to float up a bit, lays at an angle, or stands up on the bottom of the glass, is only about 1-2 weeks old and still a good egg to consume. For an egg that doesn’t touch the bottom or the top of the egg is at the top of the water, it’s too old and needs to be tossed out. 

Fried Eggs Over Hard Step by Step


  • 1 tsp olive oil (or vegetable oil)
  • 2 eggs
  • salt and black pepper (to taste)


Heat a sauté pan over medium heat and add the oil until it’s warm. You need enough oil to make a thin layer in the pan. 

Crack the eggs into the pan with the hot oil. If you want the yolk broken, do that now. If not, leave the egg as it is. 

Three raw eggs in a cast-iron skillet

Sprinkle the egg with salt and black pepper.

After a few minutes, once the eggs start to set, flip and cook the other side. 

Three eggs being fried in a cast-iron skillet

The amount of time you let the egg cook will determine the doneness of the yolk. Take the eggs off the heat when they hit your desired doneness. 

Fried Eggs Over-Hard on a white plate next to greens with breakfast potatoes and orange juice in the background (vertical)


Originally Published On: February 19, 2018

Last Updated On: June 1, 2023

Fried Eggs Over-Hard on a white plate next to greens with breakfast potatoes and orange juice in the background (horizontal)

Fried Eggs Over Hard

Over-hard fried eggs are cooked through without a broken yolk. It's a great way to have a fried egg even for those who are squeamish with a runny yolk.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
fried eggs
Dietary Needs:
Cooking Method:
One-Pan Meals
Servings: 1 serving
5 from 13 votes


  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 eggs
  • salt and black pepper (to taste)

Recommended Equipment


  • Heat a nonstick pan over medium heat and add the oil
  • Once the oil is warm, crack open the eggs into the pan
  • If you want a broken yolk, do that now
  • Sprinkle with salt and black pepper
  • After a few minutes, once the eggs start to set, flip and cook the other side
  • Determine how cooked you want the yolk and take them off the heat when cooked to the desired doneness
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Nutrition Facts
Fried Eggs Over Hard
Amount Per Serving (2 eggs)
Calories 165 Calories from Fat 108
% Daily Value*
Fat 12g18%
Saturated Fat 3g15%
Cholesterol 327mg109%
Sodium 125mg5%
Potassium 121mg3%
Protein 11g22%
Vitamin A 475IU10%
Calcium 49mg5%
Iron 1.5mg8%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

All nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered estimates. Actual nutrition content will vary based on brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes, and more.

76 thoughts on “Fried Eggs: What’s the Difference? + Fried Eggs Over-Hard Recipe”

  1. I have always wonder what the differences were and I had no idea there was such a variant. I am not a fan of the texture of eggs but I wonder if they were better cooked if I would be okay with it. Runny yolks are just gross to me.

    1. 5 stars
      Bless you! I feel the same exact way about eggs. I don’t like the egg whites alone and runny eggs wig me out. Thanks for the tutorial.

  2. Ha ha! I’m glad I’m not the only one who didn’t know the difference. I guess that’s because my favorite eggs are scrambled! I do think I’d like the hard ones way better than the over easy ones. I’m not a fan of runny eggs!

  3. 5 stars
    Thanks for the tips! I have never actually heard of eggs-over-hard before – you learn something every day! But I love eggs in all forms, so I will definitely give this a go. Especially when you serve it next to some gorgeous bacon!

    1. Before doing the research for this post, I didn’t know that’s what they were called. I never ordered fried eggs because I thought they would just have the runny yolk and that’s how it’s made.

  4. My husband loves his eggs sunny side up and the nurse in me sees something else each time he is eating eggs. Now, I am going t be fancy and order Fried eggs over hard next time we go for brunch.

    1. Yeah, there’s just something about the runny yolk that has always bothered me, too. But, my husband likes them that way with either toast or bacon to dip in the yolk. I go for over-hard or scrambled every time.

  5. 5 stars
    This was really so informative and interesting. I never knew the names although I had seen all the forms of eggs. I personally love sunny sides up OR eggs over easy but hubby wants it over hard. Thanks I am really ready to order my brunch for the weekend.

  6. I honestly do know the difference between the different type. However, I think most restaurants don’t especially some breakfast spot. I will be saving this and showing them when next they bring out something that wasn’t ordered. Hahahaha. Great post!


    I loved reading this because I did not know the difference until now! I am actually a huge fan of the soft poached egg!!

  8. I don’t know why, but I always love runny eggs. I didn’t know that I could still consider a lot of things when cooking eggs!

  9. I’ve never heard of eggs-over-hard before but I love making new recipes and this is a perfect go-to breakfast for me. I’m definitely going to try this, even my brother is very fond of eggs!

  10. I had no idea there was any difference(s)!! As long as it looks fried and there’s eggs and Olive and pepper… every other thing’s pretty much a bonus to me so as the make the meal to be bigger.. lol

  11. I may be in the minority but I love my eggs over-easy and poached. I can tolerate scrambled eggs but my bread is usually lonely without its runny yolk to swim in.

  12. Oh yuuuum! I am certainly a fried egg over hard. I love eggs and I eat them in multiple ways. It’s morning and I’m on my way down to make this recipe now. I hope I have some spinach to make it complete.

  13. I don’t eat eggs at all but I don’t want my food limitations to get in the way of what my kids eat. I didn’t know the differences between the fried eggs before reading this. Now I can teach my kids!

    1. I am the same with a lot of foods. My mom was picky and it rubbed off on me. I am trying to make sure my kids are exposed to all types of foods, even if they won’t eat them right now.

  14. Honestly, I didn’t know the difference about fried eggs! This post wasn’t just informative, but it was absolutely delicious. My favourite way to prepare eggs is fried!
    Also, the T-fal pan is amazing, I used this for many recipes!

  15. My family cannot do without eggs! we simply love them and keep trying 10 different recipes. I have tried everything mentioned above. Each recipe of egg is different in their own ways.

    1. It’s crazy that the difference in cook time can be so small, but make a big difference in the outcome. My youngest loves eggs but my oldest doesn’t, so we don’t have them as often as I would like sometimes.

  16. I should totally show the girls this post when they get home from sleepaway camp. Kimmie had to learn how to cook eggs a few different ways earlier this year for a Girl Scout badge, and now Essie loves having Kimmie cook her morning eggs to order whenever possible. They would LOVE this explanation and step-by-step of the different types of fried eggs.

    1. That’s awesome that Kimmie can make them herself! When Justin and Tyler went to Cub Scout camp in the spring, everyone was apparently amazed that Tyler could crack an egg so well as one of the youngest kids in our pack. He has lots of practice here 🙂

  17. Definitely a good primer on all the types of fried eggs. I’m with you, I think I prefer scrambled the most. Although I admit I’ve become a sunny side up person when I’m not doing scrambled which is funny because I hated the runny yolk when I was younger but appreciate it more now.

  18. 5 stars
    I really like eggs in general, but I love fried eggs. I love them in butter; they’re the best. Runny yolks used to really gross me out when I was a kid, but now I love them. I must say that I can’t eat over-hard eggs because I find them a bit too dry for my taste. I wouldn’t go for sunny side up either, but I think I would prefer over-easy or over-medium eggs 🙂

  19. 5 stars
    “Fried Eggs” in my house growing up always meant over-hard. It wasn’t until I married my husband that I had to learn the difference in terminology because he kept making eggs way too runny!!

    1. I was the same way for so long. That’s why I decided to do some research and figured if I didn’t know, I’m sure there are others who don’t, too!

  20. 5 stars
    I didn’t know there was a difference. Love this info, now I know what it is called whenever I fry an egg. 😀 My favorite is sunny side up and eggs over easy. When it is eggs over hard, I pass the yolk to someone else…lol

  21. 5 stars
    My favorite is Eggs Over-Easy. I don’t know but maybe when I was younger, I thought it was fun to play with Eggs Over-Easy. It sounds crazy. I am going to try the eggs over hard recipe as it is something new but I don’t I can perfect it.

    1. I can see how that would be fun. The thought of runny eggs always grossed me out, so I go for the over-hard. It’s pretty easy to make, you just have to let it cook a bit longer than when making the eggs over-easy.

  22. I’m right there with you on the grossness of runny eggs 🤮. I can’t even eat soft scrambled eggs. They feel too slimy to me. But I could probably eat them over-hard. I usually just order scrambled with cheese, though, maybe next time I’ll order them this way. I’ve known the difference between the different types but my family has only ever called them fried, if the yolk was broken.

  23. have you ever tried basting your eggs? crack your egg cover a few seconds, then cook another few seconds, then pour about 2 TBS. of water in the pan and cover again cook few seconds more until they look white and done remove immediately. MMMMM Good

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