Adding Liquid to Scrambled Eggs


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Scrambled eggs are a breakfast staple, but is there a way to make the curds even tastier? Learn what happens to the texture when you add liquids like water, milk, or cream.

Bowl of eggs and milk about to be whisked.

Making a big batch of golden scrambled eggs is simple. But can we make them even better—lighter, fluffier, and richer-tasting? I’ve heard of people adding water, dairy products, mayonnaise, vinegar, and even baking powder on the quest for the perfect eggs.

The basic scrambling technique is limited to controlling the heat level and agitation, but there are ingredients that you can add to help improve texture. In this article, I test the most common additions- water, milk, and cream. The results are fascinating. It’s worth experimenting the next time you find yourself at the stove in the morning.

Person pouring milk into a mixing bowl with eggs.

What’s happening when raw eggs are heated?

Eggs are composed of water, dispersed in hundreds of chained amino acid proteins, plus additional fat in the yolk. When you whisk the albumin (egg white) and yolk together and then cook, the molecules move around, and the proteins rearrange. 

With prolonged heating, the proteins unfold and create a bonded web-like structure. Some of the water turns to steam, helping fluff the egg, while the proteins turn solid and eventually set. For a whole egg, this happens between 144 and 158ºF (62.2°C and 70°C). Eggs become dry and rubbery when heated for too long, and the moisture gets squeezed out of the curds.

Mixing bowl with egg wash.

Should you add water or milk to scrambled eggs?

Yes, but to a limit. Some recipes call for water, milk, cream, or half-and-half, mainly as extra insurance to prevent a rubbery texture. A small amount of liquid dilutes the proteins, which stops them from bonding too fast and tightly together.

The more liquid you add, the softer and moister the curd. The more fat you use, the firmer the texture. Water turns to steam, which helps the eggs puff up more, creating a lighter product.

Are there any downsides to adding liquid?

Too much liquid can dilute the savory flavor of the egg. Also, adding too much water will cause it to seep out, leaving an unappetizing puddle, especially if cooking until very firm. This mess often happens with vegetable scrambles if not pre-cooked to remove moisture before adding in the egg.

There is also a limit to the amount of fat you should add. A small amount provides a lovely richness, whereas too much can make it overly decadent and heavy. It’s a delicate balance.

Effect of liquid and fat levels

I was curious about the effects of the amount of liquid with varying fat levels on the egg texture. I tested adding 1 to 3 teaspoons of water, milk, half-and-half, and cream into 1 large egg seasoned with ⅛ teaspoon salt. 

Here are my key observations:

  • The more liquid you add, the lighter the color and softer the curd. However, the egg flavor becomes very diluted.
  • The higher the level of fat added, the richer and lingering in the mouth coat. 
  • Adding 1 tablespoon of heavy cream (36% milkfat) was too heavy, giving a custard-like texture. 
  • Whole milk or half-and-half provides just enough richness without feeling too heavy, but don’t add more than 2 teaspoons.
  • Water yields an incredibly light, fluffy, and soft curd. However, at 1 tablespoon, the egg lost its savory, buttery taste.

For every 1 large egg, I recommend:

  • 1 to 2 teaspoons of water
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons of milk or half-and-half
  • 1 teaspoon of heavy cream

Recipes to try

Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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1 Comment Leave a comment or review

  1. Chef D says

    Good info but I hope you will compare cooking in non stick vs pan with several types of oil to butter!

    Also using 1 yoke and two whites vs 2 entire eggs w/o the shells.
    And that’s no yoke ;•)