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I like scrambled and fried eggs but the butter or oil probably add unnecessary calories. How can I fry an egg with no butter? I tried in a Teflon pan but it was a mess.

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The calories from frying an egg in butter are so not unnecessary. They are delicious! –  hobodave Jul 28 '10 at 17:23
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It's really not that many calories, unless you've been deep-frying your egg all these years. Besides, fat doesn't make people fat. Sugar does. –  Carmi Jul 28 '10 at 17:33
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@Carmi: Carbohydrates in general, assuming they aren't burned off. –  Aaronut Jul 28 '10 at 19:26
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Eggs already are about 10% fat (a 50g egg has about 5g fat, according to en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egg_(food)#Cholesterol_and_fat), so if you're trying to reduce fat intake, your best bet is to avoid eating eggs altogether rather than making them 100% less delicious. That said, a little oil or butter isn't going to dramatically impact the total amount of fat consumed. –  nohat Jul 28 '10 at 23:56
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@Aaronut: Most carbohydrates are deconstructed into glucose and used by the body. However, there's something about certain sugars (fructose, and sucrose which is half fructose) that only gets metabolised in the liver. This goes straight to fat, and messes up your system to boot. Exercise is to raise your metabolic rate so that you generally use more energy. The specific calories for one session of exercise are almost irrelevant. 20 minute run = 1 cookie. –  Carmi Jul 29 '10 at 4:10

17 Answers 17

up vote 35 down vote accepted

Well, frying means to cook in oil, so technically you can't. Fat also is delicious, so you'll lose something in the process besides just calories.

If you are using teflon, ceramic, or some other non-stick, don't bring the heat up too much. Scrambling your eggs with milk will make them more fluffy, and I bet less likely to stick. Use (sigh) PAM or another aerosolized cooking spray. Or just 'wipe' the pan with an oiled paper towel. It would impart minimal calories.

It's sad, but microwaving eggs will cook them without adding calories (or anything else). You can also make absolutely delicious eggs by soft-boiling them, which adds nothing at all.

My more general advice is to learn to love a little fat and to consume a variety of fresh, unprocessed foods which taste great. It's much healthier in the long run than just cutting away at a number. Better to go for some walks/runs/lifts then sacrifice flavor. And fat leads to fullness, which leads to less wasted calories on junk later in the day.

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Ocaasi suggested everything I was going to. –  Tim Gilbert Jul 28 '10 at 17:25
    
Well said! The reason I ask is because my wife is on a diet and asks me to cook eggs without butter or oil and I can't help but think that the little oil I add will make much difference. –  tooshel Jul 28 '10 at 20:37
    
+1 for the soft-boiled egg suggestion (though I tend to mash my soft-boiled eggs with butter, salt, and pepper...) and +1 for loving a little fat and eating better. –  In the Booley House Oct 18 '10 at 21:53
    
I refuse to live in a universe that bad-mouths PAM. PAM rules! for us fatties that need to fry. (BTW for those over-eager editors out there, that non-standard punctuation was on purpose.) –  Doug Jun 20 '12 at 3:23
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Also I just realized this is a necro-answer. Ocaasi hasn't been active here for 2 years. –  JoeFish Jul 12 '12 at 15:59

Fry the eggs into a very hot dry pan, turn off the heat with the pan still on, cover and wait a while. Then take the cover off and you will be able to pry the somewhat wet, but fried, eggs off using a decent spatula, with little to no egg stuck on the pan.

Here's what I think is happening.

The initial burst of heat provides a sufficiently high temperature to allow browning to occur, which characterises a fried egg and not a boiled or poached one. Later, the lid will trap moisture which will gradually soften the egg that has dried to the pan. As the pan cools, the egg will shrink slightly. At the same time, condensation will accumulate between the egg and the pan, allowing the egg to be pried off more easily, or in some cases slide around completely freely.

I could be wrong on the explanation, but the method works wonders for me.

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I'd recommend this egg cooker from Lakeland. I've used mine every morning to cook 12 eggs and it saves messing around with pans full of boiling water. It can only do 7 at a time though and it's vicious because of the steam.

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I have been cutting down on oil and butter as well, and have discovered a method for making the eggs tasty in the process: Dissolve a bullion cube in the egg and then fry per usual. I found it is best to keep stirring the eggs (I.E. scramble them) and to not preheat the pan.

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How many eggs per cube? Isn't the flavouring way too strong? The ones here are packed with salt. –  Mien Jun 20 '12 at 17:15

Chef Daniel Patterson uses a poaching technique to make scrambled eggs:

http://food52.com/blog/3379_daniel_pattersons_poached_scrambled_eggs

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Just thought of an idea that might be interesting if you really wanted a scrambled egg, and didn't want to worry about scrambling. What if you "scrambled" the egg, while still inside the shell, would that even work? Well a bit of googling brought me to an instructables page detailing exactly that.

So apparently, you can! Summary:

  1. Grab an egg, and a pair of nylons
  2. Put the raw egg in the centre of one of the legs
  3. grab either end of the leg with each hand and spin it around till the egg is twisted 20-25 times.
  4. Pull quickly, and it should spin it back the other way rapidly.
  5. You can verify that it worked, by shinning a light through it in a dark room. (Egg should appear an even red throughout, rather than yellow (you may even be able to see the yolk outline, if it's unbroken).
  6. Boil as you would normally a hard-boiled egg.
  7. Crack and Enjoy!
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Doesn't answer the question but it's a good tip! I'm going to try this later. –  tooshel Jul 13 '12 at 16:40
    
Well your title specifies "cooking" and your question specifies "scrambled", so I thought this warranted being slipped in. :-) –  talon8 Jul 13 '12 at 16:46
    
No problem! Glad you did. Forgot I mentioned scrambled up there. I asked this question a LONG time ago. –  tooshel Jul 14 '12 at 18:16

Rex Stout (author of the Nero Wolfe novels) has a scrambled egg recipe with no butter or oil, where six eggs are stirred in a skillet from 20 to 40 minutes.

I've used this recipe a number of times and I can say that it although it took some time to get right, the end results are...almost worth it. The key thing to get right is temperature. On a gas hob, you need the smallest ring on the lowest heat and even then you may need an asbestos pad in-between the flame and the skillet. On an electric hob you mileage will vary; I've had electric hobs where you can turn down the heat so low that you can't even cook an egg and still others where you will once again need an asbestos pad.

The next thing is to stir slowly and often. You will need to sit there for the whole cooking period scraping the bottom of the skillet with a spatula. I recommend using a non-stick skillet and a heat-resistent, silicone rubber spatula. I stir about once every five seconds.

Rex himself says that 20 minute eggs are good enough to eat and 40 minute eggs are close to perfect.

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I just fried an egg and used a little spray butter on the pan...it is zero calorie and worked great and tasted good, too.

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Really, there is a product called "butter" which is zero calories? I would like to see a link to it, intrigued what its ingredients could be. Silicone? –  rumtscho Jul 12 '12 at 10:59
    
Quick, unscientific google search: strengthsystems.wordpress.com/2008/01/13/… Are we talking about that? Definitely not 0 calorie if the article is accurate... –  talon8 Jul 12 '12 at 18:35
    
@rumtscho: If the article I linked is accurate, they can call it zero calorie, because their self defined serving size contains less than some semi-arbitrary amount of calories. –  talon8 Jul 12 '12 at 18:42

I actually cook my eggs in a frying pan without any oils or butter at all. I just crack an egg into the frying pan (it has Teflon, but I think it would work in a regular pan too) and turn it on medium-low heat. After a few minutes the egg will start puffing up, and it might "pop" a few bubbles. When one or 2 millimeters of the edge of the egg gets dark brown (the rest will stay white) you take a big shallow spoon or spatula (metal, plastic and silicone all work, metal is best) and lightly go around the edge of the egg to sort of lift it off the pan. Not the whole egg, just a bit of the edge. Go around the whole edge of the egg, then wait a little longer and carefully push your spoon/spatula all the way under the egg and flip it over. If you're using a plastic or silicon spoon/spatula you might need to use two so that you can pick it up without it breaking. If you want the yolk to be fully cooked, at right after you crack the egg you should poke a little hole in the yolk and squish it a bit so that some of the yolk spills out over the white. This is my favourite way of cooking eggs, and you don't get the extra calories from butter or oil. I hope you like it too!

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There is no way this will work without Teflon (unless you have another kind of non-stick surface, like properly seasoned iron or a new ceramic pan). The advice to use metal on Teflon is very wrong, you will scratch the pan. Also, this won't work with scrambled eggs, and it sounds like you might be overcooking the egg white. –  rumtscho Jun 19 '12 at 21:43

I have a microwave container that closes and makes it very easy to cook eggs with no oil. I got it from walmart(like 3.50) and i use it daily. you can add in tomato lean chopped up bits of turkey(for sandwitches) and onion for an omelet on bread. just add a little whipped salad dressing and presto 8)

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Splurge on a small top-shelf non-stick pan. You can cook eggs with no fat at all, and nothing will stick.

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I don't recommend it, in fact I recommend frying eggs in a little bacon grease, but if you want the eggs with almost no added fats consider getting a microwave egg cooker. For example, this well regarded microwave egg cooker listed on Amazon. It will probably need at least a few drops of oil to release the eggs. (Technically closer to poaching than frying.)

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You can get round the issue of the oil by just using a small amount of water in the frying pan instead, not so much frying as shallow boiling. You will still end up with the fried egg look but without any of the added calories.

Not that I would recommend this as the oil or butter add to the flavour and look of the fried egg.

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Scrambed eggs can be done in the microwave and they can taste good. The important part below is to cook the eggs in the microwave for a short time, then take them out, stir/mash and put them back in.

  1. Crack two or three eggs into a bowl or microwave safe container.
  2. Add a splash of milk (no need to measure, but if you want, 1 tblsp per egg)
  3. Crack some pepper and add a pinch of salt.
  4. Mix together well with a fork.
  5. Put in the microwave for 1 minute (not longer!)
  6. Take out, stir contents, especially removing the partially cooked eggs from the side of the bowl.
  7. Put in the microwave for 1 minute (not longer!)
  8. Take out, stir contents. If you have more cooked parts now, take a fork and mash them up. It's important to get the consistency the same throughout the bowl now.
  9. You may need to microwave for 0 seconds, 30 seconds, or 1 minute, depending on number of eggs or microwave.

It's also important to remove the eggs before they look done. And keep watching them while they microwave! Eggs can overcook so quickly.

Frankly, it's just so much easier to do them in a pan.

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Use olive-oil spray (or some other PAM imitation) in a non-stick pan. For scambled eggs, stir frequently. For both kinds of eggs, the key is to spray the pan while it's hot and then immediately add your eggs before the spray burns away.

It's not as good as oil, but it will work.

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Poached eggs are a good healthy alternative to a fried egg. In my opinion they are nicer than fried eggs but they must be cooked with fresh eggs.

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+1 I love poached eggs. Eaten on toast with a bit of ketchup. :D –  Kyra Jul 29 '10 at 16:19
    
Do you mean to say that scrambled eggs can be cooked with non-fresh eggs? Or do you mean that poached eggs requires eggs much much fresher than scrambled eggs? –  hippietrail Dec 13 '11 at 8:13
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If your eggs aren't very fresh the white will spread out a lot when you're poaching it and more of it will float away. Fresher eggs hold together better. Same with fried eggs; a fresher egg will keep a nice neat compact shape better without spreading out across the whole pan. For scrambled eggs it doesn't matter since you're breaking them up anyway. –  Adam Jaskiewicz Dec 21 '11 at 12:54

You can use a non-stick cooking spray like PAM. It's canola oil based, but if used properly in a very brief spray you'll only be adding about 3-5 calories to your egg.

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You can also get pump sprayers to use other types of oil, but it doesn't have the surfactants of cooking sprays, so you might have to use a touch more to get an even coat. –  Joe Jul 28 '10 at 17:50
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I don't know if it's just a bad one but the pump sprayer I've used leaks oil all over the place and squirts rather than sprays. It's basically worthless. Have you had better results? –  Ocaasi Jul 29 '10 at 15:08
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I have a Misto brand pump sprayer that works pretty well. If I over-pump it, it squirts rather than sprays. Same if I over-fill it. It doesn't spray nearly as well as Pam would, but it works passably well. –  JustRightMenus Aug 3 '10 at 16:20

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