Dolly Parton is truly America’s Sweetheart and we love hearing the wisdom she’s gleaned over 76 years. Whether it’s a song for nursing a heartbreak, a witty response for when people try to bring her down, or her go-to breakfasts to power through a busy day, the singer still feels as relevant as ever.
Dolly recently chatted with Insider about the weekend breakfast ritual she shares with her husband, Carl, and offered a simple yet genius cooking tip. While her enviable brunch spreads may feature everything from french toast to biscuits and gravy, scrambled eggs are a mainstay. While many chefs swear by fancy butter (looking at you, Martha), a specific type of salt, or even a bit of goat cheese for perfect scrambled eggs, Dolly Parton says the key is ice water.
Parton says someone once told her to sprinkle a bit of ice water in the pan while you cook the eggs and “it will fluff them up for you,” she says. It’s been an essential step for her weekend breakfasts ever since. But does this cooking method actually work? I headed to the kitchen to find out.
I tried to keep things as simple as possible to eliminate as many variables as I could. I whisked two eggs in a bowl with a pinch of salt before pouring the mixture into my favorite non-stick skillet. I kept a small cup of ice water near the stove and measured out a teaspoon to lightly sprinkle over the eggs as I cooked them like usual. Turns out, they didn’t need any extra fat to become perfectly fluffy, though I’d never turn down a sprinkling of feta or drizzle of fancy olive oil in mine.
Jessica Gavin, a culinary scientist with a popular namesake blog, actually has a post about the science behind using certain liquids in creating perfect scrambled eggs. She says that since water turns to steam, the eggs puff up more easily and will become lighter and fluffier. However, Gavin notes that scrambled eggs will lose their rich, savory taste if too much water is added. She advises staying under 1 tablespoon of ice water to ensure you get eggs that are both fluffy and delicious and says the sweet spot is between 1-2 teaspoons of water per egg.
Like usual, Dolly’s always right, and whether you prefer milk or water, it’s an excellent hack to have in your back pocket if you’re cooking for anyone with an allergy or if you’re fresh out of another favorite liquid. Thanks, Dolly!