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Scrambled eggs - add dairy?

I have lost a lot of weight by eating sauteed kale and two scrambled eggs every morning. I learned to make scrambled eggs from my Dad who always added a splash of half-and-half, milk, or a dollop of sour cream.

It dawned on me the other day - when I had no dairy in the house - that my immediate thought was, "well, I can't make scrambled eggs because I have nothing to add to it." Now I'm sure the dairy is not integral to my eggs, but I do it anyway.

What are your thoughts? Dairy or no dairy in your eggs? And why?

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  1. I usually don't put anything in scrambled eggs. But I do whip as much air into them as I can, then pour them straight into the skillet. My mom had a complicated way of cooking scrambled eggs which involved the addition of milk and the use of a double boiler. Hers took forever to cook. They were better than mine, which I typically use for breakfast tacos.

    1. Dairy isn't necessary, but it's always nice to add a little liquid to scrambled eggs. If I don't happen to have any cream, half and half or milk in the house (which happens often), I add a little water. Something about the added liquid makes for a much smoother scramble. I must say that I prefer the added dairy over the water for the added richness.

      Please not that I beat the hell out of my eggs before I put them in the skillet with a generous pat of butter and cook them very slowly so I wind up with what amounts to a slightly broken custard. I know many people don't like their eggs this way.

      1. Funny, I do the same thing. It's what my mom used to do, and now I do it. Why? I don't really know, but I haven't tried making scrambled eggs without a sploosh of half & half or an even smaller sploosh of light cream.

        I do the low & slow method (in duck fat!), and it comes out fantastic. Eggs are local and happy, so I wonder whether the dairy really plays any major role.

        Maybe I'll make scrambled eggs w/out the half&half today and see what happens, larry.

        4 Replies
        1. re: linguafood

          Well, I just made scrambled eggs sans dairy, and they came out fine. Maybe it adds some volume, but apart from that, I don't see any difference.

          1. re: linguafood

            i love rendered duck fat and chicken fat rendered w/ small dice onions kosher salt and white npepper but it is so hard to buy the fat either rendered or raw and there is hardly any inside whole chicx these days what do you do?

            1. re: jahammer

              Well, I made a goose last year for Thanksgiving, and it sucked to the max = dry, leathery meat.

              BUT I rendered so much fat that it lasted me for the following 9 months.

              The recent batch of duck fat is d'Artagnan brand, and I got it at DiBruno's in Philly. I bet you can order it online.

              1. re: linguafood

                Yeah, a goose will provide so much fat you won't believe it. It's so delicious it's almost worth the spattering pain it is to cook a goose.

          2. Actually, I started off making scrambled eggs without milk, and only learned to add milk later.

            1. Dairy is not needed. However, my wife claims dairy helps lessen the eggy flavor, but my palate is not as sensitive as her's.

              The key for tender, fluffy scrambled is heat management.

              1. The only dairy I use is butter in the pan, and when I'm feeling needy, another pat added at the end. When I used to overcook my eggs I always needed cream to keep them creamy, but since I learned to like them less done, milk is not even a good idea.

                1. I add heavy cream to mine. I like the additional richness.

                  1. I usually do add milk or half-and-half. The why? Just because I've always done it that way. :-) But I also whup the bejeezus out of the eggs to aerate them, as Mangobob does.

                    1. I always add sour cream or creme fraiche, but I will sometimes add cream or milk if I don't have other dairy. I have even added water in a pinch.

                      I think it's better to add a little liquid to the eggs, but I don't think it absolutely has to be dairy.

                      1. No dairy, for me dairy (other than cream cheese) will change the eggs. I find the best way to get the creamiest eggs, is low and slow. I don't - and won't eat dry eggs. Cooking them with a little butter, on the lowest possible heat, lift them a little as they cook, don't mess with them too much. You will have the creamiest eggs and won't need dairy. When I make my family scrambled eggs, I sort of ruined it for myself. I make them the same way (low and slow) then add dollops of cream cheese and chives. Salt and pepper just before you remove them. Don't add the salt to the whipped eggs in the beginning.
                        These have a little bit of cream cheese in them for dairy.


                        7 Replies
                        1. re: chef chicklet

                          Why not add salt to the whipped eggs? I actually read somewhere that adding the salt to the raw egg improves the texture (maybe AB or something like that).

                          1. re: linguafood

                            I have been hearing people say for years (including on Chowhound) that adding salt before or during cooking makes for tougher eggs. Well, I've tried cooking scrambled eggs both with and without salt in the beaten eggs, and I could not detect a difference in the texture (toughness or other issues). On the other hand, salting scrambled eggs once they are done cooking results in scrambled eggs with salt on top, while adding salt to the beaten eggs prior to cooking results in scrambled eggs evenly seasoned throughout, a far superior experience IMO.

                            1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                              Yep. Not tough at all if cooked low and slow. And you're totally right about the superiority about incorporating the salt into the eggs. I feel the same way about ground pepper, although I don't tend to add until the eggs are in the pan.

                          2. re: chef chicklet

                            Ohmygosh CC, I cook my eggs exactly the same way as you. I am the such an egg lover and a couple of years ago I read a thread here on CH about how to scramble an egg. Someone (I forget who) said to beat the egg without the addition of anthing and then cook a pan over low heat, constantly stirring the egg as it sets up - if it starts to set too quickly, remove it from the heat. But there needs to be constant movement. Then, remove them from the heat just before they appear done. Salt and pepper afterwards. They are the creamiest, dreamiest eggs you've ever tasted. Everyone i've ever made them for has been amazed.

                            I make these almost every day. I do add a small tsp of full fat cottage cheese to mine, just for the added protein, but it's completely unnecessary, taste-wise. And who doesn't love dollops of cream cheese and chives in their eggs? YUM!

                            1. re: lynnlato

                              and sometimes I take a couple of eggs put them into a small bowl, with a little dashi, light soy sauce and a pinch of sugar. Gently mix them with chopstick clockwise, pour into a med hot pan with butter, then drag the chopsticks through it. Let them set, and gently again fold the eggs onto them selves. Serve alone or on rice with thinly sliced scallion, soy sauce and a few sesame seeds - Heaven!

                              There are many ways to cook and enjoy your perfectly cooked scrambled eggs!

                              1. re: chef chicklet

                                chef chick, please please PLEASE will you move next door to me?

                            2. I learned to make the best scrambled egg from my dad and he never added anything other than salt and pepper. They key is to let the egg fry until the egg whites are almost cooked through then start scrambling. Its practically a scrambled fried egg.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: dawminator

                                I'm inclined to call that marbled eggs; something quite different from the creamy curds that some insist are the only proper scrambled eggs. Sometimes I'll do one way, sometimes the other - though I start scrambling earlier than you.

                                A bit of dairy, esp. cream, added near the end of cooking helps keep them moist - if that's what you want.

                              2. I melt some butter in the bottom of the skillet and mix it into the eggs.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: PotatoHouse

                                  same here, start with a little melted butter, salt and pepper, then I remove pan from the heat, break eggs one at a time, mix with a wooden spoon till the whites are mixed with the yolk while it's back on a medium heat. Keep scrambling till just a little wetness is left, turn off heat and serve on hot toast immediately.

                                2. Day in and day out....or rather on week-ends when I scramble eggs I usually do not add any liquids...just a pat of butter and a soft scramble.....My SIL related a method that her sister uses...it's very unique...to me anyway....Medium hot pan....pat of butter....slide the eggs into the pan...and start scrambling/whipping....(no pre scrambling)....Remove when they are barely set...and plate. For some they may appear a little under done at this point....Go ahead and plate anyway....By the time you get to the table they will have finished cooking....A very soft, fluffy scrambled egg....

                                  1. When I was eating low-carb, I always added a splash of heavy cream, but half & half or milk works just as well - that and cooking over moderate heat makes the scrambled eggs light & fluffy - yum!

                                    1. I, too, cook my eggs in butter, but I don't mix anything besides salt and pepper in to them. Adding milk or cream is sort of a 'cheat' to make sure you don't dry them out, but not necessary if you are very careful with them. Scrambled eggs are actually pretty tricky, so don't think that I'm criticizing, but it is possible to make a very nice soft curd with no added liquids if you simply stay with them, and pull them off the heat in time.

                                      1. I always add a little milk or half n half.


                                        'Cause that's the way mama did it.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: DoobieWah

                                          I started out never adding liquid to scrambled eggs but then the owner of a reataurant I worked at was making us breakfast one morning and told me that a bit of water makes them better. I never did a taste test but have done them that way since.

                                        2. I don't eat dairy, but I always add some liquid. Usually just water, but occasionally unflavored soy or almond milk.

                                          1. If I have them, I add them, if not, that's OK too. Never thought of sauteed kale for breakfast, nor paired with scrambled eggs, but I like both. Gonna have to try it!

                                            1. I usually add half-half or milk, but only after the eggs are cooked. I think I read this technique in Larousse Gastronomique, and I've always stuck with it.

                                              I also love kale for breakfast. We sometimes make Eggs Benedict with kale instead of meat. I love it!

                                              1. Water, milk, or cream. Doesn't matter. But always a little bit of butter.

                                                1. Salt yes. Air no (no whipping; use a fork with minimal aeration). Absolutely no milk or water. Ice-cold bits of butter added gradually as the eggs thicken. Cooked over very low heat or a double boiler; if you need to cook them faster, save the last third and some of the butter once the first two thirds are near don, then add and cook, off heat as necessary to prevent formulation of omelet-like curds. That's real scrambled eggs, as opposed the a broken omelet or broken fried eggs.

                                                  4 Replies
                                                  1. re: Karl S

                                                    That's a LOT of rules. Interestingly enough, well-whipped eggs (with or without half & half), cooked low and slow in a nice pat of duck fat come out just fine.

                                                    Weird how that is. I guess "All roads lead to Rome" in this case, or at least quite a few....

                                                    1. re: linguafood

                                                      I am very particular about scrambled eggs. Done right, it's one of the most perfect dishes. Done not right, it's meh.

                                                      1. re: Karl S

                                                        But -- as you can tell from the various replies on this thread, there are more ways than one to do it "right'. I think it's the end result that counts, and I don't care how I get there, as long as the eggs come out perfect. For me.

                                                        1. re: linguafood

                                                          And I was describing what is perfect for me and a bunch of other Hounds (not present in this discussion but a lot of older threads on scrambled eggs).

                                                  2. Never dairy.


                                                    Because I want scrambled EGGS.

                                                    Not scrambled custard.

                                                    1. I don't have any one single way of enjoying scrambled eggs.
                                                      Sometimes I do the low and slow in a good amount of butter.
                                                      Sometimes, it's a whipped up egg with a touch sour cream, heavy cream, or lebneh (but never plain milk), quickly fried with a stir.
                                                      Other times, it's scrambled in the pan (marbled).
                                                      One common denominator is a bit of salt. It certainly doesn't toughen the eggs and in fact seems to somehow improve the texture. The other common denominator is to not overcook the eggs...I like 'em more towards the runny side.
                                                      I enjoy each of these methods equally and make the decision just before I crack the egg.
                                                      They're _all_ scrambled eggs, and they're all good.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: The Professor

                                                        Other times, it's scrambled in the pan (marbled)

                                                        So "marbled" is the term/methodology that I described above....It certainly does makes a good scrambled egg......I cook them like that at times........

                                                      2. My original comment was going to be that I use additional liquid because either Harold McGee or Alton told me that it creates more steam which in turn makes eggs fluffier. That's always made sense to me.

                                                        However, while checking the internet to find out who to give credit to, i ended up with more questions than answers. - (I hate it when a post turns into more of a research project than I intended)

                                                        Some of my search results reference Mcgee as saying that additional liquid creates "velvety smooth scrambled eggs" and some reference him saying that it makes the eggs fluffier. To me, those attributes are mutually exclusive. Am I wrong?

                                                        To make matters worse, some say that McGee says that the liquid should be acidic instead of water or dairy.
                                                        Looks like I have some more research and/or experiments to do.

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: Bryan Pepperseed

                                                          I'm looking at McGee and his section on scrambled eggs does not state a preference for or against liquid. What he writes is "sometimes adding milk or water to produce a moister, somewhat softer mass..." Between 2 and 5 tsps. He emphasizes that overheating will cause liquid to puddle. Then goes on to say many cooks use no liquid but are careful to cook slowly and not dry out. (Page 70-71, Hardback, 1984)

                                                          1. re: escondido123

                                                            Don't have my copy handy, but it looks like the quotes I found on the internet regarding the acids were from the newer 2004 edition:


                                                        2. I learned years ago how to make omelets from a chef who appeared on the Today Show. He said to add just a splash of water, which is how I've made them since. He also showed how to move the eggs to one side of the saute pan as they cooked and set, how to add whatever fillings, and then how to perfectly fold the one half over the other. Then he'd cover the pan so that the eggs would steam and puff up nicely. Now for French toast, I always add milk or half and half to the egg batter.

                                                          1. My mother always made dry scrambled eggs, which I didn't like but thought was normal. Then I went to a friend's house in college and her mother--who was otherwise a bad cook--made this very soft eggs that she called scrambled. It was a revelation.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: escondido123

                                                              Yeah, it totally is. Back in kindergarten, one day of the week, lunch was mashed potatoes (dry), scrambled eggs (super-dry) and creamed spinach (disgustingly wet). The eggs would be so dry it was like eating egg-flavored dust.

                                                              I realize it's a different animal, cooking for 30+ kids (and no gourmets at that), or making a scramble for 2-4. I made scrambled eggs for my man's family once (6 people = 12 eggs), and they couldn't figure out why it took me forEVER to make them.

                                                              But low and slow is the way to go. Duck or goose fat as the preferred fatty goodness.

                                                            2. I remember the Frugal Gourmet, in a show about omelets, saying to add water for a tender omelet because dairy makes them tough.

                                                              For scrambled eggs, I don't think that's true but then again, I am cooking softer eggs than I would if making an omelet. My preference for scrambling eggs is a little bit of cream cheese, which makes for a luxuriously tender, rich egg.

                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: greygarious

                                                                Omelets are a different beast because it's a high heat method designed to produce a different texture from the scramble. For scrambled, anything that adds more fluid or protein will tend to toughen the eggs (so milk is even worse than water). Cold solid emulsifying fats that only have a very modest amount of fluid or protein (butter is classic, but cream cheese can work too) work much better; the fats gradually melt to slowly coat the egg proteins as they warm up and protect them from toughening and curdling (curdling is exactly what you want in an omelet - just one big curd, as it were - not so much in scrambled where you are attempting the magic of something much softer, not quite a custard, but something just short of that). And, unlike a fried egg, you're trying to avoid fat that cooks the edge of the egg and makes discernable edges; here, the fat is emulsified in the egg instead.

                                                                1. re: Karl S

                                                                  That lack of 'discernable edges' is part of why I am not a fan of your 'correct' style of scrambled eggs. I like ipsedixit's description 'scrambled custard'. There's a kind on insubstantial quality to these soft scrambled eggs. But to each his own.

                                                              2. My husband makes the best scrambled eggs- no dairy. I have always added a splash of light cream and mine are almost as good. Some people beat in a few ice chips and that seems to make them fluff up.

                                                                1. If you like kale and eggs for breakfast, try this: sautee the kale first and put it in a big ramekin or ovenproof bowl along with a bunch of chopped tomato (and any other veggies, if you like, as well as hunks of cheese if you're feeling decadent). Drizzle with a little good olive oil. Make a little nest in the middle and crack your egg into that, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.. Cook at 350 in the oven for 15 minutes or until the white is set but the yolk is still runny. Healthy, and yum.

                                                                  1. I read years ago, don't remember where of course, water for fluff and cream for creaminess. I add a few glugs of heavy cream and cook slowly for about 25 minutes, maybe a little longer (we don't worry about the cream because we only have them once or twice a month). They're done when they've set up just enough that they stay where you spoon them.

                                                                    1. I only add dairy to stretch them farther. As in, if it's just me, I don't bother, but if I'm cooking for the family, I'll add some milk to make it seem like there's a bit more. It seems to make them fluffier, too. I don't add half-n-half or sour cream, though, so maybe I'm missing out on the richness of those.

                                                                      1. I cook scrambled eggs 3 ways--can't decide which is best, so I alternate:
                                                                        A) by themselves (with a little butter and well whipped)
                                                                        B) with a little milk and crumbled cheese
                                                                        C) with a little milk and omelet-type mixings: ham, kale, chives, pepper, etc.
                                                                        and cook low, slow and quick to go (i.e. not al dente!)

                                                                        1. I don't know if Robert Crais qualifies as a scrambled egg expert but in one of his books he has a character say that adding cream makes the eggs stick. I don't care I always add half and half.

                                                                          1. I've always added milk because I prefer the texture of the finished product. I usually won't order my eggs scrambled in restaurants because I find they usually just crack an egg on the grill & roll it around (a "rolled egg", as my dad calls them). I like the egg whisked in a bowl with milk added then added to the pan. Yum.

                                                                            It's a personal preference though...I wouldn't say there are hard & fast rules.