Ina Garten's Pro Tip For Buffet-Style Scrambled Eggs

Cooking breakfast for a crowd can definitely be a challenge, even if you have all the best brunch recipes for your big weekend crowd. There are a lot of moving parts, tasks in and out of the kitchen, the problem of actually figuring out how much food to make, and the fear of running out of helpings.

As much as you try to channel an easy-breezy, Hampton's vibe at your next brunch event, things can go awry — but leave it to Ina Garten to provide a tip for getting off on the right foot with a quality batch of eggs. Her tip is specifically related to how many eggs you actually need per person. Garten does the math and advises to factor in three to four eggs for each guest.

That might seem like a lot, but eggs will lose some moisture — and thus, volume — as they cook, resulting in a finished scramble that seems like less than you thought. So having extra will always come in handy, especially since eggs are so affordable, quick to prepare, and generally a crowd favorite.

How should you prepare scrambled eggs?

Scrambled eggs are one of those highly divisive dishes when it comes to the best preparation — are you in favor of a small-curd soft scramble or fluffy, set ribbons? Ingredient additions and cooking techniques vary significantly based on the desired result. For her take, Ina Garten prefers a more delicate scramble. 

To achieve this, she mixes the eggs with heavy cream and cooks them over low heat while stirring gently to create small curds. Adding dairy to eggs — whether that be in the form of milk, cream, or half-and-half — yields a creamy, but less eggy taste with a texture that is soft and custardy.

If you prefer a scramble like the kind you'd find in a breakfast taco or classic diner spread, consider adding a little bit of cold water to scrambled eggs. The steam that is created during cooking will help create a fluffy texture. Cook over medium-high heat, and move them back and forth gently to create folds without breaking up the curds too much.

Other ways to prepare eggs for a crowd

Scrambling a bunch of eggs is likely the easiest way to prepare them for a large group breakfast, but it can take some serious elbow grease to whisk them by hand. If this is an issue for you, try using an immersion blender, standard blender, or electric mixer instead.

Also, cooking scrambled eggs in a pan is definitely one way to do it, but depending on how many guests you have, you might have to make a few batches. And that means you risk the first couple of rounds getting cold while the rest cook. To combat this, you can actually make a large pan of eggs in the oven — just place beaten eggs in an oven-safe dish and stir periodically as they cook.

Alternatively, consider making a frittata. Simply season beaten eggs with salt and pepper, add in some lightly cooked vegetables like broccoli, onions, mushrooms, bell peppers, and potatoes, sprinkle on whichever cheese you like, and bake in a baking dish until set. For cute individual portions, bake in a muffin pan instead. Whichever method you use, using Ina Garten's three to four eggs per guest guide is a great place to start.