How to Cook the Best Scrambled Eggs | Recipes & Techniques
How do you make the best scrambled eggs? Well, in my experience it was really just trial and error, with a little help from Jacques Pepin and Julia Child.
When I first tried cooking scrambled eggs, I would preheat a frying pan on medium heat and melt about a tablespoon of salted butter in the pan. I would then crack eggs into a bowl, add salt, pepper, and milk to my eggs, whisk all the the ingredients together in a bowl, then dump it all into the frying pan.
I'd use a plastic spatula to loosen the egg curds and push them around until they were fully cooked, but often found that they were not fluffy and soft like I had hoped for. Instead, the curds were hard and were separated from each other.
Why Didn't My Eggs Turn Out Fluffy and Soft?
The first reason I think my eggs didn't taste as good as they could have was the kind of eggs I was using. I didn't know much about eggs and how the nutrition of the hens affect the eggs. After trying different types of eggs (organic, cage-free, humanely raised, etc.), I found that you can tell how good the eggs are by the color of the yolks. Really good eggs have yolks that are almost orange in color. The egg shells also will be harder to crack open (another sign of good nutrition for the hens).
The first time I saw an egg yolk that color I was surprised, but after tasting all kinds of eggs, I found that hens that have access to all kinds of nutrition (bugs, plants, etc.) and are humanely raised produce the best-tasting eggs. The eggs that I found taste the best are by Vital Farms. I get the Vital Farms organic eggs and the pasture-raised eggs at either Sprouts Farmers Market or Whole Foods Market (they might be at other stores, but those are the stores I know of that carry that brand).
The second reason I think my eggs didn't taste as good as they could have was because I added milk to my egg mixture. When making eggs without milk, I found that my eggs were softer and formed a looser curd overall. Whenever I tried adding milk, even in small amounts, my eggs were noticeably harder and formed tighter curds.
The third reason I think my eggs didn't taste as good as they could have was because of how I kept the frying pan on the stove. I watched an episode of Cooking at Home with Jacques Pepin and Julia Child on how to cook scrambled eggs. They each cooked eggs their own way, but I noticed that they didn't keep the eggs on the stove the whole time. They would take the eggs off the stove, then put them back on, over and over again until they were almost cooked all the way. I also researched scrambled egg recipes and saw that Gordon Ramsey employs the same technique for his scrambled eggs.
The Steps to Making Your Perfect Scrambled Eggs
I've used a regular non-stick aluminum frying pan with Teflon coating and a three-ply stainless steel, aluminum core frying pan (I have a flat-bottom cast iron skillet, but I haven't wanted to use that), and I found that the stainless steel cooks the eggs more evenly, but it cooks the eggs a lot more quickly than the aluminum pan with Teflon coating. I think the pan you choose should be one that you are familiar with and feel comfortable cooking with. I like cooking with either pan and do not feel that the quality of the eggs are different, so it's up to you what you use.
I use a flat whisk to blend my eggs together, but you can use a fork or a balloon whisk (or whatever you have). I just find the flat whisk blends the eggs more thoroughly than a fork and it's easier to clean than a balloon whisk.
I use a silicone spatula (I use the Wilton "Spoonula" so I can fold my eggs and push the curds around. I got a three-piece Wilton silicone spatula set on Amazon for less than $10, so they are pretty inexpensive). I found that a silicone spatula won't melt, is easy to use and hold, and won't damage your pan. I use it to get all the raw eggs out of the bowl I mix the eggs in and also to serve the eggs when I am done (after washing it of course).
The first thing you want to do is preheat your pan. Turn the heat to just before medium heat. I've put it at medium heat exactly and it is too hot, but I found that the notch before medium heat is just right. Take a tablespoon of butter (preferably salted organic butter) and melt it in the pan. Make sure you coat the bottom of the pan and the sides.
While your pan is preheating, crack eggs into a glass measuring cup or glass bowl. I find that glass measuring cups work better for getting the eggs into the pan easily (I use either a two-cup or four-cup Pyrex glass measuring cup with a handle and a spout).
Once your eggs are in your cup or bowl, whisk them together until they are thoroughly mixed. Your yolks and whites should not look separated.
Once the butter in your pan is melted and your pan is preheated (I find that by the time I'm done mixing the eggs the pan is preheated), pour your eggs into the pan.
Take your spatula and start pushing the eggs in the pan. I start from one end of the pan and push to the other side, creating clear paths with the spatula. Imagine that your spatula is shovel and you are shoveling snow off of your driveway. I found that by doing this you are gentler on your eggs and it produces softer, fluffier curds.
Make sure as you are pushing the eggs off the bottom of the pan you are also gently folding your eggs over so they cook evenly. I find if you push the eggs, then fold them over, you don't have to "chop up" your eggs to form curds; they will form on their own.
Once your eggs start cooking, you will see the eggs at the bottom of the pan turn a lighter yellow. Keep pushing the cooked egg from the bottom of the pan from one end to the other, increasing your speed as the eggs cook.
You will start to see more of the egg curds forming, and once you see some of the eggs start to stick to the bottom of the pan, lift your pan off of the stove and continue to push the egg curds off of the bottom of the pan. Once your eggs stop sticking to the bottom of the pan (they will loosen considerably once they are off the heat), put the pan back on the heat and continue pushing the egg off the bottom of the pan.
Keep up the process of pushing the egg curds off the bottom of the pan and taking the pan off when the eggs stick until your curds come together and form soft curds. The closer your eggs are to being done, the faster you will have to push the curds off the the bottom of the pan from one side of the pan to the other.
Once your eggs have formed curds that are soft and slightly wet, take them off of the heat and turn off the stove top.
Give your eggs a little bit of time to rest (about a minute), serve your eggs on a plate or bowl, then add salt and pepper to taste. If you add salt to the raw eggs, it can draw water of your eggs, creating watery curds; adding salt and pepper afterwards prevents this from occurring.
I hope these techniques help you to make your own perfect scrambled eggs. Did you try these techniques? Did they help you? Do you have any tips for making scrambled eggs? Please share your thoughts in the comment section!