If you’re weighing up the pros and cons of fried eggs or scrambled eggs and you just can’t decide, we’ve put together some thoughts that may make the decision easier.
Both dishes have the benefits of being easy to make, highly nutritious, and resulting in a minimal mess. But there are some significant differences, too!
You might want to weigh up which you enjoy most, which is easier to cook, and how long they take: all of those things matter when it comes to choosing the right dish for you.
Fried eggs are often considered a bit trickier to cook than scrambled eggs, but many people prefer them.
What’s the Healthier Option?
Obviously, this will depend to a large extent on how you cook your eggs and what ingredients you include.
If you pile butter, heavy cream, and salt into your scrambled eggs—but cook your fried eggs with just a spritz of oil—you’re likely to find scrambled eggs are significantly less healthy!
Scrambled eggs are less caloric when cooked without dairy. They also require less oil to prevent the eggs from sticking to the pan. So they’ll be lighter, even if you like to cook them in a knob of melted butter.
Fried eggs, by contrast, often require more oil, or you risk them sticking—especially if you don’t cook in a non-stick pan. Some people find that butter, for one reason or another, tends to work better than oil.
It’s also worth considering that fully-cooked eggs are thought to be generally healthier.
For starters, this reduces the chances of contracting salmonella. Also, as the protein bonds in the eggs change, studies have shown that they become more digestible.
As scrambled eggs are cooked more thoroughly than fried eggs (assuming the fried eggs’ yolks are runny), they are potentially more digestible, and you will get more value from the proteins contained in them.
Which Is Easier to Cook?
If you’re wondering which is the quickest and simplest, it more or less depends on your preferences.
If you make scrambled eggs with lots of veggies, they might not be so fast to whip up as a fried egg, but on the whole, most people find scrambled eggs are easier to cook.
This is partly because you don’t need to worry about breaking the yolks; they are already broken. You simply have to pay attention and stir the egg to avoid it sticking. By contrast, a fried egg requires you to handle it with care.
Sunnyside-up eggs (fried eggs that have not been flipped) may prove challenging to cook because you need to make sure the bottom doesn’t burn before the top is cooked. That usually involves paying attention to and lowering the heat at the right moment.
Over easy eggs (fried eggs that have been flipped) may prove challenging because it is elementary to break the yolk while turning the egg or taking it out of the pan to serve it.
Of course, if you are unconcerned about breaking the yolk of the egg, you don’t face either of these problems, in which case you’ll probably find that fried eggs and scrambled eggs are approximately equal in terms of which is easiest to cook.
Scrambled eggs require slightly more prep, as you need to whisk them before adding them to the pan if you would like fluffy scrambled eggs.
You also need to be standing nearby to keep stirring.
However, you’re unlikely to be wandering off when frying an egg, so these differences are probably negligible and still make scrambled eggs the easier of the two options to cook.
How Much Heat Do They Use?
This is somewhat dependent on the chef!
Some people believe in cooking their eggs on high, very fast, while others prefer to cook slowly and softly. The risks of a hot temperature are burnt, crispy eggs, while the dangers of a low temperature are rubbery bullets or undercooked puddles.
None of those are ideal, but you probably have your own preferences for cooking them.
Ideally, scrambled eggs should be cooked on medium-low heat and only added to the pan once the oil or butter is hot. This should result in an instant response as the egg hits the metal and begins to cook.
Because they are stirred, and you are constantly changing what part of the egg has contact with the heat, it is easy to cook them without turning up the temperature. You don’t have to wait for ages for the top part to cook while the bottom turns to rubber.
Fried eggs are often cooked over medium-high heat instead. Because you won’t be stirring them, you need a hotter temperature to ensure the top part cooks in a timely fashion.
Having the heat too low will result in the top failing to cook before the bottom is rubbery. Having the heat too high will result in a burned underside and a chewy, unpleasant egg.
You will need to test this on your cooker, as everyone’s kitchen differs, along with their egg preferences.
On the whole, however, a fried egg will require more heat than a scrambled egg because the heat needs to be transferred through the egg instead of different parts of the egg touching the heat.
Which Is Quickest?
Both of these egg options are quick and satisfying, but scrambled eggs may be a little bit faster on the whole. Again, this is because you are moving the egg around and making all parts of it touch the pan directly. You aren’t waiting for heat transfer.
Usually, a scrambled egg will take three to five minutes to cook thoroughly. Often, you can turn the heat off for the last part and allow the egg to finish cooking just by being in contact with the pan. You definitely don’t want to overcook scrambled eggs as they quickly become rubbery.
Fried eggs usually take around four to five minutes to cook. If you are doing easy over, this time can be reduced, as the top of the egg will be applied directly to the heat, rather than having to wait for the heat to rise through the egg.
In neither case do you want to overcook your eggs: cooking eggs changes the protein structure, and while that’s a good thing up to a point, it’s not great to overdo it. An egg loses a lot of water as it is cooked, and if you overcook it, the result is a dry, rubbery egg that doesn’t taste great to anyone.
The Bottom Line
Fried eggs and scrambled eggs both make excellent, nutritious meals full of protein, and either can be paired with vegetables to improve the balance they offer.
There is not too much difference between the two cooking methods regarding health and speed, but scrambled eggs are often easier to cook because you don’t have to worry about breaking the yolk.
They are a great starting point for any budding chefs, and you can experiment with lots of sides as well!