This paprika fried egg recipe might seem counterintuitive, but will help you get a well-seasoned egg yolk every time.
One of the biggest challenges when it comes to making any non-scrambled egg is seasoning the yolk. Whether you’re serving it sunny-side up, over-easy, over-medium, poached, hard-boiled, or fried, if the yolk is whole, it’s hard to get salt and pepper into that golden center.
Since I’ve been working at home for the past few months, an egg on toast has become one of my quick go-to breakfasts. I’ve always seasoned fried eggs with a little salt and pepper; occasionally mixing it up and using Trader Joe’s lemon pepper instead. But my current favorite way to eat a fried egg is with a bit of paprika bloomed in oil before the egg even hits the pan.
Salt intensifies the egg flavor, pepper adds some spice, and the paprika adds a mild sweetness. Fresh peppers are a classic addition to scrambled eggs and omelets, so it makes sense that paprika — which is made from red bell peppers — pairs excellently with a fried egg. In fact, paprika is also commonly sprinkled over deviled eggs, so when you think about it it’s kind of weird that we haven’t always served fried eggs like this.
My technique is perhaps unconventional, but it’s how I ensure that I get flavor as close to the yolk as possible while keeping it molten. I can still dip my toast in it, and I don’t feel the need to add more salt once I pierce the yolk. (BTW, in doing some research for this post I was delighted to learn that a similar technique is featured on Food 52 as a “Genius Recipe” so perhaps not as unconventional as I thought!)
how to make a paprika fried egg
Instead of cracking the egg into the pan and then seasoning it with salt and pepper, start by blooming the salt, pepper, and paprika in the pan and then add the egg. The hot oil helps intensify the flavor of the spices — the paprika will become fragrant and dark red very quickly. By blooming the spices first, when the egg settles into the pan, the oil is already packed with flavor that cooks right into the egg. One last teeny-tiny pinch of salt and a grind of pepper over the yolk before it firms up seals the yolk between two layers of flavor.
Letting it cook low an slow gives the yolk and the egg white time to absorb the flavors in the pan without overcooking it. A teaspoon of water added to the pan before you cover it creates steam, which helps the surface of the egg cook more evenly.
types of paprika
There are many different kinds of paprika to choose from. I use a mild and sweet variety, but sometimes reach for a smoked or hot paprika when I want a little more of a kick. There are Hungarian paprikas and Spanish paprikas and within them, even more variations.
Whichever one you like best (or already have in your kitchen) is the one you should use. That said, if paprika isn’t your jam you can use this technique with literally any of your preferred egg seasonings (turmeric, za’atar, thyme, garlic, lemon pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, cumin, etc).
take your paprika fried eggs to the next level
Now that you know how to make a paprika fried egg, consider serving yours:
- On a slice of cheddar-jalapeño bread
- Inside a bell pepper ring
- With finely grated fresh parmesan over the top
- Cooked in bacon fat
- On a burger
- With smoked or hot paprika
- Over smashed avocado
- With a potato pancake
- With a zig-zag of hot sauce
- Others???? Leave a comment below and tell me how you serve yours!
- Wide slotted turner (aka fish spatula) for removing the egg from the pan.
- Small, non-stick skillet with lid (if the lid doesn’t fit perfectly, that’s okay, as long as it will cover the egg without squishing it).
Paprika Fried EggDifficulty: Easy
This technique will help you get a well-seasoned egg yolk every time.
Note: Depending on your pan and how hot your stove is you may have to adjust the temperature and cook times to achieve your desired results. Keep a close eye on your egg while it cooks — don’t wander off!
1 TBSP oil, butter, or bacon fat
pinch of salt
a few grinds of black pepper
a small shake of paprika
1 slice of toast
Room temp or spreadable butter, for the toast
- Toast and butter a slice of bread. Set aside.
- Heat oil in a small non-stick skillet on medium-low heat.
- When oil is shimmering, add the salt, pepper, and paprika to the pan. Swirl to distribute. The spices will quickly sizzle slightly and become fragrant.
- Crack the egg directly into the skillet on top of wherever the oil and spices have collected. Add an itty-bitty-teeny-tiny pinch of salt directly over the yolk, along with another quick grind of pepper.
Note: If you aren’t confident about cracking directly into the skillet, crack the egg into a small bowl first so you can remove any shell pieces before adding to the skillet.
- When the egg whites become translucent, gently shake the pan side to side to loosen the egg so it can slide around the pan.
- Carefully tilt the pan forward so the egg and oil slide into the curve of the pan, and so the oil comes up over the top of the egg just slightly to encourage the surface of the egg to cook.
NOTE: Steps 4-6 should take about 1 minute.
- Add 1/2 TBSP water to the skillet and immediately cover it to steam the surface of the egg. Set a timer for 4-6 minutes, checking periodically to make sure the egg isn’t sticking to the bottom and to prevent overcooking. Adjust the heat or add additional teaspoons of water as needed.
- The egg is done when the egg whites have completely solidified and there’s no uncooked egg white on the surface of the egg. The egg yolk may have a thin layer of cooked egg white over the surface, but the yolk itself should still appear jiggly when you shake the pan.
- Use a slotted spatula to transfer the egg from the skillet to the buttered toast.
- If paprika isn’t your thing, you can use this technique with any of your favorite egg seasonings.