Can You Fry An Egg On The Sidewalk?

The sweltering Southern sun is notorious and often unbearable. So much so, we wonder: Can you fry an egg on the sidewalk?

Southern Living

Hector Manuel Sanchez

You've heard it, and you've likely said it too: "It's so hot you could fry an egg on the sidewalk!" Southern summers are notorious for high temperatures. Hundred degree days aren't unheard of down here. You wouldn't dare walk around outside without wearing shoes—it's that hot. But could you actually fry an egg on the sidewalk? Is it that hot? Is it even possible?

Doing The Research

According to the Library of Congress, it's possible, but not probable, that you could fry an egg on a sidewalk during a hot day. Eggs need to reach a temperature of 158*F to cook through. Sidewalks can usually get up to 145*F. The hotter the day, the more likely your egg will fry. Using a good heat conductor (i.e. a frying pan) is also important.

A concrete sidewalk isn't the best conductor of heat. Neither is blacktop pavement, but it will get warmer than the sidewalk. Even hotter still is the hood of a car, which is more akin to a frying pan than pavement or concrete. (Though attempting to cook an egg on your car may ruin your paint job.)

two eggs frying in a nonstick skillet on a gas stovetop

Serious Eats / Donna Currie

We think it's safe to say that it is purely myth and no more than a colloquialism that sidewalk egg frying is possible. And who wants to waste an egg finding out? These delights of Mother Nature are worth their weight in gold.

Have You Ever Tried It?

The sidewalk-egg adage has become an enduring saying in the South and beyond. Oatman, Arizona, even holds a Solar Egg Frying Contest every year in a nod to the platitude and the heat. Egg-frying contestants don't have to rely on the sidewalk alone, though. They can use mirrors and magnifying glasses to increase the odds of frying their eggs. (Get a play-by-play of the competition here.)

We have a soft spot for those science teachers out there who may send their students into the fray (or fry) to conduct this experiment. Surely there is a parent out there who has tried to assist. We're afraid those students fell victim to the possibility rather than the proof, with the temperature versus surface considerations always winning.

Make Your Best Eggs

For foolproof eggs, you should spare your sidewalk and move things into the kitchen. We'd recommend whipping up some of our favorite eggy recipes for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Your stove is much more reliable than the sidewalk, and a frying pan is your best tool for success.

A stick of butter and a knife

Stephen Gibson / EyeEm / Getty Images

Of course, in the South there is a fried egg and an over easy egg. And there is a difference. We are definitely in favor of the fried egg, which is never flipped but instead basted with bacon grease. How do you baste your fried eggs? Is butter better?

Stay Cool During A Southern Summer

Our sidewalks may not quite get hot enough to fry an egg, but our Southern summers sure do swelter. And believe it or not, air conditioning doesn't always come through as needed. There are a handful of things to consider if the AC lets you down.

Close Your Doors

Close the doors to the hottest rooms in your home. You may even try placing towels at the base of the doors to keep that heat trapped.

Broken AC? Power Out? Here’s How To Stay Cool Without Air Conditioning

Stay Downstairs

If you're in a two-story home, stay on the main level. Heat rises, and if you're lucky enough to have a basement, even better.

Shower Before Bed

To stay cool through the night and to help experience uninterrupted sleep, take a cool shower before hitting the hay.

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