A poll conducted by YouGov found that, when it comes to breakfast, 36% of Americans prefer their eggs to be scrambled. Now, scrambled eggs are extremely easy to make, but making them well is a whole other matter. In a video produced by The Daily (via YouTube), world-famous celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay even claimed that making scrambled eggs is the perfect test to see if someone can cook. So, while whipping up scrambled eggs might be a weekly routine for many, the finished dish probably leaves something to be desired.
The main reason why scrambled eggs are so difficult to master is because they give the cook nowhere to hide. As Insider explains, eggs — especially scrambled ones — undergo vast changes in taste, texture, and appearance after even the slightest change in ingredients or technique. And while knowing the correct technique will elevate your scrambled eggs by leaps and bounds, slipping in a secret ingredient is a quick, easy, and foolproof way to deliver extra flavor and that luxurious texture. But don’t just take our word for it, copy some of the world’s most famous celebrity chefs and start adding these secret ingredients to your scrambled eggs.
Anne Burrell: Water
The first secret ingredient comes from Anne Burrell, a celebrity chef who has made a name for herself by being featured on Food Network’s "Iron Chef" and "Secrets of a Restaurant Chef." Aside from being a well-known chef, Burrell is also a successful cookbook writer (via Anne Burrell) and a former instructor at the Institute of Culinary Education, per Bernews. With all this expertise at her fingertips, Burrell’s advice should be well-heeded.
When it comes to cooking scrambled eggs, Burrell swears by adding a tablespoon of water to the eggs just before they are beaten together, per The Daily Star. This helps cook the eggs to perfection because as the water boils the steam distributes heat, which ensures an even cooking process (via Real Simple). This process benefits the egg’s final texture, as explained by food scientist Natalie Alibrandi. "By adding water to eggs, you’re preventing the proteins from binding too quickly," she said. "The water creates steam when heated, and the result is a fluffier texture. [However] If you add too much water, your eggs will be runnier and more diluted in flavor," (via Well + Good).
Laoise Casey: Milk Powder
For a long time, people — chefs included — thought that adding milk to scrambled eggs made them richer and creamier. However, this myth has finally been disproved thanks to Dan Joines, an experienced restaurateur who stated to Coventry Live, "Never add milk to your scrambled eggs – it dilutes the flavor and makes them more likely to turn out rubbery."
This would lead many to assume that milk in all forms has no place in scrambled eggs. However, prominent food writer and chef Laoise Casey has a different view. Milk has a place, but only in the form of powder. "While I’m not a fan of milk, milk powder is a whole different thing," she said. "I learnt this tip from one of the chefs, Eloise, I work with at [restaurant] Paradise Garage. Whisk in a teaspoon of milk powder with the eggs and the result is a wonderful almost cheese-like scramble. In fact, milk powder can enhance a lot of dishes…from ice cream to pastry and butterscotch sauce," (via the Mirror).
Thomas Keller: Crème fraîche
A lot of the ingredients on this list have been chosen partly because of their high fat content. Adding fat to scrambled eggs improves the final product because, as The Washington Post explains, it makes them creamier, more flavorful, and ensures they remain tender throughout the cooking process. While there are many ingredients that are capable of providing fat for scrambled eggs, crème fraîche is a favorite among celebrity chefs, such as the renowned Thomas Keller, because of its extremely high fat content (via MasterClass).
As reported by Salon, crème fraîche is made from just under 50% butterfat — that’s nearly four times as much as regular sour cream. This means scrambled eggs that are made with an added dollop of crème fraîche are incredibly luxurious. However, it should be noted that the bacterial culture present within crème fraîche does result in a tangy, pronounced flavor, according to MasterClass, that not all people will enjoy.
Alton Brown: Mayonnaise
Alton Brown is a celebrity chef known across America for creating and hosting the enigmatic Food Network series "Good Eats." He has also starred in other shows, including "Iron Chef," and was a fixture on Food Network for over two decades, according to Variety. Brown has proven his culinary skills time and again, although it took until the release of his 2016 New York Times bestseller book "EveryDayCook" for the chef to finally tackle the issue of making perfect scrambled eggs.
As reported by The Daily Star, Brown cooks his scrambled eggs with the addition of a teaspoon of mayonnaise and a teaspoon of water. The latter, as we have learned, helps cook the eggs evenly through steaming while the former adds a great amount of fat, which helps the eggs emulsify (via the Charlie Foundation). Mayonnaise is also a great option to add to scrambled eggs as it leaves no discernible taste, a fact that is hardly surprising given that mayonnaise is made of predominantly oil and egg yolks.
Shirley Chung & Joy Wilson: Soy sauce
While it is undoubtedly an important step, adding fat is not the only means of improving your scrambled eggs. In fact, sufficient seasoning is perhaps just as, if not more, important. When seasoning, many of us will instinctively reach for our salt, be it table, kosher, or otherwise. However, there are different ways of adding sodium to your food, as "Top Chef" finalist Shirley Chung is keen to point out.
According to Reader’s Digest, both Chung and Joy Wilson, better known by her online moniker, Joy the Baker, swear by using soy sauce to season their eggs instead of salt. This is because soy sauce, as a liquid, diffuses equally throughout the scrambled eggs, resulting in the whole dish having a uniform level of seasoning. Furthermore, soy sauce is also known as being rich in umami, meaning scrambled eggs cooked in this manner will be more satiating than those that are not.
Maggie Beer: Orange zest
As one of Australia’s most prominent and beloved celebrity chefs, Maggie Beer has immense influence over many amateur cooks. This is a good thing, as she will need every ounce of it to convince people to add her secret ingredient, orange zest, to scrambled eggs. After all, who has ever heard of fruit-flavored eggs?
Strange as it may sound, the Daily Mail reports that Beer stands behind this addition wholeheartedly, stating, "This is something that I love, it’s using the rind of an orange. This is just […] extra special if you have oranges […] the longer it’s with the mix, the more flavor you’ll get."
While the inclusion of orange zest may seem peculiar, it seems less startling once you realize that orange juice is frequently used to add brightness and zip to scrambled eggs, as reported by First for Women. Orange zest will do the same thing. However, you must add enough salt to counterbalance any sweetness, otherwise, you may end up with something that resembles dessert more than breakfast.
Tyler Florence: An extra egg yolk
Preferring to keep things simple is Tyler Florence, another celebrity chef who has found stardom thanks to multiple shows on Food Network. Florence advocates for one of the easiest and most natural ways to increase the proportion of fat in scrambled eggs — he simply adds an extra yolk. According to The Sun, Florence adds one yolk to every three whole eggs used in his scramble. As the entirety of an egg’s fat is found in the yolk (via Egg Info), this simple method instantly increases the proportion of fat significantly.
This is one of the only ways that fat can be added to scrambled eggs with absolutely no change being made to the egg’s original taste. What’s more, adding an extra egg yolk does not require the purchasing of any further ingredients, making this one of the simplest, improved scrambled egg recipes to create.
J. Kenji López-Alt: Potato starch
When looking for ingenious cooking hacks J. Kenji López-Alt is the man so many of us frequently turn to. During his time at Serious Eats and The New York Times, López-Alt used science to create many wonderful, foolproof techniques and ways of creating perfect dishes, and when it comes to scrambled eggs, he has done it again.
We have all suffered through overcooked, rubbery scrambled eggs, but thanks to López-Alt none of us should have to again. Instead of infusing fat or sodium into his eggs, he prefers to focus on controlling the cooking process. But, in classic López-Alt fashion, he tackles the issue not by solely focusing on cooking temperature and technique, but also on the chemical process that occurs during cooking.
As the Mirror reports, López-Alt insists upon the addition of starch — such as potato starch or cornstarch — as this prevents the protein inside eggs from bonding together, which is the main reason eggs become tough and feel overcooked, per Slate. The fact that starch stops this from happening also means that scrambled eggs cooked in López-Alt’s style can be kept warm for prolonged periods without toughening up — a game changer for chefs around the world.
Andrew Fairlie: White truffles
While a lot of the ingredients on this list have been subtle additions, like a teaspoon of mayonnaise or a splash of water, the late Andrew Fairlie, who was the man behind Scotland’s only two Michelin star restaurant, per Gleneagles, liked to opt for an unapologetic flavor bomb — white truffles. As Eataly explains, Alba white truffles — Fairlie’s preferred variant — are harvested in the hardwood forests surrounding the Italian town from September to December. Each truffle is sniffed out by specially trained dogs before being harvested by hand, making every single one an expensive luxury.
Greatist reports that white truffles are more flavorful and aromatic than their black counterparts. As such, these delicacies are jam-packed with rich flavor and are consequently only served raw in slim shavings, lest they completely overpower a dish. Despite this, Fairlie liked to be liberal with his truffle application (via GQ), while his inclusion of butter and crème fraîche also added richness to the eggs themselves. The end result is a dish that is as luxurious as they come.
Anthony Bourdain: Butter
Anthony Bourdain was a strong believer in trusting good, simple ingredients. Chief among these was butter, which Bourdain credited for elevating restaurant food above that found in the average home (via The New Yorker). Bourdain shared this belief with many chefs and butter has continued to be prized in professional restaurants. In recent years, specialist butter has even become something of a trend, per The Guardian.
Speaking to Tech Insider about his perfect scrambled egg recipe Bourdain stated, "I don’t add water, I don’t add cream. I just don’t feel that milk or cream adds anything. Again, it’s about the egg. You’re not making a quiche here." He does, however, lubricate the pan with plenty of butter, allowing it to foam up before he adds the eggs. This provides adequate fat for the emulsifying process to take place, giving the eggs the desired richness and creamy texture. Bourdain’s approach might be a simple one, but we reckon it’s amongst the best. After all, the most underrated secret ingredient is often simplicity itself.
Nigella Lawson: Tomatoes
It’s always refreshing to see celebrity chefs who, despite their fame and status, are still willing to learn. Nigella Lawson, Britain’s eminent celebrity chef and cooking personality (via The Guardian), is one such person. Her most recent lesson? That, when done right, tomatoes and scrambled eggs can work together famously.
Lawson posted on Twitter in April of this year that the very thought of tomatoes and scrambled eggs mixed together used to make her shudder. However, thanks to friend Alex Andreou, she changed her mind and even went as far as to champion the idea, sharing a recipe for the tomato scrambled eggs with The Washington Post. Here, tomatoes are sauteed before being mixed with the egg mixture. The former’s acidic bite and umami savoriness result in a final dish that is both satiating and bright. This is a welcome and easily achievable alternative to the regular scrambled eggs with which we have all become so familiar.
Martha Stewart: Ghee
While many of the celebrity chefs on this list turn to butter to add flavor, texture, and substance to scrambled eggs, none specify the type of butter they prefer to use. While the assumption is that regular butter is the normal port of call, it may not be the most effective. And if the opinion of American culinary icon Martha Stewart is worth anything, regular butter just won’t cut it. Instead, Stewart sings the praises of ghee, butter that has had water and milk solids removed, per Greatist.
According to Mashed, ghee is a fantastic choice for scrambled eggs because it is much less likely to burn than regular butter — it has a smoke point of 450 degrees Fahrenheit — and for the unique taste it imparts, which has been described as nutty. Ghee can be used in a straight swap for butter, meaning your routine for making scrambled eggs need hardly be altered at all. Talk about low-effort, high-impact changes!