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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Food-Service Warehouse, which sells large quantities of commercial egg rings, suggests adding a little grated cheese to a scrambled egg mixture before pouring into egg rings. Try the daisy or other shaped egg rings for a birthday breakfast. Try spraying your egg rings with an aerosol oil spray before using for easier cleanup.
Eggs fry fast, so do not leave your eggs unattended in the skillet. The biggest hazard in frying eggs is burning the butter, which imparts a bitter taste to the eggs. Always maintain a constant, low heat for truly tender whites.