In terms of versatility, I think about eggs the same way I think about potatoes, rice, or pasta. To say that you can prepare eggs in a variety of ways is an understatement. However, of all the available options, my favorite style of eggs is the tried, trusted, and reliable: scrambled. Scrambled eggs are quick and delicious, especially when served alongside bacon and toast (yum). Recently, I learned a simple cooking hack to make them even better. It turns out there’s an ingredient that that makes them extra fluffy, and it’s more than a little bit surprising? What’s the secret? Lemon juice!
Why should you add lemon juice to scrambled eggs?
Adding lemon juice to scrambled eggs sounds wacky at first, but there’s actually a method to the madness. Food scientist Makenzie Bryson Jackson, MS, explained to Well + Good how it works. The albumin, or protein structure inside an egg, reacts with acid from the lemon juice to create a sturdier inner structure that holds air bubbles. As the eggs cook, the air bubbles cause them to become lighter and fluffier.
Jackson says the lemon juice causes the eggs to cook more gently as well. “The liquid from the juice dilutes those egg proteins so they aren’t as quick to coagulate,” she says. “They cook more slowly because there is more water to evaporate, and the water creates steam, creating a softer, fluffier texture.”
Sounds simple, right? Simple or not, this tweak makes all the difference when whipping up a breakfast classic like scrambled eggs. I decided to give it a go because I’m always looking for unique ways to make eggs taste better.
How to Make Lemon Juice Scrambled Eggs
I followed Jackson’s suggestion and whipped together six eggs, 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice, and a pinch of salt and pepper in a bowl. Once combined, I set the egg mixture aside and heated three tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. When the oil was hot, I poured the eggs into the pan and used a spatula to fold the curds. The eggs took about three to four minutes to cook.
I was sort of expecting the eggs to have a lemony flavor, but I took the first bite and there was no tartness or acidity, just the traditional, eggy taste I love. But they were much softer and lighter in texture than previous scrambled egg recipes I’ve tried. I can confidently say that lemon juice will be a part of my morning egg scramble moving forward.
While this specific tip was new to me, it turns out that citrus and eggs have lived happily together for quite some time. Don’t have a lemon on hand? Try adding orange juice instead. Either way, adding a squeeze of citrus is an easy (and unexpected) way to upgrade your scrambled eggs the next time you’re whipping up breakfast.