French Scrambled Eggs: How to Make Soft Scrambled Eggs

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Here’s how to make those soft, custardy, spoonable French scrambled eggs with the tiny curds that seem almost magical. It takes a little time and attention, but it’s easy. Psst…we’ve got perfect American-style scrambled eggs, too.

soft scrambled eggs on a plate with prosciutto and a slice of toast with butter and jam

Why we love this recipe

Soft scrambled eggs remind us SO much of the years we lived in London, which is always a good thing. Even though these are technically French scrambled eggs, Brits love to make them, too. Our gently posh neighborhood café Ginger & White serves these with sourdough toast and smoked salmon, and that’s never a bad moment to recall in your own kitchen.

French scrambled eggs take a lot more time and attention than American-style scrambled eggs (which we LOVE, too). But they manage to feel comforting and impressive at the same time, they don’t take any special skill, and they’re easy enough to make in a bit of a big batch (think a dozen or 16 eggs at a time) to serve a small crowd if you like.

adding eggs, milk, salt, and pepper to a mixing bowl, whisking with a fork, and adding butter to a small nonstick pan over very low heat

French scrambled eggs ingredients

Here’s what you need to make custardy soft scrambled eggs:

  • Really good eggs
  • A tiny bit of milk
  • A sprinkle of salt and pepper
  • A pat of butter (we like to use a good cultured, salted butter)
  • A little bit of heavy cream
adding butter and egg mixture to the pan and stirring constantly

How to make soft scrambled eggs

Here’s what you’ll do to make soft, French-style scrambled eggs. The name of the game here is slow and steady. You can see all the steps in action in the video that accompanies this post.

  • Crack the eggs into a small mixing bowl and add the milk, a pinch of salt, and a few good grinds of pepper. Use a fork to mix until the eggs are an even yellow color. Using a fork lets you mix well without incorporating too much air.
  • Set a small, good-quality nonstick pan over low heat on the stovetop. For the four eggs in this recipe, an 8-inch pan works well. It’s easier to control the heat when you have a bit of depth to the eggs rather than a very shallow layer.
  • Regarding heat level: On my gas range, I use the low setting rather than the even lower simmer. On the little electric burner that I use to make videos, I started on the low setting and ended up turning it up just a touch to somewhere between low and medium-low. Your mileage may vary, so experiment a bit with the low and very low settings on your stove and learn as you go.
  • Add the butter to the pan and swipe it around with the spatula to lightly coat the whole pan. When there’s a light layer of melted butter on the pan but most of the butter is still solid, pour in the egg mixture.
  • Stir the eggs constantly with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula for 15-20 minutes. For the first four to five minutes, it will seem like nothing is happening except that the butter will slowly melt into the egg mixture. The eggs will remain liquid with no curds forming. But slowly bringing the eggs up to temperature will make all the difference in the final process, so don’t rush it. Just keep stirring constantly, running your spatula around the entire bottom and sides of the pan. The color will go from brighter to darker yellow over these first few minutes, but you might not notice since it will be very gradual. If nothing at all has happened after about five or six minutes, raise the heat very slightly and note that you can start on that slightly higher setting next time.
  • At some point, very small curds will start to form. Just keep stirring while the eggs begin to thicken into a silky, custardy scramble. Keep going until the eggs are just thick enough to stay on the side of the pan that you push them toward. You can watch the video for visual cues.
  • Off the heat, stir in the cream.
  • Slide the eggs onto serving plates (or into small bowls if you like) and serve. If you like, garnish with flaky sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, and maybe a sprinkle of minced chives, ramps, or parsley.
  • These eggs like to be served right away, but if necessary you can keep them warm for a bit in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of hot water.
curds forming in soft scrambled eggs, stirring in cream and sliding onto a serving plate

Equipment

You don’t need anything fancy to make this recipe, but it really helps to have a couple of good-quality basic tools:

  • A nice, heavy-bottomed small nonstick frying pan. This Anolon one is our favorite right now. Use the 8-inch one for 4 to 8 eggs.
  • A silicone spatula to make constant mixing easy. Here’s our favorite, from OXO. We have several of these bad boys in our kitchen to keep in regular rotation.

Fun fact: No-added-fat version

This isn’t our personal jam, but Cook’s Illustrated did a bunch of testing and showed that you can actually make creamy French-style scrambled eggs with no added fat if you like.

You can replace the butter, milk, and cream with water, and as long as you cook the eggs low and slow as described here, they will still be soft and creamy. We personally prefer the taste of a little bit of butter and cream, but just sayin.

Do you have to serve soft scrambled eggs right away?

Truth be told, these eggs do not stop demanding your attention after you’ve poured all your moderately heroic efforts into cooking them. They’re best when served right away. But if you’re scrambling (pun intended?) to get all the elements of your meal together, it’s okay to set them in a heatproof bowl over a pot of steaming water for up to about 30 minutes before serving.

What to serve with French scrambled eggs

Some of our favorite simple side dishes to serve with soft scrambled eggs are:

  • Good, crusty bread or seeded toast with butter and jam
  • Bacon, prosciutto, or smoked salmon
  • Simple mixed greens with balsamic vinaigrette
custardy soft scrambled eggs on a plate with prosciutto and toast

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French Scrambled Eggs (Soft Scrambled Eggs)

Soft, custardy French scrambled eggs feel comforting and special at the same time. They take a bit of time and attention, but there's no special skill involved, and you can totally do it. Here's how to make them. You can scale this recipe all the way up to 4x for a small crowd. For 12-16 eggs, use a 10- or 12-inch pan rather than an 8-inch one.

Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 22 minutes
Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons milk
  • Pinch of fine sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon cultured, salted butter
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream

Directions

  1. In a small mixing bowl, use a fork to beat together the eggs, milk, salt, and pepper. Mix until the eggs are an even light yellow color, but don't go out of your way to incorporate any more air than you need to. (That's one reason to use a fork instead of a whisk to mix.)
  2. Set a small, good-quality nonstick pan over low heat. For four to eight eggs, an 8-inch pan works well. It's easier to control the heat when you have a bit of depth to the eggs rather than a very shallow layer.
  3. Add the butter to the pan and swipe it around with the spatula to lightly coat the whole pan. When there's a light layer of melted butter on the pan but most of the butter is still solid, pour in the egg mixture.
  4. From now until approximately INFINITY, stir the eggs constantly with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula. This will take about 15-20 minutes total, depending on the heat of the low setting on your stove. (For reference: On my professional gas range, I use the low setting rather than the even lower simmer. On the little electric burner that I use to make videos, I started on the low setting and ended up turning it up just a touch to somewhere between low and medium-low.) For the first four to five minutes, it will seem like nothing is happening. The eggs will remain liquid with no curds forming. But slowly bringing the eggs up to temperature will make all the difference in the final process, so don't rush it. Just keep stirring constantly, running your spatula around the entire bottom and sides of the pan. The color will go from brighter to darker yellow over these first few minutes, but you might not notice since it will be very gradual. If nothing at all has happened after about five or six minutes, raise the heat very slightly and note that you can start on that slightly higher setting next time.
  5. At some point, very small curds will start to form. Just keep doing the same thing you've been doing — stirring until death do us part — while the eggs begin to thicken into a silky, custardy scramble. Keep going until the eggs are just thick enough to stay for a moment on the side of the pan that you push them toward. You can watch the video for visual cues.
  6. Off the heat, stir in the cream.
  7. Slide the eggs on to serving plates (or into small bowls if you like) and serve. We like to garnish ours with flaky sea salt, more freshly ground black pepper, and maybe a sprinkle of minced chives, ramps, or parsley if we're in the mood.

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Nutrition Information

Yield:

2

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving:

Calories:: 225 Total Fat:: 18g Saturated Fat:: 9g Trans Fat:: 0g Unsaturated Fat:: 8g Cholesterol:: 396mg Sodium:: 259mg Carbohydrates:: 2g Net Carbohydrates:: 0g Fiber:: 0g Sugar:: 1g Sugar Alcohols:: 0g Protein:: 13g

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