If you’re looking for a breakfast- or brunch-friendly dish, you really can’t go wrong with a good ol’ Denver omelet. If just the thought of making an omelet at home fills you with dread and anxiety, don’t worry—you’re far from alone!
That said, I promise you: This is the easiest omelet you could ever make. You don’t need a culinary degree (or any fancy cooking skills) to whip one of these up, though your friends and family will probably think you’ve been taking cooking classes in your spare time.
Enjoy a Denver Omelet Any Time of Day
The diner-favorite Denver omelet is a simple, beginner-friendly egg dish that’s undeniably impressive, super customizable, and just as delicious for a quick lunch or dinner as it is for an un-fussy breakfast.
Light and fluffy eggs are combined with juicy ham and crisp-tender onion and bell peppers. These all get sprinkled with lots of melty white cheddar cheese and folded. Now you’ve got a simple egg dish that pretty much anyone will love.
Denver and Western Omelets Are Basically the Same
If you’re a “Western omelet” kind of person, you’re in luck: Denver omelets and Western omelets are basically the same wherever you go, though many restaurants and diners offer their own spins on the classic ingredients featured here.
That said, this omelet couldn’t be further from the notoriously-difficult French omelet. While the French omelet is known for its creamy inside and soft, pale yellow exterior, the Denver omelet is known for having a rich, butter-caramelized exterior. Here’s what that means for you: As far as omelets go, Denver omelets are basically fool-proof.
Elements of a Perfect Denver Omelet
- When cooking a Denver omelet, I find that a 10-inch nonstick skillet is the perfect tool for the job. The eggs end up setting at the perfect thickness for the ideal fillings-to-egg ratio in each and every bite.
- I also like to use butter to not only cook the omelet itself, but to sauté the veggies, too — unlike vegetables sautéed in oil, butter makes the fillings nutty and delicious, which adds incredible depth of flavor to the omelet itself.
- If you’re looking to make the best omelet you could possibly whip up, let me offer you one piece of advice: Pay attention to the size of your fillings as you chop them. I prefer finely-diced veggies and regular-diced ham — this way, the ham stays juicy on the inside while picking up a perfectly golden-brown exterior, and the veggies will be just soft enough by the time the fillings are done sautéing. Cutting the vegetables in a larger dice will result in a crunchy filling which, in my humble opinion, doesn’t pair all that well with the fluffy egg.
Using Heat to Your Advantage
If you can adjust the heat on your stove (which everyone can!), you are more than capable of making a scrumptious Denver omelet. This omelet is cooked gradually over medium-low heat, so the eggs will be just barely set all the way through as the exterior starts to take on a golden-brown hue.
If you start to suspect that things are cooking up a bit faster than anticipated (in other words: the omelet is browning before the eggs set), just dial down the heat. Cooking an omelet is all about heat control, but rest-assured that if your omelet turns out a little more brown than anticipated, it’ll still be totally delicious. Practice makes perfect!
How Can I Cook Denver Omelets for a Crowd?
This recipe creates one large, single-serving omelet, but if you’re hoping to cook some omelets for your family or brunch guests, it couldn’t be easier. Sauté all the fillings you’ll need in one large batch, then cook each omelet individually.
The omelets themself take just about five minutes to cook, so it’s still a very time-effective dish to make for a crowd — and when each guest is presented with a hot, fresh-off-the-stove omelet made just for them, you’ll be praised for virtually forever.
Make Denver Omelets Your Way!
The classic Denver omelet fillings are pretty hard to beat, but the beauty of this recipe is that it’s endlessly adaptable. You can feel free to substitute or swap the ingredients here for most meats or veggies (or cheeses!) you have on hand:
- Instead of diced ham, pre-cooked Spanish chorizo—the kind that’s shaped like sausage—would lend a vibrant, spicy bite to this omelet. If you can’t find diced or thick-cut ham, thinly-sliced deli ham would also work here. Sauté the vegetables alone in butter, then gently toss with the deli ham to warm it through.
- For veggies to add to your Denver omelet, the sky’s the limit. Chopped kale or spinach, minced fresh jalapeño, or even chopped tomato would all be delicious options. In lieu of the red and green bell pepper, you could also try this recipe with some drained and chopped roasted red pepper for just a touch of sweetness.
- White cheddar cheese is the perfect blank slate for all your delicious fillings, but pretty much any variety of cheese would work nicely here: Try making this omelet with pepper jack for a subtle kick, or sprinkle in some crumbled feta for a salty, flavorful bite. You could even use a soft goat cheese for some added creaminess and funk—an herbed variety would be particularly delicious.
What to Serve with a Denver Omelet
While a classic Denver omelet is a perfectly delicious meal on its own, it’s best when served with a little something extra, whether that’s a crisp, green salad, some breakfast potatoes (cooked exactly the way you like ‘em), or just a few pieces of crusty toast. Here are just a few side suggestions to get the ball rolling:
- Kale Salad with Balsamic Dressing
- Mixed Green Salad with Pecans, Goat Cheese, and Honey Mustard Vinaigrette
- Sweet Potato Hashbrowns
- Home Fries
More Egg Recipes to Complete Your Morning
This recipe makes one omelet, but can easily be scaled up to make more servings. The ham and vegetables can be cooked together and then portioned for each individual omelet.
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, divided
- 1/3 cup diced ham
- 1/4 cup finely diced yellow onion
- 1/8 cup finely diced red bell pepper
- 1/8 cup finely diced green bell pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt, for seasoning bell peppers and ham
- 3 large eggs
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, for seasoning eggs
- 1 teaspoon room temperature water
- 1/3 cup shredded white cheddar cheese
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Hot sauce, for serving (optional)
Sauté the filling:
Place a 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. When hot, add 1/2 tablespoon butter, swirling to coat the skillet. Add the ham, onions, and bell peppers to the skillet and season with 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt. Sauté, until the vegetables have softened slightly and the ham is just beginning to brown at the edges, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer the filling to a clean plate and set aside.
Whisk the eggs:
In a large measuring cup or bowl, whisk together the eggs, 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, and water until completely combined and frothy.
Add eggs to the skillet:
Wipe out the 10-inch skillet with a clean paper towel and place over medium heat. Add the remaining 1/2 tablespoon butter to the skillet, swirling to coat. When the butter begins to foam, pour in the egg mixture and reduce heat to medium-low. Allow the eggs to cook undisturbed for one minute.
Cook the eggs:
Using a rubber spatula, carefully lift the partially-set egg in all four quadrants of the skillet, tipping it slightly to allow the uncooked egg to make contact with the hot pan. Once there’s a very thin layer of almost-set egg on top, about 3 to 4 minutes after adding the eggs to the skillet, sprinkle the eggs all over with cheese, and cover with a lid.
Fill and fold the omelet:
Once the cheese has melted, sprinkle the filling on one half of the omelet. Using a rubber spatula, carefully fold the empty side over the filling and remove the skillet from the heat. Allow the omelet to rest for 1 minute before serving.
Serve the omelet:
To serve the Denver omelet, carefully slide the folded omelet onto a clean plate. Finish with a few twists of freshly ground black pepper, and serve immediately with your favorite breakfast sides and hot sauce, if desired.
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