The Clever Way José Andrés Keeps Eggs From Sticking To Spatulas

Would you say you're pretty good at cooking fried eggs without incident? Not everyone would, considering all the things that could go wrong, especially for over-easy, over-medium, or over-well eggs.

For example, you could pour the egg into the skillet prematurely, before the pan has reached the ideal temperature. Or you could accidentally pop the yolk, the egg could fold over itself when you flip it, or the egg could stick to the pan. Fried eggs can also stick to your spatula, which could lead to a couple of those other aforementioned potential mistakes.

Nobody likes to deal with an egg sticking to anything while cooking and if you're lucky enough to own the best non-stick spatula, and you make a perfect fried egg every time, you probably don't need any advice on how to prevent sticking. But for the rest of us, celebrity chef José Andrés provides a clever way to keep eggs from sticking to spatulas, specifically metal ones.

Having an oiled spatula can prevent eggs from sticking

Chef José Andrés has shared a number of his egg cooking tips and recipes over the years on his YouTube channel, in his books, and on social media. According to BuzzFeed, Andrés has a great tip for preventing fried eggs from sticking to metal spatulas.

The hack? Heat the spatula in a small amount of cooking oil, in the same pan that you'll cook the eggs in. Simply press the bottom of the spatula against the hot pan for a few seconds. The article implies this can take place after the eggs have already been cracked in the pan, but per Mental Floss, it's suggested to do it before the eggs touch the pan.

It should be noted though, that while metal spatulas offer several benefits during cooking, such as durability, they also come with some disadvantages. For example, they can scrape up your skillet over time if you're not careful. This is why many people prefer silicone spatulas over metal for frying eggs. Of course, you can always choose a better skillet over a better spatula, but we say why not get both?

The science behind how oil prevents eggs from sticking to surfaces

Eggs are notorious for sticking to cooking utensils and other surfaces because the proteins in them form chemical bonds with the metal atoms in the pan, as the Royal Society of Chemistry explains in The Washington Post. Other protein-rich foods, like chicken and beef, are also prone to sticking. But when you add oil to a pan or spatula — or both  — you're creating a barrier between the food and the cooking surface/utensil.

Prudent Reviews provides an explanation for this, stating that the addition of oil leads to the creation of a steam vapor, which lifts the food above the oil. However, in order for this reaction to occur, the oil-coated pan (or spatula) must be hot enough. How do you know if it's hot enough? You have to first do a temperature check before adding oil, says TheReluctantGourmet's YouTube video.

First, heat the pan over medium heat. Then take a small amount of water (about a teaspoon) and drip it into the pan. When the pan is hot enough, one or two water beads will form immediately. This is when you want to add the oil, but butter can also work well. At this point, the metal spatula can be pressed against the oil-coated, hot pan, as Chef José Andrés recommends, which should leave you with beautiful, smooth, non-stick fried eggs.