A plain omelette

In cuisine, an omelette or omelet is a dish made from beaten eggs quickly cooked with butter or oil in a frying pan, sometimes folded around a filling such as cheese, vegetables, meat (often ham), or some combination of the above. To obtain a fluffy texture, whole eggs or sometimes egg whites only are beaten with a small amount of milk or cream, or even water, the idea being to have "bubbles" of water vapor trapped within the rapidly cooked egg. Some home cooks add baking powder to produce a fluffier omelette; however, this ingredient is sometimes viewed unfavorably by traditionalists. The bubbles are what make the omelette light and fluffy.

Omelettes may be only partially cooked on the top side and not flipped, even prior to fold.



The omelette is commonly thought to have originated in the Ancient Near East. Beaten eggs were mixed with chopped herbs, fried until firm, then sliced into wedges. This dish is thought to have travelled to Western Europe via the Middle East and North Africa, with each country adapting the original recipe to produce Italian frittata, Spanish tortilla and the French omelette.

The fluffy omelette is a refined version of an ancient food. According to Alan Davidson,[1] the French word omelette came into use during the mid-16th century, but the versions alumelle and alumete are employed by the Ménagier de Paris (II, 5) in 1393.[2] Rabelais (Pantagruel, IV, 9) mentions an homelaicte d'oeufs,[3] Olivier de Serres an amelette, François Pierre La Varenne's Le cuisinier françois (1651) has aumelette, and the modern omelette appears in Cuisine bourgoise (1784).[4]

According to the founding legend of the annual giant Easter omelette of Bessières, Haute-Garonne, when Napoleon Bonaparte and his army were traveling through southern France, they decided to rest for the night near the town of Bessières. Napoleon feasted on an omelette prepared by a local innkeeper that was such a culinary delight that he ordered the townspeople to gather all the eggs in the village and to prepare a huge omelette for his army the next day.[5]

On March 19, 1994, the largest omelette (128.5 m²; 1,383 ft²) in the world at the time was made with 160,000 eggs in Yokohama, Japan,[6] but it was subsequently overtaken by an omelette made by the Lung Association in Brockville Memorial Centre, Ontario, Canada on May 11, 2002 — it weighed 2.95 tonnes (2,950 kg).[7] On other occasions, modern omelettes, unlike 19th century ones cooked with six or eight beaten eggs in the pan, are made separately for each individual, of two or three eggs.


An omelette foldover.
Omelette served with lettuce.
  • An Iranian omelette is made of egg, tomato and sometimes pepper. In Iran, beaten eggs are quickly cooked with butter or oil in a frying pan called a "Khagine".
  • A Chinese omelette can be egg foo yung[8] or an oyster omelette.
  • A Denver omelette, also known as a Southwest omelette or Western omelette, is an omelette filled with diced ham, onions, and green bell peppers, though there are many variations on fillings. Often served in the Southwestern United States, this omelette sometimes has a topping of cheese and a side dish of hashbrowns or fried potatoes.[9]
  • An egg white omelette is a variation which omits the yolks to remove fat and cholesterol, which reside exclusively in the yolk portion of an egg.
  • The French omelette is smoothly and briskly cooked in a very, very hot pan specially made for the purpose. The technique relies on clarified butter (to ensure a high smoke point) in relatively great ratio to the eggs (prevents sticking and cooks the eggs more quickly). Good with just salt and pepper, this omelette is often flavored with tomatoes and finely chopped herbs (often fines herbes[10] or tarragon, chervil, rosemary and thyme) or chopped onions. French omelettes are also removed from the pan in a manner different from an American omelette. They can be rolled out in a trifold design or just simply slide out of the pan directly into a plate and when made correctly have little to no colour to them.[citation needed]
  • A frittata is a kind of open-faced Italian omelette that can contain cheese, vegetables, or even leftover pasta. Frittate are cooked slowly. Except for the cooking oil, all ingredients are fully mixed with the eggs before cooking starts.
Indian omelette
  • An Indian omelette is usually made with the addition of spices which vary by region. Most commonly used are finely chopped green chilies, chopped onions, coriander leaf or powder, cumin and a pinch of turmeric, all of which are added to the egg before it is whisked. An exception to this is the tomato omelette which doesn't contain egg, but is called an omelette simply because of its resemblance to an omelette.[citation needed]
Tamagoyaki, Japanese omelette
Omurice, Fried rice rolled with omelette
  • In Japan, tamagoyaki is a traditional omelette. Omelette (pronounced omuretsu) can mean a Western omelette. Omurice (from the English words "omelette" and "rice") is an omelette filled with rice and usually served with a large amount of tomato ketchup. Omu-soba is an omelette with yakisoba as its filling.
  • In the Netherlands, a boerenomelet ("farmer's omelette") is a popular dish, usually consisting of 2 to 3 eggs, a mixture of sautéed onions, mushrooms, potatoes, bell peppers, leeks, garden peas, salt and pepper (for seasoning). The dish has many variations.
  • The Spanish tortilla de patatas is a traditional and very popular thick omelette containing sliced potatoes sautéed in cooking oil. It often includes sliced onions too (tortilla de patata con cebolla), and less commonly other additional fillings such as cheese, bell peppers, and cooked diced ham.
  • Pajeon It is a pancake-like Korean dish made from a batter of eggs, flour, rice flour, green onions and other additional ingredients depending on the variety. Beef, pork, kimchi, shellfish and other seafood are mostly used.
  • In Morocco, common omelettes are called tortillas as well. They have the same ingredients as the Spanish, except for added cumin and fleur de sel.
  • A Thai omelette can be a kai yat sai which means literally "eggs, filled with stuffing".[11]
  • In the United States, a Spanish omelette is an omelette served with an often spicy sauce of tomatoes, onions, and bell peppers.[citation needed]
  • A Hangtown fry, containing bacon and breaded oysters, is an unusual omelette which originated in Placerville, California during the gold rush.
  • Telur dadar is a flat, Indonesian omelette-style side dish usually eaten with rice, consisting of eggs pan-fried with chillies and onions. It also can be found in Malaysia.
  • In the Philippines, the term for omelette is torta - not to be confused with the Mexican torta (sandwich), Italian torta (pie) or the Spanish torta (cake). Generally served for breakfast, countless fillings such as onions, garlic, tomatoes, corned beef, potatoes, bell peppers, raisins and possibly leftovers from previous day's meal like grilled eggplant, ground, chopped or shredded pork and beef are used. It is eaten by itself or served with garlic fried rice and banana ketchup on the side.
  • The Matzah brei is a well-known Ashkenazi Jewish variation which relies on mixing a crumbled Matzo into the beaten egg before frying. This results in a much crispier, heavier omelette. The use of milk is optional, and many Matzah brei recipes are in fact sweet (thanks to adding sugar). Sides and toppings differ widely depending on local customs, especially in Israel where the various Jewish ethnic groups have adapted this recipe to suit their own cuisines.

See also


  1. ^ Alan Davidson, Oxford Companion to Food (Oxford University Press) 1999 (pp. 550, 553)
  2. ^ "Omelette"
  3. ^ "En pareille alliance, l'un appeloit une sienne, mon homelaicte. Elle le nommoit mon oeuf, et estoient alliés comme une homelaicte d'oeufs".
  4. ^ Three noted by Maguelonne Toussaint-Samat, (Anthea Bell, tr.) A History of Food, revised ed, 2009, p. 326; de Serres note "Le glossaire accadien"
  5. ^ "History of the Giant Omelette". Abbeville Giant Omelette Celebration. Retrieved 2007-06-15. 
  6. ^ Guiness Book of World Records 2001. ISBN 0-85112-102-0. 
  7. ^ "Largest Omelette". Guinness World Records. Retrieved 2007-06-15. 
  8. ^ Egg Foo Yung
  9. ^ Denver Omelette Scrambler
  10. ^ Julia Child, Bertholle, L., Beck, S., "Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Vol. I", page 135, Knopf, 1961
  11. ^ Kai Yat Sai Talay

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Omelette — Omelette …   Deutsch Wörterbuch

  • omelette — [ ɔmlɛt ] n. f. • 1548; altér. de amelette, de alumelle (lamelle, avec agglutination de a) 1 ♦ Mets fait avec des œufs battus et cuits à la poêle auxquels on peut ajouter divers ingrédients. Omelette aux champignons, au fromage, aux fines herbes …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • omelette — (US also omelet) ► NOUN ▪ a dish of beaten eggs cooked in a frying pan and usually served with a savoury topping or filling. ● one can t make an omelette without breaking eggs Cf. ↑one can t make an omelette without breaking eggs ORIGIN French,… …   English terms dictionary

  • Omelette — (franz.), Eierkuchen, der mit sehr wenig oder ohne Mehl bereitet, zusammengerollt, auch mit Früchten, Eingemachtem (O. aux confitures), Kaviar, Fleischfarce, Krebsen etc. gefüllt oder mit seinen Kräutern vermischt (O. aux fines herbes) wird. O.,… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Omelette — (frz.), dünner Eierkuchen …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Omelette — Omelette,die:⇨Eierkuchen …   Das Wörterbuch der Synonyme

  • omelette — /om lɛt/ s.f., fr. [forse alteraz. del fr. ant. lemelle lamella ], in ital. invar. (gastron.) [preparazione a base di uova, generalmente ripiena, in cui i due lati vengono ripiegati verso il centro] ▶◀ frittata. ‖ crêpe, tortilla …   Enciclopedia Italiana

  • omelette — /fr. ɔmˈlɛt/ [vc. fr., alterato di alumette, da lamelle «piccola lama»] s. f. inv. frittata …   Sinonimi e Contrari. Terza edizione

  • omelette — is the usual spelling in BrE, whereas omelet is more common in AmE …   Modern English usage

  • Omelette — Pour la bande dessinée intitulée Omelette, voir Omelette (bande dessinée). Pour le film intitulé Omelette, voir Omelette (film) …   Wikipédia en Français

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.