How can I Make Really Good Scrambled Eggs?

Brendan McGuigan

How to make the best scrambled eggs is a matter of some contention. Some hold that the best eggs include secret ingredients, added to help fluff them or give them an extra pinch of flavor. Others believe the best ones are simply eggs, but cooked to perfection by following a few simple rules of thumb, like beating the eggs very thoroughly and moving them gently in the pan.

A broken chicken egg.
A broken chicken egg.

At their most basic, scrambled eggs are simply the yolks and whites of eggs beaten together and fried up on a pan of some sort. Some people add cream, vegetable or meat stocks, milk, oil, or water while they’re still liquid, and saffron, paprika, salt, pepper, cheese, and vegetables or meat while they’re being cooked. They can be prepared on a cast-iron skillet, a griddle, a sauté pan, or a simple, non-stick frying pan.

An egg.
An egg.

For a purist, this dish should include nothing but eggs themselves, and maybe a pinch of salt or pepper. Anything else becomes closer to an omelette, or some sort of specialty eggs. Even within a purist’s vision, however, there is a lot of room to make improvements and do things correctly or incorrectly.

Salt and pepper may be added to scrambled eggs.
Salt and pepper may be added to scrambled eggs.

Probably one of the most important and underappreciated parts of making great scrambled eggs is beating them well. Air is, after all, what makes these eggs light and fluffy, and although people try to fake it with milk or butter, really good ones need nothing more than proper beating technique. The eggs should be whisked in a bowl at a tilted angle, so that the whisk moves from the bottom to the top, rather than stirring around the edge of the bowl. They should be whisked until they are a nice, even color throughout, and fairly frothy, which usually takes about two minutes. Overbeating the eggs unravels the proteins and makes for tightly packed scrambled eggs.

Scrambled eggs may be prepared on a cast-iron skillet.
Scrambled eggs may be prepared on a cast-iron skillet.

Many people actually encouraging putting the raw eggs in a blender to get a consistent texture. If using a blender, it’s a good idea not to blend them anymore than 20 to 25 seconds, otherwise they can start to fall apart. An electric mixer can also be used, and should be set somewhere in the middle, at roughly the same speed as a hand whisk.

A whisk may be helpful in making scrambled eggs.
A whisk may be helpful in making scrambled eggs.

If you’re going for large, fluffy eggs, it’s a good idea to let them sit for a few seconds once you pour them into a frying pan, before stirring them in the pan with a wooden spoon. As soon as they start to set, they should be pushed towards the center, and the pan should be tilted slightly so that runny bits are quickly brought into contact with the pan.

Some people prefer to use a non-stick pan when cooking scrambled eggs.
Some people prefer to use a non-stick pan when cooking scrambled eggs.

Even within a fairly purist perspective, many people do believe a bit of butter should be used on the pan, some salt should be used to season the eggs, and some low-fat milk should be used in the mixture. Generally, cooks recommend about 1 teaspoon (4.9 ml) of milk for each egg used, a dash of salt for every two eggs, and 1 tablespoon (14.2 g) of butter for about a half dozen or so eggs.

Scrambled eggs should be moved very gently while cooking.
Scrambled eggs should be moved very gently while cooking.

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Discussion Comments

anon54831

You missed the most important part of fixing scrambled eggs: low heat! (except for an omelette, most eggs respond best to slow cooking; especially scrambled eggs) - and don't overcook them. Remove them from the heat when you think they are underdone; they will finish on their own.

ivanka

Scrambled eggs are so good, and a really good breakfast food. They get you going in the morning and keep you fuller for a longer period of time. I like to add onions to my eggs. I thinly slice onion, saute it in a little oil very slowly so it can caramelize without burning, then I add well beaten eggs. It is a breakfast treat I indulge in occasionally.

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