How to Stop Scrambled Eggs from Sticking to Pan

You probably thought that continuously stirring scrambled eggs will stop them from sticking to the pan as they are cooking evenly and slowly. That’s not the case, besides, stirring continuously also means that the butter will not stay between the pan and the eggs. Thus, you end up with a solid layer of cooked eggs on a pan that is tough to wash off or form a steel pan rainbow.

Some experts suggest that cooking the scrambled eggs on a non-stick pan stops the stick. Well, that’s just the first thing that comes to a chef’s mind—there are other tips to follow to cook scrambled eggs even on stainless, not just a non-stick.

How to stop scrambled eggs from sticking to pans

How to stop scrambled eggs from sticking to pans

The good news: any cook can keep pan-sticking scrambled eggs at bay. And in this guide, you’d be learning the essentials to stop your scrambled eggs from sticking to pan and improve your cooking experience.

1. Use the proper pan for the job

Although you need to spray some cooking oil beforehand, using a high-quality nonstick pan or a well-seasoned and regularly used cast iron pan will prevent any sticky situations when it comes to making scrambled eggs. Not doing this is like asking for trouble afterward.

2. Fresh eggs are best for scrambled eggs

Fresh eggs are the best eggs for frying while older eggs are more suited for hard-boiling. This is because the fresher an egg is, the stronger the proteins in the white area; which means the egg will form a neater shape in the frying pan.

3. Clean your pan

If using a non-stick pan, you need to make sure the pan is well cleaned with no surface bumps or dents: This is self-explanatory, surface bumps or dents on non-stick pans will not allow food to slide off the surface of the pan easily, causing any dishes prepared in these pans to stick to them.

So you must properly clean the non-stick pan you plan on using, and make sure it is properly seasoned, well cleaned, and free of bumps, dents, or flakes on its surface before use. Otherwise, you are going to have to spend some quality time cleaning your pan afterward. Per Blue Apron, LLC, “baking soda, distilled white vinegar, and fresh lemon juice are a triple cleansing threat.”

4. Preheat your pan until it is “hot but not smoking

By preheating your pan or skillet at medium temperatures, you will help raise the temperature of the pan’s surface to a point that will prevent the eggs from sticking to it.

If in doubt about what the right temperature is, you can use a water test to help determine if the pan is at the proper temperature.  Put a tiny amount of water in the pan, and then watch if the water droplets form a bead that glides smoothly across the surface of the pan rather than sizzle.

If it forms a bead that glides smoothly across the surface of the pan, then the temperature is right. If it sizzles then it’s too hot!

But remember to completely drain the water before adding oil or fats, and ensure it’s not too hot to avoid filling your kitchen with smoke.

5. Coat your pan

Tilt the pan to coat the inner pan’s surface evenly with a thin layer of hot fat or cooking oil. The fat or cooking oil will act as both a cooking medium that helps to conduct heat from the pan’s surface to the egg and a semi-non-stick surface that provides a very thin, slippery barrier between the hot pan and the egg.

To avoid burnt, unpleasant-tasting eggs, ensure you use an appropriate amount of oil or fat, a low or medium heat setting, and that both the pan and fat/oil are hot enough to make a sizzle before adding the eggs.

Tip: If using butter, remember to use real butter and not margarine.

6. Lift the egg with the right utensil

Use a stainless steel fish slice or a greased non-metal spatula if using a non-stick pan. As the food cooks, slide the tip of a stainless steel fish slice or a greased non-metal spatula (if using non-stick pans) under the food to lift it off the pan before the food sticks. Keep doing this, actively, until the eggs are fried to your satisfaction.

7. Don’t overcook eggs and don’t lift or flip them up too soon

Some practice is required to get the timing between both just right. Remember the part in contact with the pan must cook and sufficiently harden so the egg can easily get off the pan’s surface, at the same time it must not sit for too long in the pan to prevent them from getting overcooked and sticking to the surface of the pan.

Why do my scrambled eggs stick to the pan?

Eggs contain proteins that enable them to easily bond with other surfaces. In other words, your scrambled eggs easily spread and form a chemical bond with the pan immediately after they come into contact with the surface of the pan. This is the reason why eggs easily stick to the surface of frying pans.

Moreover, the scrambled eggs will burn and stick to the pan if you’re cooking too fast, the heat’s too high, or you’re not stirring enough or fast enough to stop the sticking.

That said, how do you know if my pan is at the right temperature? You can be sure your pan is at the right temperature by using a water drop test. Simply put a tiny amount of water in the pan, and then watch if the water droplets form a bead that glides smoothly across the surface of the pan rather than sizzles up in smoke.

If the water forms a bead that glides smoothly across the surface of the pan, then the temperature of the pan is right. If it sizzles then it’s too hot; which means you might need to temporarily move the pan partly or entirely off the hob, to stop the pan from overheating.

What is the best way to cook scrambled eggs?

Here’s a guide a pro chef gave to me on how he makes his scrambled eggs:

  1. Break the eggs into a cold pan and mix with an appropriate amount of butter
  2. Add a little seasoning, salt, and white pepper
  3. Turn on the heat and place the pan on it
  4. Start stirring when you notice the butter begins melting
  5. As the eggs start to get harden or curl up into curds, take the pan off the heat so it doesn’t overcook or get burnt
  6. Stir a little more
  7. When you notice the egg is almost done, take the pan off the heat and add a tablespoon of cold crème fraise

FAQs

What pan is best for scrambled eggs?

According to professional chefs, the best pans to use for making scrambled eggs are properly cleaned, well seasoned, and frequently used cast iron pans or skillets. But in the absence of cast iron, any one of ceramic, non-stick, carbon steel, stainless steel, aluminum pans or skillets will produce excellent results. You only need to make sure the pan is preheated to the right temperature before adding the eggs.

What eggs are best for frying?

Fresh eggs are the best eggs for frying. This is because the fresher an egg is, the stronger the proteins are in the white; which means the egg will form a neater shape in the frying pan. Fresh eggs are best for frying, while older or week-old eggs are more suitable for making hard-boiled eggs.

Final thoughts

Learning how to stop scrambled eggs from sticking to your frying pan is not a  big deal.  You only need to follow the guidelines given above, and with some foresight and practice in no time, you’d be making scrambled eggs like a master chef without getting them stuck to the pan.

Just remember to use the right heat setting, the pan for the job, and the right amount of fats or oil to keep your eggs from sticking to the pan.