Ina Garten's Favorite Cheese For Creamy Scrambled Eggs

Whether they're together in omelets, soufflés, or croque madames, eggs and cheese elevate each other in a comforting way. One of the simplest and most delicious ways to enjoy the two together is in a pan of scrambled eggs; adding a bit of cheese to the warm dish imparts great flavor and a creamy texture. Ina Garten agrees and, when it comes to her creamy scrambled eggs, she goes for soft goat cheese.


Replying to @danfrancisco66 what we would give to have breakfast with ina in the hamptons

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In a segment from "Barefoot Contessa," Garten cooks the eggs gently over low heat, and just before they are completely finished, she adds a generous amount of crumbled goat cheese. The timing here is important because if you try to add cheese at the very beginning, it can clump up, and no one wants clumpy eggs. To finish, she makes the dish even more creamy and luxurious with a soft pat of butter and freshly chopped chives.

There are dozens and dozens of goat cheeses from around the world, but the specific type Garten uses is chevre, a type of tangy, soft, fresh goat's cheese that you've probably seen in your grocery store. It's bright white in color and is often molded into a log shape. Because it's so soft, it's best for spreading or crumbling like Garten does, but not for grating. It's often used for crumbling on salads and pizzas, topping appetizers, and spreading on crackers or bread, but the soft texture also makes it ideal for mixing into mashed potatoes and filling ravioli.

More cheesy choices for the creamiest eggs

Plenty of other cheeses taste great in scrambled eggs and can contribute to a creamy texture. Any spreadable cheese like cream cheese and mascarpone should be added toward the very end of the cooking process. Semi-hard cheeses like cheddar and monterey jack also work beautifully. With these types of semi-hard cheeses, it's best to grate them into ribbons in a box grater and incorporate them into the eggs when they are roughly 75% cooked. The remaining cook time and heat of the eggs should melt the cheese perfectly. Of course, you can also just add the cheese to the top of the finished eggs, but in the case of semi-hard cheeses, it might be best to use the smaller holes on your box grater so the cheese ribbons are finer and melt quicker.

You might assume that hard cheeses have no business in scrambled eggs because they don't melt very well, but according to Ina, this just isn't true. In her cacio e pepe scrambled eggs — which she cooked alongside her pal Jennifer Garner on Facebook – Garten put Pecorino, an Italian hard cheese, into soft scrambled eggs. The cheese, though, is finely grated so that it can incorporate and soften when it hits the heat. This type of cheese should go into the pan when soft eggs are nearly done and the heat is turned off, as the residual heat will take care of the rest. 

Add lemon juice or raw egg for a creamier scramble

Of course, there are plenty of people who prefer not to incorporate cheese into their eggs, whether that's due to an allergy, dietary restriction, or personal preference. If this is you, the good news is that cheese isn't required to turn out a super creamy batch of scrambled eggs. You can create ethereal eggs by simply using the right method. By cooking eggs over low heat and stirring often, scrambled eggs will turn into soft curds that still look wet when they are finished. This is known as soft-scrambled eggs. Adding a bit of acid like lemon juice will also help the eggs set up to this delicate finish.

Like Ina Garten, Julia Child also liked her eggs super creamy but her method of cooking them didn't include cheese, lemon juice, or cream. She would pour most of her scrambled egg mixture into a skillet, setting aside a little bit of the raw egg for later use. When they were almost fully cooked, she'd turn the heat off and pour in the rest of the raw egg and let the residual heat "cook" it, but it would remain moist, giving the whole pan a creamy texture.

These may be a bit unconventional, but if you like your eggs positively rich and velvety like Garten does, soft-scrambled is the way to go.