Fried eggs are a versatile food that work well in a range of dishes, but many home cooks struggle with keeping the whites from turning brown during the cooking process. Many foods benefit from a bit of browning, but fried eggs are not one of them, as they become tough and chewy. Luckily, a bit of patience, sharpening your technique and keeping a low heat will take your fried eggs from brown and crusty to white and fluffy.
Place a non-stick or cast iron skillet on your stovetop and turn the heat to medium-low. Add one teaspoon of unsalted butter and swirl it around the pan once it melts.
Crack one egg into a small dish or ramekin. Inspect the egg for a moment to ensure that there is no shell, that the white is clear and that the yolk is a bright yellow.
Pour the egg gently into the center of the skillet, careful not to break the yolk as you do. Place a cover on the skillet, but don't move away from the stove -- keeping your fried eggs from browning requires patience and timing.
Peak under the lid after 1 minute has passed. Cook the egg until the top has set and is white from the edges to the yolk. You'll also know your egg is done if the edges start to curl. Slide the spatula under the egg and remove it from the pan at this stage for sunny side up.
Gently flip your egg over just before the top has completely set and let it cook for about 30 more seconds if you like over-easy fried eggs. Leave it for about 45 seconds for over-medium.
The USDA advises not to serve egg yolks runny to prevent salmonella, so exercise caution when serving fried eggs to children, the elderly or people with weakened immune systems.