Some days call for fried eggs in amazing extra virgin olive oil. And other days, I love to kick things up a few notches by adding a generous sprinkle of za'atar, the quentessional Middle Eastern blend of wild thyme, toasted sesame seeds, and sumac!
And for those who loved the idea of pesto eggs, it is time for za'atar eggs, my friend! They are next-level delicious--earthy, herby, and packed with flavor! And if you like, add in a few chopped cherry tomatoes or even a sprinkle of feta! Be ready with some warmed pita or your favorite rustic bread to swipe the egg and evoo goodness!
When I posted a quick Instagram reel of the za'atar eggs I was making for breakfast, I received so many questions that I decided to write this impromptu post to answer them all.
Can you fry an egg in olive oil?
The short answer is: Yes you can! This is a debated subject, and I want you to use whatever healthy oil you feel comfortable using for your fried eggs. When frying an egg in quality extra virgin olive oil, you'll use shallow amounts of the oil, over medium heat, for about 2 minutes or so. You will not be using very high heat, nor is the cooking time too long for the oil to smoke. That said, according to the North American Olive Oil Association, extra virgin olive oil's smoke point is 350 to 410 degrees Fahrenheit, and olive oil's smoke point is 390 to 468 degrees Fahrenheit. And the high amount of monounsaturated fats in olive oil protect it from high heat, it won't turn "bad" when you cook with it.
And according to research, it has also been suggested that olive oil’s high antioxidant content may even reduce the amount of possibly harmful chemicals produced during heating. Personally, I use olive oil to fry eggs or fish , grill scallops, to toss in pasta, to finish a pot of harira soup, and in nearly all my Mediterranean recipes. It adds great flavor, richness, and nutrition.
How to make fried eggs in olive oil?
Fried eggs are one of the easiest breakfasts to make, but here are a few tips that make all the difference:
- Heat the pan first! I find that a heavy non-stick pan or cast iron skillet work great with fried eggs. First, start by heating the pan over medium-high heat, and before you add the olive oil, reduce the heat to medium.
- Warm the oil well before adding the egg. Watch for the olive oil to shimmer, that's you're hint to add the egg. The well-heated oil will ensure crispy egg whites, which is what you want.
- Crack the egg in a small bowl first. This will help to easily slide the egg into the heated oil and minimize the oil splatter. It also yields a better -shaped friend egg!
- Spoon some of the olive oil over your eggs. The easiest way to baste your egg with olive oil while it's cooking is to use a spoon to add the heated oil over the egg whites. Avoid basting the egg yolks at least until they set a little.
- Season well! A good pinch of kosher salt is the obvious way to season your egg, but I love playing things up in this recipe by adding a good sprinkle of za'atar (about 1 to 2 teaspoons) over the egg and even the oil.
How long to fry an egg?
When your pan is well-heated, fry your egg in extra virgin olive oil over medium heat and watch for the egg whites to fully set and even crisp up in the bottom and for the yolk to cook to your liking--about 2 minutes for runny yolk and 3 minutes or so for medium yolk. And if you like your yolk more cooked or hard, cover the pan briefly to help it cook some more. for about 2 to 3 minutes. For runny yolk, the egg an egg in extra virgin olive oil, use medium
Related recipes to try
Za'atar Olive Oil Fried Eggs
- 1 large egg
- 1 to 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, more if you like
- ¼ tsp Kosher salt
- 2 tsp za'atar
- Crack your egg in a ramekin or small dish.
- Over medium-high heat, warm a nonstick skillet. Add the olive oil and turn the heat to medium. Tilt the pan around to spread the oil, and watch for it to shimmer.
- Carefully slide the eggs in the heated oil. Season with Kosher salt and the za'atar. Cook for about 2 to 3 minutes over medium heat, spooning some of the olive oil on top, until the whites are cooked the edges crisp up and the yolk is cooked to your liking (if you like, you can cover the pan for a few seconds to help it).
- Serve immediately with warmed pita bread or your favorite crusty bread!
- I like my eggs swimming in good EVOO, so I typically use more. But you can use more or less olive oil to your liking.
- Add ons: I like adding a few chopped cherry tomatoes and sometimes a bit of feta. You can add those as soon as you season your eggs in step #3.
- How long to fry your egg? It will take about 2 to 2 ½ minutes for runny yolk and 3 minutes for medium yolk. If you like to fry your eggs until the yolk hardens, you'll want to cover the skillet for a couple minutes and watch until the yolk is cooked to your liking.
- Za'atar is a blend of wild Mediterranean thyme, toasted sesame seeds, and sumac. Shop our all-natural Za'atar.
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