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Joy Saha

The best cooking fat for making eggs?

Scrambled eggs have long been a quintessential American breakfast food. And while they are pretty easy to whip up in the comfort of your own kitchen, they also require a certain finesse to truly perfect them.

See, making scrambled eggs is more than just beating eggs with salt and pepper, pouring them into a heated saucepan and cooking them till they form into curds. Generally, this will result in nothing but . . . a pan with eggs stuck to it. The secret to transforming your eggs from mediocre to stellar is one simple ingredient: cooking fat.

For years, chefs and home cooks alike have debated which cooking fat makes the best scrambled eggs. And by best, we mean the creamiest, softest and fluffiest eggs ever. Some swear by bacon fat, while others are fans of coconut oil and ghee (clarified butter). Here at Salon Food, we believe butter is actually the best cooking fat to use when making scrambled eggs. Backing us up are several celebrity chefs and breakfast enthusiasts on Reddit.

"As eggs cook, the proteins in the whites form tight, cross-linked bonds that turn their texture dense and rubbery," explained America's Test Kitchen. "Adding butter to the mix coats the proteins with fat, inhibiting them from forming bonds so the eggs stay soft and creamy." The results are even better with frozen butter because "it doesn't melt as quickly and disperses more evenly throughout the egg."

The trick is to add the butter with your eggs in the saucepan. Adding cubes of butter after you place your eggs on the heated pan works too. The only way you'll achieve fluffy scrambled eggs is if the butter is fully incorporated into the eggs and they both are cooked together over low heat. It's super important that your heat isn't too high! Also, that's why frozen butter is actually preferred over room temperature butter; the former will melt more slowly, giving it more time to coat the protein in the egg.

Science aside, butter is a popular choice amongst esteemed chefs, like Gordon Ramsay and our beloved Cosmo queen Ina Garten. Ramsay's recipe for scrambled eggs calls for six cold eggs, butter, salt and pepper, crème fraîche and chives. If you're making a smaller batch of eggs, Ramsay recommends using a 2-to-1 eggs-to-butter ratio. After cracking the eggs into a deep saucepan, the butter is added and stirred in gently to mix with the eggs.

Similarly, Garten's recipe for scrambled eggs calls for two tablespoons of unsalted butter that is melted in the pan before a mixture of 10 extra-large eggs, milk, salt, pepper, parsley, scallions and dill is added.

On Reddit, the general consensus amongst home cooks is that butter is not only the simplest cooking fat to use but also, the best when making eggs in the morning:

"Butter in a pan . . . eggs, no seasoning. Stir constantly, removing from the heat and replacing so that it sets slowly," explained user u/TheMentalist10. "Depending on the consistency you're going for (for example, French Scrambled Eggs have almost no curd), you'll want to stir more or less vigorously. Continue until they're almost cooked, then remove from the heat and allow the residual pan-heat to finish them off whilst you season."

Similarly, user u/dustinsrock said, "I use three fresh eggs from my local dairy. Whip them with whole milk and a dash of sour cream. I usually [use] a bit of turmeric and sea salt in them as well. Use Kerrygold butter in the pan . . .  keep scrambling them with a silicone spatula. While they're scrambling, drop some cream cheese in them. Bangin."

So there you have it! Butter is indeed the best cooking fat for making the fluffiest, best tasting scrambled eggs ever. Soon enough, you'll be wowing your friends, family and guests with your expert egg-making skills. Be sure to enjoy your fresh scrambled eggs over a slice of toast and a fresh cup of coffee. Bon appétit!

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