Omelet in a Bag

By Carolyn Shearlock © 2011 • all rights reserved

Great breakfast for a crowd

This is a great way to make breakfast for lots of people, such as a beach festival or large brunch.  It’s also fun for a special occasion or guests as everybody can have exactly what they want.

Now for the obligatory warning:  Ziploc’s official position is that their bags are not intended for cooking in this way (see the note in the comments), but many groups – Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts and several cruiser get-togethers that I’ve been with – have done this with no ill effects.  Kids love it!

Omelets in a Bag are also good for a pre-game brunch.  We had numerous parties to listen to various games on Sirius/XM, even in remote anchorages.  For a beach party, you can even heat the pots of water over an open fire.  The possibilities are endless . . .

Required per person:

  • One quart freezer Ziploc bag
  • 2 eggs or equivalent Egg Beaters or OvaEasy powdered eggs (read about these)

Required for the group:

  • PERMANENT marker to write names on bags
  • Large pot of boiling water (if more than about 10 people, you may want more than one)
  • Tongs

Add ins – amounts will vary depending on number of people, their preferences and the size of their appetites – set out whatever is available.  Some ideas:

  • One or more types of grated cheese
  • Ham
  • Bacon crumbles
  • Sausage crumbles
  • Diced onion
  • Sliced green onions
  • Diced green peppers
  • Minced hot peppers (be sure to label that they are hot)
  • Sliced mushrooms
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Diced cooked potatoes (don’t try to use raw) – sweet potatoes are good, too!
  • Salt and pepper
  • Hot sauce
  • Anything else you can think of

Method:

Have each person write their name on their Ziploc.  Have them break 2 eggs into their bag, then squish the egg around to break it up.  Don’t try to use more than 2 eggs per bag!!

Each person adds whatever add-ins they want, then closes the bag, getting as much air out as possible.  Shake the bags some to mix the ingredients.

Cook the bags in batches of 4 to 8, depending on the size of the pot.  Bags should NOT be crowded!  Boil each batch for exactly 13 minutes.  Use tongs to retrieve the bags from the boiling water.

Remove the bags from the pot.  Each person can open their bag and roll their omelet out onto their plate.  Be sure to help kids with the hot bags, as they will still have some drops of very hot water on them.

Don’t forget the coffee and possibly some coffee cake or just slices of homemade bread.  Enjoy!

Completed omelet from TBG reader Tommy Jensen -- looks great!

Completed omelet from TBG reader Tommy Jensen — looks great!

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Comments

  1. Pablo Garini says:

    [NOTE from Carolyn: There are all sorts of places on the internet that reference the supposed U of I press release, but I cannot find the original. So I called the U of I extension service to inquire. They say that they periodically get calls about it and have never found the original source of the statements and thus cannot say that it did originate with the University. Ah urban legend, perhaps? However, I do know that the Ziploc web site does say that their bags are not intended to be cooked in. Yeah, I still eat Omelets in a Bag . . . you may decide not to.]

    Source: http://camping.about.com/od/campingrecipes/a/ziplocbaggies.htm

    Ziploc Omelets Are Not Recommended

    This is not recommended until further research is done on cooking with plastics. There is still question about the cancer causing breakdown of plastics and their contact with food during cooking
    “The specific concern centers on the possible contamination of foods with known carcinogens that may be present in plastic containers and wraps.
    “We have contacted the Ziploc company and they replied by telling us that ZIPLOC® brand Bags cannot be used to boil food. They also told us that they do not manufacture a “boilable” bag…. yet.

    “They do not recommend using any ZIPLOC® brand Bag in boiling water, or to “boil” in the microwave. ZIPLOC® brand Bags are made from polyethylene plastic with a softening point of approximately 195 degrees Fahrenheit. By pouring near boiling water (water begins to boil at 212 degrees) into the bag, or putting the bag into the water, the plastic could begin to melt. Might I add that eggs and cheese have fat which gets much hotter than water thus the likelihood of melting the plastic increases.
    I also received a letter from Megan O. Maginnis, Consumer Specialist for S.C. Johnson & Son, makers of Ziploc baggies. Megan was replying to my inquiry about boiling with baggies.

    “Thank you for asking about using Ziploc bags to make omelets. While we appreciate hearing about new and innovative ways to use our products, we must be cautious that these new ideas follow label directions.

    “Ziploc bags are not designed or approved to withstand the extreme heat of boiling and therefore, using Ziploc bags to make any recipe that requires the bag to be boiled is not recommended.

    “Like all of SC Johnson’s products, Ziploc bags cam be used with confidence when label directions are followed. All Ziploc containers and microwaveable Ziploc bags meet safety requirements of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for temperatures associated with defrosting and reheating food in microwave ovens,as well as room, refrigerator, and freezer temperatures.

    “Please share these facts with others who may have this misleading information. We also encourage people to go to http://www.ziploc.com for more information on the proper use of this product.”

  2. Mark-Sue Lawrence on Facebook says:

    We love making these, fun and easy.

  3. Just be very careful using plastic in the microwave. Harmful chemicals leech into our food. You can do the same thing is a small glass cup.

  4. I tried your omelette in a zip-lock this morning. It turned out great. I cook omelettes for my wife and myself on Sundays. This method is definitely going into the recipe book. And it’s fun. THANKS!
    BTW- I too, have read some of the warnings about the “dangers of zip-lock cooking”. I’d say in this time of smokers, DWI people, distracted drivers and dingy sailors who don’t wear PFDs, zip-lock cooking seems pretty tame. Plus, I’m 68. It’s going to have to work pretty fast to poison me. Hehe. Thanks, again.

  5. Omelet in a bag is a fun thing. It is fun for camping and boating, but it is also fun to do at home. For several years I did this on Christmas morning. I had all kinds of meat, cheese and veggies chopped and ready to go and my guests would fill their bags and drop them in the water.

  6. Hi Caroline,
    You say boy scouts and girl scouts use this method with no ill effects. But how do you know that the chemicals in the plastic aren’t going to affect you 10 or 20 years from now? Yes, there are plenty of other things to worry about… but ingesting more chemicals to our already over-synthesized environment doesn’t seem like a good thing. Especially for children.

    • As I said, it’s up to individuals what to do. Yes, I did things like this many years in the past (and still do) and maybe that’s why I’m a little different . . . for good or bad, take your choice 🙂

  7. I’m sorry to be fussy about this. I do understand the attraction.

    Making a classic omelet is really fast and easy and should be faster with up to three omelets than this technique, not withstanding that, as Carolyn notes in the article, the bag manufacturers TELL YOU NOT TO DO THIS. Now I do a lot of things (*sigh*) that may not be wise or good for me, but the high risk of melting plastic into my food does not appeal to me at all.

    In addition the very minor skills to make a classic omelet are good for you to have and contribute directly to lots of other cooking aboard.

    I do fully agree with getting all the filling ingredients ready first. This is mise en place – everything in its place. That includes, for those so inclined, briefly sauteing ingredients like onions, peppers, and mushrooms that many people prefer cooked through. From there it takes three or four minutes to make an omelet properly in a pan. In fact I imagine that with practice you could crank out omelets from two pans faster than by boiling in a bag. The product looks prettier also. In my opinion it is also safer with fewer people in the galley with a big pot of boiling water.

    Ultimately we all make our own decisions. YMMV.

  8. We make omelets lime this in scouts all the time.

  9. Interesting – will certainly try it out with the grandkids on the boat, think they would love it.

  10. Kim & Colin, Please don’t give these omelets to the scouts or your grandchildren. When they are older, they can decide for themselves if they want to eat heated plastic.

  11. My sister introduced this to me a few years back. I have especially had fun with this when I have women over who have kids. The women love it but the kids really do as they can leave out the items they do not like.

  12. Ziploc bags are polyethylene, which is strongly suspected to leach chemicals having estrogenic activity (EA), causing hormone disruption for anyone of any gender (yes, men have estrogen and women have testosterone, in tiny amounts). This leaching is known to happen when plastic like this is used to heat foods with a high fat content. Please, do an internet search about it and be aware. For myself, it isn’t worth the “fun” to risk cooking food this way, especially given a history of hormone-aggravated cancer in my family with an unknown (environmental?) cause.

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