We’ve all been there: We decide we want an egg cooked sunny-side up, but somehow end up with gelatinous, runny whites on the top. While this may seem like no big deal if you’re a fan of raw egg whites, most prefer perfectly set egg whites that complement the oozing yolk. If you’re familiar with steaming, water-basting is a very similar concept that involves cooking the top of the fried egg by splashing hot water on it. It’s basically a method of rehydrating whatever you’re cooking using liquids or fats (via USDA).
While butter-basting your fried egg gets you deep-brown, crispy edges, water-basting makes your over-easy eggs picture perfect. MasterClass explains that all you have to do is fry your eggs in a lightly oiled pan over medium heat. Then, you add a splash of water to the pan, which you continually spoon over the top of your egg. The added water sets the top of your egg without overcooking it, and it even adds moisture to the egg, which tends to become rubbery once heat is involved, per the Exploratorium. If poaching eggs for your eggs benedict seems too scary an ordeal, water-basting can produce a flawlessly set egg with a runny yolk. Perhaps it sounds unconventional, but this “fried egg” has all of the elements of a perfectly poached egg with way less hassle and room for error. So try this hack the next time you have friends over for brunch; it’ll surely impress a crowd.