How to make scrambled eggs

How to make scrambled eggs

Simple to make but hard to do properly, the best way to scramble an egg is hotly debated amongst professional chefs. However, when it goes wrong, this fast and filling dish can be, frankly, dry and almost inedible. Fear not, help is at hand! Follow our easy pointers to dish-up your best scrambled eggs yet...

If you'd like to make the recipe in the photo above then follow our caramelised onion scrambled egg brioche.

The ideal eggs for scrambling

The egg is the star of the show here, so it makes sense to buy the best ones you can afford. Yolk colour is dependent on the hen's diet and isn't necessarily an indicator of quality, but eggs from some heritage breed hens are celebrated as having deeper-coloured ones, which result in a richer-looking, gloriously golden scrambled egg. Our favourite ones are Clarence Court branded, Burford Browns.

What ingredients make the perfect scrambled egg?

There are only two other things you truly need: butter and salt. The butter isn't just to stop it sticking - it enriches and flavours the dish too, so don't skimp on it, or be tempted to use an oil. Oils tend to taste bland or have a flavour that will jar, rather than complement your eggs. Salted or unsalted butter both work - unsalted just requires more seasoning.

The best salt for scrambled eggs? Sea salts with no additives have the purest flavour (table salt can contain anti-caking agents). If you want to get super-fancy, plump for a sprinkle of flaky sea salt, such as Maldon sea salt, upon serving – it seasons and adds texture too.

What equipment do you need for scrambled eggs?

You can make scrambled eggs in a non-stick frying pan or saucepan - it’s a matter of personal preference. One of the most important things for a good scramble is a flat-ended wooden spatula (silicone ones can be a bit too flexible) to really scrape the bottom of the pan.

What's the secret to perfect scrambled eggs?

It's mostly about the heat. An egg is a mass of curled-up proteins floating in water (plus some fat in the yolk).

As it cooks, the protein molecules unravel and form bonds with other proteins to make a web-like structure, which traps some of the water and expels the rest. You can see this happen: the egg white turns from clear and runny to opaque and solid.

Those protein bonds increase and become firmer the more heat you apply, so if you like your eggs soft, keep the temperature low. Too high a heat or too long in the pan and they'll end up tough, rubbery and flaky because more and more water gets squeezed out as more bonds form.

If you're after really soft eggs, then you can leave them to cook on residual heat rather than direct heat throughout. Start by cooking your eggs over heat and then take off the heat once they begin to start turning opaque, and leave to continue to cook in the pan whilst you get your toast ready.

Some chefs are so keen to keep the eggs as tender as possible that they cook their scrambled eggs in a bowl over a bain marie (the indirect heat is very gentle), but this process takes a very long time and is more effort than most people are willing to make.

Should you add salt to eggs before or after scrambling?

There's a long-standing culinary myth that adding salt to beaten eggs prior to cooking will make them tough. It's not only untrue – it’s actually the opposite of what happens.

Adding salt beforehand changes the way that the proteins in the egg join together - they bond more easily, but the bonds aren't so tight. The looser bonds mean they retain more moisture within the protein webs and have a softer texture when cooked.

This is particularly important if you like them well-done, as you can cook the eggs for a bit longer without them getting too springy or watery.

Should you add milk to scrambled eggs?

No. Milk dulls the flavour, gives a granular texture and can also split out from the eggs during cooking, resulting in a watery, flavourless mess instead of a sumptuous scramble.

How to make scrambled eggs

  • Two eggs per person is standard, but crack three if you're really hungry. It’s important to beat the eggs well before adding them to the pan, with a generous pinch of salt, so you get a uniform colour with no streakiness. If you have time, leave the beaten egg mixture for 10min (this will allow the salt extra time to work its magic, but it isn't essential).

  • Heat your chosen pan and melt a large piece of butter in it over a low heat, swirl to coat the base of the pan, then add the eggs.

  • Immediately use the spatula to move the egg around the pan as it cooks, breaking up and lifting the cooked egg forming on the bottom, allowing the raw egg to fill in the gap. The scrambling motion you use affects the texture. If you prefer your scramble as mass of soft folds bound together by a hint of creaminess, scrape the bottom of the pan in long lines, letting the cooked egg on your spatula fall back into the mix without stirring. If you'd rather have uniformly small curds, use a brisk stirring motion instead.

  • Keep scrambling until the eggs are nearly cooked to your liking - bear in mind that they'll continue to cook once you take them off the heat, so stop before you think they're done. For a deluxe touch, fold in a little more butter, and season to taste.

The best scrambled egg recipes

Done well, scrambled eggs need no adornment, but that eggy blank canvas can be painted with many colourful twists. Simple ingredients like a scattering of chives folded in at the end - sometimes known as 'Scrambled Eggs James Bond' - or more expensive additions like truffle oil (or truffle shavings, if you've got serious cash to splash) or soft goats's cheese, are quick and delicious, or you can whip-up something more elaborate.

The incredibly flavoursome Parsi scrambled eggs (known as Akuri), are cooked with chopped onions, tomatoes, coriander, chillies, garlic, ginger and masala spices. If you swap out the last three ingredients and replace them with chorizo, grated cheese and avocado, you get a delightful spin on Huevos Rancheros.

Can I make scrambled egg in a microwave?

You can make scrambled eggs in the microwave, but the fact that it cooks behind a closed door slightly interferes with the whole scrambling process.

Microwaves are intense with their heat too, so they risk overcooking the eggs. If you must microwave, set the temperature to low and pause frequently to scramble and check the doneness so that you don't end up with a bowlful of rubber.

You Might Also Like