By Theresa Curry

When you think of a perfect fried egg, you probably imagine an egg with a bright yellow yolk surrounded by a thick, opaque white. This is hard to accomplish in a conventional frying pan, because the white spreads out and becomes thin and transparent as it cooks. The edges also have a tendency to become a little brown and develop a crunchy texture. For a better looking and tasting egg, use egg rings, which contain the white in a perfect circle.

Turn an ordinary egg into something special with an egg ring.
If you fry lots of eggs at once, you may want to buy connected egg rings.

Decide what kind of egg ring you want to use. Think of how many eggs you're likely to fry at once. Some manufacturers offer connected egg rings, which allow you to lift off the rings all at once. They may feature wooden handles so that you can remove them from the pan without burning your fingers. For a large quantity of single egg rings, try a restaurant supply catalogue, which will sell no-nonsense metal egg rings for a dollar or two each.

Butter adds the best flavor to fried eggs,

Prepare your skillet. Use a heavy pan and make sure it is clean and well-seasoned. It should have enough room to fit all the egg rings on the bottom without them touching or lifting at the sides of the skillet. Turn your burner to low and slowly melt enough butter to completely coat the bottom of the pan. The amount of butter varies according to the size of the pan. Heat the butter until just bubbling but not smoking.

Step 3

Position your egg rings. Set them in the pan and wait 20 seconds for them to heat up. Try counting to 30 before cracking the eggs, just to make sure the rings are warm enough to solidify the outer edges of the white on contact. Keep the heat low enough at this point so the butter doesn't brown before you finish cracking the eggs.

Eggs fried in rings make a perfectly round egg that fits on an English muffin or hamburger bun.

Fry the eggs. Crack one egg into each of the rings, adjust the heat and let the eggs fry to the desired doneness. If your family likes "over hard" eggs, you can accomplish this by melting a little extra butter and pouring it on top of the "over hard" eggs. For those who prefer a broken yolk, scramble the egg slightly with a fork before pouring it into the ring. Remove the rings carefully when done, then gently lift the eggs from the pan with a spatula.

Hand-wash egg rings with wooden handles.

Care for your egg rings. If you're using rings with a wooden handle, always hand wash. Eggs are notoriously hard to remove once dry, so unless your rings are coated with a non-stick material, run a piece of steel wool or other abrasive pad inside your dishwasher-safe egg rings before placing in the dishwasher.