How to Scramble an Egg

The best scrambled eggs

Scrambled egg is often the first dish we learn how to make, yet for many it’s one of the hardest dishes to master. While everyone has a different ideal of what scrambled eggs should be like, I can’t help but smile when I’m served a plate of tender golden yellow curds that somehow manage to defy contradiction by being light and fluffy, yet rich and decadent.

Over the years, I’ve seen all kinds of tricks suggested to get fluffy scrambled eggs. Some rely on additives such as baking powder, while others tell you to whisk the eggs until they are foamy and full of air. While both these techniques will incorporate air, they work a little too well and make your scrambled eggs spongy rather than fluffy. I don’t know about you, but if I wanted to eat spongy eggs I’d go eat a sponge cake!

The trick to getting fluffy eggs isn’t about what you add, or how you beat them; it’s about how you cook them. When the water in eggs come in contact with a hot pan, it heats up and evaporates; this naturally creates tiny bubbles of steam in your egg. Voila! Fluffy eggs! Simple right? Well that’s how it works in theory at least…

Perfect Scrambled Eggs

In practice there’s a little more to it. The tiny air pockets formed during cooking are fragile and will burst if you don’t treat the eggs properly. Here’s what you need to know to make perfect scrambled eggs:

  1. Be gentle, if you manhandle your eggs by scrambling them vigorously, you burst the bubbles and the steam escapes. You want big smooth curds of egg that look more like chunky ice cream than granola. Scrambling eggs is really more about gently stirring than scrambling, but “gently stirred eggs” just doesn’t have the same ring to it.
  2. Temperature also plays a part in whether your eggs turn out light and fluffy or dense and rubbery. When eggs cook, the proteins in the egg form a web of bonds. As the temperature goes up, the bonds tighten and the web becomes denser (think of it like a sweater shrinking in a dryer). A denser web means the eggs will be firmer, and the tighter knit also squeezes out water and air, making the curds dry and dense. That’s why it’s important to cook the eggs gently over a medium low heat so you’re not driving out all the moisture and air.
  3. Time is the last key component to making fluffy scrambled eggs and it goes hand in hand with the temperature. Cooking at a lower temperature allows you to cook the eggs more evenly, but the pan and eggs trap heat and will continue to cook the eggs after you’ve turned the heat off. That’s why it’s important to get the eggs out of the pan just a touch before you think they’re done. I like my eggs on the soft side, so I take them out of the pan when there is no runny liquid left, but the surface of the curds are still glistening and wet.

As for what you add to your eggs, it’s a matter of personal preference. I like my eggs rich and creamy, so I add cream to the eggs and cheese at the end, but if you want your eggs to be lighter, substitute milk in for the cream and leave out the cheese.

On adding cheese, many recipes tell you to grate the cheese and add it in with the eggs, but I like having veins of recognizable melted cheese intertwined with my scrambled eggs. That’s why I use a vegetable peeler to thinly slice the cheese and add it in when the eggs are nearly fully cooked.

You can make the sandwich pictured in the photos by cutting a croissant open, toasting it, then adding a layer of smoked salmon, your scrambled eggs, and some thinly sliced avocado. It’s decadent, but makes for a protein packed start to a day.

Scrambled Egg Recipe
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Make the best scrambled eggs using a bit of science.
Scrambled Egg Recipe
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Votes: 6
Rating: 4.67
You:
Rate this recipe!
Make the best scrambled eggs using a bit of science.
Servings Prep Time
people 3minutes
Cook Time
5minutes
Servings Prep Time
people 3minutes
Cook Time
5minutes
Ingredients
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon butter - cultured unsalted
  • 14 grams Guyere cheese or other cheese that melts, thinly sliced
Units:
Instructions
  1. Put the eggs, cream and salt in a bowl and beat with a fork until the whites and yolks have just combined. It’s okay if there are some bubbles on the surface but you don’t want foam, so avoid using a whisk.
  2. Add the butter to a non-stick frying pan and heat over medium low heat and melt the butter evenly around the pan. You want the pan to be evenly heated, but you don’t want it to be too hot. You can tell when the pan is ready when the butter starts to sizzle.
  3. Pour the egg mixture into the center of the pan, and let it spread out on its own. Don’t stir it yet. You’ll notice that as the bottom layer of egg cooks, it goes from translucent to opaque. When the bottom layer of egg has firmed up, it’s time to stir. Use a heatproof silicone spatula, and gently gather up the curds, allowing the upper layer of uncooked egg to flow under the cooked egg.
  4. Wait again for the egg to start looking a little opaque again, then stir and add the cheese, this time continuing to stir. Remove the eggs from the pan just a bit before you feel like it’s done. Personally I like my eggs on the soft side, so I take them out of the pan as soon as the cheese melts, the eggs are still glistening, and there is no runny egg left.

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  • http://yireservation.com/ Yi @ Yireservation

    wow these scrambled eggs look so fluffy and creamy. I prefer to add cream instead of milk because milk doesn’t give you that creamy soft result. I sometimes use half and half to make a “healthier version”.
    Thanks for sharing the detailed tips. 

  • Jennifer Cui

    I love your website regardless of how it looks for the content, but I loved the old page design. Why the change? :T

  • http://theindolentcook.blogspot.com.au/ leaf (the indolent cook)

    Very timely post – I just recently had a discussion with friends about making good scrambled eggs.  And that sandwich looks amazing.

  • http://www.thekitchenwitchblog.com/ Rhonda

    So basic but seriously, it’s a skill.  I like my scrambled eggs with that “wet” look.  I just ca’t stand dried up scrambled eggs (which is why I never order them in a restaurant).

  • http://www.asweetroad.com/ Sweet Road

    It took me awhile to figure out how to make perfect fluffy eggs as well. I found that keeping it simple – eggs and a bit of water scrambled together and gentle cooking works every time!

  • Daniel Zaccariello

    Have you tried making them in a bain-marie?  I just use a steel bowl and medium sauce pan.  Works well because the temperatures of the bowl are more gentle on the proteins than using a saute pan.  When I’ve done this, I always ended up with a very light texture and fluffy creamy eggs.

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      I’ve never tried it in a bain-marie, but I’ve done them sous-vide which gets similar results.

      • Daniel Zaccariello

        Yeah, I’ve read about doing it sous vide.  Thinking I should pick up a used thermocirculator.  
        I’ve done slow poaching with a stock pot and ice cubes, but it really demands too much attention.  It would be great just to see with my own eyes the different coagulation temps for each of the different proteins in the egg.   

  • http://www.2stepsawayfromparadise.blogspot.com/ Ellja

    eggs are the new black, i guess :-)

  • Darren

    In the Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe detective mysteries Wolfe says that proper scrambled eggs take 45 minutes. I don’t think it goes into detail about how he makes them, but in the cookbook Stout wrote he cooks them in a double boiler.

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      While I’ve never done it this way, I imagine using a bain-marie would yield amazing eggs (similar to sous vide scrambled eggs). That said, the beauty of scrambled eggs for me is that they’re a quick breakfast when you don’t have a lot of time, which is why I still prefer to do mine in a frying pan. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/quatrofromaggio Paolo Quatrofromaggio

    Love this post! Starting from its title :) The more a dish is simple, the more every single step matters. Thanks for sharing your tips!

  • http://www.nomnomfoodie.com/ TheNomNomFoodie

    Love the post! I grew up eating eggs that were much more cooked, which is why I favored “sunny side up” instead of scrambled. Nowadays when I make scrambled eggs I shoot for the same consistency that you have in the post. But as much as I love scrambled eggs my favorite is still cutting into a perfectly cooked soft poached egg, letting all the golden yolk run on the plate (like in your polenta and egg recipe)!

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      I know exactly what you mean. I used to dread scrambled egg day because they were always like eating plastic. Poached eggs are my favorite too. I’ve got a post coming up on getting perfect poached eggs every time. 

      • http://www.nomnomfoodie.com/ TheNomNomFoodie

        Great! Looking forward to that post :)

  • http://www.theurbanbaker.com/ susan

    What a great post. Going to pass this along to my husband. He makes eggs a few times per week and always offers some to me. His eggs are not pretty, nor tasty and I hope he follows your fabulous advice.

  • http://sofood.wordpress.com/ adel

    great tips! thanks!

  • Ejacks18

    I’m looking forward to trying this way of cooking eggs in the morning.  Sounds delicious!

  • http://www.carlacation.com/ carla

    Thanks for sharing this! My scrambled egg always fail!:P

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  • http://www.glutenfreegourmand.com/ Gina

    I’ve recently abandoned the non-stick pan for a ceramic-coated cast-iron pan, which I love for scrambled eggs.  I’ve been playing with starting out with a very hot pan and turning off the burner right after adding the eggs.  I’ve been enjoying the results, but then again I like my eggs a little more cooked than you.  I am looking forward to trying your method for a softer egg.  Thanks for another thoroughly explained recipe!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000097767989 Daniel Stephens

    Ever tried the Nero Wolfe method?  40 minutes in a double boiler?

  • http://writingbee.org/ writingbee

    mmmm…yummy!

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  • Scoot

    I thought for sure it would be an excuse to unearth the ol’ double boiler. KISS, with egg breath!

  • KD

    Yep, I could never make scrambled eggs, figured it just wasn’t my thing. Hubby could always whip up a decent batch & for years I’ve regulated the task to him. Never really thought much about it until I read your “how to” this morning. Having all ingredients on hand (including those for the lovely sandwich), I put your instructions to the test. Viola! I can make fluffy scrambled eggs! Many thanks, Marc!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1546535227 Carl Geers

    One word… induction. I just got an induction cooktop and I freakin love it!

  • T. L. Hicks

    My Grandfather, who was a short order cook taught me to slightly undercook eggs. He’d say “If they’re done in the pan, they’re overdone on the plate”

  • miss ody

    Hi marc
    If I want to substitute cream with milk how much milk should I use?

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      Hi Miss Ody, you can substitute for the same quantity of milk for lighter scrambled eggs.

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Welcome!

I'm Marc, and I want to teach you some basic techniques and give you the confidence and inspiration so that you can cook without recipes too!