In search of tender, fluffy scrambled eggs? Here's the only ingredient you need, and the chef-approved method for how to make scrambled eggs worthy of any morning. And, no... you don't add milk!
How to Choose Incredibly Edible Eggs
Chicken eggs are a wonderful addition to any diet, and if I go out on a limb here, perhaps the healthiest food you can eat. Especially when the chickens are raised with care and fed an appropriate, natural diet, their eggs become a very affordable, nutrient-dense food source.
Different Types of Eggs
Organic. Chickens are fed an organic feed. Many also live with access to the outdoors, or are even completely free-range.
Pastured or Free-range. Chickens with access to roam (mostly) free. Many also eat naturally, pecking at bugs in their environment along with feed that may or may not be organic.
Omega-3 Enriched. The chicken's feed includes flaxseed, which naturally boosts the omega-3 fatty acids in their body and the eggs they produce. May be conventionally-raised, given outdoor access, or allowed to roam entirely free.
Conventional. The least regulated egg production. Chickens live in cages, and eat a feed that can contain pesticides. Chickens raised for conventional eggs are given pharmaceuticals to prevent diseases that thrive in cramped living environments.
The Egg Yolk
We all need dietary fats. I cringe when I see recommendations for a low-fat diet that includes egg whites but not the yolk.
The yolk is literally where the all the good stuff lives in an egg. Read a little about the saturated fat myth here with my ratio for a great egg salad.
Brain powerhouse. Aside from beef or chicken liver, egg yolks contain the highest amount of choline of any food, a nutrient especially essential to the developing brains of young children.
The yolks also provide several essential vitamins and nutrients, including magnesium, selenium, B-12 and more.
What about the cholesterol? Please don't be scared of the cholesterol in egg yolks, it's not harmful.
Dietary cholesterol is not the same as the inflammatory cholesterol your body produces in response to a poor diet of processed starches and hydrogenated oils. Or so science shows at this point.
What About the Egg White?
Egg whites are, on a basic level, simply water and protein. Not necessarily anything to write home about.
We humans have far more nutrient-dense sources of protein, such as pastured lean meats, fish, and even beans and legumes.
Without the yolk (or any culinary fat) to denature the strong proteins in the egg white, you'll find yourself eating a tough, rubbery breakfast.
The Most Important Ingredient
You need one ingredient, and one ingredient only to scramble up fluffy, tender, perfect eggs. And no, it's not milk or water.
It's butter, butter, and more butter. Or a monounsaturated fat like olive or avocado oil. Many followers of a paleo-style diet use coconut oil to scramble their eggs, which boasts loads of beneficial medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs).
Tips on Buying Butter
Not all butter is created equal. If your budget allows, I recommend organic, pastured or European butter.
Not only will these butters taste richer and more like, well, butter, they contain more vitamins and minerals than the conventional, bland sticks.
This is because the cows are raised on a more varied feed and/or eat their natural diet of grass. This leads to a healthier animal compared with those raised in crowded feeding units, fed pesticide-laden feed, and even antibiotics to prevent sickness.
Overcoming the initial sticker shock. When I first began buying pastured butter for my family I suffered serious sticker shock. However, this is truly one instance where you get what you pay for. I've found that many of the large grocery chains produce their own brand of organic butter. While organic butter isn't always from pastured cows, it's the more affordable, better option and often on sale.
Put down your measuring spoons. A small spoonful or about one tablespoon of butter for every two eggs gives you an ample amount of fat to tenderize the eggs.
1 Tablespoon Butter + 1 Large Egg
I use the lines on the butter paper as a loose guide, but not a strict rule.
If you want to enjoy a warm, fluffy scramble, you need a completely homogenous (combined) egg batter. My family chides me for how enthusiastically I whisk our breakfast eggs. If your whisking makes you feel silly, you've got the right idea.
Whisk eggs, with salt, until foamy. Give the raw eggs a piece of your mind in a medium size bowl with a standard whisk. Salting the eggs before whisking will encourage the egg proteins to break down for a lighter, fluffier scramble. The bigger the bubbles, the more air that is available to be trapped in between the egg proteins during cooking.
Air bubbles = fluffy eggs.
Low heat. To be entirely scientific, cooking eggs above 170° F turns the egg white proteins tough, rubbery and dry. It's around this temperature the proteins form tight bonds and squeeze out any moisture. To ensure a moist scramble, cook over low heat.
Add fat + stir frequently. Warm oil or melt butter until it begins to bubble, then add your foamy eggs and stir frequently. Take care to scrape the sides and bottom of the pan for even-sized curds. The faster you stir, the smaller the final curds.
Adding cheese and vegetables. Once the scramble thickens but is still somewhat shiny, add mix-ins. Moisture-heavy vegetables like mushrooms should be cooked separately, otherwise they will leak liquid as they cook and ruin your scramble.
Tips for Teaching Kids
Talk about a mom win on a weekend morning! By the age of four or five, most kids can carry out the whole process on their own - yes, even cracking the eggs and handling the stove.
Here are a couple tips for helping them succeed, and keeping your kitchen
sort of clean.
Hand-washing. Depending on the origins of your eggs, they could be harboring salmonella bacteria. So first things first: make clear the first stop after cracking eggs into the bowl is the sink, warm water and lots of soap.
Egg shell landing zone. Kids LOVE cracking eggs. To keep your kitchen from becoming an egg shell graveyard, convey clearly where you want the shells to end up. For the youngest cooks, I find it best to set them up next to the sink, where they can easily toss the shells in as they crack. As they get older, you can redirect them to dropping the shells straight into the trash bin.
Teaching stove safety. Once you are convinced your little one understands not to touch the actual stove, equipping them with a safe pan is the next step. Mine know there is a designated pan for scrambling eggs, and it's one with a stay-cool handle. Teaching kiddos to hold the handle with one hand while stirring with the other is key. It prevents them from inadvertently pushing the pan around (or worse - off!) the stove when stirring.
Set clear temperature rules. On our stove dial it's "Number 4". And no higher. My boys knew if I caught the dial hotter than that, their scrambling days were over.
Take it slow. As wonderful as it is to stay in bed and let the kids make their own nutrient-dense breakfast, Rome wasn't built in a day. But if, at the right age, you engage your kids every time you scramble, you'll be sleeping in before you know it.
Adding Milk or Water
Why do so many people add milk or water to their eggs? Search me!
Beating water or milk into raw eggs before scrambling is not a surefire path to tender eggs. It's not a secret to "the best scrambled eggs ever", it's actually a dangerous, risky trap!
If you so much as slightly overcook eggs with added water or milk, the egg proteins will thicken, push the extra moisture back out, and result in even tougher curds (and a soppy mess).
Ordered scrambled eggs at a mediocre diner? Case in point.
Keep It Simple
Yes, this is a rich heading from someone who just wrote 1400 words on how to make scrambled eggs. But along with proper foaming, adding fat, like nutrient-dense, pastured butter is the most practical, science-based and reliable method for tender, fluffy eggs.
This is why you won't meet a chef who'll scramble eggs without it. This one included. We are talking about butter here.
To light and fluffy mornings,
Rather bake instead?
- Why you should use yogurt in cake batter + an easy vanilla bean cupcake recipe
- Why you don't need to worry about over-mixing dough + a scrumptious strawberry shortcake recipe
- Why I love sugar cookie dough, and for way more than cookies + fruit tart recipe
- Why all French macaron recipes are really the same (and how to make the delicate pastries)
Eggs and butter are all you need for a perfect, fluffy, tender batch of scrambled eggs! With low heat and frequent stirring, you'll enjoy the perfect scrambled eggs every time.
- 4 large pastured or organic eggs
- 4 spoonfuls of grass-fed or organic butter
- good pinch of salt
- diced bell peppers
- sautéed button or cremini mushrooms
- shredded aged and/or soft cheeses
- halved cherry tomatoes, blistered over high heat
- crème fraîche or sour cream
- Sriracha, Tabasco, Cholula or any favorite hot sauce
- chopped herbs
- Whisk eggs with salt until completely combined and very foamy.
- Over low heat, melt butter until it bubbles.
- Add eggs and stir frequently for even, moist curds.
- Once eggs are thickened and creamy, but still shiny, add any cheese or vegetables, and stir to incorporate.
- Remove scrambled eggs from the pan before they begin to look dry, as they will continue to thicken off the heat.
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