How To Keep Scrambled Eggs From Turning Green?

Perfectly cooked scrambled eggs should be shiny, moist, creamy, and soft, with an even yellow tone. But sometimes, for seemingly no apparent reason, scrambled eggs can turn out dull, gray, or even green. 

perfect scrambled eggs

So, let’s see what went wrong with your breakfast dish and how to keep scrambled eggs from turning green?

Why Do Eggs Turn Green When Cooked?

Keep in mind that sometimes nature is to blame. Some egg whites naturally carry a greenish tint due to high levels of vitamin B12, but that is hardly a matter of concern—in fact, it may be great for your health! [1]

But there are certain cases where eggs turn green for no plausible reason. In such circumstances, the first step to keep your eggs from turning into a Dr. Seuss book is to understand the science behind it all—chemistry, to be specific. 

discolored cooked eggs

Three elements need to be just right for eggs to turn green—sulfur, iron, and heat. 

Egg whites have high levels of sulfur, which is why rotten or overcooked eggs have that distinctive smell you’re picturing right now. On the other hand, egg yolks are rich in iron, and we cook eggs with heat—that’s our three components. 

It turns out that when sulfur and iron combine under intense heat, they create a brand-new chemical compound called iron sulfide. It has a potent smell and carries a distinctively greyish hue that, when combined with the natural colors of a regular egg, can make way for that dreaded green shade. [2]

How To Keep Scrambled Eggs From Turning Green?

cooking scrambled eggs without turning green

If you’ve cooked scrambled eggs for long enough, you know not all eggs turn green. As such, the sulfur-iron-heat combination doesn’t always lead to iron sulfide.

It only happens when eggs are exposed to heat for too long or at very high temperatures. 

The classic example is boiled eggs. It’s very easy to overlook when making hard-boiled eggs, so it’s common to see a greyish ring forming around the yolk. This can happen because you boil them for too long or because the temperature is exceptionally high, and both cases lead to iron sulfide forming around the area where the whites and the yolk touch. [2]

Scrambled eggs can also turn green due to a similar process.

Cooking them over really high heat can quickly create iron sulfide, and the same can happen if you cook them over medium heat for a long time. As such, the first step to avoiding green scrambled eggs is to monitor the temperature and cooking times—never cook them for too long or too high. [1]

Another aspect to consider when cooking scrambled eggs is the pan itself. If you’re cooking scrambled eggs or omelets on a cast-iron skillet, there’s a possibility that the sulfur in the egg whites reacts to the iron in it, therefore turning your dish into the Hulk. 

Solution? Change your pan—stainless steel is good to go—and rely on rubber spatulas. Your eggs will be perfect in no time!

And lastly, using herbs with soft green stems such as cilantro, basil, parsley, basil, dill, chives, and tarragon can turn your scrambled eggs green. So, if you want a perfectly yellow dish, then try to avoid these herbs above and use white pepper instead of black pepper, which can also cause discoloration.

Are Green Scrambled Eggs Safe To Eat?

Luckily, yes! 

Iron sulfide is perfectly safe to consume, and it doesn’t carry any health risk whatsoever, other than the disappointment of not getting the perfect eggs you dreamed of. [3]

However, by following these tips, you can forget unpleasant green colors and enjoy perfectly pale scrambled eggs with no effort.

Read Also: How Many Eggs Per Person For Scrambled Eggs?

In Conclusion

To keep scrambled eggs from turning green, cook them over low heat, and avoid stirring them too much. Also, use stainless steel pan and rubber spatula. If they do discolor and turn green, there is no need to worry – they are still safe to eat.


About Jen Evansy

Nutritionist, researcher, avid home cook, and writer interested in everything nutrition and food-related. Striving to inform, encourage, and inspire all the readers to make healthy and informed choices when it comes to cooking, food, diet, and nutrition.