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How to Make Perfect Scrambled Eggs Without a Nonstick Pan

As a homeschool mom, Carma has so much extra time on her hands she must look for ways to fill it creatively.

These perfect eggs are great for guests.

These perfect eggs are great for guests.

How do you get perfect eggs without using a nonstick pan? Even with nonstick, are your eggs still a gummy mess? I always wondered how chefs turned out such light, fluffy eggs when my scrambles were always heavy and soggy.

Below, I show you how to cook eggs perfectly in both a nonstick pan and a cast-iron one. And best of all? The cleanup is actually a breeze!

What's the Secret?

The secret is heating the pan before you put the eggs in.

Here's another secret: you don't have to have some special, expensive omelet- or nonstick-pan that may be emitting harmful chemicals into your food to make a stunning breakfast. Because the secret is not the pan; the secret is how hot it is.

Here's the Short Version to Getting Perfect Eggs in a Regular (or Non-Nonstick) Pan

  1. Make sure that your pan is hot before you add anything (even the oil). Your pan should be hot enough that a few drips of water look like running, dancing mercury.
  2. Crack the amount of eggs that you want, but don't stir them yet. If you stir them, they have a tendency to stick to the bowl.
  3. Pour in the amount of oil or butter that you like. Immediately after adding the oil/butter, vigorously whisk the eggs, and then pour them into the lukewarm oil/butter.
  4. Let the eggs sit in the pan until they develop a white ring around the edge. Once the edge is sufficiently large, use a spatula to lift up the done-ish eggs in the center, allowing the runny eggs to seep below and come in contact with the oiled pan.
  5. Chunk up and flip decent-sized portions of the scramble. Let the runny bits cook for just a few seconds, and then remove the eggs from the heat.

Step One: Heating the Pan and Cracking Your Eggs

You will have to experiment a bit to find the proper heat needed on your cooktop. For mine, it is just under medium (a good heavy-duty pan to promote even heating helps). Turn the heat on, and let the pan get hot but not too hot! And for goodness sake, don't add the oil or butter yet!

While the pan is heating, crack the eggs. Personally, I don't stir them until just before putting them in the pan, because the broken yolk tends to cling to the side of the bowl, and it's hard to get it all into the pan. Freshly stirred doesn't have a chance to get sticky with your bowl.

How hot should your pan be? Wet your fingertips, and flick a few water drops into the pan.

  • If they sit there in a puddle, the pan is not hot enough.
  • If they sizzle a bit, the pan is not hot enough.
  • If they sizzle and evaporate, the pan is almost hot enough. Watch closely now ...
  • If the drops of water, instead of sizzling, bead up and dance around the pan without evaporating, like drops of mercury, the pan is just right.

WARNING! Do not leave the pan at this point or let it sit empty and get hotter much longer. If you do, and then add your oil after the pan gets even hotter, you could get a grease fire on your stovetop! (Don't ask me how I know this...)

If a piece of shell falls in, use nature's perfectly provided shell-getter-outer: a bigger piece of the shell!

If a piece of shell falls in, use nature's perfectly provided shell-getter-outer: a bigger piece of the shell!

Step Two: Adding the Oil and Eggs

If you have a hot pan and cold oil, your eggs won't stick!

  1. Now it is time to add the oil or butter after your pan is perfectly heated.
  2. Have your eggs cracked and ready to stir, then add the oil or butter, quickly but thoroughly stir the eggs, and pour them into the hot pan and barely warm oil.

Two notes here:

  1. It might look like a lot of oil, but you need enough fat to coat the pan and then a little more depending on how many eggs you are cooking; I was cooking ten eggs. I prefer coconut oil for cooking because of its health benefits.
  2. I am an egg purist. I don't add anything to my scrambled eggs. I love the unadulterated flavor of good eggs!
Step Three: When the pan is perfectly heated, pour in the eggs, and let them sit.

Step Three: When the pan is perfectly heated, pour in the eggs, and let them sit.

Step Three: Letting the Eggs Rest Peacefully

  1. STOP!... Don't touch those eggs! That's right. Don't touch them!
  2. Pour them into the oil and back off. This is critical to getting light and fluffy eggs and to getting an easy-clean pan at the end of things.
  3. Look carefully at the picture above. See the pale edges where the eggs are beginning to set? That is the sign you are looking for. If you let them sit too long, you will get an omelet, and that's not what we're looking for here.
  4. So just wait for that whitish ring at the edge. Don't stir at the first sign, let it get a little thicker...
Step four: Once the ring is sufficiently thick, you may stir.

Step four: Once the ring is sufficiently thick, you may stir.

Step Four: Stirring the Eggs

  1. Be gentle.
  2. You've got a nice set edge, so you are ready to start the scramble. Gently.
  3. Take a spoon or spatula and run it around the set edge to loosen it a bit. Gently.
  4. Pull the set bottom up in a heap, and let the uncooked eggs run to the bottom. Gently. Do this around the pan, and then stop.
  5. Back off. Let the eggs start to set up again.
  6. Repeat this process of gently loosening the set eggs and letting the uncooked eggs run underneath, then LEAVING IT ALONE for a minute or two, until your eggs are mostly done, like this:
Almost done . . .

Almost done . . .

Step Five: Finishing the Scramble

  1. You see that the eggs are largely done, and there is just a bit of still-runny egg sitting on top. At this point, you can get a bit more rough. Get your spoon in there, and flip the eggs. Don't try to flip the whole omelet over, but break it into large chunks.
  2. The runny bits left over will cook up very quickly. So once it is flipped, you are within seconds of removing it from the heat.
  3. I like to flip the eggs, leave for a second, stir to make sure all the runny bits are gone, then salt the eggs in the pan (I have four kids; this is much less messy for me!), and also stir in a pat of butter for extra flavor.
The flipped eggs only need a moment to finish.

The flipped eggs only need a moment to finish.

Light and fluffy eggs

Light and fluffy eggs

The clean-up is a breeze. Look at that pan!

The clean-up is a breeze. Look at that pan!

Look, Ma: No Scrubbing!

Congratulations! You've stopped your eggs from sticking to the pan!

Remember, this is a stainless-steel pan, no nonstick about it. I just scooped the eggs out onto plates, and this is what was left for cleanup. No soaking necessary; no scrubbing pads or elbow grease. A little soap on a dishcloth, and it practically wipes clean.

Look How Clean This Is!

Scrambled eggs in cast iron make even less mess than in stainless steel!

Scrambled eggs in cast iron make even less mess than in stainless steel!

Is Cast Iron or Stainless Steel Better for Making Eggs In?

Both stainless steel and cast iron have good points for cooking eggs. Cast iron is a bit easier to work with though, in my opinion.

Eggs like to stick to stainless steel better. If you want eggs that won't stick in stainless steel, you must be scrupulously careful about heating to the proper point, adding the oil at the right temperature, and not over-stirring the eggs. Cast iron is more forgiving on all these points. You'll need a nice hot pan, but it doesn't have to be just to an exact degree; and eggs won't stick in cast-iron even with a bit more stirring.

However, cast iron does require more general care than stainless steel. If you want good nonstick cast iron, you must never, ever, ever put soap in it! This freaks a lot of people out, although it has been proven to be perfectly safe. Wipe it, scrub it with hot water, but don't ever use soap. Cast iron builds up a patina that acts like nonstick if it is not scrubbed off.

Cast iron also tends to rust if it is not cared for properly. After wiping and rinsing it, wipe it dry and place it on a low burner to dry it thoroughly in order to prevent rust. (Air drying is too slow and promotes rust.) Wipe the inside very lightly with oil once it is dry. If storing in other pans or with a lid, put a paper towel between lid and pan to prevent moisture accumulation and rust. I usually just wipe it out again before using, or if it has been a long time I'll rinse it with hot water (the oil can get a little tacky inside the pan).

TASTE TEST: What scrambles your eggs? Do you enjoy your eggs as is, or with a little extra kick?

Egg flavor can't be beat, or more flavors make it a treat? (Psst: Besides butter, salt, and pepper.)

© 2008 tandemonimom lm

Comments

Christal on November 03, 2019:

This is awesome! Thank you so much for the best hack I’ve seen. We cooked eggs this am exactly as specified and they were fluffy, delish, and best of all didn’t stick to pan! They cooked up super fast. I will use your advice every time. I used the hate cooking in those pan until reading this!

Matt K-Low on October 31, 2019:

This is the best advice I’ve ever used in my life. I always would shy away from making eggs because of how hard it was to clean the pan afterwards. I tried this and I was in shock. Didn’t have to scrape the pan, easiest clean up ever, it was like I was using a brand new pan! I am going to love cooking eggs after this! Thank you

johnnyBeGood on January 29, 2019:

Good advice i say, but keep in mind eggs have choline that gets procoessed in our guts into TMOA (Trimethylene Oxidase). TMOA is cancer promoting says the science. Randomized double blind placebo controlled studies have shown this to be true especially for prostate and breast cancer. The high heat doesn't help either but thats another story (eat boiled or poached if you have to)

weasley on January 12, 2019:

You are so right!!!!!! I have a ceramic pan that every thing stuck to.

I tried your method and what a difference. Perfect eggs!!!!

I bought cast iron pans and tried to season them and it really didn't work.

Thank you so very much for your helpful advice.

CanHealthInsure on May 30, 2013:

Great lens!

chickie99 on February 19, 2013:

really like scrambled eggs~~~just don't care for the mess.

thanks for the tips! good lens!

tandemonimom lm (author) on January 02, 2013:

@Joy Neasley: Why, thank you, and you're welcome! :)

tandemonimom lm (author) on January 02, 2013:

@Christian DuBois: Thanks - I'm happy to get the word out about the dangers.

tandemonimom lm (author) on January 02, 2013:

@ShariBerry: Thank you!

tandemonimom lm (author) on January 02, 2013:

@anonymous: Excellent! Love to hear that this works for other people.

tandemonimom lm (author) on January 02, 2013:

@anonymous: Jen, so glad to hear this worked for you!

fatlossforflatabs on December 13, 2012:

Very nice lens. Eggs are my #1 go-to breakfast food.

anonymous on December 08, 2012:

Absolutely works! Directions were perfect and easy to follow. Coconut oil worked very well. I use it for everything else, but have been afraid to use it in eggs for fear that they would seem sweet. I feared for nothing. They were perfect. Thank you for sharing!

anonymous on November 26, 2012:

Great explanation! Made eggs for the kiddies tonight in a stainless steel pan and not one issue. No sticking or mess to clean. Many thanks!!

Sharon Berry from Michigan on November 13, 2012:

Great information and wonderful pictures.

Christian DuBois from New York on October 15, 2012:

Great thorough lens! No one should be using anodize or Teflon coated cookware. This lens is great for anyone wondering why not!

Joy Neasley from Nashville, TN on September 07, 2012:

Your a genius...kudos to you!!! Thanks for sharing this.

tandemonimom lm (author) on August 30, 2012:

@KandDMarketing: I would totally agree about cooking with any vegetable oils, but tropical oils (coconut, palm) are acknowledged to be in a class by themselves. They are extremely stable and therefore safe to cook with, and are also extremely healthful. Great article: The Skinny on Fats.

KandDMarketing on August 27, 2012:

Good job .. except the coconut oil. Studies are now showing that vegetable oils should NOT be cooked with, as they are transformed by the heat into some oddly nasty things. Real, live butter, or even properly rendered lard (not Crisco, it's RAPE seed oil!) are the preferred oils, as the heat actually improves the fats in the oils, providing a perfect balance of "good -vs- bad" that actually reduces intake of carcinogens and blood cholesterol levels.

Lynda Makara from California on August 27, 2012:

Eggscellent! You nailed it! Angel blessings.

Virginia Allain from Central Florida on August 27, 2012:

What useful and well-presented advice. Thanks!

Alexandra Douglas from Florida on August 22, 2012:

That is cool! Thanks for sharing!

myraggededge on August 07, 2012:

Just popped in to renew my angel love for this lens. Spread the scrambled egg love and send all Teflon products to a nearby empty planet!

funbee lm on July 30, 2012:

a very informative lens, the scrambled eggs look delicious

Melissa Miotke from Arizona on July 24, 2012:

I actually didn't realize Teflon was so bad. Thanks for sharing!

anonymous on July 08, 2012:

Nice lens on Eggs! thank for sharing

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EcoLogik on June 08, 2012:

Nice lens on Eggs! I like eggs, even scrambled on a microwave oven.

LynetteBell from Christchurch, New Zealand on May 23, 2012:

Like my scrambled eggs wet not dry cooked either way.

fish-oil-expert on April 04, 2012:

Damn, nice eggs! I use one of those green earth pans and it works pretty well.

brynimagire on March 27, 2012:

Great information ! Great lens !

Steve Dizmon from Nashville, TN on March 19, 2012:

I eat a lot of eggs per week and have excellent cholesterol numbers. Go figure.

anonymous on March 19, 2012:

Great lens, I must try this recipe.

John Dyhouse from UK on March 19, 2012:

Eggcellent lens, learned how to make life easier and tastier. Seriously though I am very fond of eggs; boiled, fried, omlette, poached and soufled as well as scrambled.

JimDickens on March 19, 2012:

scuse me while I go fix some eggs for lunch. Loved the lens

aquarian_insight on March 19, 2012:

You know that question "If you had to eat just one food for the rest of your life what would it be?" I have always answered eggs! Eggs are the most perfect food and thank you so much for this wonderful lens.

anonymous on March 12, 2012:

I tried scrambled eggs in a stainless pan this morning, thanks to this site! It worked so well that I cooked fish (tilapia) in one for dinner! I was THAT confident in my new skill. Thank you so much!!!

PowerDividends on March 08, 2012:

great len! eggs are the best

awesomedealz4u on February 11, 2012:

Great info!

Peggy Hazelwood from Desert Southwest, U.S.A. on January 04, 2012:

I still use a Teflon pan but can cook eggs in a regular pan too. Great advice on how to cook scrambled eggs. Thanks!

Sara Krentz from USA on December 24, 2011:

We switched from Teflon, and I've been having so much trouble scrambling eggs in our new stainless steel pan. Thank you for creating this lens!

anonymous on December 06, 2011:

Nice lens.I love egg.Thanks for sharing nice ideas.I will try this.

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Lisa Marie Gabriel from United Kingdom on December 01, 2011:

Great lens AND I am going to try those eggs au naturel :D

woodapple on November 24, 2011:

@ErHawkns7100: I am a newbie and your success is very much an inspiration for me.ahem

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ErHawkns7100 on November 15, 2011:

Great lens, I love eggs!

anonymous on October 28, 2011:

I need to give this "Perfect Scrambled Eggs" method a try, my eggs always stick - I hate long unnecessary cleanups.

anonymous on September 21, 2011:

When it comes to comfort, this line of knives is going to be hard to beat. The handles are made up of an ergonomically molded polyresin that has been reinforced with fiberglass to make it resistant to chipping and cracking. This is one of the few sets of kitchen cutlery on the market that features full-tang blades that and handles that are designed to fit the contours of your hands. Putting them through the paces in the kitchen feels good, and they will make blasting through a long day cooking as painless of a process as possible.

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jseven lm on September 14, 2011:

Thanks for sharing some really great info. I am a fan of Mercola and use cast iron and stainless steel pans. I get my eggs from my daughter who does not feed her chickens soy. I like to cook them in ghee and add sea salt and herb seasoning. I learned a lot and now will have non-stick eggs after all these years! How cool is that? :)

Nancy Carol Brown Hardin from Las Vegas, NV on September 13, 2011:

I had not given this any thought, but this is egg-zactly how my Mom taught me to cook scrambled eggs, and also the care of the cast iron skillets (all of which I inherited) is the same. Reminded me of home...thanks for sharing.

Ann Hinds from So Cal on September 12, 2011:

Thanks for the help. I don't like cooking eggs but I think I have it now.

shaw-alexander on August 23, 2011:

Its like you read my mind!

anonymous on August 14, 2011:

Great looking eggs.

anonymous on August 11, 2011:

Excellent work on this lens. You are the eggspert! Now let me scamper before you scramble! :)

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anonymous on August 07, 2011:

Cooking in cast iron is a bit different. I cook egg whites this way and they hardly stick at all. The trick is to actually allow the eggs to cook before moving them around.

JoshK47 on July 18, 2011:

Awesome work on this - of course, I am now hungry for eggs...

hysongdesigns on July 03, 2011:

perfect passing along to my DIL ;-)

Vicki from USA on June 29, 2011:

Excellent lens and tutorial on making the perfect scrambled eggs!! I used to turn scrambled eggs into a sticky, crusty mess until my um........this is so hard to admit publicly......my, er, boyfriend taught me the correct method of scrambling eggs!!! He also taught me how to fry a perfect egg. I made GROSS fried eggs until I met my boyfriend! I will pass this lens on to a couple of Egg-Scrambling-Challenged friends of mine!! Great work.

Kathryn Grace from San Francisco on June 28, 2011:

I've been scrambling eggs in my cast iron pans like this for years, and it works exactly as you describe. I don't add butter at the end, for health reasons, but if I watch the eggs carefully, we still get a moist, tender scramble. Nicely done lens! You kept my attention throughout, which few can do!

phoenix arizona f on June 27, 2011:

I love having eggs for breakfast. These tips will make breakfast-making less of a challenge. Thank you!

anonymous on June 24, 2011:

Thank you for sharing the secret, I look forward to trying out your recipe when I'm next delegated breakfast chef.

BuildMyBrand on June 22, 2011:

Fabulous!!!

Tolovaj Publishing House from Ljubljana on June 11, 2011:

They say the hardest food to prepare is making eggs to others. There are so many variatons ... Now i have one more. Looking forward to try it:)

Ramona from Arkansas on June 10, 2011:

Such great information about eggs. I just slap mine in the skillet and tough it out with the scrubbing. Not tomorrow morning, cause I am going to try your tip at breakfast. thank you.

beautylala101 on June 10, 2011:

Thanks for the great tips, I make scrambled eggs everyday for my grandson and from now on I will be only using stainless steel!

bames24 lm on June 03, 2011:

love your lens

DaveHiggsVis on May 17, 2011:

Excellent lens!

chrispell017 on May 04, 2011:

great lens!

sebastian1234 on April 15, 2011:

Great lens. A lot of useful information and the eggs sound yummy

Chazz from New York on April 08, 2011:

Squid angel blessings on a eggs-emplary lens! We're featuring this on our collection of bless worthy lenses: Wing-ing It on Squidoo.

anonymous on April 05, 2011:

I've needed this for ages. Now I know the secret. I didn't know that the nonstick pans were harmful. I'm glad I've been using a cast iron skillet. What a great lens.

CruiseReady from East Central Florida on April 04, 2011:

Oh, boy, does this lens have a lot of good and useful information in it. Nice job

careermom on March 30, 2011:

You're right hot pan and cold oi works wonders!

clouda9 lm on March 17, 2011:

Egg-actly what I needed for all those fresh eggs that our girls are now laying because winter is but a dream :) May the luck of the Irish be with you today...*blessed and featured on http://www.squidoo.com/my-angel-wings :*

Philippians468 on March 17, 2011:

thank you for sharing this informative lens! i will definitely try it someday! cheers

Violin-Student on March 09, 2011:

Great tips. It amazes me how many people add their eggs when the pan is WAY too cool Having worked for two years in a restaurant were we served 250 plates of scrambled eggs per day I got LOTS of practice. Good information here.

Pete Schultz on February 25, 2011:

I learn all sorts of new thing by cruising around squidoo, this lens has lots of good information that is very well presented. Thanks.

darciefrench lm on February 24, 2011:

I'm definitely going to try this secret to great scrambled eggs -:)

happynutritionist on February 22, 2011:

So happy to read all this...I always rush in and stir my eggs right away, and it makes sense now that I shouldn't. We use our cast iron skillet almost daily, it never quite makes it to the kitechen cabinet, and the rest of my cookware is stainless steel. Loved the Coconut Oil tip, too, and it was nice to see the Frugal Gourmet's face again, it's been a long time since I've seen him on TV...was a loyal watcher. Blessed and added to http://squidoo.com/nutrition-angel!

Terry Boroff (flipflopnana) from FL on February 14, 2011:

They definitely work, I have been fixing eggs like this for many years. I have never used nonstick cookware. Kissed by cupid :).

anonymous on February 11, 2011:

@tandemonimom lm: I tried it again, with a lower heat. The initial heat of the pan meant that the eggs cooked VERY quickly. They didn't stick, which was great, but the consistency was still different than when cooked with a lower starting heat (in a nonstick pan). Have you found this to be the case?

tandemonimom lm (author) on February 11, 2011:

@anonymous: So glad to hear it works for you!

anonymous on February 11, 2011:

Dude,

You a genius. I have an excellent Belgique stainless pan and I have been trying in vain for a year to figure out how to make eggs in it. This works beautifully. Thank you so much.

bjslapidary on February 05, 2011:

Haven't tried them yet, but I will. I learned a lot from your lens. Thanks.

kimbesa from USA on February 04, 2011:

Thanks so much! Making good scrambled eggs is a skill everyone should have...**angel blessed**

tandemonimom lm (author) on January 24, 2011:

@tandemonimom lm: PS: Experiment to find out what heat works best for your pan!

tandemonimom lm (author) on January 24, 2011:

@anonymous: If you notice in my section "Turn Up the Heat" I do NOT recommend cooking on a high heat. I cook my eggs on medium-low heat. Put medium-low heat under a good heavy-duty pan, let it get hot, then follow the directions. It takes a while for the pan to heat properly at less than medium, but the high initial heat followed by the slower cooking enabled from the lower heat setting works for me every time!

anonymous on January 23, 2011:

I've tried this method before - and just tried it again - in my stainless steel pan. The results were the same. The eggs didn't stick, but they ended up browned, which I'd rather avoid. It happens quickly too - it's not like I'm letting the eggs cook for a long time. The usual recommendations (in nonstick pans, of course) for making scrambled eggs call for lower heat. How can I avoid browning with such high heat?

norma-holt on January 12, 2011:

Very nice recipe and I love the no stick idea. Tip marks

Steve and Annette on January 12, 2011:

Great lens! I'm going to have to try this.

livingfrontiers on December 12, 2010:

A great lens...thanks for the detail!

deyanis from Oz on December 08, 2010:

I never made a perfect scramble egg before, regardless of whatever pans I used. Your lens had give me a great excuse to try make one this weekend and use my stainless steel pan to cook it :-) Thanks so much for great tips.

tandemonimom lm (author) on December 04, 2010:

Today is my dad's 71st birthday and he sometimes thinks he's about seen it all. He watched me make eggs this morning and was he ever surprised!

anonymous on December 04, 2010:

This is wonderful information, I never thought of any of this and I make eggs all the time. Thank you, I am going to try your technique

KDimmick on December 02, 2010:

Awesome - I'm trying this out :)

DesignedbyLisa LM on December 01, 2010:

Great suggestions! I'm going to try them soon.

anonymous on November 28, 2010:

I love scrambled eggs and don't feel good about using nonstick pans but have because of the mess. Who would have thought the solution was so simple. That certainly deserves a Purple Star for sure! Thank you....

jlshernandez on November 21, 2010:

I did not know about tomato sauce and cast-iron pans are no-nos. Lots of wonderful information here that I did not know.

oztoo lm on November 10, 2010:

I avoid making scrambled eggs simply because of the clean up afterwards. Thanks for this wonderful tip. I shall try it out soon.

WritingforYourW on November 07, 2010:

Sounds like a plan. Thanks for the tips. :)

huvalbd on November 06, 2010:

The only thing I don't like about scrambled eggs is cleaning the pan after the meal. This will help a lot! Thanks for publishing it!

thefashionfix on November 01, 2010:

They look good! Although it is 8am here and I am now very hungry...