Breakfast

For Creamier, Tastier Scrambled Eggs, Just Add Peanut Butter. Seriously.

Yes, it's possible, and no, it’s not what you expect.

Photo by Mark Weinberg

Now more than ever, home is where many of us are seeking refuge and solace in light of the novel coronavirus. This is a tough time, but we’re here for you—whether it’s a new pantry recipe or a useful tip for your kitchen, here are some ideas to make things run a little more smoothly for you and your loved ones.


I love a good story about succeeding against the odds.

I've been reading a book about the history of the popular American sketch comedy show, Saturday Night Live. Today, it has the clout to be able to pluck comedians from obscurity and elevate them to household names. Cast members regularly become A-list celebrities, starring in their own films and television series—or dating Ariana Grande.

But when it hit the small screen in 1975, there were plenty of naysayers: the format was mostly unheard of, at least in the U.S., and the talent largely unknown. After the first season, however, the show won big at the Emmys, affirming both its cult status and critical approval.

Join The Conversation

Top Comment:
“Just made the scrambled egg/peanut butter recipe. Very interesting. Texture very creamy but in a " I don't know if I like this kind of way". Flavor much improved with sweet paprika and green hot sauce ( jalapeño/poblano). Husband loved it on his chili but not so much independently. Really fun to experiment. Thanks for sharing this recipe. Keep em coming!!! ”
— Laura
Comment

It might have seemed like serendipity but behind the scenes, very deliberate forces were at work to make SNL a success, including writers and producers who were cognizant of the social climate and had the foresight to recognize, and strongly advocate for, the raw and absurd humor that would bring their audiences much-needed catharsis—laughter.

In my idleness, I’ve been trying to do the same in my kitchen, eyeing my pantry items for unseen opportunities for success. And I spotted what I believe could be the unsung culinary coupling of our time: eggs and peanut butter. Could I, despite the odds, coax these seemingly incompatible ingredients into a delightful union?

A couple of years ago, actor Scott Foley, collegiate heartthrob on the late 90s drama Felicity, ignited an internet maelstrom when he Instagram’d his family’s breakfast routine of scrambled eggs and Skippy peanut butter. Some of his followers were appalled: “Are you the devil?” commented one. Others felt seen: “I am not alone.”

The more I contemplated the idea, the more arguments I came up with for combining the two. For years, I’ve been adding a swirl of tahini to omelets—the progeny of sesame seeds, but a nutty character nonetheless. I also considered the most memorable dish from my time spent trekking through Thailand a decade ago: an omelet so freshly deep-fried that its golden edges glimmered. With the faint flavor of fish sauce, it was stuffed with piping hot pad thai and served with crushed peanuts, chili sauce and lime wedges. We ate them on a paper-covered picnic table on a busy street in Bangkok, washed down with ice-cold Singha beers.

Remembering the refrain of “salt, fat, acid, heat,” I paged through chef Samin Nosrat’s essential cookbook, where she offers readers her genius rubric for cooking based on the aforementioned four qualities. Her recipe for scrambled eggs is enlightening. Nosrat instructs us to season eggs with salt and a few drops of lemon before whisking, then melting butter in a saucepan. As the eggs cook over low heat, we’re told to add tablespoons of butter (one for each egg), stirring continuously and letting each one dissolve before adding the next.

The idea is that the salt adds flavor, the fat imparts both texture and flavor, and the acid (lemon) brightens and balances the dish.

Could I apply Nosrat’s principles to eggs and peanut butter, and, with a little more elaboration than just scrambling and scooping on some Jiffy, discover a dish that’s not just palatable but repeatable, too?

In France, we’ve been under quarantine since March 17. My decidedly more sedentary life leaves me feeling squirrelly—like there’s an itch I can’t scratch, and only when I sit with it for a few moments do I recognize it’s likely a drop in endorphins, the ones I usually get from shuffling around Paris all day. So I cook, twice or three times daily, because the act provides comfort in itself, and because the variety adds color to days that otherwise just blend together.

On a recent Friday, just before noon, I retrieved a jar of Skippy peanut butter and a carton of eggs from our pantry (here, eggs aren't refrigerated), and cracked four into a bowl. I added a generous squeeze of lime, a couple of pinches of coarse sea salt and whisked. In a non-stick pan, I melted a pat of butter over medium-low heat and watched it sizzle and then melt, the rich fragrance filling our kitchen. Keeping both butters close, I poured in the eggs and dropped in a tablespoon of (regular) butter, while continually stirring with a fork. Once it was melted, I added a large tablespoon of peanut butter and did the same. I kept cooking until the eggs slowly came together, taking on a deep golden color throughout.

In our bedroom, my husband Guillaume, a carpenter with no shortage of projects around the house, was working on a new closet. I brought a plate of eggs and a lime wedge to him and together, standing in the midst of just-cut wood, we dug in. The lime, to us, was imperceptible but the peanut butter added a delicious savory quality. Guillaume “mmm”d and I told him he’d never guess the secret ingredient.

“Peanut butter,” he replied.

I suppose it wasn’t so secret after all, but given most Europeans’ distaste toward peanut butter, I considered the fact that he was still eating them a small victory. We both agreed that adding some heat would improve the flavor even more, so I went to get the sriracha.

In the second season of SNL, a young Illinois-born actor named Billy joined the cast on a trial basis. He got off to a rough start, occasionally flubbing lines and struggling to charm viewers. Producer Lorne Michaels wondered if he had made a mistake in hiring him. Bill Murray ended up being one of the most prolific comedians on the show, and today is arguably the father of comedic cool.

Sometimes, you’ve just got to give things a chance.

In the weeks or months to come, I’ll continue to experiment with unexpected combinations, while also preparing more frozen foods than usual. It’s a far cry from the pleasures of dining out, but in a way, it replicates the experience—choosing a dish assembled in someone else’s kitchen and not knowing how it will taste until it’s ready. You cut into the chicken cordon bleu and feel a slight thrill when melted cheese oozes out.

They might not win any culinary awards, but if eggs and peanut butter become a popular brunch staple, we will remember a time when it seemed inconceivable.

Eggs and peanut butter—yay or hard nay? Tell us in the comments below!

Join the Conversation

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Tania Finn Angelo
    Tania Finn Angelo
  • buzzah
    buzzah
  • Angela
    Angela
  • Jaime Shanklin
    Jaime Shanklin
  • Laura
    Laura
Comment
Caitlin is a Paris-based writer and editor. She wrote about food and wine while living in Madrid after college, and had a brief career as a lawyer before moving back to Spain to work in restaurants and attend culinary courses at the Basque Culinary Center in San Sebastian. She has worked or staged at Septime in Paris, Mina and Nerua in Bilbao, and Bien Cuit in Brooklyn. In 2018, she and her husband launched a pop-up sandwich shop in Mallorca, Spain. Caitlin now lives in an ovenless apartment in the 9th arrondissement with her husband, Guillaume, and daughter, Mimi. Update: we have an oven now.

87 Comments

Tania F. May 11, 2020
We love this. I use my own homemade peanut butter which is a bit stronger so I use a bit less. I've served this over leftover jasmine rice and curry sauce and then topped with fried shallots, coriander and chopped chilli. Delicious!!
 
Author Comment
Caitlin R. May 12, 2020
Glad to hear it!
 
buzzah May 2, 2020
Hmm, made this this morning, but I must have done something wrong! The eggs kind of curdled into these small pieces- very strange! Didn’t taste bad, but definitely a weird texture. Maybe I added too much lime?
 
Author Comment
Caitlin R. May 2, 2020
could be...also, the low and slow cooking changes the texture too. glad it still tasted good though!
 
Angela May 1, 2020
This recipe really intrigued me! I did not have peanut butter, so I used a Nut Butter from Costco and followed the directions as written. For me it was pretty amazing! Loved it and will certainly add this to my egg recipes. Who Knew???!! Eggs and Peanut Butter!
 
Jaime S. May 1, 2020
No. I love peanut butter but this just doesn't work for me. What you should try is a grilled cheese, peanut butter, and dill pickle sandwich. I prefer cheddar and Claussen kosher dill pickles.
 
Laura May 1, 2020
Just made the scrambled egg/peanut butter recipe. Very interesting. Texture very creamy but in a " I don't know if I like this kind of way". Flavor much improved with sweet paprika and green hot sauce ( jalapeño/poblano). Husband loved it on his chili but not so much independently. Really fun to experiment. Thanks for sharing this recipe. Keep em coming!!!
 
Colette B. May 1, 2020
Just made this and it was YUM!!!! I added Chi Chi Crunch Chili Oil for some texture and heat over the just set eggs. This dish is now in my breakfast rotation!
 
I’ve been eating this combo for a while! https://www.instagram.com/p/BtL3ExIgIdX/?igshid=isozyftkhsgo
 
Theresa W. April 30, 2020
I am now a huge fan of peanut butter on French toast after turning up my nose at it for years before I finally tried it. So I’m completely open to the idea of peanut butter and eggs and looking forward to trying it! But seriously that omelette with Pad Thai that you talked about… I’m gonna be dreaming about that until I try it!!!
 
Author Comment
Caitlin R. May 1, 2020
It was so so good... I'm still dreaming about it, too...
 
mayingling April 30, 2020
Also a COVID hostage and looking for something new to keep myself entertained, so I have no choice but to try this out tomorrow. 🤪
 
Author Comment
Caitlin R. May 1, 2020
good luck and enjoy!
 
Nancy Z. April 30, 2020
We mix peanut butter with Kim Chi and put it on jasmine rice all of the time. It’s delicious!
 
Author Comment
Caitlin R. May 1, 2020
I'm going to have to try this.
 
BabyKakes April 30, 2020
I absolutely ABHOR peanut butter. But you've got me curious and I'm going to try it in the morning. Stay tuned!
 
Author Comment
Caitlin R. May 1, 2020
Bon appetit!
 
Are you making promotion to the competition? ha ha ha
 
Cheri F. April 30, 2020
My Mom Always added Miracle Whip. Again don’t knock it
 
SueF April 30, 2020
My mom always added little chuncks of cream cheese!
 
Jennifer D. April 30, 2020
Cream cheese is delicious with eggs! Glad I am not the only one. And if you are really indulgent top with a bit of caviar.
 
Author Comment
Caitlin R. May 1, 2020
Interesting.... something to try!
 
That sounds very interesting to try
 
Washclaw35 April 30, 2020
It's peanut butter for cripes sake. What's not to like? One who wouldn't like this is just STRANGE!
 
Author Comment
Caitlin R. May 1, 2020
Haha, I tend to agree.
 
Erin K. April 30, 2020
We add Adams peanut butter, siracha and honey to our scrambled eggs and call it Thai Style Eggs. Family favorite!
 
Richard G. May 1, 2020
May I have your recipe? My wife will love to try it.
 
Author Comment
Caitlin R. May 1, 2020
YUM, the honey! Will try next time.
 
thelastmike April 30, 2020
Interesting. My first thought was that if this insanity works then can we add it to mashed potatoes too?
 
thelastmike April 30, 2020
Ohhhhh... or rice?
 
[email protected] April 30, 2020
Polenta
 
Chey April 30, 2020
OMGoodness! That's funny!
 
Author Comment
Caitlin R. May 1, 2020
I mean, eggs and hashbrowns, right? Doesn't sound too crazy to me :-)
 
In Mexico some people use hashbrowns or pieces of corn tortilla. You chop the tortilla, put it in the pan with some hot oil, fry it a little, then you add the eggs. We always put some salsa (we are mexicans).
 
Chey May 2, 2020
Love scrambled eggs with corn tortilla pieces .... add a little cheese if desired, then top with either red or green chile. yummm.... New Mexican here. :)
 
Laura1 April 30, 2020
Caitlin, in addition to a peanut butter warning to anyone you'd serve this to, it might be worth editing your article to note that in the US, we don't leave our eggs out as is commonplace around the world, because our eggs are washed early in processing. That washing removes a protective film from the shell that would otherwise eliminate the need for refrigeration. You don't want your US-based readers to think keeping their eggs in the pantry is a good idea, because here, it's not! And now, I'm off to try your approach, but with tahini....
 
Lucia April 30, 2020
Not everyone in the US buys refrigerated eggs. Many either have hens or buy fresh eggs that have not been washed.
 
Laura1 April 30, 2020
You're one of the lucky few! My metro area's organic markets don't sell unrefrigerated eggs.
 
Laura April 30, 2020
I don’t refrigerate my eggs, even when they come from the store - never had a problem.
 
Laura1 April 30, 2020
Looks like there are 2 Lauras here, in case any reader is confused about conflicting approaches by presumably the same person!
 
Author Comment
Caitlin R. May 1, 2020
Interesting, I never knew why US eggs were refrigerated... good to know!
 
Laura May 1, 2020
Funny, isn’t it?!
 
Nancy11son April 30, 2020
How about this curveball? We have a lot of peanut butter powder in this house. I wonder if that would work! Might have to sacrifice some eggs and give it a try.
 
Author Comment
Caitlin R. May 1, 2020
Why not!?
 
Matt H. April 24, 2020
Yum. Personally I like to cook my eggs in toasted sesame oil. I imagine the flavour profile is similar.
 
Author Comment
Caitlin R. April 24, 2020
LOVE everything with sesame oil. I always run out in a week.
 
Rosemary April 23, 2020
Please, please don't serve this to someone else without telling them about the peanut butter. Seriously, you could kill someone.
 
Author Comment
Caitlin R. April 24, 2020
Very true! Always have to warn about the PB.
 
Susan K. April 30, 2020
I completely agree. My mother is deathly allergic to peanuts and tree nuts. When I was a child, I remember many instances (pre-EpiPen era) when she went into anaphylactic shock and was rushed away in an ambulance because peanut butter or ground nuts had been added to an unexpected food. She nearly died several times and it was terrifying. Back then, chefs improvised and didn't think to tell people when a nut product was added. (Kind of like that restaurant that used to add peanut butter to their chili as the "secret ingredient.") For people with life-threatening food allergies, secret ingredients or whim additions are never a good idea. This egg recipe sounds unusual and interesting, and my son will love trying the recipe, but if serving it to a crowd or to strangers, it would be critical to reveal the addition of peanut butter.
 
caz M. April 19, 2020
You're definitely on to something. I loved it! I still have unopened packets of nuts from Christmas so I will be trying the cashew suggestion above. Later in week. Will get back to you......…..... Caz.
 
Author Comment
Caitlin R. April 20, 2020
Excellent !