Omelets are the breakfast of champions if you ask us because you can fill them with any combination of ingredients with guaranteed delicious results. Plus, cleanup is a breeze since it all comes together in just one pan. If you’re looking for an option that has it all — a variety of fillings and tons of flavor — you can’t beat the Denver omelet. It’s gooey, smoky and slightly sweet thanks to its meat, vegetable and cheese filling. And it’s easy to make at home, especially using a genius trick that guarantees fluffy omelets every time. Keep reading to learn how to whip up a delectable Denver omelet as a morning treat to yourself!
What to know about the Denver omelet
A Denver omelet (sometimes called a Western omelet) contains eggs, diced ham, bell peppers, cheese and onions. Think of it as a more colorful and vibrant spin on the classic French omelet, which primarily consists of just eggs and butter.
There are several theories on how the Denver omelet came to be. Food historian Adrian Miller says it likely originated in the 19th century as a sandwich. During this time, it’s believed that Chinese immigrant railroad workers in Western cities including Denver modified Egg Foo Young (an Asian-style omelet containing vegetables and meat) so it was portable enough to enjoy on bread.
As this dish grew in popularity over the decades, it became common to see it served as a standalone omelet rather than a sandwich. Today, the Denver omelet is staple on diner and breakfast restaurant menus across the country.
The secret to the fluffiest Denver omelet
When making an omelet, Denver-style or any other kind, getting the eggs super fluffy is the goal — otherwise, it can end up dense and rubbery. The easy how-to? Recipe creator Natalia Thompson, CEO of The Flavorful Home, says it’s whisking the egg whites before mixing them with the yolks. “My trick to ensure the eggs are fluffy is to separate the whites from the yolks. Beat the whites first until they’re frothy,” she explains. “Then, add back the yolks and gently beat some more.”
This method incorporates air into the mixture to give that fluffy texture. Just be sure to mix the whites on their own for only about a minute. Anything longer than that will cause soft peaks to form — and then you’ll be in meringue territory before you know it.
How to make a Denver omelet
Making a Denver omelet requires a little bit of prep with dicing the veggies and ham, but it’s completely worth it. Below, Cristy Stewart-Harfmann, founder of the Happy Family Blog, shares her yummy recipe for this omelet to satisfy your morning appetite!
Denver omelet recipe
- 4 large eggs
- ¼ cup milk
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 tablespoon butter
- ¼ cup diced onions
- ¼ cup diced green bell peppers
- ¼ cup diced cooked ham
- ¼ cup shredded cheddar cheese
- Active: 11 mins
- Total time: 15 mins
- Yield: 1 serving
- In bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, salt and pepper until well combined..
- In nonstick pan over medium heat, melt butter. Add diced onions and green bell peppers to pan and sauté until softened, around 5 minutes.
- Pour egg mixture over sautéed vegetables in pan. Sprinkle diced cooked ham and shredded cheddar cheese on one half of omelet.
- Cook until edges of omelet start to set, and cheese begins to melt, about 4 to 5 minutes. Gently fold omelet in half to cover fillings.
- Cook for another minute or until cheese is fully melted. Slide omelet onto plate and serve hot.
3 ways to mix-and-match your ingredients
For an omelet that’s suited for your taste buds, try these three suggestions below.
- Experiment with different cheeses. Swap cheddar cheese for other soft cheeses like Swiss, mozzarella or Monterey Jack. Alternatively, you combine two or three different cheeses for a more complex and sharp-flavored omelet. (Click through to learn how to upgrade your omelet by giving it a cheesy and crunchy outer shell.)
- Fill the omelet with additional ingredients. Ham, onions and bell peppers don’t have to be the only fillings for your omelet. Try adding cooked spinach, chopped breakfast sausage or sliced mushrooms as well to enjoy a filling breakfast dish.
- Don’t forget the toppings. A sprinkle of chopped chives or parsley on top of the omelet gives it a subtle herby kick. Dolloping fresh salsa, guacamole or sour cream over the omelet also provides the omelet extra freshness and creaminess. Yum!
Looking to complete your breakfast spread? Keep reading!