The key to making perfect scrambled eggs is whisking the eggs thoroughly and vigorously before cooking them. Whisking incorporates air, which produces fluffier scrambled eggs, and fluffier eggs are always your end goal.
Okay, there's actually another key, for a total of two keys altogether. Here it is: turn off the heat before the eggs are all the way cooked. This helps prevent overcooking, which is a common problem with scrambled eggs. You don't want your scrambled eggs to be brown on the bottom -- once that happens, you're working with dry, rubbery eggs.
The important thing to remember with scrambled eggs is that they'll continue cooking for a few moments after you transfer them to the plate. This phenomenon, known as residual or "carry-over" cooking, means that you actually want to transfer the eggs to the plate when they're slightly softer than the way you ultimately want them. They'll firm up all on their own.
The technique here is a lot like the first steps in making an omelet. The difference being that at the very end, we gently break up the eggs, leaving the curds larger and fluffier.
Additional ingredients, especially ones with a lot of moisture in them like tomatoes or onions, can throw off the timing, and your eggs can come out watery. To prevent this, sauté those items separately to cook off the water before adding them to your eggs.
One last thing: Make it easy on yourself and cook your eggs in a nonstick sauté pan. And make sure you use a heat-resistant silicone spatula -- heat resistant so that it doesn't melt, and silicone so that it doesn't scratch the pan.
- Crack the eggs into a glass mixing bowl and beat them until they turn a pale yellow color.
- Heat a heavy-bottomed nonstick sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add the butter and let it melt.
- Add the milk to the eggs and season to taste with salt and white pepper. Then, grab your whisk and whisk like crazy. You're going to want to work up a sweat here. If you're not up for that, you can use an electric beater or stand mixer with the whisk attachment. Whatever device you use, you're trying to beat as much air as possible into the eggs.
- When the butter in the pan is hot enough to make a drop of water hiss, pour in the eggs. Don't stir! Let the eggs cook for up to a minute or until the bottom starts to set.
- With a heat-resistant rubber spatula, gently push one edge of the egg into the center of the pan, while tilting the pan to allow the still liquid egg to flow in underneath. Repeat with the other edges, until there's no liquid left.
- Turn off the heat and continue gently stirring and turning the egg until all the uncooked parts become firm. Don't break up the egg, though. Try to keep the curds as large as possible. If you're adding any other ingredients, now's the time to do it. (See note.)
- Transfer to a plate when the eggs are set but still moist and soft. Eggs are delicate, so they'll continue to cook for a few moments after they're on the plate.
Mix-Ins for Your Scrambled Eggs
There's no limit to the variations you can create by adding ingredients to this basic scrambled egg recipe. Some schools of thought hold that for the sake of simplicity, you wouldn't want to add more than one additional ingredient. Then again, rules are made to be broken! Some ingredients you could add include:
- Chopped fresh herbs
- Grated cheese
- Diced and sautéed onion (sauté the onion separately and then add)
- Chopped, cooked bacon
- Diced ham