The Unexpected Ingredient Alton Brown Puts In His Scrambled Eggs

Scrambled eggs: a simple breakfast staple, right? Well, not exactly. It seems like everyone has a different way of making them, a hack or ingredient — everything from heavy cream to baking powder and even cornstarch — to take the basic scramble to another level (via Delish).

Julia Child is on everyone's mind these days, thanks to "Julia” streaming on HBO Max, so let's consider her scramble style. "The grande dame of American gastronomy” favored a straightforward scramble with a French accent: eight eggs (or seven with two extra egg yolks) plus salt and pepper, milk or water, plenty of butter for the cooking pan, and an "enrichment” pat of butter or swirl of cream added at the very end (via Julia Child's Recipes).

Of course, there's great debate in the food world over whether to add water or milk to one's eggs. Some say water will make the eggs light and fluffy, while milk will weigh the eggs down. Alton Brown, the Food Network's resident food scientist, likes to add enrichment to scrambled eggs using an unconventional ingredient — one that raises eyebrows and suspicions.

Mayonnaise in scrambled eggs? Trust Alton Brown

Alton Brown, the veteran host of "Good Eats” and author of multiple cookbooks, puts mayonnaise in his scrambled eggs. The TV host introduced the mayonnaise-in-the-scramble concept in his book "Everyday Cook” (via Southern Living). And the questionable ingredient came up again on a segment of "Precise Advice with Alton Brown,” a feature on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" (via YouTube).

In the short segments loaded with fast-paced cooking knowledge, sage advice, and sharp humor, Brown answers questions from viewers, reading them from cards and tossing them aside when he's done. "How do I rebuild trust in you after having learned you put mayonnaise in your scrambled eggs?” one viewer asked.

Brown noted that scrambled eggs are an emulsion, or a smooth, homogenous mixture of fat and water. Mayonnaise is essentially the same thing, "kind of like a booster to the emulsion you're trying to make,” Brown explained. "Just go with me on this. You can trust me.”

YouTube commenter GAF/LS endorsed Brown's advice, saying, "Yes, adding mayonnaise to scrambled eggs increases the fat content so that it smooths out the whites and makes the mixture form a creamy texture. Yum.” Well, we may just have to try this scrambled egg hack for ourselves.

Alton Brown has tips for hard-boiled eggs, too

Some might look at him like he's a three-headed monster for suggesting stirring some mayonnaise into scrambled eggs, but Alton Brown has a treasure trove of hacks. And fans appreciate them because they're well thought out, well researched, and really work. In the words of one home cook, who left a comment on the "Precise Advice with Alton Brown” video on YouTube, "Other chefs tell you what to do; Alton explains how you can achieve what you want to get.”

This is precisely true. Thanks to his journeyman experience as a cookbook author, TV host, and home cook, Brown has a trick for just about everything. The next time we make meatballs, for example, we're going to skip frying them on the stove — and making a mess of it — and try baking them in the cups of a miniature muffin tin instead.

While he's not tinkering with scrambled eggs and how to make them more velvety, Brown has a hack for hard-cooked eggs. Rather than drop the eggs in a pot of boiling water, the culinary scientist ditches most of the water and places a metal steamer basket in the pan to cradle the eggs (via YouTube). Gentle steaming, he says, produces more tender hard-cooked eggs.

After you're done experimenting, don't throw your cardboard egg cartons away. Brown has a brilliant hack for organizing your refrigerator that puts them to use.

An unconventional scramble from Gordon Ramsay

If a cooking video on YouTube tallies up more than 48 million views, it must have something going for it. In this case, it's celebrated chef Gordon Ramsay's different and slightly sophisticated take on — you guessed it — scrambled eggs.

Ramsay calls his scrambled eggs "perfect,” especially for weekends when time is less of an issue. He starts by pan-roasting mushrooms and tomatoes on the vine to garnish the plate, before moving on to the eggs. They're unconventional in several ways.

First, the eggs are broken directly into the pan, on the stove. Then Ramsay adds a generous slab of butter — no water or milk — and blends the eggs and butter together on the heat using a spatula. "Treat it like a risotto,” he says. "You can't stop stirring.” He takes the pan on and off the heat three or four times, stirring all the while, before adding a spoonful of creme fraiche to the creamy-looking eggs.

Scrambled eggs isn't the dish that Ramsay says best represents him as a chef, but we'd start our day with it in a heartbeat — and forgive him for burning the toast. Now, no matter whether he follow Ramsay or Alton Brown's egg hacks, we know we're in for a treat.