Family Health


Sunny-Side Up vs. Over-Easy – The Secret to Healthy Fried Eggs

Sunny-Side Up vs. Over-Easy – The Secret to Healthy Fried Eggs

Most American households consider eggs not only a staple for breakfast but also a favorite way to fuel their mornings! One study discovered out of the 50 states in America, 14 preferred their eggs to be prepared sunny-side-up, while 8 states choose over-easy. What about you?

When it comes to sunny-side-up vs. over-easy, which is better? Is it a matter of taste? Or is one healthier than the other? What are the key differences you need to know? That’s what you’ll discover in this article, so let’s dig in!

Eggs in America

Americans have a long history of eating eggs. In fact, when the first settlers came from Europe, in the mid-1800s, they brought their love for eating eggs too. And as civilization across America spread, so did the variety of ways to prepare eggs to eat. For example, it wasn’t uncommon to boil, fry or even bake delicious meals and desserts with eggs. 

As the years went by, eggs became a home cook’s staple and a chef’s “go-to” ingredient for fine dining, from breakfast to dinner. It’s of no wonder eggs became one of the cultural icons for a typical American breakfast!

Now let’s dig into the differences between tastily prepared sunny-side-up vs. over-easy eggs!

What is Sunny-Side Up?

This widely used term “sunny-side up” means eggs that are fried – only on one side without breaking the yellow part of the egg called the yolk. The white part of the egg is cooked, and the yolk stays runny, nice, and round like the sun. So it makes sense why cooking the egg this way is called “Sunny-side up.” After all, the yellow part of the egg looks like a sunny side! 

Fried sunny side up eggs with sausage links and buttered wheat toast.
Sunny-side up eggs are a favorite American breakfast!

©Andrea Skjold Mink/Shutterstock.com

The origin is unknown as to who coined the name “Sunny-side up” but it’s not just an American delight! In fact, fried eggs are enjoyed in many households all over the world! For example…

How Other Countries Enjoy Sunny-Side Up Eggs

In Germany – eggs are fried on one side and served sunny-side up on top of an open ham sandwich. This is a very traditional German dish called Strammer Max.

In Indonesia – Sunny-side up eggs called telur ceplok or telur mata sapi, are popular toppings for Indonesian fried rice, fried or freshly prepared noodles.

The Czech Republic – Known as volské oko or sázené vejce, and is served as breakfast or lunch with a side of spinach and potatoes.

In Ecuador – Llapingachos is made with pan-seared cheesy mashed potatoes, fried sausage and a sunny-side up egg on top.

In Japan – Commonly known as “cooked eyeball,” the Medama yaki is Japan’s sunny-side up eggs served with toasted slice bread or rice.

The Netherlands – this country has multiple ways to prepare their version of sunny-side up called Uitsmijte, which usually consists of two or three fried eggs. It’s common to serve with either ham and cheese, bacon and cheese, or on buttered bread with a generous slice of cooked ham or beef and garnished with a dill pickle. 

The Philippines – Sunny-side up eggs, Malasado, are served with either garlic rice, breakfast meat, or dried fish.

In Russia – Their way of preparing sunny-side up is called Yaichnitsa, which includes toppings such as fried bacon, ham, salt pork, cold cuts, fried bread, or vegetables.

For Americans, sunny-side up eggs are a favorite breakfast to enjoy with bacon or sausage, grits, toast, pancakes or french toast, along with your morning cup of Joe!

Now let’s talk about over-easy eggs…

What is Over-Easy?

Similar to sunny-side up, over-easy eggs are fried too. But, for over-easy, the white part is fully cooked on both sides. And the yellow part in the middle is slightly fried but soft enough to still be runny.

Over-easy eggs with fresh salsa and coffee
Over-easy eggs are fried on both sides

©Jonathan Manjeot/Shutterstock.com

As with sunny-side-up eggs, the exact origin of the over-easy method is not clearly known. But one thing is for sure, the deliciousness this style of cooking gives is enjoyed all over the world! For example…

How Other Countries Enjoy Over-Easy Eggs

In India – The terms “half fry palti maarke” or “alti palti” is how you describe the extent you choose to have your eggs flipped and fried on both sides. This is common in northern India’s street food.

In Latin America – A common dish called arroz a la cubana uses an over-easy egg with boiled rice covered in tomato sauce.

In Malaysia and Singapore – One of their popular dishes called nasi goreng consists of fried rice with an over-easy egg on top!

In Thailand – Kaphrao mu rat khao khai dao is a famous dish consisting of basil fried pork on top of rice with fried egg made the over-easy way.

Another American favorite, over-easy eggs are a common breakfast staple across many households!

The Secret to a Healthy Fried Egg

Now you may be wondering which of the two sunny-side-up vs. over-easy, are healthier? Actually, since both are fried eggs, it really depends on what you put IN the pan. In other words, using the right kind of oil is the determining healthy factor. For instance, have you ever fried an egg and noticed that the hotter the oil got, the smokier it became? Well, that kind of oil cannot handle high temperatures. In fact, the oil can turn toxic and become unhealthy for you and the environment.

On the other hand, stable oils are non-toxic and safe even when you turn up the heat. For example, oils such as avocado or sunflower are great at remaining stable in high temperatures and for frying eggs. 

To Butter or Not To Butter

That is the question you may be wondering. After all, butter is the “go-to” for cooking with eggs! Butter makes eggs taste so, so good! And most of us are just butter-lovin’ souls! But – it isn’t the healthiest choice. Why not? For starters, butter is high in saturated fat. That means you may increase the risk of clogged arteries, high cholesterol, and other heart problems.

A butter pat melting on a black cast iron frying pan.
Butter makes eggs taste better but isn't the healthiest option

©Moving Moment/Shutterstock.com

So what’s the easiest and healthiest way to make sunny-side-up eggs? 

Easiest Sunny-Side Up Eggs – 3 Steps


2 – 3 eggs

Oil or cooking spray for the pan (make sure it can handle high temperatures such as avocado or sunflower oil)

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper


Step 1 – Heat up oil in the pan over medium heat. 

Step 2 – Crack each egg and slowly add them one at a time, to the skillet and cover with glass lid. Cook until the white part of the egg is set or starts to turn opaque – about 1 ½ to 2 minutes. 

Step 3 – Season with salt and pepper and serve hot. 

Over-Easy Eggs – 3 Simple Steps


2 – 3 eggs

Oil or cooking spray for the pan (make sure it can handle high temperatures such as avocado or sunflower oil)

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper


Step 1 – Heat up oil in the pan over medium heat. 

Step 2 – Crack each egg and slowly add them one at a time, to the skillet and cover with a glass lid. Cook until the white part of the egg turns opaque – about 1 ½ to 2 minutes. Flip and cook for 30 seconds until the white part is set. 

Step 3 – Season with salt and pepper and serve hot. 

Final Note

Infographic comparing sunny-side up and over-easy eggs.
Which one do you prefer?
  • Sunny-side up eggs are fried on just one side, making them fairly easy to cook. Over-easy eggs are harder to cook, since they need to be fried on both sides.
  • With sunny-side up eggs, the yolk is not fried. Over-easy eggs have a slightly fried, but still soft and slightly runny, yolk.
  • Since the yolk in a sunny-side up egg is not fried, it stays bright and runny. The yolk in an over-easy egg is firmer and darker, due to being slightly fried.

Sunny-side-up and over-easy eggs are fried with a runny yellow yolk in the middle. Sunny-side-up involves a fried egg white with a liquid yellow center. It’s simpler to cook since you only need to fry one side. On the other hand, the over-easy method is a little trickier. Why? Because you flip the egg while cooking so both of the white sides are cooked. This gives the egg a different texture. 

All in all, it's a matter of your taste preference and how you like your eggs to be cooked. So why not give both methods a try for your next breakfast and see which one you like the best!

clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
A hearty spinach nest and tomato skillet breakfast set on a wooden surface

Peppery Cheese and Veggie Potato Skillet

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)


  • Author: MomsWhoThink.com
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x


Units Scale
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped green pepper
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 6 cups frozen shredded hash brown potatoes
  • 2 medium tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1 cup shredded reduced fat cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup sliced ripe olives
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and sliced or 1/4 cup jarred jalapeno slices (about 30)
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons minced chives


  1. Sauté the onion, mushrooms and pepper in oil, in a large nonstick frying pan, until tender.
  2. Add hash browns, crumbling evenly across the pan.
  3. Cook over medium heat for 10 to 12 minutes or until potatoes are browned, stirring often.
  4. Stir in the tomato, cheese, olives, jalapeno, seasoned salt and pepper.
  5. Cover and cook for 3 to 4 minutes longer, or until cheese is melted.
  6. Divide potatoes evenly among four plates and sprinkle top of each mixture with chives before serving.


  • Calories: 284
  • Sodium: 595mg
  • Fat: 14g
  • Saturated Fat: 4g
  • Carbohydrates: 38g
  • Fiber: 4g
  • Protein: 12g
  • Cholesterol: 20mg
To top