I’ve updated the way I make omelettes. This “scrambled egg” approach is easier and yields a better result without having to worry about raw egg in the middle. Today’s omelette recipe is filled with ham and cheese. Sauté your ham first!
Ham and cheese omelette
I used to cook omelettes using the technique whereby you lift the edge then tilt the pan to allow the raw egg to run underneath. While that method works fine, it does have a tendency for the risk of raw egg in the middle unless you take the omelette to slightly golden on the surface. While perfectly acceptable to me and in every day diners, this is a no-go zone in the high-end culinary world. The surface of omelettes should not even have a hint of golden colour and the surface should be swirl-free. Like this:
That’s a French omelette, by the way. It’s usually folded in 3, like above, or shaped like an almond rather than half moon. The inside is a little more fluffy than creamy like mine, and there is a little more technique behind it. If you want it, ask me for it! Maybe I should get our French Chef JB to teach you how to make it – would you like that? 🙂
As for today’s omelette, it’s a homestyle one and much more rustic looking. But nevertheless as good as you’ll get at any respectable breakfast bistro around town!
What you need to make an omelette
All you need to make the omelette itself is eggs, a pinch of salt and butter or oil for cooking. On the matter of cream or milk – see below!
Do you add cream, milk or water to omelettes? A splash of cream (or milk) is said to make omelettes a little creamier. But in all honesty, the cooking technique makes much more of a difference. No one will ever know if you do or do not include cream. Whereas everybody will know if your omelette is dry and rubbery!!
For me personally, I can’t break the habit so I add cream if I have it, and milk if I don’t.
A note on salt – Eggs, bizarrely, can only take the smallest amount of salt. Even 1/8 teaspoon of salt for 3 eggs makes it too salty – even without ham and cheese. For my egg sandwiches filling, I only use 1/8 teaspoon salt across 6 whole eggs! So for a 3 egg omelette, you only need a pinch of salt.
Butter vs oil – Butter wins every time for flavour! Oil works fine and you can get away with using less. But it doesn’t add to flavour unless you use a really good extra virgin olive oil.
Ham and cheese for omelette
Today’s omelette is stuffed with ham and cheese. For convenience, I used pre-chopped ham (I like that they are a bit meatier than using sliced ham). If you use sliced ham, just chop it into batons or tear into strips.
As for the cheese, I always shred my own because it melts easier than store-bought shredded which is coated with anti-caking agents. Store-bought is also cut thicker which means it takes longer to melt in omelettes.
Use a flavoured melting cheese, like colby (I use this), gruyere, tasty, cheddar, Monterey Jack. Mozzarella melts great but doesn’t have as much flavour so you might want to add a sprinkle of parmesan or pinch of salt on the cheese itself.
Other things to put in omelettes
I’m shameless – I’ll put virtually anything in an omelette. Here are some suggestions – obvious and less obvious!
Garlic mushrooms – see Mushroom Omelette recipe
Prosciutto asparagus (in the egg white omelette) – excellent low calorie filling option
Pizza toppings – pepperoni/salami, capsicum/bell peppers, onion, cheese
Leftover quesadilla fillings
Dinner leftovers – like spaghetti bolognese (I’d add cheese), meatballs (chop them). Good enough for jaffles, good enough for omelettes! Even stir fries will work – Chinese omelettes are a real thing!
It’s gotta be non-stick!
Whatever size pan you use, be sure it has a good non-stick coating. Eggs are the world’s best natural food glue!
Pan size – The thickness of your omelette will be determined by the size of your omelette pan. I use a 24cm / 9 1/2″ Tefal non-stick pan measured from rim to rim, and this is the size measure the pan is sold as. It has a curved edge, so the flat base of this pan measures 18cm / 7 1/4″ in diameter. This is the size the omelette comes out.
A smaller omelette pan will make a thicker omelette that will take a little longer to cook through. A larger pan will make a thinner omelette. The other thing with a larger omelette is that it can be a little trickier to fold in half, but nothing a little confidence and quick flick of the wrist can manage!
How to make a ham and cheese omelette
I always sauté the ham first, not only to give it a little flavour but also because the warm ham helps the cheese melt faster so you don’t have to worry about over-cooking the omelette to get oozy cheese. Nobody wants to cut into an omelette only to find the cheese inside is not melted!!
Whisk the eggs with a pinch of salt and cream or milk (if using). Whisk well until fully combined and a bit foamy – takes me about 10 seconds with a mini whisk.
Tools – Use a non stick 24cm/9.5″ wide pan, or thereabouts (18cm/7 1/4″ flat base). You will need at least 1 rubber spatula for cooking, though 2 will make your omelette folding life a whole lot easier!
Sauté ham – Melt a tiny dab of butter in the pan over medium heat. Once foaming, swirl/spread then, using a rubber spatula (which we need for the omelette), cook the ham just for a minute or two until it is warmed through. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
Medium low to medium heat – Return the pan to the stove and melt the remaining butter until foaming. We want the stove on moderate heat – which might be medium low or low for you, depending on the strength of your stove and the size of the stove ring you are using. We don’t want it too high else you’ll have to deal with the surface burning before the inside cooks through. Too low, and the omelette takes so long to cook it kind of turns rubbery. We need to find the happy medium!
Semi-scrambled your eggs! Give the eggs a quick whisk then pour into the pan. Leave it for 15 seconds or until you see the edges just start to set. Then, using the rubber spatula, start making long, leisurely strokes, scraping the cooked eggs off the base to allow the uncooked egg to run, until the eggs are partially cooked.
GOAL – The eggs should be still raw enough to spread like jam across the base of the skillet, but not raw enough that the eggs run when you tilt the pan.
TIP – If at any point you feel like the eggs are cooking too fast, just remove the skillet off the stove!
Spread the custardy semi-scrambled eggs across the base of the skillet and roughly smooth the surface. Tidy the edges, if you you feel so inclined. (I feel inclined).
Top – Sprinkle half the omelette with the cheese, then the warmed ham (this helps melt the cheese).
Fold – Ensure the naked side of the omelette is not stuck by running the rubber spatula around the edge (it won’t be, because you are using a good non-stick pan!). Then using 2 rubber spatulas, fold the omelette over.
Optional tidy – At this point, sometimes I may push the edges in to make them nice and tidy. Other times, I see the ooze of cheese and think that’s the prettiest sight in the world, why on earth would anyone push that inside to hide it??!
Slide (or flip) out – Checking again to ensure the omelette is not stuck to the pan. Then either slide the omelette out like a normal person or be a bit cheffy and flip it out onto the plate. I show both in the video. Then EAT!
I cannot believe I wrote so much about the humble omelette. Sometimes I even amaze myself at how much I have to say about any type of food!
I’m sorry if I overwhelmed you. And feel free to keep making omelettes as you have been all your life. I get it. If you’re happy with your omelette game, don’t change it! In fact, share your tips!! Bring on the Omelette Debate! – Nagi x
Watch how to make it
Ham and cheese omelette
- 3 large eggs , ~55g/2oz each (fridge cold fine)
- Pinch of salt (that's all you need)
- 1 tbsp cream (or milk), optional (Note 1)
Cooking / add-ins
- 1 tbsp/ 15 g unsalted butter (or 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil)
- 1/3 cup chopped ham (I use store bought, Note 2)
- 1/3 – 1/2 cup shredded colby cheese , use box grater (or cheddar, tasty, gruyere, Monterey Jack – Note 3)
Serving (optional, pictured)
- 1 stem chive , finely chopped
- Garlic butter roasted mushrooms
- Roasted cherry tomatoes (on vine, Note 4)
- Heat control – If at any stage your omelette is cooking too fast, remove the pan off the stove to let it cool down and lower the heat.
- Whisk the eggs, salt and cream in a bowl for 10 seconds until slightly foamy.
- Warm ham – Melt 1/3 of the butter in a 24cm/9.5" non-stick pan (or thereabouts, Note 5) over medium heat until foamy. Swirl/spread to coat the base, then cook ham using a rubber spatula for 90 seconds until warmed through. Remove into bowl.
- Semi-scramble eggs – Melt and swirl remaining butter in the pan. Give the eggs a quick whisk then pour into the pan. Leave for 15 seconds or until the very edges set, then do long leisurely strokes around and across the pan to scrape up cooked egg and let the raw egg run onto the base. Continue for 30 seconds or so until the egg is partially cooked. GOAL: wet enough to spread like jam, but not so wet that the egg runs when you tilt the pan.
- Spread the egg evenly across the pan (no need to be meticulous). Top half with cheese, then ham. (By this time, the omelette should be almost cooked through but still shiny/custardy on the surface).
- Loosen the naked side then fold over using 2 rubber spatulas. Leave in the pan for another 30 seconds to melt the cheese and finish cooking inside.
- Serve – Slide or flip onto a plate and serve! Sprinkle with chives if desired.
More egg life essentials
Life of Dozer
Dozer’s favourite spot is under the dining table (no prizes for guessing why). So sometimes, if I want a cuddle, that’s where I’ve gotta go!