The Creamy Secret Ingredient That Levels Up Scrambled Eggs

For something that seems so simple, there sure are a lot of different ways to scramble an egg. From home cooks to celebrity chefs, it seems like everyone has an opinion on how to make delicious scrambled eggs, but there's still a lot that can go wrong, as anyone who's ever had to chow down on a plate of dry, watery, tough, or otherwise unpalatable scrambled eggs can tell you. But it turns out there's one secret ingredient that can help improve your scrambled eggs in an instant, and it makes them a little more forgiving if they've been overcooked, too: crème fraîche.

Though it's not that commonly used in American food, crème fraîche does have a reputation as a scrambled egg booster. It's the secret ingredient in Gordon Ramsay's scrambled eggs, even if he's making them from ostrich eggs instead of chicken, according to his website. Bobby Flay instructs home cooks to use crème fraîche if they want perfect scrambled eggs, too. If your scrambled eggs at home have seemed lackluster of late, crème fraîche could be the secret ingredient you've been waiting for. But there are a few different things you'll want to keep in mind.

Crème fraîche scrambled eggs

If you aren't familiar with crème fraîche, here's what to know about this relative of sour cream. Crème fraîche hails from France, and much like sour cream, it's made by souring cream using a bacteria culture. But it's less sour and has less protein than sour cream, according to MasterClass. Because of its high-fat content adding creme fraice to your scrambled eggs can make them taste richer and creamier, but its lower protein and acid content means it's not likely to curdle like sour cream can. The light tang of the crème fraîche can help brighten up the flavor of your eggs without overpowering them, too. 

But there's a right way to add crème fraîche to your eggs. You don't want to whisk it into the beaten eggs before scrambling them. Instead, Gordon Ramsay, Bobby Flay, and others instruct home chefs to cook the scrambled eggs until they're almost set, before gently folding in a dollop of crème fraîche until it's mixed in. The warmth of the eggs helps melt the crème fraîche, resulting in creamy, rich, silky scrambled eggs.

Crème fraîche alternatives

Depending on where you live, it might not be so easy to find crème fraîche at the store. There's good news, though — it's easy to make crème fraîche at home, and it can also be substituted with a few other easy-to-find ingredients. To make crème fraîche at home, simply mix 2 tablespoons of cultured buttermilk with 1 pint of heavy cream, and let it sit at room temperature until thickened. Then, place it in the refrigerator until you're ready to make scrambled eggs. 

If that seems like too much work, or you don't feel like waiting for your crème fraîche to thicken, then you can also try using sour cream or full-fat Greek yogurt as a crème fraîche substitute. But bear in mind that both of these options have less fat, more protein, and a tangier flavor than crème fraîche. That means that while they will both add richness, they'll also be more acidic. You'll have to be extra careful to stir them into the eggs over low heat right before serving so they don't overheat and curdle rather than making your eggs creamy. On the other end of the substitute spectrum is mascarpone cheese, which has more fat, less protein, and less tanginess than crème fraîche. It works texturally, but doesn't liven up the flavor of the scrambled eggs like crème fraîche. These alternatives will do in a pinch, but for the creamiest scrambled eggs, crème fraîche is one secret ingredient worth hunting down.