When it comes to life’s simple pleasures, scrambled eggs rank right up there with new underwear and watching the sunset. But unlike new underwear and the sunset, scrambled eggs are also pretty easy to mess up. Especially when you know exactly how you like them.

Whether you like your eggs soft, fluffy, cheesy, or even runny, we’ll show you how to slay this star brunch dish with ease.

The beauty of scrambled eggs is that you really need only four ingredients (and two of ’em are salt and pepper) for a delicious outcome.

Think of this recipe as your blank canvas. Once you master the basics, then you can get creative.

Basic scrambled eggs

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Whisk vs. fork

The main benefit of using a whisk is that it makes it easier to froth and incorporate air into your egg mixture (which helps with fluffiness). But a fork also works just fine — you just gotta put some elbow grease into it.

Another great trick for mixing is using a blender or immersion blender to whip the eggs into smooth, slightly foamy bliss.

Instructions

  1. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat and melt butter until sizzling and bubbly.
  2. Whisk eggs in a bowl until fully combined and slightly frothy. Add a dash of salt and a dash of fresh ground pepper.
  3. Reduce heat to medium-low. Pour eggs into the hot skillet.
  4. Using a rubber spatula, pull eggs from edges to center of pan, creating big, fluffy curds. Repeat, gently pulling, folding, and moving eggs until nearly set (cooked).
  5. Remove eggs from heat when they still look slightly moist (they will continue cooking from residual heat).
  6. Serve eggs immediately after cooking (always!)

Of course, there are some rule breakers out there who have their own methods — we’re looking at you, Gordon Ramsay.

With more than 40 million views, Gordon Ramsay’s distinctive method of scrambling eggs is praised and used by breakfast buffs everywhere.

So, what makes it unique?

First, he doesn’t season the eggs before cooking like most people do. He notes that salt “breaks down the eggs” and turns them watery. (When to salt scrambled eggs is a hotly debated topic that, according to our research, is seriously lacking in consensus.)

Next, Gordon cracks the eggs straight into a cold saucepan, adds a couple large knobs of butter, and then places it on the stove (yup, no preheating or scrambling beforehand). He starts on high heat and whisks the eggs in the pan using a spatula.

He then cooks the eggs by continuously moving the pan off and back onto the heat (“three or four times”) and constantly stirring “like a risotto.”

To stop the eggs from overcooking and ensure velvety creaminess, he stirs in a generous drop of crème fraîche. Finally, he seasons the eggs with salt and pepper, sprinkles them with chives, and serves them with toasty bread, sautéed mushrooms, and charred cherry tomatoes.

Is anyone else’s mouth watering at that description?

Overcooking your scrambled eggs is an easy way to end up with a plate of disappointment.

To avoid this, keep the heat on the medium to low side. You want your scrambled eggs to cook slowly so you have more control over the results. If your pan is too hot, you’ll notice the eggs setting too quickly and even browning (or burning). PSA: Scrambled eggs should never brown!

Cooking eggs at lower temperatures also ensures they come out soft and creamy, whereas high heat will tighten the proteins too quickly, removing all the moisture and resulting in dry, rubbery eggs.

If your eggs look like they’re drying out and cooking too quickly, remove the pan from the heat (as opposed to just lowering the heat) and keep stirring. The residual heat will be enough to cook them the rest of the way.

Lastly, keep an eye on those bad boys! (No multitasking or walking away.) A skillet of scrambled eggs should take only 2 to 3 minutes to cook from start to finish.

The key to this classic U.S. diner style of scrambled eggs is to vigorously whisk them in a bowl beforehand. This incorporates air and adds volume, resulting in a fluffier consistency. For the best results, do this right before adding your eggs to the pan.

To get those classic giant, fluffy curds, use the folding method to work the eggs as they cook: Use a spatula to gently pull sections of egg from the edges of the pan and fold them into the middle of the pan.

Similarly, you can try Australian Folded Eggs, which is a cross between a scramble and an omelet.

If you’re adding veggies or meat

Eggs cook super quickly, so if you’re adding raw veggies or meat, you’ll need to give those ingredients a head start on cooking.

Cook raw veggies in butter or oil for about 5 minutes. Raw meat needs to cook even longer (about 12 minutes, depending on the size). Then add the eggs right on top and scramble it all together!

The English, the French, and Gordon Ramsay are all known for making scrambled eggs with small, custardy curds.

To get these small curds, you really have to work and stir your eggs in the pan. The whole time they’re cooking, you should continue scrambling. The more you work them, the finer the curd will be, because the proteins in eggs clump into chunks as they cook.

To make sure the eggs don’t cook through before they’ve been broken into small pieces, turn the heat to low for this style.

In fact, the French style uses a bain-marie (a heated water bath) to cook scrambled eggs. Rather than cook the eggs in a skillet directly on the stove, you cook them extra-slowly in a metal bowl that sits on top of a pot of heated water.

Should you cook eggs in the microwave? Well, let’s just say it’s definitely not our first choice.

But if it’s all you have, it’s all you have. Here’s how to do it best:

  1. Grease a microwave-safe bowl with butter or oil.
  2. Whisk your eggs (microwave only two eggs at a time for the best results) in your greased bowl and add 1 tablespoon of cream. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Microwave on medium-high for 30-second intervals, stirring after each interval. Repeat this about three times (90 seconds), or until they look moist and slightly runny (they’ll keep cooking).
  4. Let sit for 45 seconds before eating.

Our hot take is that using dairy is a matter of preference. Some people swear by adding a dash of cream, while most chefs say eggs don’t need milk or cream if they’re cooked the right way.

Here are the pros and cons of adding dairy and when you should:

  • Milk: It can actually dilute the flavor and should be used only when you want to stretch out your scrambled eggs. Milk also thins the eggs, making them more prone to overcooking and getting rubbery.
  • Cream: Stick to a splash (if you must). Cream, while richer than milk, also dilutes the eggs’ flavor and can lead to overcooking.
  • Cheese: Nothing wrong with cheesy eggs! But make sure to add the cheese when the eggs are nearly finished cooking. For the best melting results, use freshly shredded, grated, or crumbled cheese.
  • Crème fraîche: An important part of Gordon’s method and a great way to get velvety creaminess. Like cheese, it should be added at the very end.
  • Sour cream: Can’t find crème fraîche (or want something cheaper)? Sour cream will work.

Now that you’re a pro, you’re ready to start spicing up your scramble game. Here are a few of our favorite creative recipes:

Tiffany La Forge is a professional chef, recipe developer, and food writer who runs the blog Parsnips and Pastries. Visit her at her blog or on Instagram.