The Best Type Of Fat To Prevent Your Eggs From Sticking To The Pan

It's pretty incredible that over 7.7 million dozen-sized cartons of eggs were produced in the U.S. in 2022, according to the USDA. Not only does this mean that there are some very busy hens out there, but it also demonstrates the sheer demand for eggs across the country.

Despite their popularity, eggs have a habit of being annoying — even vindictive, you could argue. It's as if they deliberately jump out of your hands to plummet to the floor, or take great satisfaction in exploding into a million sticky pieces with only the softest of touches. Then, if you're lucky enough to get to the stage of actually cooking them, they insist on gluing themselves permanently to the bottom of the pan.

This is probably the worst part about eggs. Whether you're trying to quickly fry or perfectly poach an egg, it will invariably weld itself to the pan, leaving behind a substance that is somehow solid and slimy. Not even a direct hit from a cruise missile could destroy it. However, there is a useful fat you can use to stop this.

You need a special kind of butter to stop eggs from sticking

There's some science at play when it comes to exactly why eggs persist in getting stuck to pans. Foods such as eggs, meat, and cheese commonly stick to pans because the proteins they contain form complex bonds with the metal when heated. In addition to simply moving eggs around in the pan, it's beneficial to use a certain cooking fat to stop the bonds from forming.

The fat you should be using is clarified butter, which is made by gently heating butter, resulting in a pure yellow liquid that has had its milk removed. This gives it an increased resistance to heat and a higher smoking threshold, meaning that it doesn't begin to burn until around 450 degrees Fahrenheit, and is effective at cooking eggs to high temperatures.

As well as stopping eggs from sticking to the pan, clarified butter works particularly well with scrambled eggs because it adds a nutty taste that enhances the overall flavor profile. A 2016 study published in Food Chemistry also found that cooking with butter produces substantially less acrylamide (a chemical formed during high-heat cooking that has been linked to causing cancer in animals, per FDA) than using oil, meaning clarified butter produces easier and healthier cooked eggs.