French

How to Make a French Omelette

December 30, 2013

Once you've perfected basic techniques like frying an egg and cooking rice, it's time to move on to those things that may have initially scared you off. Every other Monday, chef and stylist Camille Becerra is going beyond the basics to help us tackle even the scariest cooking techniques.

Today: Camille shows us how to make a classic French omelette. 

How to Make an Omelette

I am of the school of thought that finds it perfectly fine to judge fellow cooks by the way they make an omelette. As they say, “It’s the simple things...”

First off, a few rules: Omelettes should be made with 2 to 4 eggs. They shouldn’t have any color. They should be fluffy. And they must be well seasoned. The fillings are the cook's choice -- leftovers from the fridge work quite well. My favorite is simply just chives, and maybe some goat cheese.

How to Make an Omelette

In an episode of The French Chef devoted to the omelette, Julia Child succeeds in hosting an omelette party for 300 people! Guests chose their fillings, including chicken livers, ham, a sauté of spinach, ratatouille, and an array of stinky cheeses. 

 More: Another thing we learned from Julia Child? How to cook zucchini, in style.

Chefs and experienced cooks take their omelette pan very seriously: small and non-stick is everything. On another TV show, Anthony Bourdain hangs out with chef Marco Pierre White at his restaurant-pub in the British countryside. In the kitchen there’s a special nail where only the omelette pan hangs, and this pan is only used for making their signature trout omelet. The entremetier is the only one that can touch it, and nothing but egg and a rubber spatula can ever go into it -- it’s the law. 

How to Make an Omelette

Here's how I make mine:

Crack 2 to 4 eggs into a bowl, season with salt, and whisk well.  

With a rubber spatula in hand, warm your pan over medium-high heat. If you’re really committed, you’ll use clarified butter; if not, a touch of oil (any kind will work) and a bit of butter will do, but make sure you heat your pan gently and add your eggs before the milk solids in the butter begin to brown. 

How to Make an Omelette

As soon as the eggs hit the pan, it's showtime. Make sure you stir aggressively with your spatula; this creates an airy omelette. 

How to Make an Omelette How to Make an Omelette
How to Make an Omelette How to Make an Omelette

The next step goes very fast; once you see that the eggs are holding their structure but are still soft and gooey, lower your heat, add your heated filling (if using), and begin to roll your omelette out of the pan. 

How to Make an Omelette

There are many ways to roll out an omelette from pan to plate, but I find this technique to be most useful: First, grab your plate and have it ready to catch your omelette. Then bring your hand, palm side-up, under the handle, which gives you much-needed leverage.

How to Make an Omelette How to Make an Omelette

Gravity is your friend here. Start tilting the pan, with the handle lifted towards you and the far side of the pan tilting towards the plate. Using the spatula, begin to fold the omelette onto itself, starting with the edge closest to the handle. Then guide it along, folding it over a bit more. 

How to Make an Omelette How to Make an Omelette

Continue tilting the pan slowly as the omelette begins to roll onto itself. You want it to hop off the pan and onto your plate.  

How to Make an Omelette

New techniques take practice, so don’t be discouraged if you don’t get it on the first try. Remember that once you do get it, no chef or fellow cook will ever judge you. 

Photos by Emma Jane Kepley

25 Comments

Margaret R. June 26, 2018
I love making Omelets on the weekends. My favorite has sautéed mushrooms, tomatoes and onion(preferably green onion) and cheese (Gruyere, Fontina or whatever I have)..sometimes even zucchini for dinner Omelets. Darn it is only Tuesday!!
 
Frank February 7, 2016
I know it's silly, but I wish I could upload a picture of my omelette into this comment. It was perfection on a plate. Thank you. Now I don't have to eat browned bottom omelettes anymore. I was afraid I couldn't duplicate your results with an All-Clad Stainless pan, as I don't own a non-stick pan, but except for a skim of eggs on the bottom (a nod to the Egg Gods perhaps?) it rolled out perfectly. Sometimes it's the small things that let you know you are progressing as a cook. A big THANK YOU again. Love Food 52.
 
MRubenzahl February 7, 2016
I have also done it with non-non-stick pans but it's much trickier. Would recommend everyone have a non-stick pan. (I don't recommend expensive non-stick pans because they eventually fail, and I plan to replace it every 3-6 years.)
 
Fifa A. January 3, 2016
I learned to make a fluffy rolled omelette (that NOW I know is named French Omelette) when I had a breakfast buffet at some hotel. The cook made our order at the egg station and I watched him long enough to learn his way to make french omelette. His method was a bit different, same scrambling at the beginning then he pushed all the scrambled eggs to the side of the pan and yielded a smooth shell-shaped omelette, and that's the way I used for making frnech omelette. <br />I will have a try with this rolling method for my kids' breakfast tomorrow.
 
Sharon January 2, 2016
I learned to make a tri-fold omelet just by slamming the handle of the olmelet pan into the palm of my hand.
 
chris September 4, 2015
My husband and I just finished enjoying our goat cheese and chive omelette, made exactly as shown. It was a revelation! Neither of us could get over how delicious it was; no more "meh" eggs for us. Looking at the instructions again, I think I was too cautious with the heat (I didn't want to brown the eggs, heaven forbid) and it took longer than anticipated to reach "structured but still gooey." I'll definitely be making this again. Soon.
 
Tom S. August 24, 2015
I make omelets every day, the more you do it, the better you get at it.<br />It's fast, so have the filling ingredients ready, and NEVER brown the omelet, it's an atrocity.<br />I too use the same pan (s), and no other for omelets it just makes for consistency.<br />If you've tried this, and it didn't turn out, don't give up, do it over, and over and over, you'll get it.<br />Having a high quality omelet pan that never gets washed in the dishwasher helps too, as the detergents ruin the cooking surface, only hand wash.<br />Learning to flip that omelet in the pan without using a spatula will be a game changer, you'll go from novice to pro overnight.
 
MRubenzahl August 25, 2015
I agree with Tom on all accounts. <br /><br />A French-style omelet is elegant enough for dinner, too.<br /><br />I don't flip it in the pan. I roll it out, giving it a gentle nudge to get a nice roll.
 
MRubenzahl August 25, 2015
Also, I don't have a dedicated pan but I do take good care of the non-stick pan I use for omelets. I don't use butter or olive oil in the pan (it tends to clog up non-stick, according to the manufacturer, Swiss Diamond), but I do use butter on the omelet at the end or in the eggs, for flavor.
 
Susan H. July 14, 2015
Well for those of you who are going to try this mine did not turn our perfectly or divine. It was jumbled mess and the omelet did not stay together. Good luck.
 
MRubenzahl August 25, 2015
Don't give up! One thing this needs is a non-stick pan that works well.
 
Transcendancing February 10, 2015
Yay! Finally I can make an omelette that looks all beautifully finished like this! Worked brilliantly and I'm so excited to try it again tomorrow.
 
Serafim M. January 30, 2014
Em inglês não vou lá!!!A minha omelete é mais "fina" pois "fala" francês!!!<br />
 
Jen M. January 27, 2014
I tried this technique this weekend and the result was divine. As I tend to like really soft scrambled eggs, this yielded a very light omelette. I just have to perfect the roll.
 
I_Fortuna January 19, 2014
This is a great demo! I sometimes make my omelettes this way. Personally, I prefer pouring my eggs into a 10 or 12 inch ceramic pan, letting it set at a medium low temperature, then rolling, rolling and rolling it into an almost cigar or burrito shape. The layers of the omelette are super thin and this makes an almost crepe like omelette. It is delicate and delicious. Sometimes, if I want a sweet omelette, I add a bit of flour to the eggs, roll the same way and top with fruit and sometimes sour cream. Please let me know if any of you make your omelettes this way, or if you have tried this.
 
Knightcraft April 24, 2014
I haven't tried your sweet version. But you can bet I'll be giving it a go VERY soon! Thanks!
 
Stumpstein January 17, 2014
You've just gotta love this website! Thanks for the omelette photo demo. Very helpful. And the stirring, I completely missed this before. Now my eggs are... well, almost as fluffy as I am. What can I say! I love to cook.
 
C K. January 5, 2014
this is the way I was taught in culinary school, I used to be baffled too as to why they are scrambled a bit but I love omelettes, that is my go to comfort food.
 
MRubenzahl January 5, 2014
I'll add two suggestions. First is to heat the pan very evenly. As soon as I start, the first step is to put the pan on the stove, over the lowest setting. It can be heated indefinitely at that setting and preheating while you're prepping everything ensures an evenly heated pan.<br /><br />Second is that stirring the eggs as they cook is key. Cook's Illustrated's omelette article suggested a pair of chopsticks and that's what I use.
 
Suzanne R. January 5, 2014
I, too, think the pictures make it look like scrambled eggs are being prepared. I've been doing it all wrong.........can't wait to try it out.
 
Ronbet January 5, 2014
I don't understand how what looks like scrambled eggs becomes an omelette. How does it hold together as a omelette after the eggs are scrambled?
 
Author Comment
Camille B. January 5, 2014
what looks like very runny scrambled eggs on top is actually smooth on the bottom and cooked through enough to supply the structure needed to make an omelette. try it out... let me know how it works for you.
 
John K. December 31, 2013
Instructions were perfect, was able to make an omelete that had the perfect amount of air and puff. Realize though to turn the heat down when directions say, it can brown quickly! Thanks again for the great article
 
KtMcB December 31, 2013
I am experience a great feeling of accomplishment. just made my first classic french omlette, magnifique! Thanks for great simple instructions. How do you say yummmmmm en francaise?
 
laurenlocally December 31, 2013
I can't wait to try this.