Eggs just might be the most versatile food in existence. Seriously, what other food is a quintessential building block of just about every baked good, can elevate a burger from meh to showstopping, is insanely inexpensive and has an entire meal essentially based around the dozens and dozens of uses for it? The simplest way to cook with eggs is to just scramble them up in a pan, but even an ingredient as uncomplicated as eggs can be completely transformed by the addition of a simple ingredient or two.
Don’t get us wrong: There’s absolutely nothing wrong with melting some butter in a pan, cracking a couple eggs, cooking them until set and digging in. But there’s a seemingly infinite amount of simple additions — from herbs to cheese to meat to some truly outside-the-box ingredients — that can take your eggs to the next level. We’ve tracked down 35 unexpected ways to up your egg game, be they scrambled, fried, poached or hard-boiled, and we hope this list is a jumping-off point toward some deliciously creative egg-sploration.
If you’re not mixing a handful of potato chips into your eggs, you’re truly missing out. Potatoes and eggs are a match made in heaven — look no further than any brunch plate. Those potatoes don’t have to be home fries, either. When they are sliced wafer-thin and fried crisp, well, enough said. And you know you want to try eggs with sour cream and onion chips, or one of these crazy international flavors.
Baking powder doesn’t affect the flavor of your eggs, but it does affect the texture. Double-acting baking powder releases carbon dioxide bubbles when it comes in contact with water and when it’s heated — that’s why they call it double-acting. Mixing a small amount of baking powder (just one-eighth of a teaspoon per two large eggs) into your eggs before scrambling will result in eggs that are light and fluffy.
Go ahead, add some crab meat into your eggs (or lobster, if you happen to have any lying around). The salinity pairs perfectly with the flavor of eggs, and the end result is decidedly upscale. Garnish with some chives and a dollop of sour cream. Both can also serve as the foundation of a perfect eggs Benedict in lieu of Canadian bacon.
Quinoa is one of the healthiest and most versatile foods you can eat, and not only does it taste great, it’s also full of protein and complex carbs. Adding some cooked quinoa to a couple cracked eggs is a great way to start off the day on a healthy foot.
‘Nduja is a spicy, spreadable salami, and a tablespoon or two mixed into some eggs will lend the dish a complex, meaty, spicy unctuousness.
Any ground meat, including beef, chicken and lamb, will also complement eggs nicely.
Roasted butternut squash, either cubed or pureed, makes for a nice autumnal sidekick to eggs.
Lentils are high in protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals, and they’re also super-versatile. When added to eggs, they’re an easy and cheap meal for any time of day.
Like crab, shrimp scrambled up with eggs is undeniably delicious.
One diced up anchovy scrambled into a couple eggs adds a dose of umami that can’t be beat. Just add the anchovy to the pan first to heat it up.
Smoked salmon and eggs, especially with some onions mixed in as well, is a simple combo that’s served as the foundation for many a classic New York bagel.
Creamy and tangy, a spoonful of cream cheese can easily elevate scrambled eggs — especially if you also add some smoked salmon.
If you’re into kimchi — spicy Korean fermented cabbage — then you already know that it adds a serious kick to everything it touches. Do yourself a favor and scramble some into eggs as well.
Red and green curry paste are intensely flavorful, and spooning a little into your eggs before scrambling can add a layer of East Asian complexity.
Gochujang is a spicy fermented Korean red chile condiment that’s an absolute flavor bomb. If you love spicy food but are tired of topping your eggs with sriracha, mix in some gochujang instead.
Bouillon is just concentrated stock, so it’s full of umami and easily imparts a heady dose of whatever flavor it is — chicken, beef or vegetable. It’s also packed with sodium, so there’s no need to add additional salt. Instead of adding a full bouillon cube, which might be overdoing it, add a small spoonful of bouillon flakes or a little bit of every home cook’s best friend, beef or chicken base, to your eggs before scrambling.
Rich and fatty, like sour cream on steroids, crème fraiche adds a rich, creamy elegance to scrambled eggs.
Fresh ricotta has a light and elegant flavor, which adds an Italian kick to eggs. Don’t hesitate to also add in a couple spoonfuls of marinara sauce while you’re at it.
Like crème fraiche, plain yogurt also makes eggs rich and creamy, with the added benefit of a pleasant tang.
Curry powder is totally different from curry paste; this is an Indian-inspired spice blend that usually contains spices including ginger, garlic, turmeric, coriander, chile pepper and fenugreek. It’s also a quintessential pantry staple. Add a dash to your scrambled eggs and you won’t know what hit ya.
Usually sold as flakes, nutritional yeast is packed with protein. This ingredient is beloved by vegans for its splendid cheesy, nutty flavor. Once you add some to your eggs, you’ll never go back.
If you’ve noticed a trend here, it’s probably that if something is loaded with umami, it’ll be good in eggs. Hence, worcestershire sauce, which is a little sweet and very savory. Add a couple dashes to your next batch of scrambled eggs and wait for the compliments to roll in.
If you’re looking to give your eggs a Mexican twist, crumble some tortilla chips and mix them into your scramble before cooking. No other accompaniments are required, but we’re fans of also adding some American cheese to the equation, or salsa and beans for a spin on the classic Mexican breakfast dish, chilaquiles.
One of the best applications for leftover rice is fried rice, which of course includes an egg as a key ingredient. But what if you turn the recipe on its head and add some rice to your scrambled eggs?
Pickles pack a salty, briny punch, and when diced up and mixed into scrambled eggs (or used as a pizza topping) they take the dish to the next level. And don’t just stick with pickled cucumbers, either; mix in pickled carrots, cauliflower, jalapenos, banana peppers or capers.
Chickpeas and eggs make for a filling and inexpensive meal on their own; the two ingredients really compliment each other. But if you kick it up a notch with some spinach and smoked paprika, then you’re in full-on Moroccan territory.
Rich, creamy guacamole is almost as versatile as eggs, and when paired up they form the foundation of a great breakfast. Eat them as-is, or keep the additions coming. A dish like this is just one way to eat an avocado every day.
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