How to make perfect scrambled eggs
Do your scrambled eggs turn out differently every single time - from soupy to rubbery? Here's how to get soft, creamy curds, every time.
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They're the stuff of weekend dreams: fluffy, creamy, indulgent scrambled eggs. Perfectly pastel yellow, these pillow-soft curds are made for those rare mornings when you don't have to be anywhere anytime soon, and you can linger a little longer over toast (sourdough with ample butter, please), coffee (as you wish) and of course, perfectly scrambled eggs.
But as simple as this meal is, there's a lot of debate about how, exactly, to make it. Heston Blumenthal famously makes his scrambled eggs over a double-boiler, rather than using direct heat. The result? Ultra-soft eggs… that take up to 20 minutes to cook. (Food writer Laurie Colwin used the double-boiler method, too, but hers took an hour.)
J. Kenji Lopez-Alt of Serious Eats, swears by salting eggs before you whisk them, explaining that salt dissolves proteins, resulting in a softer curd. He also reckons high heat creates fluffy eggs, while low and slow (the preferred method for most scramblers) produces creamy, custard-like curds. Nigella Lawson adds a chopped, deseeded tomato to hers, as well as a chopped green chilli and a sprinkling of spring onions. And Dr Michael Mosley, who devised the 5:2 diet, likes his with a hit of antioxidant-rich turmeric.
Like the perfect cacio e pepe or even avocado toast (hey, Nigella), the "perfect" scrambled eggs are in the eye (or mouth) of the beholder. And while we know there's probably no doubt you already have your own method for scrambling eggs, we asked some of our favourite chefs and cooks how they do it – because those long indulgent weekend mornings deserve nothing but the best, right?
Mike McEnearney, head chef at No.1 Bent St and Kitchen by Mike
Mike McEnearney. Photo: Gary Heery
For McEnearney, the secret to a perfect scramble begins with finding the freshest possible eggs. "Then, do very little to them," he says. McEnearney disagrees with Lopez-Alt's pre-whisk salting, saying the salt breaks down the egg's cell structure, making it more difficult to obtain that velvety creamy texture. (Our suggestion? Make both, see what happens.) McEnearney uses 2-3 eggs a person – and nothing else. No cream, no milk, just a pat of butter stirred through at the end, along with salt and pepper.
Guillaume Brahimi, head chef Bistro Guillaume
Chef Guillaume Brahimi says French food is the cornerstone of all cuisine.
If there's one thing the French do well (and let's face it, there are about 10,000 things they do well), it's scramble an egg. Guillaume Brahimi adds a generous dollop of creme fraiche to his eggs just before he takes them off the heat, and always serves them with a side of house-made smoked salmon. C'est bon, non?
Hamish Ingham, head chef and co-owner at Banksii
Hamish Ingham and Rebecca Lines at their Barangaroo bistro Banksii. Photo: Daniel Munoz
Ingham likes to mix his eggs up, stir-frying fresh curry leaves and mustard seeds before adding fresh eggs, and then topping the curds with pickled turmeric for spice.
Bret Cameron, executive chef at Harvest Newrybar
Harvest Cafe head executive chef Bret Cameron Photo: Demetre Minchev
Cameron's scrambled eggs start with the sea – he forages for coastal succulents (like sea blyte, sea purslane, samphire and warrigal greens) after an early morning surf in Byron Bay. He slowly cooks down the succulents as he cooks the eggs, as you would spinach or kale, and serves with homemade fermented chilli sauce.
Jacquie Ektoros, head chef at Three Williams
Ektoros keeps things simple and classic, starting with fresh free-range eggs at room temperature (this makes the curds softer). For every two eggs, Ektoros adds 50 millilitres of cream, and cooks the eggs over a medium heat with a slick of butter. "Create a soft 'rose' shape by gently swirling the eggs in one direction with a silicone spatula," she says. "Go easy, and take the pan off the heat before you think they're ready. Trust me."
Naveen Ahluwalia and Tristan Chan, owners of Sticky Fingers
For Surry Hills cafe stalwarts Ahluwalia and Chan, the best scrambled eggs come from a secret extra step. "After beating the eggs in a bowl, our chefs strain the mixture through a fine sieve before adding the cream, salt and pepper," says Ahluwalia. "The straining gives the eggs an even consistency."
Hetty McKinnon, author of Community and Neighbourhood
Cookbook author Hetty McKinnon. Photo: Luisa Brimble
Like Guillaume Brahimi, McKinnon swears by adding richness through fat. "About halfway through cooking, I add a tablespoon each of cream cheese and finely chopped chives. This adds a subtle but rich creaminess and irresistible herby hit."
Poh Ling Yeow, owner of JamFace and former MasterChef contestant
Poh Ling Yeow.
The owner of Adelaide's JamFace says the secret to great scrambled eggs is actually to resist scrambling – and start folding. "You want to push the mixture from side to side so you get folds, not scrambled eggs. Then take the eggs off the heat when the top is runny." Poh finishes her eggs with parmesan cheese, freshly ground pepper and chopped parsley, and when they're in season, sliced fresh truffles. Sounds good to us.