Only eggs are necessary to make scrambled eggs, but salt is often used, and other ingredients such as water, milk, butter, chives, cream or in some cases crème fraîche, sour cream, or grated cheese may be added. Ground black pepper is sometimes used as an ingredient. The eggs are cracked into a bowl with some salt and pepper, and the mixture is stirred or whisked: alternatively, the eggs are cracked directly into a hot pan or skillet, and the whites and yolks stirred together as they cook. More consistent and far quicker results are obtained if a small amount of thickener such as cornstarch, potato starch, or flour is added; this enables much quicker cooking with reduced risk of overcooking, even when less butter is used. Adding milk or water thins out the mixture, lessens the flavor, and causes the eggs to dry out faster when put over heat because it can separate the egg.
Preparation in pans
The mixture can be poured into a hot pan containing melted butter or oil, where it starts coagulating. The heat is turned down and the eggs are stirred as they cook. This creates small, soft curds of egg. Unlike pancake or omelette, scrambled egg is virtually never browned. A thin pan is preferable to prevent browning. With continuous stirring, and not allowing the eggs to stick to the pan, the eggs themselves will maintain the pan temperature at about the boiling point of water, until they coagulate.
Once the liquid has mostly set, additional ingredients such as ham, herbs, cheese or cream may be folded in over low heat until incorporated. The eggs are usually slightly undercooked when removed from heat, since the eggs will continue to set. If any liquid is seeping from the eggs (syneresis), this is a sign of undercooking, overcooking or adding undercooked high-moisture vegetables.
Scrambled eggs can be cooked in a microwave oven, and can also be prepared using sous-vide cooking, which gives the traditional smooth creamy texture and requires only occasionally mixing during cooking. Another technique for cooking creamy scrambled eggs is to pipe steam into eggs with butter via a steam wand (as found on an espresso machine).
Video showing the steps in which basic scrambled eggs are prepared with mushrooms and cheese
American style – in American style the eggs are scooped in towards the middle of the pan as they set, giving larger curds.
English style – in English style the scrambled eggs are stirred very thoroughly during cooking to give a soft, fine texture.
In the classic French cooking method, Escoffier describes using a double boiler as the heating source, which does not need adjustment as the direct heating method would. The eggs are directly placed in the cooker and mixed during the heating and not before. Cooking by this method prevents the eggs from browning while being cooked and gives aerated and creamy scrambled eggs. This method was used in the "old classical kitchen" and guarantees the eggs are always cooked perfectly; it is, however, more time-consuming than the modern skillet method, taking up to 40 minutes to ensure perfect quality.
Buttered Eggs - a typically English dish, often mentioned in 19th and early 20th century literature; additional butter is melted and stirred into the egg mixture before cooking.
Egg bhurji – Indian variant of scrambled eggs. Additions include onions, green chili, chopped ginger, turmeric powder and chopped tomatoes. Sprinkled with chopped green coriander and eaten with roti. Another variant of egg bhurji is the Parsi akuri.
The dish is called "fried eggs" in Nigeria. The mai shai stalls cook scrambled eggs to the point of being heavily crisp.
Eggs frizzle - scrambled egg dish made with chipped beef "frizzled" in butter before eggs are added to the pan and scrambled. To make a variation called "Eggs a la Caracas" the beef is frizzled with tomatoes, spices and grated cheese.
Migas – a Tex-Mex dish (not to be confused with the Iberian dish of the same name) consisting of scrambled eggs augmented with strips of corn tortilla, to which vegetables and meat may be added.
Onions and scrambled eggs – another variant of scrambled eggs eaten in the Philippines. The onions are either fried first then the egg mixture is poured over them to cook, or the onions are mixed with the egg mixture and then poured over the pan.
Scrambled eggs with sucuk or pastırma; sucuklu yumurta and pastırmalı yumurta respectively – scrambled eggs are mixed with Turkish beef sausages, or dried cured beef. It is cooked in a sahan (a shallow dish) with butter or olive oil. Some tomato can be added. In Turkey and Egypt it is eaten regularly for breakfast.