Breakfast, Lunch & Snack Recipes




Denver Omelet vs. Western Omelet: Is There Really a Difference?

Homemade Ham and Pepper Denver Omelette with Cheddar Cheese

Denver Omelet vs. Western Omelet: Is There Really a Difference?

When you walk into a diner, an array of delicious breakfasts meet you. The smells and sounds can instantly send your taste buds tingling in anticipation of a mouthwatering meal. If you are in the mood for a fluffy, tasty, and savory breakfast, an omelet may be the way to go. There are so many different options to choose from when it comes to omelets. You have the French omelet, the Southwest omelet, and the Spanish omelet, among others. This post will explore the difference and similarities between the delicious Western and Denver omelets. The terms Western omelet and Denver omelet are often interchangeable.

Nevertheless, the similarities are staggering; they may as well be the same dish! Denver and Western omelets have diced ham, green and red bell peppers, cheese, and onions. The one difference I found between these two omelets is that in many recipes, a Denver omelet egg cooks for four to five minutes before adding in the vegetables and meat, while many Western omelet recipes add the vegetables and ham right away with the egg. This method allows the vegetables and meat to cook in the egg more thoroughly. 

Are Denver Omelets and Western Omelets the Same Thing?

Essentially, yes. A Denver omelet and a Western omelet are the same things. Moreover, the terms are interchangeable throughout America. Therefore, they will likely be the same dish if you walk into a diner and ask for a Denver or Western omelet. There are a variety of different takes on these recipes, however. For example, sometimes, a Western omelet will add tomatoes. Adding the cheese on top of the egg will also create diversity between the two takes on this classic omelet.

Denver Omelet vs. Western Omelet: What Is the Difference?

Knowing that the Denver omelet and Western omelet are basically the same things, what exactly is different about the two? Essentially, only a little. The only difference between the two omelets is how the meat and vegetables are prepared between the two dishes. The Denver omelet was once popular in, you guessed it, Denver. However, in today's age, it has lost some of its popularity. Regardless, the Denver omelet is still a Western hemisphere-loved omelet in the food realm.

What is a Denver, or Western, Omelet?

The basics of a Denver or Western omelet are simple. All you need are eggs, green and red bell peppers, onions, diced ham, and cheese. There are many different styles of recipes, but at its core, the Denver omelet is very easy to make; merely anyone can whip one of these up in their kitchen! 

A Western Omelet with fresh fruit and berries for breakfast
A Western or Denver omelet is great and eaten with toast, diced potatoes, or fruit.


A Quick History of the Denver or Western Omelet

Let's journey back to the origin of the Denver or Western omelet. Quite a bit of folklore surrounds this scrumptious yet uncomplicated breakfast feast. Think back to the pioneer days and how difficult it must have been to keep eggs fresh. With high demands and less supply while traveling, the eggs, of course, would go rotten. That is when a pioneer had an ingenious idea. She would cut some fresh vegetables and ham and add them to the scrambled egg sandwich. She diced up plenty of green peppers and ham to hide the smell, and the taste, of those rotten eggs, and viola, the Denver omelet was born!

As intriguing and fun as this story is, a few historians have debunked the origin of the Denver omelet. First, have you ever smelled rotten eggs? Maybe your child left a boiled easter egg in their bedroom, and you finally found it with your nose. Not much, if anything, will be able to conceal the rotten smell or taste. Secondly, green peppers arrived on the scene much later in history. If this story isn't true, then what is?

Well, one of the more likely theories is that the Denver omelet is a variation of the egg foo young, beaten eggs with vegetables and ham. This meal was commonly eaten by Chinese immigrants while working on the railroads. They most likely put their meals on pieces of bread to make it easier to bring them to work, which is how the Denver omelet most likely came about. This theory makes sense, considering it is thought that the Denver omelet started as a sandwich! Somewhere along the way, the buns were dropped, and we now have the Western or Denver omelet that we enjoy today. 

Nutritional Value of the Denver or Western Omelet 

Making breakfast for your family means that you are thinking about the nutritional value. After all, we want our children and families to start the days off solid and right. There are many different nutritional values of the western omelet. It has plenty of vegetables and ham, and there is a healthy amount of protein with the egg. A Western omelet also has essential vitamins such as vitamins A and C. It is even a great way to take in essential calcium and iron. However, you will want to watch for the added sodium and cholesterol. 

There are many different healthy takes on this popular breakfast. For example, you could substitute the milk with skim milk or use a healthy oil to fry the eggs and reduce the salt added to your omelet. These are excellent ways to decrease sodium and cholesterol while enjoying a flavorful omelet with valuable nutrients.

Changing the Omelet For Your Taste

One of the trademark characteristics of a Denver omelet is the considerable amount of meat and vegetables piled high inside it. The vegetable and ham mixture is the star of the show! However, the question begs to be answered, what if you don't like green peppers or ham? Can you substitute a different vegetable or meat? The short answer is yes. There are so many different ways to make delicious omelets. Try adding in tomatoes or omitting the ham altogether. 

One of the secrets to making a delicious omelet is to dice your vegetables thinly. This method allows the vegetables to melt into the omelet. Otherwise, you have a very crunchy omelet. Some people enjoy their omelets a little more crunchy; if that is the case for you, don't be afraid to experiment a little! Remember, a Denver or Western omelet is extremely difficult to mess up. No matter how you cook it, chances are, you will have a delicious and excellent hot breakfast! 

In Conclusion

When it comes to a Denver or Western omelet, many people ask, is there a difference? The answer depends on who you ask, but there is little difference; a Denver and Western omelet calls for eggs, diced ham, green and red peppers, onions, and cheese. They both cook on the stovetop at low heat. Some variations of this omelet cook in the oven! 

The only difference genuinely is in how to prepare these two omelets. In most Denver omelet recipes, the egg and cheese cook on the stovetop for four to five minutes. Then, add the vegetables once the egg and cheese mixture sets, and flip the egg in half. You now have a fluffy egg omelet filled with delicious sauteed vegetables and ham. 

In most of the recipes for a Western omelet, the vegetables cook inside the egg mixture on the stovetop, and then the cheese is on top of the egg. So, whether you enjoy your omelet with the vegetables stacked in the middle or cooked into your omelet, the Denver and Western omelet is a delicious and healthy option to start your day off right! 

Omelet Recipes

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A Western Omelet with fresh fruit and berries for breakfast

Crock Pot Western Omelet Casserole

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  • Author: Moms Who Think


Units Scale
  • 32 ounces hash browns, frozen
  • 1 extra lean pound ham, cooked and cubed
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 1/2 cups Monterey Jack Cheese, shredded
  • 12 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste


1. Place a layer of frozen potatoes on the bottom of the crock pot, followed by a layer of ham, then onions, green peppers, and cheese.

2. Repeat the layering process two or three times, ending with a layer of cheese.

3. Beat the eggs, milk, and salt & pepper together. Pour over the mixture inside the crockpot, cover, and turn on low.

4. Cook on low for 10-12 hours overnight, and enjoy for breakfast or brunch the next day.  Enjoy your western omelet casserole!

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