Not Martha

boiled omelets

boiled in a bag omelets

While I was away for Thanksgiving visiting family one of the breakfasts we made were these boiled omelets. We set out things to add (chopped peppers, onions, cheese, crumbled bacon or sausage) so that each person could construct their own. The recipe was originally shared as a way to make breakfast aboard a boat so that there were fewer large items to wash. Since the recipe says you can make up to eight at a time it means everybody can get omelets at the same time. They even came out looking scrumptious!

boiled in a bag omelets

Here is the recipe shared with me, the origin has been long lost I’m afraid:


This works great when you have a group of people together. No one has to wait for their omelet, everyone gets involved in the process and it’s a great conversation piece.

Have guests write their name on a quart-size Ziploc freezer bag with permanent marker.

Crack no more than two eggs (large or x-large) into each bag and shake to combine.

Put out a variety of ingredients such as cheeses, ham, onion, green pepper, tomato, hash browns, salsa, etc as selection.

Each guest adds prepared ingredients of their choice to their bag. Shake, carefully press air out of bag and zip it up.

Place the bags into rolling, boiling water for exactly 13 minutes. (We suspect that if you only make fewer at a time you might not need to cook them for that long.)

You can cook 6-8 omelets (bags) in a large pot. For more bags, make another pot of boiling water or cook in shifts.

Open the bags and the omelet will roll out easily. Be prepared for everyone to be amazed.

boiled in a bag omelets

· comments [55] · 11-29-2011 · categories:food ·

55 responses so far ↓

  • 1 tracylee // Nov 29, 2011 at 1:43 pm

    I made breakfast for everyone at a family reunion one year by doing this! It was such a big hit :)

  • 2 Kathrine // Nov 29, 2011 at 1:44 pm

    I believe you have just made sous vide eggs.

  • 3 SAWK // Nov 29, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    Megan! This would be soooooo awesome for camping! You can pack the little ziploc eggies ahead of time and then just boil water for breakfast.
    Great great great!

  • 4 Stephanie // Nov 29, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    Someone educate me. Do ziplock bags contain BPA? If so would boiling them be dangerous?

  • 5 megan // Nov 29, 2011 at 1:48 pm

    Katherine – Perhaps, but I think real sous vide involves far more precise temperature control than a big old pot of boiling water :)

  • 6 megan // Nov 29, 2011 at 1:55 pm

    Stephanie – I am not certain, but I will say that boiling omelets isn’t something you’d do every day. Some people close to me are chemists who have worked in food safety for their entire lives and I’ve asked them about BPA, they say it is vastly overhyped by the media. One always tells me that the pollution in the air we breathe is a far worse threat. This isn’t to say that BPA is a good thing, of course, but one boiled omelet won’t be your downfall :)

  • 7 Britt // Nov 29, 2011 at 1:59 pm
    Ziplock brand is okay.

    Looking forward to trying these with the family for Christmas break – if my snob husband will condescend to try one.

  • 8 Maggie // Nov 29, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    What a great idea! Making omelets individually takes forever. I love @SAWK’s idea of doing it for camping, too.
    Sounds a lot like my dad’s recipe for Dishwasher Salmon.

  • 9 Stephanie // Nov 29, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    Cool, thanks for the info everyone :)

  • 10 LJG // Nov 29, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    Will it work with egg whites?

  • 11 Steffy // Nov 29, 2011 at 2:03 pm

    Do you think you can substitute the eggs for egg whites, such as the egg beater egg whites?

  • 12 megan // Nov 29, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    Britt – Thanks!

    Steffy – Yes, I don’t think that would be a problem at all. You might even be able to cut the cooking time down a bit.

  • 13 brianne // Nov 29, 2011 at 2:43 pm

    This is genius – especially for camping!

  • 14 Adrienne // Nov 29, 2011 at 2:50 pm

    My friends did this while camping, and said it turned out great! (I had to leave due to massive allergy attack, boo.)

  • 15 Jane // Nov 29, 2011 at 3:30 pm

    Woah I’m definitely trying this! Sounds like it’d be something good I could take with me to work. I could prepare them at night and then boil them while getting ready.
    I’ll try it with the egg whites that I already have and report back haha

  • 16 Rachel // Nov 29, 2011 at 3:52 pm

    These are great for camping/large groups. One time, I went camping with a bunch of people, and they did this. Make sure to use the freezer bags, the thinner kind will melt in boiling water. Another cool idea I saw that weekend was somebody had taken a keg and converted it into a pot you could use to boil the water in over a large propane burner like you’d use to boil oil for frying turkeys. It was great.

  • 17 Maggie // Nov 29, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    I am already amazed!

  • 18 Shelley Noble // Nov 29, 2011 at 4:17 pm

    I saw you addressed the question of eating food made with heated plastic for yourself and I admit it is a clever cooking method that I wish I could feel good about myself. But I can’t.

    I try to avoid plastics, even cold, coming in contact with my food. Not because of media hype. Just because it makes sense to me to avoid ingesting these chemicals, especially since we get enough via other means as you point out.

  • 19 Alison // Nov 29, 2011 at 4:44 pm

    Stephanie, though the bags don’t have BPA, they likely have another bisphenol that has not yet received the scrutiny BPA has. At any rate, Ziploc says its bags should not be boiled and many should not even be microwaved.

  • 20 Lori // Nov 29, 2011 at 5:13 pm

    As a former Girl Scout leader who has tried this several times I have one thing to say: Pass the Frosted Flakes, please.

  • 21 Angela // Nov 29, 2011 at 5:13 pm

    Brilliant – I can’t wait to try this! And to those who suggest it for camping – double brilliant!

  • 22 Meister @ The Nervous Cook // Nov 29, 2011 at 6:48 pm

    THIS IS GENIUS. I’ve always been too intimidated to attempt omelettes (one of those things that looks easy but I know is secretly super difficult), but this might be the great equalizer!


  • 23 Patti // Nov 29, 2011 at 7:41 pm

    in a plastic bag? sorry but that’s not good….

  • 24 Lynn in Tucson // Nov 29, 2011 at 8:36 pm

    Intriguing…. I would rub the inside of my bag with butter first, just for the flavor!

  • 25 sarah // Nov 30, 2011 at 12:03 am

    It would be fantastic to figure out a different container option. Personally, I can often taste the plastic in things and nothing creeps me out more than melted plastic.


  • 26 Dot // Nov 30, 2011 at 6:05 am

    @sarah – i think eggs would seep through cheesecloth.

    Such a fun idea! I especially like that it feeds a ton at once.

    I actually read the comments to see when the first obligatory “Eep! Plastic!” comment would be– I posted a project using plastic bags years ago and I still get random comments to this day warning of dire consequences. I’d suggest you add a disclaimer to the bottom of the post that ‘i don’t see any major health risks doing this occassionally, but if you do, don’t do it.’ It won’t stop your comments section being taken over by a danger of plastics discussion, but it helps! :)

  • 27 Lara // Nov 30, 2011 at 6:16 am

    There is an old camping recipe for doing this in a paper bag. Instead of the boiling water, you poke a stick through the folded top and hang it over your campfire.
    I am some kind of plastic bag miser so I’m more shocked at the idea of using that many plastic bags at once!

  • 28 Carrie // Nov 30, 2011 at 10:12 am

    This is standard camping fare for us. Huge fan of not scraping egg bits out of a cast iron pan. You can also crack eggs into bags ahead of time & keep in your cooler, if you’re concerned about whole eggs getting crushed.

  • 29 Debra I. // Nov 30, 2011 at 11:12 am

    Yum, looks great! The magazine i work for ran a similar recipe for making omelets in canning jars. That also works well, so for folks who are creeped out by boiling plastic bags, that’s an alternative to try. We did it without the lids on, just filling the pot up halfway with water and letting the jars rest on the jars’ lids and lid rims, which we threw into the bottom 0f the pot…

  • 30 Laura B. // Nov 30, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    I immediately thought of camping! Apparently, I’m not the only one. Can’t wait to try this!!

  • 31 JM // Dec 1, 2011 at 6:45 am

    Can I boil in Ziploc® Brand Bags?
    No. Ziploc® Brand Bags are not designed to withstand the extreme heat of boiling.

  • 32 TheLetterL // Dec 1, 2011 at 5:55 pm

    Alternative: Pour eggs/fixings into Ziploc Zip’n’Steam bags and microwave. Timing varies, but start checking somewhere in the three minute range.You can only do one at a time, BUT you don’t even have to boil water!

  • 33 Sara McDaniel // Dec 1, 2011 at 6:43 pm

    This is fantastic!! Thanks so much for sharing – I can’t wait to try this!

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  • 35 Fun for the weekend, 12.2.11 « tiny squared // Dec 2, 2011 at 10:29 am

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  • 36 Sara // Dec 2, 2011 at 10:59 am

    Popular with scouts on campouts.

  • 37 Olive // Dec 2, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    Quit whining y’all. If you don’t want to try it – no need to comment about how bad plastic is and how one cannot boil ziploc bags!

    I think it’d be fun for a big fam reunion, esp. for the little squirts.

  • 38 Erica // Dec 2, 2011 at 3:52 pm

    My bags melted… Took me ages to clean The pan.
    Love The idea though

  • 39 Amanda // Dec 2, 2011 at 7:03 pm

    @Olive – It seems to me that the comments section is the appropriate place to express doubt over the efficacy and safety of boiling plastic bags.

  • 40 megan // Dec 2, 2011 at 9:08 pm

    Olive, Amanda and everybody else – I’m more than happy to let people voice thoughts about this technique here in the comments. Let everybody say what they want and if you don’t agree so be it.

    Erica – I’m so sorry to hear! Did you use the freezer bags the way the recipe calls for ? Can you let us know what might have gone wrong?

  • 41 Kjersten // Dec 4, 2011 at 7:19 am

    We have been doing this for years. One of our favorite meals when we go to Lake Powell. Make sure to use freezer bags. After the eggs and other ingredients are in the bag squish the bag up really well to mix everything together. They are delicious.

  • 42 Meister @ The Nervous Cook // Dec 6, 2011 at 11:50 am

    I tried this last night with off-brand (i.e. not Ziploc) freezer bags, and it didn’t 100% work, but the results were promising!

    (By “didn’t 100% work” I mean my bags kind of got melty — not in a totally ruined way, but just enough for me to get a little nervous about eating the resulting omelettes. I will, however, be trying the canning jar trick, and I think this is totally genius regardless of last night’s near miss. Thank you so much for this awesome dinner science project!)

  • 43 amy // Dec 6, 2011 at 3:08 pm

    I was thinking about whether we could make these like boiled eggs (bring water up to boil with bags/jars in it, then put a lid on top and turn off pot for @14 min) – if I get the time, I’ll try it and post my results in comments.

  • 44 Jamie // Dec 6, 2011 at 4:39 pm

    People, I would like to do this too, but it’s not safe. Just because people point out that it isn’t safe, doesn’t mean they are trying to take away your fun activity. Stop being angry at the plastic conversation, because there are people out there who really have no idea that it’s not safe. My in-laws used to enjoy riding their bikes behind the trucks that fogged with mosquito killer, too. That was fun. Would anyone do it now? No. Why? It’s not safe. That doesn’t mean that we’re all killjoys for mentioning it. When they make a plastic bag that is safe to boil in, I’m there.

  • 45 Erin // Dec 13, 2011 at 10:54 pm

    This is basically amazing. I never would have thought to do this!! I’m definitely making this in the morning – thank you SO MUCH for sharing this technique.

  • 46 AJ // Dec 13, 2011 at 11:24 pm

    I cringed at this too but then I remembered that the bags for my seal-a-meal are safe to boil in. I’m pretty sure that’s true of all of the bags of that nature. More expensive and it will take a bit to make the bags (you have to seal the ends w/o the suction on) but SAFE.

  • 47 marie // Dec 17, 2011 at 4:20 pm

    @Debra that’s a great idea! I don’t microwave my food with plastic because 1. it creeps me out and 2. I can taste it. Using a glass jar of some sorts, or even a metal can would work just as well! Though they would get hot.

  • 48 WellerEE // Jan 6, 2012 at 8:44 pm

    We used to call these “Hobo Omelets”

  • 49 Sharon // Feb 23, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    I have a BakePacker in my emergency kit. That is how I learned to do these omelets. I love that it lets me bake things without having the oven on. Since I have an electric oven, but a gas stove, it was a lifesaver when my family was 12 days without electricity after a hurricane!

  • 50 CampingNut // Apr 11, 2012 at 7:43 pm

    We first started making Baggie Omelets at home years ago and also on camping trips. I had heard the rumors about cancer, toxins and melting bags so I researched it and really didn’t see any concerns. So I called SCJohnson’s help line and discussed the rumors. Here are statements from SCJohnson addressing those rumors and they still have these statements on their website:

    “A recent study conducted and published by the University of Cincinnati found that the estrogen-like chemical BPA (bisphenol A) has been shown to encourage the growth of a specific category of prostate cancer cells. BPA is commonly used in the manufacture of certain plastic products, such as food-can coatings, milk-container liners, food containers, and water-supply pipes. As a result, media have been reporting on this study and the fact that this chemical is commonly found in plastic food storage containers. SC Johnson does not use BPA in its plastic products, Ziploc® Brand Bags and Containers. SC Johnson is a leader in providing high-quality products. All of its products are extensively evaluated for toxicity and safety and comply with—and often even exceed—applicable quality and safety regulations.”

    “In 2002, we became aware of an email that was being widely circulated, which warned consumers about the alleged dangers of using plastics in the microwave. This email claimed that the combination of fat, high heat, and plastics releases dioxin into the food and ultimately into the cells of the body, thereby increasing the risk of producing cancerous cells. We researched these claims and it is clear that the information is misleading, and unnecessarily alarms consumers. Ziploc® Brand products are 100% dioxin free. You also should be aware that dioxins can be formed only when chlorine is combined with extremely high temperatures, such as 1,500°F, which even the most powerful consumer microwave ovens are unable to produce.”

    “No. Ziploc® Brand Bags are not designed to withstand the extreme heat of boiling.”
    Which is still their standard answer word-for-word on their web site. As our conversation progressed, I related to her about our successful history of making baggie omelets and it turned out that they do not endorse boiling in the bags for liability purposes. But you won’t find that stated on their website.

    I can give some tips that we have learned in our years of making Baggie Omelets:

    We only use the SCJohnson brand of Heavy-Duty Freezer “Ziploc” Baggies.
    Reason: Because they don’t use BPA in the making of their bags and their bags are 100% dioxin-free.

    Only use a HEAVY-DUTY FREEZER QUART-size baggie.
    Reason: Heavy-duty freezer bags are thicker than a regular baggie. A regular baggie will not hold up well in the cooking process. We use quart-size for the cook’s safety and ease in handling while the baggie is in the pot.

    DO NOT use the freezer baggie with the sliding “zipper”. I believe they currently call them “Slider Bags”.
    Reason: It has the possibility of not sealing completely and the bottom of the baggie is an expandable bottom that opens into a flat base which would create a weird shaped omelet.

    NEVER let any baggie hang over the side of the pot.
    Reason: It WILL melt and quite possibility create a fire or at least ruin your pot.

    Fill your pot no more than 2/3 of the way full.
    Reason: This will allow for the water level to safely rise when adding in the baggies.

    After your ingredients are in the baggie, zip it closed about 90%. Gently squeeze as much air out of the bag as you can and zip it closed the rest of the way.
    Reason: This will allow room inside the baggie for the air to expand and not burst the baggie. It also helps keeps the liquid egg mixture down at the bottom of the bag.

    We always have someone watching the pot when baggies are in it. Not only for safety reasons, but to watch the omelets to make sure they don’t flow to one end of the bag creating a big “blob” omelet, and to move the baggie positions around in the pot every couple of minutes to get even cooking.

    Here is the SC Johnson Consumer Phone line:
    1-800-494-4855 (U.S.)

  • 51 MSB // May 18, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    NOT SAFE! You should never put store food in plastic, especially heat it! ALL plastic leaches many unknown chemical additives into food and no matter how many studies may be done on BPA or certain additives the truth is that plastic manufactures have the right to keep their “recipe” private meaning that consumers really do not know what any given plastic contains. BPA is just one of many additives that is getting press right now. Using plastic is horrible for your health and the environment!Please use Glass, Stainless Steel, Copper, Cast Iron or Ceramic for cooking.

    @Camping Nut: when you do your research by calling SC Johnson, the company that sells and promotes these products, do you REALLY think they are going to mention the studies and information proving that these plastics are really unsafe to use for food prep??? Use a bit of common sense and do yourself and everyone a favor and dig a bit deeper by looking for a real answer not just one that will help you sleep at night without worrying about the cancer you are going to get from plastic baggies…

  • 52 violet // Jul 16, 2012 at 9:16 am

    … actually, my friend’s mom was diagnosed with endometriosis a couple of years ago, and the doc surmised that it was a result of BPA toxicity. so, not exactly “vastly overhyped.”

  • 53 Ashleigh // Jan 6, 2013 at 9:01 pm

    My Girl Guide troop used to make “eggs in a bag” for our camping trips. They are the most revolting things I have ever eaten. They were chewy, and tasted like plastic bag they were cooked in. Yuck.

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  • 55 Dean // Nov 17, 2016 at 10:10 pm

    How about using oven roasting bags (the thin crinkly type) that are designed for high temperature cooking ?

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