Weeknight Cooking

My Favorite Mostly Cheap, Very Easy, and Extremely Good-Tasting Recipe

March 18, 2015

If you're like us, you look to the seasons for what to cook. Get to the market, and we'll show you what to do with your haul.

Today: A late-night staple that wants to be your 5-ingredient, 10-minute meal -- even in the light of day.  

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I’m not quite sure when I stumbled upon these scrambled egg tacos. I know only that I did, in fact, stumble: I mostly make these after midnight, running on fumes and maybe a little whiskey. I like to think that it happened one night when I opened my fridge and saw before me the perfect union of convenience and heft: tortillas near languish in the crisper drawer, a craggly half moon of avocado, eggs.

I also like to think that everyone has their version of this dish -- the food they count on to be ready in less than 15 minutes and consumed in under that; the food that can and will materialize from a seemingly empty fridge or pantry. The food that proves late-night cooking is alchemy.  

But it’s food that's also strict: It can’t be frilly. And unless by “garnish” you mean a random, lazy application of hot sauce, it can’t have them. The fewer utensils it uses, the better. If it’s not mostly cheap, very easy, and extremely good-tasting, it will never make the cut for long.

These tacos meet that late-night holy trinity. 

I make them after long, cocktail-filled nights; just as long, bleary-eyed work days; and after parties that promise food but do not deliver. (Food parties, take note: I appreciate your handsome Spanish men delicately shaving pieces of Iberico off a hulking leg of ham, but it does not a dinner make.) I make them when the thought of running to a bodega now feels Sisyphean. As in: We’ve already made it up two flights of stairs and successfully taken off both of our shoes. Let’s not push it, okay?

This is point-A-to-point-B cooking -- the quick, dirty, and honest pursuit of food we usually forget to talk about because we’re too busy holding hands and singing kumbaya over mind-blowing grits or the tantric braised onion sauce we’ve just learned. It’s slapdash, maybe, but that doesn’t make it less good. It makes it resourceful, and humble -- it never asks to be the subject of a sermon. 

So I’ll preach quietly, and quickly: Blister a few tortillas (double up on them if you’re really going for it) over an open flame, and while they char, start scrambling a few eggs. Then apply avocado to the flamed tortillas, now crispy and burnt in places. This can go a few ways, depending on the time of night and how civilized you’re feeling: If not very, just smash it into the tortilla with reckless abandon. If quite, you may cut slices and lay them down like a proper cook. Both will be good. To this palette of avocado and smoky tortilla, pile your eggs, some sour cream, and a lashing of your favorite hot sauce. (If you’re not a real Adult yet and you don’t keep things like sour cream on hand, use the yogurt you bought for tomorrow’s breakfast. Or set yourself up for next time: Pre-mix a batch of yogurt and hot sauce and stash it in the fridge. You’ll be coming back for it later.) No matter how tired you are, never forget the salt. 

What you’ll have is everything you wanted, and more: Fast, good food you can eat with your hands. And because tacos often spill at random, you’re allowed to be slightly animalistic about the whole affair -- a very good perk, because no one has the energy for manners in the middle of the night. I felt odd making these in a well-lit kitchen and styling them for a camera -- they are at their best when cooked by dim, early morning kitchen light, and hastily -- but you’ll rectify that for me tonight, won’t you? 

Scrambled Egg Tacos with Avocado

Serves 1

2 to 4 small corn tortillas (you can double them up on each taco if you wish)

2 eggs

1 ripe avocado


Yogurt or sour cream

Your favorite hot sauce

See the full recipe (and save it and print it) here. 

Photos by James Ransom  

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A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

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Kenzi Wilbur

Written by: Kenzi Wilbur

I have a thing for most foods topped with a fried egg, a strange disdain for overly soupy tomato sauce, and I can never make it home without ripping off the end of a newly-bought baguette. I like spoons very much.


Rose C. March 8, 2017
If you get the Low Carb Tortillas (Shop Rite)you now have a not only super yummie but also Low Carb Breakfast or Lunch I also add graded Cheese
Courtney C. August 11, 2016
These were great - we had so many tortillas lying around that I ate these for three days in a row. Very yummy. Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge of this quick and awesome anytime meal.
Kristin L. May 25, 2016
People crack me up. Love this article, even without the historical significance of the breakfast taco.
Lauren May 24, 2016
You did not invent breakfast tacos. It's culturally imperialist and pretty willfully ignorant of you to not give a nod to the fact thousands of people eat this all the time already and that there's an extensive history behind the breakfast taco. Apparently your narrative of your own personal discovery is more important for you to share than any broader historical accuracy or context. For more reading and a basic history lesson, do a quick search for "breakfast taco" anywhere on the Internet. Note: this is not to say that scrambled eggs inside a tortilla aren't delicious. Just don't claim authorship in the face of facts. It makes me respect all of Food52 a lot less, which is disappointing.
Kenzi W. May 24, 2016
Sorry you feel this way! In fact, I'm not claiming to have invented them—only that I stumbled across them. I do not take an ounce of credit for their creation, though I wish I were so lucky. This post is really just meant to spread the love here—so apologies if that message got lost in translation.
Stephen May 24, 2016
I agree with everything except this is my typical breakfast 5-6 days a week, so I'm usually looking for something else late night. I like to cook up a decent amount of chorizo or bacon with onion and jalapenos at the beginning of the week and warm that up with the scrambled egg throughout the week to save time. I usually toast the tortilla on cast iron. Cilantro and cheese go really well with these as garnish too.
Josie M. March 7, 2016
My perfect 15-minute taco is similar, but I saute a can of chickpeas with taco seasoning and a piece or two of chopped bacon. Top similarly with avocado and sour cream.
Can't wait to try this scrambled egg version.
Michael M. March 7, 2016
You just have to realize... to almost anyone in the southwest, this is like reading an article by someone who thinks they invented toast.
Kenzi W. March 7, 2016
I fully admit to not inventing them! I was just excited to have stumbled upon them, and they make me happy. It's that simple.
Rose C. September 17, 2015
The first time I made a breakfast taco to soak up the whiskey it was for my room mate. I had just moved in and heard her bouncing like a pinball up our steep two stories of stairs around 1am. She was drunk enough to let me drag her to the kitchen and sit her down with water while I dug in the fridge for anything I could make before she passed out. Eggs, sour cream and avocado on a tortilla were all I could find- they were so delicious I made several and had some myself. The next day she went back to microwaving hot dogs with cheese and ketchup for lunch, but we were friends for life - I had rescued her from a hangover!
beejay45 April 19, 2015
I'm with you, except mine would be a quesadilla. ;) I put the tortilla right on the oven rack, topped with cheese, and while that toasts I scramble he eggs. Pop the eggs on the tortilla, along with any other toppings -- like hot sauce, avocado, sour cream, leftover beans, green onions...whatever -- fold in half and enjoy. Think I'm about due for one of these, too many balanced meat and 2-veg meals lately. Thanks!
Spiceman March 28, 2015
I do find it entertaining that you get paid to write about something any 5 year old can make in most states west of the Mississippi or south of the Mason-Dixon Line. Yes, we let 5year olds play with fire down here. Keep up the show and tell us how to make homemade chocolate milk next. It is a must have after too much whisky!!
10 L. March 22, 2015
This is the perfect combination - late night, early day, whiskey soaked or coffee stained.
Christine S. March 22, 2015
Love the Whiskey mention...this has been my exact go to always - especially after Whiskey! Thank's for sharing: )
Lynne A. March 22, 2015
Add bacon for some crispness - heaven.
Jim P. March 22, 2015
Got my tortilla press yesterday.
Caitlin G. March 22, 2015
Yup!! Here's my version: http://back2spain.com/2015/03/16/roasted-asparagus-fried-egg-on-blue-corn-tortillas/
Verney P. March 19, 2015
Love the recipe
Emily K. March 19, 2015
Breakfast tacos are a staple in Texas. It's strange they haven't caught on in NY by now.
TXExpatInBKK March 22, 2015
I know, I'm definitely a breakfast taco addict!
Hannah N. March 19, 2015
Anything you write. Honestly, anything.
Sarah J. March 19, 2015
Well said.
Jim P. March 19, 2015
You said Sisyphean. My day is complete.
Kenzi W. March 19, 2015
:) I feel like we'd get along, Jim.
Amanda S. March 19, 2015
Making this for breakfast as I type with the other hand — they're officially good at any hour.
Kenzi W. March 19, 2015
Amen. Thanks for the research help.