We all know that eggs are supposed to be healthy; however, does frying an egg add calories? If you're trying to eat a balanced, healthy diet, you are likely wondering what cooking methods are best for those so-called healthy foods. We dug a little deeper into the subject and found the best answer. See our findings below.
Generally speaking, frying an egg does add calories. However, it is not simply the act of frying it that adds the calories. Instead, the cooking products used, such as butter, oil, and cooking spray, are the culprits.
You now know that fried eggs have more calories and what causes the increase, but you likely have other questions. Keep reading to find out how to cook a healthier fried egg, which cooking method produces the healthiest eggs, does frying an egg destroy its protein, and much more.
Does Frying An Egg Add Calories?
On average, a large egg only contains 70 calories. However, this number varies, depending on how you cook the egg. The cooking method itself does not add calories. Instead, the ingredients used in the eggs can drastically increase their caloric value. Depending on how you prepare your fried eggs, they typically have a minimum of 90 calories.
Although large eggs have 70 calories, most of that comes from the yolk. The whites have an extremely low caloric value of only 15 and no fat content. Therefore, you can skip the yolks if you enjoy fried eggs but want to cut back on your calorie intake. Just know that, unlike egg whites, yolks are very nutritious.
How to Cook a Healthier Fried Egg
There is more to cooking a healthy fried egg than just skipping the yolks. The ingredients you use, such as oil, grease, butter, and cooking spray, play a major role in adding fat and calories to fried eggs.
How to Separate Egg Whites from Egg Yolks
Now that you know yolks are higher in calories than egg whites, you may want to try frying the whites alone. However, do you know how to separate egg whites from the yolk? There is more than one way to do this, but using a separating utensil is the easiest method. You crack the egg into the separator and watch the white slide into the bowl.
Using the Shell
The most well-known method for separating egg whites from yolks is as follows:
- Place a bowl on the table or countertop.
- Crack your egg, but don't let it slide into the bowl.
- Separate the shell into two halves.
- Pouring the yolk from one shell to the next until the yolk is the only thing left in the shell.
Using a Kitchen Funnel
Kitchen funnels also come in handy when removing egg yolks. Just place a funnel over a container, and crack the egg into the funnel. The white will drain through the funnel into the container, leaving the yolk behind.
Using Your Fingers
The messiest way to separate egg whites and yolks is with your hands:
- Place your bowl on the counter.
- Crack your egg into clean hands, letting the white slide through your fingers.
- Put the yolk in a separate bowl, and wash hands thoroughly.
You can see all three methods in action by watching this YouTube tutorial.
If you prefer to take the easy way out, you can purchase egg whites from the grocery store instead of separating them yourself.
Healthy Frying Alternatives
Sure, eggs fried in butter and vegetable oil are totally yummy. Some cultures even save bacon grease and fry their eggs in it for a delicious breakfast. However, if you are trying to eat healthily and lose weight, this is not a sensible way to fry eggs.
Try these alternatives instead:
- Water instead of oil
- Olive oil
- Fry with nothing added
- Low-fat cooking spray
Frying In Water Instead of Oil
For delicious fried eggs without the added calories, try frying them in water instead of oil. It's pretty much the same concept. You will place your pan over medium heat, pouring in approximately half an inch of water. Let it reach a low boil.
Now, crack the egg in the center of the pan, placing a lid on top for about 4 minutes. If the egg sticks to the bottom of your pan, you are probably not cooking at the proper temperature. With anything higher than medium heat, you also risk the water evaporating before the eggs are done.
Watch this YouTube video to see it in action.
Frying in Olive Oil
If you really don't want to give up your cooking oil, you can fry your eggs in olive oil instead of vegetable or canola. It is a healthier alternative containing monounsaturated fat, which could lower cholesterol and regulate insulin levels. It can also lessen your chances of developing blood clots and lower your risk for heart disease.
Fry with Nothing Added
When frying eggs, it is not necessary to add water, oil, or butter. Instead, you can crack the egg directly into your nonstick pan with nothing added. Place a lid on top, and allow your eggs to cook for 3 - 4 minutes. Don't skip the lid. It is important for creating steam to aid your eggs in frying. Once finished, place neatly on the plate, and add your choice of seasonings and garnishes.
Low Fat Cooking Spray
Another simple way to reduce calories in your fried eggs is by cooking them in low-fat cooking spray. You will still get those crispy edges without the fat that comes with traditional cooking spray, vegetable oil, and butter.
If you love fried eggs but can never seem to create that perfect shape you see at restaurants, try using a ring to shape your eggs in the skillet. Paired with our suggested alternative cooking methods, you'll get nicely cooked eggs that are low-fat, yummy, and pleasing to the eye.
Frequently Asked Questions
What can you use to fry an egg?
The following ingredients are popular for frying eggs:
- Bacon grease
- Vegetable oil
- Cooking spray
If you want to fry a healthier egg, try using olive oil, low-fat cooking spray, or water. Another method is not to use any cooking products at all. See our above post for instructions on how to cook with each product. You can also fry only the egg whites, which are much less fattening than the yolks. However, the yolk is where all the nutrients are packed.
Is a fried egg fattening?
A large chicken egg contains 70 calories. This number can increase, depending on how you fry your egg. If you fry it using water or adding nothing, it will still have the original 70 calories. However, if you use cooking oil, spray, butter, or grease, your egg will become significantly more fattening, depending on which product you choose.
Does frying an egg destroy the protein?
Frying an egg does not destroy its protein. In fact, the protein in fried eggs is more easily absorbed by your body than that of a raw egg. Your body can absorb approximately 91% of the protein in cooked eggs, but it can only absorb 51% of the protein in raw eggs.
What is the healthiest way to cook an egg?
Since most other methods of cooking eggs include adding fatty ingredients, the healthiest way to cook an egg is either by boiling it or poaching. These methods only require the use of water.
However, if you utilize water to fry your eggs with no added ingredients, they are just as healthy as poached and boiled eggs.
What is the healthiest way to fry an egg?
Many people use oil and butter for frying eggs. This adds lots of calories and fat.
If you want to fry your eggs in the healthiest way possible, use the water frying technique. You can find a step-by-step guide earlier in this article. Another equally healthy way to fry your eggs is by cracking them directly into the skillet with no added ingredients, placing a lid on top, and cooking on medium heat for about 4 minutes.
Eggs are a healthy breakfast staple that provides protein, vitamins, and minerals. However, if cooked in oil, butter, or grease, fried eggs can be really unhealthy. All these products add extra calories as well as fat and cholesterol. Try alternative cooking methods such as water frying, low-fat cooking spray, and olive oil to reduce this effect.
If you have additional questions, check out our blog for more cooking tips and tricks. You may also find these articles helpful in your quest to make healthier eggs: