Learn how to make scrambled eggs like a pro on the stovetop. I’m sharing a few simple tips for creating a creamy soft texture or fluffy tender curd. The techniques are easy, but the small details make a significant difference.
Table of Contents
- When to salt
- Should you add water or milk in scrambled eggs?
- The best way to whisk the eggs
- Pan selection
- Pan size
- Cooking with butter vs. oil
- How to make creamy soft scrambled eggs
- How to make fluffy scrambled eggs
- Seasoning and adding mix-ins
- What to serve this with
- How to Make Scrambled Eggs (2 Ways!) Recipe
I love digging into a big plate of fluffy scrambled eggs to start the day. Each serving contains protein and other nutritional benefits. It seems easy enough right, just whisk, stir, and cook. But there’s some finesse involved to achieve a soft and creamy texture. Just a few degrees of heat can have a big impact.
Many factors can instantly change the taste. Do you keep the eggs pure, or add in liquid like milk? When do you salt? How often do you stir, and how hot should the pan be? Don’t worry. After dozens of tests, here’s my insights for perfect scrambled eggs, any way you like it.
When to salt
Add salt when whisking the eggs to dissolve it better. I use about ⅛ teaspoon (0.5 grams) of salt per one large egg. I prefer it on the saltier side. However, you can reduce it down to 1/16 teaspoon per egg, which is about a pinch. Salt enhances the savory flavor of the eggs, but more is happening.
A small amount of salt helps the curds become more moist and tender. When dissolved in the eggs, salt becomes charged ions. This environment makes coagulation, the changing from liquid to solid, happen faster at lower temperatures. However, it also acts as a buffer, preventing the proteins from packing too close together and squeezing out moisture [source].
Should you add water or milk in scrambled eggs?
Adding in a small amount of liquid like water or milk prevents the proteins in eggs from bonding too tightly together. When used in moderation, this yields softer, moist eggs.
If you decide to use a fat-containing ingredient like milk, it will add extra richness if you like a more decadent texture. One downside is that the liquid could dilute the flavor. If you are a purist, leave it out. I recommend 1 teaspoon of liquid (2 teaspoons max) per 1 large egg to try.
The best way to whisk the eggs
The egg yolk and whites have different compositions. Both contain water and proteins, but the yolk also has fat. Proper whisking ensures a homogenous mixture and helps dissolve any salt added. Use a bowl that’s at least medium in size to allow for movement. Use a side-to-side motion to whisk.
This direction makes it easy to quickly move your hand back on fourth, while also providing the most shear force. I find this technique makes the most stable emulsions for dressings and a quick batch of whipped cream. But don’t over whisk eggs because it can cause air bubbles that deflate, making them less fluffy. Just whisk until it looks consistent in appearance.
A nonstick pan is your best friend for making scrambled eggs. The extra surface coating allows for the easy stirring of the uncooked egg without getting stuck. The aluminum construction is also a good heat conductor, which quickly warms up. A cast iron skillet works fine, but it takes a little longer to heat, and you’ll need to grease it well to prevent sticking. A rubber spatula works like a charm to scrape the pan’s sides and bottoms to create gorgeous curds.
The size of the pan is essential. When I pour eggs into the pan, I like them to come up about ¼-inch up the sides. A smaller pan allows for a thicker volume. If the pan is too large, the egg will spread and become too thin. A large pan makes it harder to create fluffy curds, plus it cooks quicker, which could make the eggs dry out.
Here’s a simple guide for pan size:
- 5-inch: 1 egg
- 8-inch pan: 2 to 3 eggs
- 10-inch pan: 4 to 7 eggs
- 12-inch pan: 8 eggs or more
Cooking with butter vs. oil
The uncooked eggs are only in the pan for a few minutes, so a moderate smoke point fat/oil is safe. Butter is the fat of choice for scrambling eggs as the sweet and milky taste adds the best flavor. A neutral oil like olive oil or avocado oil also works well.
To know when the pan is hot enough to add the beaten eggs, watch the butter melt. As the fat starts to heat up, the butter’s moisture will steam, creating a foamy and bubbly appearance. That’s when you add the eggs. Don’t let the milk solids turn a burnt brown. If using oil, add the eggs to the pan when the oil starts to shimmer, but not smoking.
How to make creamy soft scrambled eggs
For moist and creamy eggs, use medium-low heat and more frequent stirring. I allow the liquid egg to sit for 15-seconds before stirring. This technique lets the proteins along the edges of the pan just start to thicken. I use a figure-eight motion, scraping the edges in different directions. The eggs will set more slowly because of low heat, leaving a glossy layer on the surface, and rich and creamy curds.
This method also reduces the fluffiness, since the eggs’ water doesn’t steam and rapidly expands. It’s a trade-off that’s worth it for a more decadent texture. I let the eggs sit off the heat for 30 to 60 seconds to allow for carryover cooking, which prevents them from being too runny.
How to make fluffy scrambled eggs
For big fluffy curds, also called hard-scrambled, similar to the ones you get at a diner, use medium-high heat and less frequent stirring. The increased temperature causes the water to turn into vapor and creates airy pockets between the proteins as it sets. Use the figure-eight motion while letting larger curds form. Push the eggs and allow the liquid to run underneath into the pan.
When you scrape the spatula along the pan’s bottom and see a clear trail (no egg running), turn the heat to low to finish cooking. This setting prevents the eggs from overcooking. The process happens quickly, in under 2 minutes, so stop cooking when the surface is shiny, but the curds are firm but not dry. The goal is still to have moist eggs that are puffier and light in texture.
Seasoning and adding mix-ins
I like to keep the seasonings simple with salt and pepper. However, freshly chopped herbs like thyme, parsley, dill, or chives are an excellent addition. If you want to make a classic breakfast scramble add some extra protein like bacon, chicken, sausage, cut them into small uniform pieces, and pre-cook them. Chopped vegetables have a lot of moisture, so saute them first to remove excess liquids.
Add the eggs to the mix-ins and follow the preferred scrambling technique. For cheese, use hard grated cheeses like cheddar, swiss, mozzarella, and Parmesan. Add them towards the end of cooking during the last 30 seconds, when the eggs form into curds but are still wet. Stir it in, and it will continue to melt. Soft cheeses like feta or goat cheese should be sprinkled-on right before serving.
What to serve this with
Ways to tell if scrambled eggs are cooked properly
Whole eggs turn from a raw pourable liquid to a solid coagulated curd around 144 to 158ºF (62.2° C and 70°C). An instant-read thermometer comes in handy, but it’s pretty easy to see the transformation visually. You don’t want to go past that upper-temperature range for soft scrambled eggs, which look wetter. For firmer hard scrambled eggs, cook until the curds look less glossy and slightly drier.
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How to Make Scrambled Eggs (2 Ways!)
- 4 large eggs
- 4 teaspoons water, milk, whole milk or cream, (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, (see note)
- 2 teaspoons unsalted butter
- black pepper, as needed for seasoning
Creamy Soft Scrambled Eggs
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, liquid (if using), and salt. Whisk the eggs in a side-to-side motion until uniform in appearance, do not over mix.
- In a 10-inch nonstick skillet, heat the butter over medium-low heat until it just begins to bubble and foam, but does not brown.
- Add the eggs to the pan, and wait for 15-seconds until the edges just begin to turn opaque. Use a silicone spatula to stir continuously. Start at the edge of the pan and go in a figure-eight motion. Lift the cooked curds to allow the liquid to run underneath, tilting the pan as needed.
- The eggs should form into medium-sized curds, and the surface should be slightly wet, but not runny. The process takes about 1 ½ to 2 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and move the pan to the cool side of the stove. Allow it to sit to finish cooking. The surface should be glossy, about 30 to 60 seconds.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste, serve immediately.
Fluffy Hard Scrambled Eggs
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, liquid (if using), and salt. Whisk in a side-to-side motion until uniform in appearance, do not over mix.
- In a 10-inch nonstick skillet, heat the butter over medium-high heat until it just begins to bubble and foam, but does not brown.
- Add the eggs to the pan, use a silicone spatula, and stir immediately. Start at the edge of the pan and slowly go in a figure-eight motion. Lift the cooked curds to allow the liquid to run underneath, tilting the pan as needed. The eggs should form into large-sized curds, break them up if desired.
- Turn the heat to low when there is no longer liquid egg running into the pan’s bottom when stirring. Gently stir a few more times to finish cooking. The surface should look slightly shiny, not dry or browned, with moist curds. The process takes about 1 to 1 ½ minutes.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste, serve immediately.
- Adding Liquid: This makes the egg softer and more tender but lessens the egg flavor.
- Saltier Eggs: Use 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt instead of 1/4 teaspoon.
- For Cooking 2 Eggs: Use an 8-inch skillet and look for the appearance change. The cook time will be shorter for a smaller batch, about 45 to 60 seconds.
- Adjusting Batch Size: For every large egg, use ½ teaspoon butter or oil and 1/16 to ⅛ teaspoons of salt. See pan size recommendations in the full article.
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