Cooking Tips

6 Tips for Perfect Scrambled Eggs

We scrambled hundreds of eggs to nail the perfect formula. Here are our big takeaways.

Published Mar. 10, 2021.

Scrambled eggs are one of the rare dishes that should satisfy all three things in the quality triangle: good, fast, and inexpensive. And you should be able to prepare them without much forethought or prep, right after rolling out of bed, when you’re still half-asleep.

But we’ve all eaten enough weepy or overcooked scrambled eggs to know there’s a good amount of technique involved. Scrambled eggs are notoriously finicky. There’s a reason why French chefs consider cooking eggs to be one of the true tests of a person’s abilities in the kitchen.

Back in his test cook days, Cook’s Illustrated Editor in Chief Dan Souza did a deep dive into scrambled eggs. His goal: Develop a recipe that led to tender scrambled eggs with big, pillowy curds but that didn’t overcomplicate the process. To get there, he turned into the test kitchen’s short-order cook for a few weeks, experimenting with every element of the process until he nailed the right formula.

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You can find the full recipe on our site (Not already a member? Sign up for a free trial to access it), but we wanted to share the big takeaways so that you can apply them the next time you want to scramble some eggs.

1. Salt your raw eggs. Adding salt to the raw eggs makes for more-tender curds. In the same way that soaking a piece of pork in a brine denatures its proteins so that it's better able to hold on to moisture, salt dissolves egg proteins so that they’re unable to bond as tightly when cooked.

2. Don’t overbeat your eggs. Physical agitation usually destroys structure, but it also unfolds proteins that, once unfolded, bond together and form a tighter structure, which gives you a tough scramble. Since you don’t want to accelerate that unfolding process before the eggs hit the heat, beat them until they're just combined with the gentler action of a fork rather than a whisk.

3. Add a couple extra yolks. To serve four people, we use eight eggs plus two yolks. These extra yolks not only enrich the egg flavor but also provide extra fat and emulsifiers that raise the coagulation temperature to stave off overcooking. (And remember to save those egg whites and use them in spinach and ricotta gnudi or a cocktail.)

4. Half-and-half is the best dairy option. We tested milk, half-and-half, and heavy cream. Milk produced fluffy, clean-tasting curds, but they were prone to weeping. Heavy cream made the eggs very stable but dense. Half-and-half was the best of the bunch. It offers more rich-flavored fat than milk but also contains enough water to generate the steam necessary to make the eggs puff up.

5. Use the right-size skillet. Unless you’re cooking a lot of eggs, the usual 12-inch pan provides too much surface area for the eggs to cover. Swapping it for a smaller 10-inch one keeps the eggs in a thicker layer, which traps more steam and produces heartier curds. To serve two people, we recommend four eggs, one yolk, and an 8-inch skillet. (Our favorite 12-inch, 10-inch, and 8-inch nonstick skillets are all made by OXO.)

6. Use a dual-heat cooking method. Using only low heat won’t give you pillowy curds, and using only high heat will overcook your eggs. So use both. Start the egg mixture over medium-high heat, scraping along the bottom and sides of the skillet until your spatula just leaves a trail on the bottom of the pan. Then turn the heat to low and fold the eggs over each other until they’re clumped and just slightly wet. (If using an electric stove, heat one burner on low heat and a second on medium-high and move the skillet between the two when it’s time to adjust the heat.)

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