Scrambled eggs are like the learners permit of the kitchen. They require—at the least—just one ingredient and no more than a warm pan. But for all their apparent simplicity, preparing the perfect plate of scrambled eggs is actually an art in and of itself. Everyone swears by their own preferred method(s).
We’ve even got a Genius Recipe on the site devoted just to the topic. Brought to us by Mandy @ Lady and pups, this recipe calls for one surprising addition: cornstach! The thickening agent, she claims, binds the proteins in the eggs and prevents them from releasing their moisture too quickly. Her recipe also calls for a hefty serving of butter—a tablespoon for each egg. One commenter recommends adding in a fourth tablespoon just as the egg curds are firming up for a glossy finish and softer mouthfeel.
Back in 2013, we tested out three sworn by scrambled egg methods, all in pursuit of the perfect plate. We tried them low and slow, scrambled in the pan, and whisked and whizzed over medium heat. There was no conclusive answer as to which was best, per se. It seems scrambled eggs, and their multitude of preparations, is best resigned as a matter of taste. With this in mind, we asked around the office, curious to see what Food52 staffers had to say about their own methods. Here’s what some of them had to say:
So I start out with 3-4 eggs straight from the fridge. I crack those into a 2 cup measuring cup because I'm lazy and it's easier to mix with the handle. I add in a dash of heavy cream, salt, pepper and sometimes dried garlic and mix it with a whisk. I then let my cast iron get really hot and add in some olive oil and butter (i love them both). I pour the mixture in and let that cook undisturbed for about 30 seconds and then I fold it a few times on itself. Before it completely sets I remove and let it rest (usually with some cheese on top)
1) Add the scantest splash of milk/cream/water. Too much dries it out from my experience. 2) Don’t be afraid to season before whisking. Some people say to not do that, but it’s never had any adverse effect on my eggs. 3) If you have the time, put your heat on the lowest setting possible and stir constantly.
Add a hunk of butter to a tiny skillet. Set over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, whisk a couple eggs in a cup with a fork. Don't salt—that comes later. (And I know, I know, pre-salting helps retain moisture, blah, blah, blah. But they're barely cooking here and eggs don't need to be so complicated.) Anyway, the butter. It's melting. Now it's browning. When it's on the edge of burning, pour in the eggs. They should sizzle. Use the fork to swirl and stir-fry them in the fat. When they're juuust set—barely two shakes of a lamb's tail—dump onto a plate (or, better yet, into a bowl of soy-sauced brown rice with sambal oelek). Salt now.
If I had to make scrambled eggs for your favorite grandmother, I would have a nice nonstick pan and some good butter. I'd let the pan get medium hot. I wouldn't whisk the eggs too much or anything, just lightly whisk them and throw it in the pan. I'd grab a good rubber spatula and move it around. Then around just ten seconds before everything is fully cooked, I'd take it out of the pan and serve it. The residual heat while it’s sitting on the plate will have it be perfectly cooked by the time someone is eating it. Then a little salt and pepper.
As I expected, the answers are varied. No one method prevails and why should it? Scrambled eggs are endlessly versatile, so let’s celebrate that. Instead of seeking the perfect method, why not seek the perfect method for you. Go ahead and try your hand at some of the above methods and let us know what works best for you.
What's your tried-and-true? Tell us about it in the comments.