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What's the secret to a very fluffy omelette?
September 18, 2013 7:44 AM   Subscribe

What's the secret to a very fluffy omelette? I had an omelette at a non-fancy cafe today, and the texture was very fluffy, completely unlike most omelettes I've eaten or cooked. It was a folded omelette, did not have the wrinkly texture of many "country style" omelettes, and was not particularly brown on the outside. I don't believe that it was a french omelette (it wasn't cigar shaped). A quick google turns up a few different tips: add cold butter cubes to the beaten egg (today's omelette did not taste rich at all), or beat the whites into peaks before cooking (this cafe wasn't very fancy at all). Can anyone shed some light? Thanks.
posted by surenoproblem to Food & Drink (41 answers total) 34 users marked this as a favorite
 
Beat the eggs, and then beat them some more, and some more, and some more. Fluffiness just means that there's a lot of air whipped into the eggs. Someone else will surely know more about this, but restaurants, I suspect, use commercial egg-whipper thingies for this purpose.
posted by Dr. Wu at 7:48 AM on September 18, 2013


Beat the whites until fluffy, then fold in the lightly-beaten yolks. Doesn't take very long if you've got a mixer or a stick blender handy.
posted by pipeski at 7:49 AM on September 18, 2013 [6 favorites]


Cream (or I guess butter would work too) and whipping air in.
posted by wrok at 7:54 AM on September 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


IHOP puts pancake batter in their omelettes to make them fluffy. If you don't want pancake batter, they make them with "shell eggs" and they're a lot less fluffy.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 7:56 AM on September 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


To add on here:

When I make Chile Rellenos, I separate the eggs and beat the egg whites until they're like merengues, then carefully fold in the the beaten yolks. That makes them VERY fluffy!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 7:57 AM on September 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


nth whipping. With the right equipment, it is pretty easy to make fluffy omelets by whipping the egg whites and then folding in the yolks. If you add cream to the whites, you can get them even fluffier.
posted by hworth at 7:58 AM on September 18, 2013


I've done the America's Test Kitchen method, and it does result in crazy fluffy and delicious omelettes. On the other hand, it's pretty time-intensive.
posted by General Malaise at 7:58 AM on September 18, 2013 [5 favorites]


Yeah this is how my dad loves his eggs. No separation or anything.

Just crack the eggs into a bowl. Whip them by hand or with a a mixer. Pour into pan.
Result: fluffy omelette.
posted by vacapinta at 8:00 AM on September 18, 2013


This video with MeFi's own Adam Savage may be of interest.

I suspect I make a slightly different type of omelette that the ones you're talking about, but I always find that whisking the (non-separated) eggs enough to properly emulsify and aerate them makes a big difference. I also add a dash of milk, which seems to make the finished omelette fluffier and less dense.
posted by EXISTENZ IS PAUSED at 8:01 AM on September 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


This is totally unorthodox, and I'm sure real foodies will roll their eyes right out of their heads at me, but I add some sour cream to the egg mixture, and the results are totally fluffy and quite rich.

Not good if you're looking to reduce calories or fat, though.
posted by xingcat at 8:02 AM on September 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


I think a lot also has to do with cooking method. You drag the spatula toward the middle pulling the mostly cooked egg on the bottom to the center and then let the watery, uncooked egg spill out the the edges so that it cooks. All the while being gentle so as not to break up the structure.
posted by humboldt32 at 8:03 AM on September 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Cook's Country (one of the magazines/website put out by America's Test Kitchen) has a diner omelet that's light and fluffy which involves whipping a small amount of whipping cream, then folding it into well-beaten eggs. You put it on the burner for a little bit without stirring to stabilize the bottom of the mixture, then toss it in the oven until it's cooked through.

It's a lot of effort, though. I usually make omelets following Tracy DesJardine's method, demonstrated a couple of times in this video by Des Jardines and Adam Savage.
posted by telophase at 8:04 AM on September 18, 2013


A friend who used to own a diner gave me a surprisingly effective tip: add a little bit of water (not heavy dairy) to the eggs before beating them thoroughly; no need to separate/beat whites/fold them back in or anything involved. Just break the eggs, add a little water, and beat. It really does result in fluffier omelets in my experience, even with just moderate hand-whisking. I just found this explanation on StackExchange:
Eggs are already 3/4 water anyway!

By mixing in a small quantity of extra water before you cook the eggs, you are slowing down the cooking process by making more water available that has be evaporated. This keeps the cooking temperature to less than 100°C (212°F) for longer, therefore increasing the the time for the egg proteins to foam and expand before setting

The amount of water you need to add depends on; personal preference, the type of egg, and how old it is. Older eggs generally require a little more water

Adding skim milk will enhance this process slightly too. Adding extra fat will generally not enhance this process

BONUS TIP To make even more spectacular omelettes place a loose fitting lid over the pan to increase the steam exposure all around, and let the egg fully develop
posted by usonian at 8:07 AM on September 18, 2013 [9 favorites]


I vaguely remember my gramma putting a little seltzer into eggs but I might be conflating that with the seltzering of matzoh balls to make them fluffier.
posted by elizardbits at 8:09 AM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't eat eggs (except in cake) but if I wanted to make an egg fluffier I would add in a little bit of baking soda. Probably just a pinch per egg possibly as much as half a tsp for 3-4 eggs. It shouldn't leave any taste once cooked and would help with the foaming to make a lighter omlette.
posted by koolkat at 8:14 AM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


I put a littl bit of milk into mine and then whip the mixture into a frenzy before cooking it. Mmmmm!
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 8:19 AM on September 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


I've done the "separate out and whip the whites, then fold them back in gently" thing before, and that definitely works; once I combined that with baking the omelette instead of cooking it in a pan and ended up with something that kind of looked like the picture in this recipe. Not strictly a "true" omelette, I suppose, but it was fluffy and delicious!
posted by DingoMutt at 8:21 AM on September 18, 2013


There's a place in Novato, California, that does the most amazing omelettes that are just a round disk of egg flopped over the fillings. The egg is done with a blender, poured in a pan, fifteen seconds of cooking, mix thoroughly, another fifteen seconds, mix again, cover and let coast while you prep the fillings.

Like Ruthless Bunny suggests, I've also done the "beat the egg whites, fold in the yolks" trick, which makes almost a soufflé , but it's hard to get that to cook evenly (for all the reasons it's hard to cook a meringue evenly).
posted by straw at 8:26 AM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


I do this with greek yoghurt--about a tablespoon of yoghurt to two eggs. It makes things amazingly fluffy and delicious. Also works great with scrambled eggs, weirdly.
posted by MeghanC at 8:50 AM on September 18, 2013


Nthing the advice to add something that contains milkfat and/or whip the hell out of the egg mixture.
posted by box at 8:52 AM on September 18, 2013


Waffle House adds waffle batter to their eggs and also whips the hell out of them with a special mixer.
posted by woodvine at 8:58 AM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


You pour the beaten eggs into hot buttered pan of the right size. Once the mixture starts to set you finish it off under a hot grill.
posted by BenPens at 9:19 AM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


ALSO the last time I made pudding, I used a milk frother to mix it and it came out more like mousse. So if you feel like picking up a cheapo battery operated milk frother (I think mine was like 9.99 at BB&B) you have the chance for ridiculously fluffy eggs.
posted by elizardbits at 9:20 AM on September 18, 2013


similar to elizardbits, I've used an immersion blender
posted by jepler at 9:24 AM on September 18, 2013


When I have cream in the house sometimes I will use it in scrambled eggs and it always makes them fluffier, but it also makes them a bit more filling I think. Not necessarily 'richer' to taste, like you'd expect from adding cream or butter, though.
posted by Lady Li at 9:29 AM on September 18, 2013


A friend who used to own a diner gave me a surprisingly effective tip: add a little bit of water (not heavy dairy) to the eggs before beating them thoroughly;

I used to SWEAR by putting milk in the eggs, until my girlfriend told me I should just use water, and sure enough it works. Glad to have it independently verified.
posted by solotoro at 9:36 AM on September 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


It does sound to me like a soufflé omelette.

They're a nice alternative to the French or other styles, and are still pretty easy. The basic recipe is: separate 2-3 eggs, whip the whites to soft peaks. Blend yolks with a bit of milk. Generously butter a hot pan over medium heat. Fold the yolks into whites, then into the pan as the butter foams. Sprinkle with toppings.

Cook for a couple of minutes until just firm, then plate. When plating, the omelette should still be flexible enough to fold them if you like, but I usually don't bother. If it cracks, it's a bit overcooked.

Here's a typical recipe from Delia Smith.

It's a bit more work than a French style, but still less than 15 minutes. A blender or mixer can really speed up the whipping process. I've even seen some restaurants do it on a milkshake machine in those steel cups.
posted by bonehead at 9:49 AM on September 18, 2013


I have a hinged omelet pan that was given to my parents in the 70s, something like this, and it makes a fluffy omelet. There are a couple of different recipes printed on the pan, one of them fluffier, but I think partly it just puffs up with steam.
posted by songs about trains at 10:19 AM on September 18, 2013


My husband managed a Waffle House. No waffle batter. Just threw the eggs in a blender first.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 10:23 AM on September 18, 2013


I actually know part of the answer to this question, based on some experimentation with a "fluffy omelette" that is a holiday tradition in my family. One year, we decided to leave out the salt, and the "fluffy" became flat. The next version contained the salt and lo and behold, it was fluffy again. Do not leave out the salt.
posted by lakersfan1222 at 10:36 AM on September 18, 2013


Breakfast Restaurants typically put their eggs in a blender, so I guarantee you this was 85% of your omelette's fluffiness.

Yes, a little water. Yes, a loose cover or oven to finish the cooking.

I'm totally guilty of enjoying sour cream whipped into my eggs, but it gives a slightly different (delicious!) result!!
posted by jbenben at 10:39 AM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Souffle omelet, low and slow. Remove from the pan just before it reaches desired doneness.
posted by melissasaurus at 10:59 AM on September 18, 2013


songs about trains: "I have a hinged omelet pan that was given to my parents in the 70s, something like this, and it makes a fluffy omelet. There are a couple of different recipes printed on the pan, one of them fluffier, but I think partly it just puffs up with steam."

Yes, you can just try covering the pan and that should give you a fluffy omelette.
posted by Room 641-A at 11:11 AM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Jauques Pepin makes both a "country omelette" and a "classic french omelette" in this video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=57afEWn-QDg


I suspect maybe you had a french-style omelette, but maybe just not in the cigar shape? Maybe all the fast stirring while cooking adds lightness to it?
posted by sarah_pdx at 11:38 AM on September 18, 2013


When I make an omlette, once I put the egg in the pan and the fillings in, if I put a lid on the pan, the eggs will puff up. So simple.
posted by plinth at 1:14 PM on September 18, 2013


Yes. Cover the pan. Mine are always fluffy, and I whip only until they're frothy and add nothing. Not even salt, usually. The process:

Eggs into a small bowl, whisked a little.
Large pan, low to medium heat, with a good bit of butter melted everywhere.
Pour eggs in, cover with a lid that fits the pan, then leave it alone.
Wait until the bottom has set enough to slide easily before adding fillings (which ideally have been sauteed a little on their own, with butter and seasonings), cover up again, and leave it alone.
Cook until the top isn't too runny, open and fold over. Bottom will be browned and crispy, interior will be thick and puffy.
posted by notquitemaryann at 1:30 PM on September 18, 2013


You could try asking the workers nicely. They just might tell you.
posted by Soliloquy at 3:30 PM on September 18, 2013


I make a pretty good omelette. Without getting to souffle omelette territory, my tip is a dash of milk, give it a good whisking, and a high heat. Also don't overcook the omelette. People who don't cook them frequently tend to overcook them, I find.
posted by smoke at 3:48 PM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Quick and easy method: crack eggs into seal-able/pour-able container. Add a bit of water (or milk, or cream, or butter). Shake. Shake. Shake. Pour the now-aerated egg into pan with your other omelet things, which have been sauteing while you were getting your shake on.
posted by jraenar at 4:14 PM on September 18, 2013


"My husband managed a Waffle House. No waffle batter. Just threw the eggs in a blender first."
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 1:23 PM on September 18

Agree that Waffle House doesn't add waffle batter to omelet eggs. But they also don't use a blender to beat the eggs; blenders typically have cutting blades as their agitation element, which can cut protein chains to bits. Waffle House beats the eggs for about 2 minutes in a commercial grade stand type drink mixer, which has small, non-bladed agitator discs on the central spindle. Result? Lots of entrained air, finely dispersed through the mechanically well emulsified eggs. Don't go more than 2 minutes or so, however, as it's possible to overbeat eggs.

Once the eggs are beaten, they quickly pour them into a heavily greased omelet pan, over high gas burner heat, and flip once, after the eggs have begun to rise, about a minute and half into cooking. Then, add whatever fillings the customer ordered, and fold out onto the plate a minute later.

Exactly the kind of omelete the OP describes, 250,000 times a day, with semi-skilled labor.
posted by paulsc at 4:41 PM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Here to nth a water + milk combo. Add milk and then just a zjhuszh of water -- pass the bowl under the running tap, whisk again, that's it. My omelettes are crowd-pleasers!
posted by thinkpiece at 5:05 PM on September 18, 2013


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