An omelette (sometimes spelled omelet) is a dish made with eggs which are
beaten, seasoned, then quickly cooked in butter or oil in a frying pan.
It is a very quick and nutritious dish as well as being relatively
economical. Omelettes are also very versatile and with a little
imagination can be served in a number of ways including being filled with
items such as cheese, vegetables and meats, flavoured with additional
seasonings such as chopped herbs, made thinner and used as a wrap or made
thicker and more substantial so as to be cut into wedges. Many
countries have their own versions of omelettes: Spain has the Tortilla; Italy
has the Frittata.
Equipment needed to make an omelette
The main equipment required is a shallow pan. Although special omelette
pans can be used, most frying pans are suitable and the non-stick varieties help to ensure the
doesn't stick and can be easily folded.
Many omelette recipes can be made from start to finish in one pan, however it
may be necessary to also use another pan to cook additional
You will also need:
a largemixing bowl
a fork or whisk to beat the eggs
a wooden or plastic spoon, spatulaor fork to stir the
omelette in the pan
a palette knife or fish slice to loosen and fold the omelette in the pan.
When using non-stick pans, try not to use metal utensils as these may scratch
the non-stick lining of the pans.
Ingredients for Omelettes
The main ingredients for omelettes are eggs. In general, allow 2 eggs per
You will also need something to fry the omelette. Traditionally, butter is
used and this is indeed a good choice. However, you could also use a mixture of
olive oil and butter or other oils such as sunflower, corn or vegetable oil.
It is not necessary (or traditional) to add milk or cream.
All manner of additional ingredients can be added to omelettes at different
stages of the cooking. Below is a
list of examples below. However, see the section below about the preparation of
ingredients as it is very important.
Omelettes are also an excellent way of using up leftovers.
Step by Step instructions on how to make
Preparing ingredients for omelettes
The Eggs It doesn't really matter if the eggs are cold or at room temperature.
Simply crack them into a mixing bowl and beat well, preferably with a whisk,
adding salt and pepper. To obtain a fluffy texture, whole eggs or sometimes
egg whites only are whisked vigorously with a little water to create bubbles.
To create a very light, almost soufflé type omelette, the egg whites can be
whisked separately until they just start to hold their shape and then the
yolks folded into them.
Vegetables Whatever vegetables you add should be cooked first as the actual frying
time is relatively short in addition to which the solid ingredients will be
partly shielded from the heat by the eggs. For this reason, it is also best
to cut or slice the vegetables into relatively small pieces.
In general if using onions, these should be sautéed gently in the frying pan
until soft but not browned.
Aim to cook all vegetables until they are just tender before adding to the
omelette. Depending on
the vegetables being used, they can be partially boiled, micro-waved or steamed
however sautéing adds to the flavour.
Whatever meats, fish or poultry you add should also be thoroughly cooked first, apart
from items such as ham, smoked salmon or tinned items. As a rule of thumb - if you can't
eat it as it is, then it needs pre-cooking. Once again, these
ingredients should be cut into quite small pieces.
Herbs and Seasonings
Roughly chop fresh herbs and finely chop chillies and garlic.
In most cases, herbs and seasonings such as cayenne pepper can just be
stirred into the eggs in the mixing bowl or sprinkled evenly over the egg
mixture as soon as it goes into the frying pan. Chillies and garlic
will have a better flavour if lightly sautéed beforehand.
Cheese should be grated or crumbled.
How to cook an omelette
Here's a short video showing the steps for making a plain omelette which
1. Whisk the eggs with a fork or balloon whisk in a large mixing bowl, adding
salt, pepper and any remaining seasonings.
2. Heat enough butter or oil in the frying pan to just cover
the base of the pan over a medium/high heat until hot, then pour in the egg
3. Gently move the egg mixture around in the pan with a
fork, wooden spoon or spatula until much of the mixture is set, then
continue to cook without stirring until just set then carefully fold
the omelette over and transfer to a serving plate.
It should be noted that these types of French omelettes are only cooked on
one side and shouldn't be turned or flipped in the pan. Although
traditionally, the underside of the omelette should not be allowed to
colour, if you don't like the very pale look, just cook over a
Hints and Tips for making omelettes
Use an appropriately sized pan for the amount of egg mixture when making
ordinary omelettes to avoid disappointing results. In general a
20cm/8-inch pan will cook an omelette made with up to 3 eggs. This will
give the correct depth of egg mixture.
When making omelettes which will be used as a wrap, use a larger sized
frying pan so the finished omelette will be thin enough to roll up around
the filling ingredients and make sure you cook the omelette completely
If using butter by itself to cook the omelette, do not over heat before adding
the eggs as it easily burns. Only heat until just sizzling and have your egg
mixture ready to add to the pan.
Do not over cook the eggs as they can quickly become rubbery. Only cook until
just set or still a little runny in places as the mixture will continue to cook
for a while once removed from the pan.
When using fillings, make sure they are cooked through and hot where necessary.
As the eggs are just beginning to set, place the filling on one half of the
omelette whilst still in the pan then gently fold the opposite half over
the filling. Using a wide utensil such as a fish slice is easier.
Depending on the recipe,
omelettes can be served
hot or cold making them great for breakfasts, lunch or dinner plus
picnics and packed lunches: as a wrap or frittata they make an interesting and novel addition to children's school lunch boxes, providing a good source of
protein and vitamins, with the added benefit that they can be cooked the
evening before and refrigerated.
Following the above basic tips, you can use a multitude of ingredients to
make delicious and interesting omelettes, but here' a link to some full
recipes to get you started.