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Why can't we order scrambled eggs like we do fried eggs?

With fried eggs, you can specify easy, medium, or hard.

Why can't we do the same with scrambled eggs?

Putting aside the thorny issue of actually getting what you specify, why don't restaurants offer this option as a matter of course for scrambled eggs like they do for fried?

For example, when I say, "I'll have your Breakfast Special, with hash browns and eggs over easy" no one bats an eye.

But if I say something like, "I'll have your Breakfast Special, with hash browns and scrambled easy eggs," I undoubtedly will get looks like I just grew a third eye.

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  1. I always ask for my scrambled eggs to be scrambled hard. I hate runny eggs and I find that's the only way to get them cooked the way I want them. I never get weird looks for this, although I have a feeling it might be different if you asked for them scrambled easy :)

    34 Replies
    1. re: biondanonima

      That's really interesting.

      You actually specify that you want your eggs scrambled "hard"? I don't believe I have ever heard anyone do that. How cool.

      1. re: ipsedixit

        I ALWAYS specify that I want my eggs scrambled hard.

        1. re: PotatoHouse

          Speaking of...

          We're on vacation, in North Carolina. Jet lagged and tired Friday morning, we found a local store of a small Southeast chain for breakfast. I honestly only ordered 'scrambled eggs,' didn't mention soft or fluffy or lightly cooked. Well. Even though the server/bartender [don't ask] messed up my order, what finally emerged from the kitchen was just about the finest plate of scrambled I've ever had.

          Fluffy curds, creamy, delicious. I loved it. The 'scrambled hard' - see above - spouse, not so much. We discreetly looked around the room, and any customer who ordered scrambled pretty much had as pretty a plate.

          You just never know. !

      2. re: biondanonima

        Do it all the time as well.

        Ipsedixit - have you ever done this? My guess is you won't get weird looks. It's standard procedure in my book. "Scrambled soft" would be akin to easy.

        1. re: gordeaux

          I did, today. On a lark, I asked our waitress for scrambled easy, and got this look like I was from Mars.

          1. re: ipsedixit

            "Lightly" or "soft" works for me most of the time. Spouse always asks for "scrambled extra well," which, is just nasty to me. But that's how they arrive for him.

            Terminology - it's a pain.

            1. re: nikkihwood

              But then I would have to add "no browning" please which would make them not done so that's why I never order scrambled eggs out. If available, poached seem to work out quite well.

              1. re: escondido123

                brown+scrambled eggs makes me want to weep and gag at the same time.

                1. re: cleobeach

                  But browned scrambled eggs are YUMMY!!!
                  (Done in a very hot pan with ample oil, the scrambling of whole eggs broken directly into the pan finished within the minute with the results being "marbled" scrambled eggs with crisp edges and soft/slightly runny center/body)

                  1. re: huiray

                    And so we can see from our small discussion just how difficult it is to get scrambled eggs done the way each of us considers "perfect." (I haven't had any breakfast and now I know it will be perfectly scrambled eggs, made with butter and a spoon of heavy cream.)

                    1. re: escondido123

                      ... and now I know it will be perfectly scrambled eggs, made with butter and a spoon of heavy cream.

                      That sounds more like dessert than breakfast ...

                      1. re: ipsedixit

                        Nope, for me it is the perfect scrambled eggs..........no sugar included. I know I'm not the only one that makes them this way.

                      2. re: escondido123

                        Escondido123, that one spoon of heavy cream makes such a lovely difference, doesn't it? I learned that trick from a younger sister. My passion re: scrambled eggs these days is to slow cook them. Very low heat, gently stirring, they cook but they are creamy and so tender. It takes a while. Maybe 15 or 20 minutes? You don't want to increase the heat, so however long it takes is the time it takes. I made slow-cooked scrambled eggs for my dogs the other morning when I was out of their dog food. Not terribly unhealthy for them. They were frantic waiting for me to finish cooking them! LOL.

                        1. re: Willa

                          I used to hate scrambled eggs because of the crispy overdone bits. Then I learned how to make them as Willa describes. Night and day! Almost as good as coddled eggs...

                          To the OP: I now order softly scrambled eggs when I go out for breakfast. Haven't had any funny looks yet but sometimes they still come more cooked than I'd like.

                          1. re: grayelf

                            grayelf, tell me about coddled eggs. I know they are sometimes used in a caesar salad by people who fear raw eggs (not sure coddling will cook them enough to make a difference). But I have never had them. I think eggs are such a cool food. Thinking of getting some chickens.....

                            1. re: Willa

                              Ya know, I'm not sure that the real name IS coddled eggs, now that you ask. But that's what the parentals called them. You cook beaten eggs in a buttered double boiler. Let 'em set up a bit, then gently fold a few times, "steam" a bit longer and voila. The SO and I often refer to them as fluffy eggs for what should be obvious reasons if you cook them right :-). You can add grated sharp cheddar cheese when they're half set if you're feeling naughty.

                              1. re: grayelf

                                Adding grated sharp cheddar doesn't seem "naughty," rather, it sounds just a bit cheesy to me.

                                1. re: grayelf

                                  Your eggs sound very good, but they're not coddled. Coddled are made in a closed "jar" that is placed in boiling water. In the most basic recipe, you put some butter in the coddler, break in an egg or two, screw on the lid and set in pot of boiling water until done.

                                  1. re: escondido123

                                    That sounds good but the first thing I thought was that getting those eggs out of the jar is tricky. That jar must be really hot.

                                    Okay, I'm a total klutz. I admit it.

                                    1. re: PaulF

                                      We always ate them straight out if the containers.

                                  2. re: grayelf

                                    12 eggs to 4oz of butter cooked that way I know as "hospital" eggs.A friend of the family worked the burn unit some at Johns Hopkins during the 50's and 60's and eggs as described were an integral for burn recovery nutrition at the time.

                                    LOVELY EATING

                              2. re: Willa

                                Different strokes for different folks, as escondido said in effect.

                                I would find these "eggs" as you describe them (a.k.a. a variation of the French method) not appealing. I'd eat them, if I had to, but would NOT be how I would prefer my scrambled eggs.

                                1. re: Willa

                                  For years, I listened to the "rule" that you should never add milk or cream to scrambled eggs. Then one day last year, I decided to try just a small splash of heavy cream. I don't cook my eggs like you do, but that cream makes them well....creamy.

                                  1. re: escondido123

                                    Well, milk adds proteins that make it more likely to form tougher curds. Cream less so; silvers of ice-cold butter are even better than cream because it has less water than cream and the melting process helps temper and slow down curd formation to improve the emulsion. Hence, the classic French method for scrambling eggs, a greater art than making a mere omelet.

                                    1. re: Karl S

                                      I've tried both and the heavy cream that I have is so thick it just seems to do the trick. I don't like it to be a pudding so some curds are fine with me. Funny how we who like scrambled eggs are so specific about what makes them perfect for us.

                                      1. re: escondido123

                                        And it seems so embarrassingly picky when you try to describe how you prefer them! A case of 'easier done yourself than said' I guess.

                                        1. re: escondido123

                                          Very heavy cream will work, just that it's hard to get cream that's not ultrapasteurized today (UP cream has much less flavor, and lots of additives, in exchange for extended shelf life) so butter is just easier and better for me.

                                          1. re: Karl S

                                            The cream I get is so "heavy" it lasts for weeks in the frig, even once opened. Love it.

                              3. re: cleobeach

                                +1 Not much worse than eggs that are super tight and browned!

                              4. re: escondido123

                                OH. wow. Yes. Honestly, it doesn't happen to me much around town. But I've definitely encountered it on the road. [On the other hand, the spouse's eggs look realll brown.]

                                We will go to a great breakfast restaurant in a couple of weeks - neither of have been there for decades. [btw, it's Pann's, ipsedixit]. I will be most interested to see how they treat a request for 'soft.'

                                1. re: escondido123

                                  so you enjoy poached eggs but want your scrambled well done? (How) do you take them fried, just out of curiosity?

                                  1. re: splatgirl

                                    I like my scrambled eggs soft and creamy...looked carefully by didn't see that I said otherwise. Poached I like runny, fried I like basted with butter but not browned, runny yolk.

                              5. re: ipsedixit

                                I hate scrambled eggs- if it isn't fried, or an omelet or other more developed egg dish, I can do without. I'm not even that picky about fried eggs, I just dont' like them scrambled. Why bother? I don't want to hear a lot of huevos revueltos fans trying to proselytize, either.

                            2. re: biondanonima

                              I do the same thing when I'm the mood for scrambled eggs.

                              Sometimes I specify how I want the ingredients in my eggs to be cooked. Like I might say "Lox, eggs and onions, scrambled hard, with the onions well done."

                              No one has ever thought this was weird. I thought lots of people did it.

                            3. I worked in a Hospital kitchen while in High School (decades ago) and the short order cook made scrambled eggs soft, regular and hard upon request in the Physician Cafeteria.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Cathy

                                Oh my gosh- and it's still going on, after al these years...

                              2. Scrambled 'soft' , 'medium', or 'dry' is what I've always heard.....

                                1. The only problem is scrambled eggs "hard" are very easy, the other two are often too nuanced for most cooks. I like mine very wet, but the white thoroughly cooked--not easy for someone who doesn't like them that way.

                                  1. the simple answer, most places scamble and then hold scrambled eggs and do not cook them to order, but single fried eggs are cooked to order.

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: elkahani

                                      you are eating in the wrong places. Generally I onlly see precooked scrambled eggs where there is a breakfast buffet or cafeteria line.

                                      1. re: elkahani

                                        wrong. most places use a pouch. folks can't tell the difference.

                                        1. re: elkahani

                                          Ahh, the source of the notorious 'Egg Ball', breakfast served with an ice cream scoop at fire camp.

                                        2. I order mine easy all the time. Sometimes they come out a little too runny. Now I order them soft. I never get weird looks.

                                          1. Isn't because soft scrambled eggs take oo long? Assuming its cooked over low heat...

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: FattyDumplin

                                              I assume it's only the fancy places that do the real slow scrambled eggs, with creaminess the goal. Most regular breakfast places are doing everything on a flat top or maybe skillets and wouldn't take the time to slow cook something. But I've had no trouble asking for soft, which isn't the creamy small-curd style, but is just less cooked. Incidentally, I spent 4 years on the grill at a bacon and egg joint, and for 95% of the scrambled egg orders, degree of doneness was not specified by the customer. The rest were hard or soft.

                                            2. I don't know about ordering them 'easy' but I always order them 'scarmbled soft'
                                              If they come out looking like a crepe, they get sent back. In fact I usually request that they be made in a frying pan, NOT on the flat top.

                                              Most places don't make decent scrambled eggs, so I usually don't order them.

                                              1. You are fortunate in being able to specify how you'd like your fried eggs. Where I am, a breakfast egg is almost invariably only a fried egg. And a fried egg is a fried egg is a fried egg. And scrambled are rarely available in most breakfast places.

                                                8 Replies
                                                1. re: Harters

                                                  In the States, it is most typical that one is asked how one likes a fried egg to be fried, whether "sunny side up" or "over", and easy/medium/hard, as in: "How would you like those fried eggs, honey?" "Over easy/medium/hard, thanks". It would be very unusual if one were not asked.

                                                  1. re: Karl S

                                                    Indeed, I have never not been asked in some 30+ years visiting America.

                                                    1. re: Harters

                                                      Wow. You go to the wrong places for fried eggs. Next time, assert yourself if you are unlucky to visit such a place.

                                                      1. re: Karl S

                                                        I think Harters means that he HAS been asked in all those 30+ years of visiting the US.

                                                      2. re: Harters

                                                        In my neck of the woods they will also ask how you like your scrambled eggs. And you can order poached eggs over a variety of breads/toasts. And there are at least 10 types of omelets. I guess that's why my English Prof referred to "English Gourmet" as an oxymoron?

                                                        1. re: gaffk

                                                          ROFLMAO on the Prof's line.

                                                          I love national and ethnic stereotyping. So funny.

                                                          1. re: Harters

                                                            Yes, he was one funny guy. Another of his favorite oxymorons was "sober Irishman" ;) But we all knew his tongue was planted firmly in his cheek.

                                                  2. I don't remember ordering specific done-ness for "scrambled eggs" in a diner or similar, but in the past where there was a buffet with a made-to-order omelet/egg station I would stand there and tell the cook what I wanted and watch him do it and get it taken off when I wanted it.

                                                    1. I typically don't mind the way my scrambled eggs are cooked (not hard/browned / not runny), but I do object to scrambled eggs from a carton. Big difference IMO vs. fresh eggs.

                                                      1. Cuz there ain't hardly nobody working in a joint that cooks eggs to order what actually knows how to scramble eggs with anything approaching skill or finesse. You got yer artisinal and you got yer grease. Two different things.

                                                        1. At my local diner, I ask for mine "scrambled, well done". They get it right.

                                                          1. Why can't we do the same with scrambled eggs?

                                                            My snarky answer is because no one knows how to cook scrambled eggs but me.

                                                            I have completely given up on ordering scrambled eggs for breakfast at a restaurant.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: cleobeach

                                                              I avoid restaurant scrambled eggs. Places have a tendency to slightly brown the scrambled eggs... which is not to my liking.

                                                            2. My father-in-law, a retired trucker orders his eggs "beat up and run over", which in any truck stop will her you overcooked scrambled (his preference) but at our local Greek diners gets you gunny looks and the dining companions rolling their eyes before offering the waitress a translation.

                                                              1. Actually, you can order scrambled eggs "soft" or "hard". Maybe it just depends upon the place and the abilities of the cook.

                                                                1. I rarely order scrambled eggs out, but when I do, I ask for them "wet," which generally gets me the result I want. If the server still doesn't seem sure what I'm asking for, I just state plainly, "I don't want them cooked to the point that they're dry." Maybe if you changed the words you use, you can get what you want.

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: lisavf

                                                                    I have described them every way I can, but only in a true restaurant--rather than a coffee shop or diner--have the e4ggs every been wet, not browned and creamy.

                                                                    1. re: lisavf

                                                                      I ask for mine to be 'wet', too. Haven't had them come runny, ever, but they are usually not dry and crumbly.

                                                                    2. Huh. Perhaps it's regional? At the diners in my area, you're always asked if you want the eggs scrambled easy or hard. (And at my favorite local diner, you are also asked if you want your bacon wimpy or crispy.)

                                                                      One of the funniest scenes I recall at a diner actually revolves around this topic. A couple was at the table next to ours. The waitress asked the man if he wanted his scrambled eggs easy or hard. He said easy and the woman (wife? SO?) said "no, you like them hard." They went back and forth a few times until the waitress explained to him the difference--easy is a bit runny, hard is well-done--he said "oh, hard."

                                                                      And agree, the only places in this area where eggs are pre-scrambled are breakfast buffets and office cafeterias. These are to be avoided like the plague.

                                                                      1. The third eye is spot on 99% of the time.Specifics like fluffy,soft,firm etc scrambled are met with confusion and disdain.

                                                                        1. I do. Don't you? Try it - within reason. If the eatery won't do as you ask, find another place for breakfast.

                                                                          7 Replies
                                                                          1. re: John Francis

                                                                            The chains have so won the breakfast volume war and not always inclined to hear and execute much variation. Independents,small B,L & D cafe,dinner style places are few and far between in some areas.

                                                                            1. re: lcool

                                                                              That's why I think this may be regional. If you're in the Northeast/Mid-Atlantic region of the US, there are diners that cater to the, well, diners. I don't think there's an IHop or Denny's in my area; but there are at least 5 local diners. When I lived in Ohio (admittedly, only 2 years 20 years ago) there were no independent diners, just Perkin's.

                                                                              1. re: gaffk

                                                                                The chains have even taken over some college towns.To our dismay when the youngest was in college (98'),essentially pudville USA,almost all of the local eateries had been squeezed out.There has been a tiny resurgence independents recently.Even some of our kids are demanding more options.

                                                                                1. re: lcool

                                                                                  Yes, that town in Ohio was Athens, home of Ohio U.

                                                                                  1. re: gaffk

                                                                                    No,that was where my brother in law went.There are examples in Virginia and Wisconsin just a bit more NEON.

                                                                                    1. re: lcool

                                                                                      No neon in Athens, OH in the late 80's. I spent my life until grad school in Philly; my roomate in Pittsburgh.

                                                                                      Old joke: Pennsylvania is Philadelphia in the east, Pittsburgh in the west and Alabama in between.

                                                                                      1. re: gaffk

                                                                                        and that Alabama has some nice Frank Lloyd Wright

                                                                          2. Because when you have the temerity to actually order something the guy 'uping' on Red Bull' which requires using a pan instead of the flat top you have just handed him/her a challenge they are not able to meet. After all the line cooks aren't getting paid enough by the hour to actually be bothered to cook scrambled eggs.

                                                                            1. BTW Most restaurants who serve breakfast LOVE scrambled egg orders: just scoop out a cup full of scrambled egg powder, add a bit of milk and water and 'Bob's your uncle'.

                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                              1. re: Puffin3

                                                                                Interesting... most places I've seen use the packaged blended eggs and ladle out what they need per order.

                                                                                1. re: Puffin3

                                                                                  Interesting . . . I see real eggshells. At my breakfast cafe, Dwayne cracks real eggs; he reaches into the fridge for real cheese. For omelets, the fresh mushrooms and cheese are at hand. So are onions, peppers, feta, etc.

                                                                                  Again, regional? Or just enough traffic to keep up?

                                                                                2. I don't order eggs out aside from at Hangar B in Chatham, MA. I always order my scrambled eggs well done well beaten...I hate seeing the white... :) Chef Erskine always obliges....come on down to the Cape...

                                                                                  1. They seem to me to be hard to do right and I am assuming that whoever gave you that look had a cook who made them all rubbery.

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: nativebatonrougean

                                                                                      I have a friend who always orders his scrambled eggs "hard," and I've never seen anyone question him about what he means. A side note story....once when I was in New York City at the cafe in the hotel I was staying I ordered scrambled eggs. The waitress came back with the eggs and as soon as she put them down said, "they're overcooked....I'm going to send them back." Me, "uh...I guess maybe, but that's okay they're not that bad." Waitress, "no, they're over cooked and I'm taking them back and having the cook redo them." Me, "uh thanks?" Later my friend and I surmised the waitress had some kind of issue with the cook and wanted to give him a "nudge." Kitchen politics.

                                                                                    2. Another one here who orders them 'scrambled well done', sometimes i add that I don't mind if they have some brown. I know many of you are stunned by this, I've heard so many people wax eloquent about soft creamy eggs, done just enough that they don't run all over the plate. Makes my mind reel and my stomach queasy. No doubt a hold over from my youth when I didn't like any creams, sauces, or gravies on my food. I've outgrown most of that, but the mouth feel of soft eggs just drives me nuts.

                                                                                      1. I request "eggs scrambled gently" or "eggs scrambled tender", letting the anthropomorphic association convey a relatable quality...

                                                                                        1. if you want them what we call "lousy goosey" the eggs will be soft and wet and runny. uncooked eggs. i can cook them either soft or hard. lower heat or a higher heat. to me i dont see the real difference in scranbled egggs. if one puts them on a buffet, soft, people will complain there not done.

                                                                                          1. Normally, I do. I request "well-cooked" scrambled eggs, and in most case, get what I ordered.

                                                                                            Same for my "well-done ham," or "crisp applewood smoked bacon."

                                                                                            If not, then I send things back, until they are perfect.


                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                            1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                              But I'm going to bet you have breakfast at places that will not say "that's it buddy" after the second attempt fails to be perfect.

                                                                                            2. You'll never see a restaurant owner with a bigger grin than when some one orders 'scrambled eggs'. That means whoever is doing the cooking simply scoops out a container of the powered egg mix and dumps in some cold water gives the powder a bit of a stir to mix in the water and then pours the powdered egg mixture into a saute pan. The reason you can't special order then doneness is the powdered egg mix must cook long enough to get properly cooked. Otherwise you'd have uncooked lumps of powdered egg on the plate.
                                                                                              I'm not saying every restaurant does this but some do to say money. If a table of say five all order scrambled eggs the line cook may add a couple of fresh whole eggs into the order near the end to give the powdered eggs a bit of texture and 'look'.

                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                              1. re: Puffin3

                                                                                                One of the joys of ordering eggs/breakfast in any of the abundant Greek (or Greek descent) owned diners in CT, is that the flattop is often right behind the counter and you can see the short order cook grab whoile eggs from the crates, crack them in a stainless bowl and scramble with a fork, then cook. If i order scrambled soft, they will be made in a fryong pan, if one orderes scrambled hard they will be made on the flattop. If you like creamy curds, the key is to ask for country style, and the cook will keep running fork times through the eggs as they cook to develop the curds.
                                                                                                For 3 recent years I was in Massachusetts three days per week and nevr found a breakfast place that could make decent scrambled soft eggs. The biggest culprit is that they used a vile frying shortening such as frymax on the grill. I posted about this on the old New England Board.

                                                                                              2. The elder gentleman who cooks breakfasts for a volunteer organization I'm in, (when we have a big work day and breakfast is provided) makes the absolutely most fabulous scrambled eggs ever. This is the one occasion where the men take over the kitchen, so there's no way I can sneak in and find out exactly how to do it.
                                                                                                All I know is that they do the eggs in a big big soup pot. He told me he puts in a cup of vegetable oil first, then dozens and dozens of eggs. Somewhere in there he adds cheddar cheese, but if you didn't know it was cheese in there, you'd not even guess. The eggs are cooked on the big commercial stove, and they come out soft and melty and creamy and rich. No fluffs or cloudlike curds, no brown crispy edges, no dry anything.
                                                                                                I would volunteer for the most laborious task if I get to have his eggs first.

                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                1. re: jmcarthur8

                                                                                                  You need to do a little more spy work on that technique and bring back a report.

                                                                                                2. ipsedixit:

                                                                                                  This place -- The Eveleigh-- has "soft scrambled eggs" in the menu. Just thought you'd like to know.


                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                  1. re: PaulF

                                                                                                    Thanks. They also have Scotch Eggs.

                                                                                                  2. Interesting - I always ask for eggs scrambled "easy" or loosely - and always get them. But it may have more to do with not going back to a place where I can't get them that way.