How to make scrambled eggs

Cured Alaska salmon with scrambled duck eggs

How to make scrambled eggs

by Great British Chefs12 April 2024

Everything you need to know about scrambled eggs, from chefs' top tricks to easy recipes to make at home.

How to make scrambled eggs


Everything you need to know about scrambled eggs, from chefs' top tricks to easy recipes to make at home.

Scrambled eggs are a deeply personal food. While one person may prefer French-style scrambled eggs that are so soft and creamy they could be eaten with a spoon, another might want their scramble to have large, firm curds and no liquidy egg at all. The decidedly solid yellow bullets often found at hotel buffets, however, are rarely a hit. Read on for a deep-dive into different techniques for making scrambled eggs – no matter how you like them.

What are the different types of scrambled eggs?

Scrambled eggs come in all shapes and sizes. French-style scrambled eggs refers to the super creamy, soft set style of scrambled eggs that is popular in French restaurants. English-style generally have fairly small curds, but aren’t as liquidy as French-style scrambled eggs, and are often made with a splash of milk added to the eggs at the beginning. American diner-style scrambled eggs are often made on a large griddle pan, with the eggs being beaten directly on the griddle. These eggs often have streaks of white, and large, set curds.

What do you need to make scrambled eggs?

Scrambled eggs really just require three things: eggs, a pinch of salt and a fat to cook them in (typically butter, which adds a lovely flavour). You don’t need cream or cheese to get creamy scrambled eggs, just careful management of the heat of the pan

Adding a dash of liquid to eggs before scrambling them can help make the curds slightly more fluffy. You can use water, milk or even cream. However, adding too much can make your eggs either watery or too creamy, so take care to only add a little.

Chefs’ favourite scrambled eggs

Chefs’ tips and tricks for making the best scrambled eggs are everywhere on the internet. However, their advice can often contradict quite dramatically. Almost everything about Gordon Ramsay’s technique – starting with a cold pan, finishing with a spoonful of crème fraîche and not seasoning until the end of cooking – is comically the reverse of Anthony Bourdain’s recommendations. Heston Blumenthal prefers to cook his eggs for 20 minutes over a double boiler, while Jacque Pépin says a double boiler is unnecessary, and recommends using a saucier instead. Sohla El-Waylly adds salt 15 minutes before cooking, Frank Proto adds salt halfway through cooking and Gordon Ramsay adds it at the very end.

Kenji Lopez Alt’s recipe from the New York Times is, as you’d expect, full of brilliant tricks. He adds butter directly to the raw eggs rather than the pan, and mixes the eggs with a fork, as recommended by Daniel Bolud in Francis Lam’s 2008 essay on perfection for Gourmet. He uses a Chinese trick for adding starch to help keep egg curds from becoming tough (popularised outside of China by Mandy Lee and the YouTube channel Chinese Cooking Demystified). Kenji’s recipe is definitely worth checking out if you have problems with overcooking your scrambled eggs, as many of his techniques help to prevent the eggs becoming rubbery.

While comparing contrasting methods can be a bit of a headache, it ultimately shows that there is no one true way to make scrambled eggs! And since they’re all delicious and fairly quick (except, perhaps, for Heston’s method) give them each a go and see which way you prefer.

How to make scrambled eggs

This recipe makes one serving of English-style scrambled eggs




  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tbsp of milk, optional
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 10g of butter

Whisk together the eggs with the milk, if using, and a pinch of salt


Melt the butter in a small, non-stick frying pan over a medium-low heat


Once the butter has melted, and just started to foam gently, add the eggs


Wait a few moments so the eggs begin to set then steadily and constantly stir the eggs with a rubber spatula, scraping set pieces of egg into the centre, and frequently running the spatula under the eggs and around the pan so the eggs don’t have a chance to stick and over cook. Gently fold set pieces of egg over uncooked egg as you go


Note: the more vigorously you stir the eggs, the smoother and creamier the scramble will be. Stirring more slowly and just gently pulling set pieces of egg from the outside of the pan to the centre will give you larger, fluffier pieces of egg in the final scramble


When the eggs look creamy and have almost set but there’s still some liquid left, remove from the heat. The timing of this is the trickiest part of the process, as it seems counterintuitive to take under-cooked eggs off the heat but there will be enough heat left in the pan to finish the cooking process


Once ready, transfer the eggs to a warmed plate

Outrageously good omelettes

No matter how you like your eggs, there's an omelette out there for you. Japanese-style rolled omelettes are perfect served either as nigiri or as part of a Japanese breakfast, and Peter Sanchez-Iglesias has a recipe for the most perfect tortilla Española.

Myths about scrambled eggs

As you can probably tell by all the different advice given by chefs above, there is no one true way to make scrambled eggs. Preferences vary by culture and by person. But there are a few myths that can be easily debunked.

One is that salting your eggs in advance will make them watery – it won’t. In fact, salting your eggs 15 minutes in advance can make them even more tender, as explained by Harold McGee in his book On Food and Cooking. This works because both salt (and acids like lemon juice or vinegar) alter the pH of the egg, lowering the temperature at which egg proteins bond, and ensuring they don’t bond as tightly. Harold McGee’s book offers a more full explanation, and so if you’re curious about the details we can definitely recommend his book!

Another myth is that you need to add some sort of dairy to make French-style soft scrambled eggs. You can make eggs so soft that they are almost a custard without any additional dairy at all. The texture of soft-scrambled eggs comes from cooking eggs over a low temperature and stirring them frequently, rather than from the addition of dairy. 

Delia Smith’s scrambled eggs and Marco Pierre White’s have identical ingredients – but very different textures. This is because of the temperature of the pan, and the fact that Delia Smith uses a wooden spoon, which doesn’t break up the curds as much as Marco Pierre White’s whisk. However, a dash of cream or crème fraîche is certainly a tasty and useful addition, as it can help prevent overcooking.

What else can you do with scrambled eggs?

When most people picture scrambled eggs, they’ll think of plain scrambled eggs, maybe topped with chives or a generous helping of smoked salmon. But scrambled eggs can be used in so many different dishes apart from just toast. They are delicious with matzo for a sweet or savoury matzo brei, and can also be enjoyed on top of rice with stir-fried ground chicken as part of a Japanese soboro don. Scrambled eggs with tomatoes is a fantastic combination that can be found all around the world – like Greek strapatsada, Turkish menemen, Indian anda bhurji and Chinese stir-fried tomatoes and eggs. There is also a whole world of scrambled egg sandwiches – from ethereally soft Hong Kong-style ham and egg sandwiches to Wylie Dufresne's scrambled egg cheese toastie. Scrambled eggs are definitely good for more than just breakfast!

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