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When it comes to making the perfect scrambled eggs, I immediately think of the scene from the police sitcom, “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” where Detective Boyle (the precinct’s resident foodie) schools his straight-laced boss, Captain Holt on how to make an anniversary breakfast for his husband. As Boyle adds oil to his pan, he tells Holt, “Many people think that scrambled eggs are the easiest thing to make, but that is incredibly foolish. They are a highly nuanced and complicated dish.”
As someone who makes mediocre scrambled eggs, no truer words have ever been spoken. Impatient by nature, I make my eggs just like Captain Holt—I throw them in the pan on high heat, quickly stir them, and hope for the best. Sometimes they burn a little bit, much to the chagrin of my family. I know I could do better, but like the fictional Captain Holt, I see scrambled eggs as a means to an end: convenient protein with little to no time commitment. But what if there was an alternative way to scrambled eggs? Enter: the slow cooker.
While it seems counterintuitive to make such a quick dish in a slow cooker, culinary experts say that your Crock-Pot may just be the key to the perfect scrambled eggs (even for chronically egg challenged folks like myself).
“First of all, a slow cooker is the most underrated piece of equipment ever. Trust me, I was born, raised, and trained as a chef in France, and we don’t have slow-cookers there. A real shame,” says Gui Alinat, a chef and author of the cookbooks, “The Chef’s Répertoire” and “Eat More Burn More™.”
As Alinat explains, a slow cooker works by cooking things at low temperature, for a longer time. Gentle and longer cooking usually preserves moisture and tenderness—both things we want in scrambled eggs.
With that said, unlike other foods you would typically prepare in a slow cooker (think: easy slow cooker pulled pork or BBQ beef brisket) which simply require you to season your dish before you “set it and forget it,” making eggs in a Crock-Pot requires a few more steps.
For fluffy, silky smooth scrambled eggs that taste phenomenal, cook and photographer Alexa Frazier Blay of Key To My Lime, suggests you start with the following ingredients:
- Butter (to grease the slow cooker)
- 12 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- Salt (to taste)
- Pepper (to taste)
- 1-2 cups shredded mozzarella (optional, depending on taste preference)
Anyone who’s ever burnt eggs, knows how easily they can stick to a frying pan. So, start by generously greasing the slow cooker with butter (or use a slow cooker liner). Your future self will thank you. Next, in a large bowl, mix together the eggs, heavy cream, salt, and pepper. Whisk until the eggs are creamy and a relatively uniform consistency.
Pour the eggs into the slow cooker and cook on high for approximately 2 hours, stirring every 30 minutes. If you plan on using cheese, add in at the end and stir. Continue to cook until the cheese is mostly melted. As Frazier notes, “You can use other types of cheese, but I prefer mozzarella. Cheeses like cheddar will taste greasier and won’t incorporate into the eggs as well.”
Frazier also points out that cooking time will vary depending on your slow cooker. “The larger your slow cooker, the less time it will take (and the smaller your slow cooker, the more time it will take). It also depends on how hot your slow cooker runs. The cooking time for this recipe could range anywhere from 1 hour (for a large slow cooker that runs hot), to 3 hours (for a small slow cooker that runs cool).”
The Instant Pot is a powerhouse for making perfectly hard-boiled eggs and delicious frittatas. So, does that mean it can work the same magic for the humble scrambled egg? Well, yes and no.
Several of the culinary experts I spoke to agreed that while it’s possible to make scrambled eggs in an Instant Pot, it’s probably not worth the effort—unless using an Instant Pot is your only option. Since you’ll have to cook the eggs on the saute setting, “the Instant Pot doesn’t save much time or hold your eggs at the perfect temperature any better than a skillet could,” says Lisa Chernick, James Beard nominee and author of “Your Starter Kitchen.”
Frazier agrees, “I prefer scrambled eggs in the slow cooker over the Instant Pot. The Instant Pot’s heat is higher, and will leave you with more traditional scrambled eggs that you would expect from a skillet.”
With that said, using an Instant Pot is still a viable option. It just depends on what kind of texture you’re looking to achieve from your scrambled eggs.
“Essentially, when you scramble eggs there are two schools of thought. The first is to use a hot pan, which will scramble the eggs quickly. Cooking the eggs this way will trap more steam inside the eggs, leading to fluffier scrambled eggs. Since this method cooks the eggs quickly, and requires less stirring, you’ll also end up with larger egg curds. This method is what you would expect in the Instant Pot,” says Frazier.
However, when you cook scrambled eggs in a slow cooker over a lower heat, it creates smaller steam pockets in the eggs, resulting in eggs that are wetter and creamier in texture. As Frazier explains, “Since this method cooks the eggs much more slowly, and requires more stirring, it also leaves you with smaller and more broken up egg curds. This method is what you can expect from cooking the eggs in the slow cooker.”
At the end of the day, it all comes down to your desired egg texture, how much time you have on your hands and how likely you are to remember to stir your eggs. If you’re like me and rather absent minded with your egg prep, you might have better luck with a classic slow cooker recipe that you can prepare ahead of time and leave unattended until it’s time to eat.
“Slow cookers are great for all kinds of breakfast foods. I love them for making cheesy, cozy stratas and casseroles that you can set up and stash in the fridge the night before cooking them. Or just turn on the slow cooker before you go to sleep and have breakfast waiting when you wake up!” says Chernick.
In other words, a dish like this cheesy sausage breakfast casserole may require more ingredients and prep time than a classic dish of scrambled eggs, but it’s perfect for those of us who aspire to be a Detective Boyle in the kitchen, despite being a Captain Holt by nature.