When to Add Salt to Scrambled Eggs, According to Experts

They all agree that this is the best time.

Dotdash Meredith Food Studio
Dotdash Meredith Food Studio

Whipping up light and fluffy scrambled eggs is one of the best and easiest ways to start your day. But despite the simplicity of this protein-packed quick and simple breakfast, there’s an ongoing debate among chefs, home cooks, and food scientists alike on the right time to salt them.

Some think that adding salt to eggs before they cook will thin out the whites and result in a tough and rubbery final product. Still, others believe that adding salt before cooking makes for a better-seasoned, more flavorful scramble.

You may have been taught never to add salt to raw eggs as the sodium will change the texture and make them tough. Or perhaps it was an influential celebrity chef who made us all wait until scrambled eggs were just finished before sprinkling them with salt. But whoever helped spread this theory may actually be wrong.

When to Add Salt to Scrambled Eggs

To finally answer this question, we reached out to some national egg brands for their perspective. It turns out that adding salt while whisking together raw eggs can make the best, most flavorful scramble.

“We hear this debate a lot between our Michelin Chef partners and even from our at-home chefs about when to salt eggs,” said Whitney Fortin, vice president of marketing at Happy Egg, a free-range commercial egg producer headquartered in Arkansas. “Adding salt to your egg scramble prior to cooking acts as a buffer that prevents the yolks’ proteins from getting too tight and losing their moisture. When you add salt prior to the eggs hitting heat, it results in a fluffier scramble.”

Erin Krenek, manager of communications at Vital Farms, a company that sells pasture-raised eggs nationally, agreed that it’s best to salt eggs at the whisking step before cooking. “We believe that salt helps break up the white to create a more homogenous mixture, makes them more tender, and creates a more well-rounded taste in every bite.”

Does Adding Salt Before Cooking Scrambled Eggs Change the Flavor?

<p>Dotdash Meredith Food Studios</p>

Dotdash Meredith Food Studios

Vital Farms actually brought up this topic to their staff in a taste test, but the results didn’t necessarily make answering this question that much easier.

“However, when we put the question up in a crew taste test a few years ago, we didn’t notice a significant taste difference based on when you salted the eggs,” Krenek said. “Whether you [add salt] before or after, you should always season your eggs with a bit of salt to concentrate and enhance the delicious egg flavor.

Sarah Beth Tanner, recipe developer for Pete & Gerry’s, a commercial egg company headquartered in New Hampshire, agreed that it’s important not to skip the salt when making scrambled eggs.

"In our experience, the difference in texture when salting before, during, or after cooking scrambled eggs is very subtle,” Tanner said. “As long as you’re salting them at some point, you’ll be just fine.”

The Science of Salt and Eggs

While egg companies generally recommend adding salt to scrambled eggs before cooking (even if it’s only subtly better than salting after cooking), food science can help explain why you should, in fact, sprinkle your scramble with salt before cooking.

This may take you back to science class, but stick with us! The tenderness of cooked eggs has to do, in large part, with the coagulation of protein, especially the speed of coagulation. Light, tender, and moist scrambled eggs require moderately low heat to gently trap some of the water naturally found in eggs as the curds set—and salt can actually be an ally in this process.

In his book "On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen," Harold McGee explains that there’s actually no truth to the idea that salt toughens egg proteins. Most egg proteins carry a negative electrical charge and “salt dissolves into positively and negatively charged ions that cluster around the charged portions of the proteins and effectively neutralize them.” As a result, the proteins bond earlier in the cooking process, so “eggs end up more tender when salted,” McGee writes.

So how much salt should you add to scrambled eggs before cooking? We recommend a big pinch of salt for every couple of eggs you plan to cook. And it’s best to slightly under-season the eggs before cooking as once you add that sodium, there’s no going back.

Read the original article on All Recipes.