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Is fried egg or scrambled egg healthier?

Eggs are a nutritious food that can be prepared in many different ways. Two of the most popular methods are frying and scrambling. But when it comes to health, which is better – fried egg or scrambled egg? Here we will compare the nutritional values, calories, fat content, cholesterol levels and other factors to determine the healthier egg preparation.

Nutritional Value

The nutritional value of eggs depends primarily on the egg itself rather than the cooking method. One large egg contains:

  • 77 calories
  • 6 grams of protein
  • 5 grams of fat
  • 185 milligrams of cholesterol
  • Trace amounts of calcium, iron, potassium, zinc, vitamins A, D, E, B6 and B12

These nutrients remain consistent whether the egg is fried, scrambled, poached or prepared any other way. However, the way the egg is cooked can impact the amount of fat, calories and cholesterol in the overall dish.

Fat Content

Eggs contain both saturated and unsaturated fats. When an egg is fried, it is often cooked in butter or oil, which adds additional fat and calories. Scrambled eggs can also have extra fat added from milk, cream or cheese. But scrambled eggs don’t need as much added fat as fried eggs which are cooked in fat.

A typical fried egg is made with 1 teaspoon of oil or butter. This adds about 40 calories and 5 grams of primarily saturated fat. Plain scrambled eggs without added fat or milk will have less saturated fat than a fried egg cooked in oil or butter.

Cholesterol Levels

The cholesterol in an egg comes from the yolk. Since both fried eggs and scrambled eggs use the whole egg, they both contain the same amount of cholesterol per egg.

However, when making scrambled eggs, some people opt to use egg whites only or a combination of egg whites and whole eggs. Using just the egg whites eliminates the cholesterol, since all the cholesterol is in the yolk.

So scrambled eggs made with just egg whites will be cholesterol-free, while fried eggs and scrambled eggs made with whole eggs will have the same cholesterol levels.


The calorie content also depends on how the eggs are prepared:

  • 1 fried egg in 1 tsp oil or butter: 117 calories
  • 1 plain scrambled egg with no added fat or milk: 77 calories
  • 1 cup scrambled eggs made with 2 eggs and 2 tbsp whole milk: 152 calories

As you can see, fried eggs have more calories than plain scrambled eggs but fewer calories than scrambled eggs made with added milk and fat.

Overall Nutrition

Based on the nutritional comparison, plain scrambled eggs without added fat or milk are the healthiest preparation. They have the lowest amount of calories, saturated fat and no cholesterol if made with egg whites only.

Fried eggs are next best, with a bit more calories and saturated fat from the cooking oil or butter. Scrambled eggs made with milk and extra fat are highest in both calories and saturated fat.

This table summarizes the nutrition for one egg prepared fried, plain scrambled, and scrambled with milk and fat:

Type Calories Total Fat Saturated Fat Cholesterol
Fried egg 117 8g 2g 185mg
Plain scrambled egg 77 5g 1.5g 185mg
Scrambled with milk and fat 152 10g 3.5g 185mg

Benefits of Fried Eggs

While plain scrambled eggs may be lower in calories and fat, there are some benefits that come specifically from fried eggs:


Frying adds a delicious flavor and texture. When eggs are fried, the whites become crisp on the edges and bottom, while the yolks remain runny. This contrasts with the fluffy texture of scrambled eggs. The Maillard reaction also occurs when eggs are fried, producing complex flavors not found in scrambled eggs.


Frying eggs is quick and simple. Crack the egg into a hot pan and let it cook. Scrambled eggs require more time and effort to continuously stir and break up the curds as they form.


Fried eggs can be served in many ways. Fry an egg sunny side up, over easy or over hard. Poached eggs are also a type of fried egg cooked gently in hot water. Fried eggs work for breakfast sandwiches, topping salads, burgers or bowls.

Benefits of Scrambled Eggs

Though scrambled eggs may not taste quite as flavorful, they offer some of their own advantages:

Lower fat

Using minimal added fat to scramble eggs means they have less total fat and saturated fat than fried eggs cooked in oil or butter.

Lower calories

With no added fat and lighter cooking, plain scrambled eggs are significantly lower in calories than fried eggs.

Lean protein

The protein in scrambled egg whites is low fat and low calorie, making it an ideal choice for meals before or after exercising.


It’s easy to add vegetables, cheese, meat and other mix-ins to scrambled eggs. This allows for endless variations.

No need to flip

Scrambled eggs don’t run the risk of undercooking that can occur with fried eggs if you fail to flip them at the right moment.

Downsides of Fried Eggs

While delicious, fried eggs do come with some disadvantages:

  • Higher in fat and calories than scrambled eggs due to cooking in oil/butter
  • Can be tricky to cook perfectly with runny yolks without undercooking whites
  • Risk of popping hot oil when adding eggs to a pan
  • Typically only one egg per person
  • Takes longer to cook multiple eggs compared to scrambling

Downsides of Scrambled Eggs

Scrambled eggs have some drawbacks as well:

  • Require constant stirring and breaking up of curds
  • Can end up dry or rubbery if overcooked
  • Additions like milk and cheese increase fat, calories and cholesterol
  • Lack the rich flavor and texture of fried eggs
  • Can’t be served runny


When it comes to nutritional value, plain scrambled eggs without added fat are the healthiest preparation. They are lower in calories, fat and cholesterol compared to fried eggs.

However, fried eggs have a delicious taste and texture that can’t be replicated in scrambled eggs. Fried eggs also offer convenience but have a higher fat and calorie content.

In the end, moderation and personal preference should dictate enjoyment of both fried and scrambled eggs. Both can be made in a healthy way: use minimal oil for fried eggs and low fat milk or just egg whites when scrambling.

Try alternating between fried and scrambled eggs or combining them in dishes like breakfast burritos. This allows you to get the benefits of each style while also enjoying the unique flavors and textures.

No matter which way you crack an egg, it can be a tasty and nutritious breakfast. Fried or scrambled, eggs deliver protein, vitamins and minerals. As long as you watch your added fat and cholesterol intake, you can healthfully reap the benefits of this amazing food.