The scrambled eggs vs fried eggs dichotomy has been a longstanding discussion at the breakfast table – but which is *actually* better? Or is there no truly meaningful difference at all? Unfortunately – and like it so often is – the answer is that… It depends. So let’s get into why that is, and see where we go from there!
Table of Contents
- Scrambled Eggs vs Sunny Side Up: The Variables
- Scrambled Eggs vs Fried: Nutrition
- What Is The Healthiest Type Of Egg To Eat?
- So… Are Scrambled Or Fried Eggs Healthier?
Scrambled Eggs vs Sunny Side Up: The Variables
The main issue with categorizing scrambled and fried eggs in any tangible or quantifiable way is the sheer amount of variables that come into play when cooking.
For example, you might just add milk when scrambling your eggs, whereas someone else may add cream and fat for frying. Additionally, they may be served alongside something else – in which case it can become difficult to measure things up.
This all changes the composition of the dish, meaning they have different nutritional values, taste, and calories. Having said that, let’s get into how and why this affects your eggs.
Added fats are the most common culprit behind the egg’s unpredictable nutritional content. In the same way that there are better oils for frying egg rolls, there are oils and fats that make frying or scrambling your eggs easier. Most of us don’t measure in the oil we use to make breakfast while half awake, so it’s no wonder that this varies from person to person and recipe to recipe.
In addition to that, there are so many different types of fats and oils you can use! There’s a huge difference between butter and avocado oil after all.
For this reason, when you see me compare these two dishes later on most of the comparisons don’t take frying fats into consideration. If you’re curious about cooking eggs without added fats, try cooking eggs without butter. If you do decide to make them, just be sure to make your eggs last in the fridge.
The main reason for a discrepancy between scrambled eggs and fried eggs is that scrambled eggs often have other ingredients added.
Eggs – fried or scrambled alike – often have fats added to them for the purpose of cooking them, but it’s usually only scrambled eggs that get things like milk, cream, or cheese added to them.
This means that depending on the recipe, scrambled eggs may have a completely different nutritional value to fried eggs, and even other kinds of scrambled eggs!
Added seasoning is the least likely to meaningfully impact your eggs.
The main thing to look out for in this case is sodium, as many people have to limit their sodium intake due to medical conditions. Outside of this, the seasoning you use won’t really change much about your eggs aside from the taste.
You can try adding some spring onions or paprika to your eggs and not worry about the nutritional content changing much at all. Well that’s just so long as you don’t throw a whole jar of paprika in there, of course.
Perhaps the most glaringly obvious, yet most overlooked answer as to why scrambled eggs may be nutritionally different to fried eggs is that scrambled eggs usually have more eggs added to them.
Scrambled eggs are already suspect when it comes to adding dairy products, but few people remember to consider that we usually consume more eggs in this dish than when eating fried eggs. This is because scrambled eggs are usually a meal on its own (breakfast), whereas fried eggs are typically eaten alongside another dish.
Scrambled Eggs vs Fried: Nutrition
|NUTRIENTS||Egg omelet or scrambled egg, no added fat||Egg, fried no added fat, whole|
|Protein||12.52 g||12.52 g|
|Fat||9.48 g||9.48 g|
|Saturated FAs||3.12 g||3.12 g|
|Monounsaturated FAs||3.65 g||3.65 g|
|Polyunsaturated FAs||1.91 g||1.91 g|
|Carbohydrate||0.72 g||0.72 g|
|Fiber||0 g||0 g|
|Sugars||0.37 g||0.37 g|
|Cholesterol||371 mg||371 mg|
|Water||75.92 g||75.92 g|
Scrambled Eggs vs Fried Eggs Calories
As you can see on the nutrition table, scrambled eggs and fried eggs, when no fats or other ingredients are added, are perfectly the same. They also are definitively not meat, and are mostly made up of protein and fat.
In fact, according to the USDA’s food database, one large fried egg has virtually the same amount of calories as a large scrambled egg.
This shows, yet again, that these foods are the same even when cooked in different ways – so long as they do not have anything else added to them. With that said, here’s a list of different facts you might want to know:
- One large fried or scrambled egg has approximately 90 calories
- One large egg fried in approximately 1 tsp fat has around about 109 calories
- One large egg scrambled in 1 tbsp milk and 1 tsp fat has approximately 123 calories
What Is The Healthiest Type Of Egg To Eat?
If by ‘healthiest’ we’re going off of eggs that have the most nutritional value, eggs that use lots of different ingredients are likely to win.
So omelettes, Spanish tortillas, huevos rancheros, and shirred eggs Florentine are all great contenders on this list. These recipes are more calorie rich than – say – a boiled egg, though that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
All calories are is a measure of the energy that your body needs to function – and calorie rich foods are ’high value’ foods that are especially important for fueling healthy physical activity. These eggs’ addition of ingredients make them a good source of energy, and the added nutrients of different ingredients gives this naturally protein heavy food a balance of protein, dairy, fats, and in some cases, carbs. Like any other food, just don’t go crazy overboard when cooking using fats and oils!
If you’re specifically looking for the eggs with the least amount of calories however, plain boiled or poached eggs are the way to go. These cooking methods have the lowest calories because they do not include the addition of any other ingredients, and most importantly fats and oils are not used to cook them. If you struggle with knowing whether your boiled eggs are done, there are a few different methods you can use to make sure you get them just right.
So… Are Scrambled Or Fried Eggs Healthier?
The idea that one type of egg is inherently more or less healthy than the other is flawed, as we’ve seen throughout this article. Different people have different needs according to their medical history and disposition, and they might be looking for different things from their foods. This means that scrambled eggs with added milk may be good for some, but might be detrimental to others (I’m looking at you, lactose intolerant people).
In the end, the best way to make your choice is to look at the nutritional differences between these dishes and pick which is right for you – though depending on the cooking method, they may even be the same! Just remember to keep in mind that added fats, ingredients, and eggs will affect the outcome of your eggs in flavor, texture and nutrients alike, while seasoning is unlikely to affect much at all.
If by ‘healthiest’ we’re going off of eggs that have the most nutritional value, eggs that use lots of different ingredients are likely to win. If you’re specifically looking for the eggs with the least amount of calories however, plain boiled or poached eggs are the way to go.
This is likely due to the addition of other ingredients, such as milk or vegetables (in the case of an omelette). Scrambled eggs also have more eggs in them usually.