The Joy of Buttered Eggs

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I had never really thought or heard of buttered eggs until one day when I was reading a romance novel. It was Duchess by Night, by one of my favorite authors, Eloisa James. I think it started out as a suggestion to help someone sober up. Then it became a means to comfort a child. But all that talk of hot buttered eggs made me hungry, and so I made them, and they were good and “silky,” which is how one of Eloisa’s characters described them in the book. I kind of made up the recipe, since there was none given—just an idea in my head of what they must taste like and a memory of breakfast at the Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe Vermont from 28 years ago.

And then, once I was making them for my daughter’s future in-laws for breakfast and Jonathan Haile, her now-father-in-law, broke into prose at the sight of me cooking them, as he often does: “Time, tide, and buttered eggs wait for no man…” he said in his lofty British accent (a real one!) Apparently, he was quoting from a children’s novel by John Masefield called The Box of Delights.

He assured me that I was making them the proper British way, which made me feel rather good. But what makes me feel even better is, now when I ask my teenage daughter if she would like me to make her eggs, she almost always will say that if I make her buttery eggs, she will eat them. And so, I do. You can probably guess at how to make these, but I’ll tell you anyway because there are a few tips I’ve learned by doing.

Hot Buttered Eggs for Two


  • 4–6 eggs
  • 2–3 Tablespoons butter
  • Salt to taste


1. Turn the frying pan (preferably a well seasoned cast-iron skillet) on low, and melt the butter.

2. Crack and scramble the eggs with a fork in a bowl.

3. Add the eggs to the pan and keep the pan on LOW. Use a spatula to scramble the eggs gently and slowly.

4. Turn the heat off before the eggs are fully cooked, and let them finish from the heat of the pan.

The way to ruin hot buttered eggs is to overcook them.  And I’ve tried the “expert advice” of adding a bit of water or milk…totally unnecessary!

My own mother-in-law, who is Italian and does not have a British accent, would say to add chopped fresh mint and a bit of Romano cheese. That’s good, too!


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57 Responses to The Joy of Buttered Eggs

  1. Maria August 6, 2021 at 7:57 am #

    Mr. Deez Nuts is probably just very tired and hungry. A batch of buttered eggs would most definitely make him feel better.

  2. Robert Cummings November 12, 2021 at 2:57 pm #

    I was, just this moment, listening to a BBC broadcast of Box Of Delights, and it was indeed the first time I’d heard the phrase “buttered eggs”. In my mind I pictured hard-boiled eggs with butter, for some reason. But they repeated the phrase so much I had to google it, and that led here.

    Suffice it to say, I’m making Buttered Eggs tonight.

  3. Mark Slater December 22, 2021 at 2:01 pm #

    Robert Cummings
    The Box of Delights is where I first heard of buttered eggs, in fact I’m watching it now as I do every Christmas. I too searched for the recipe and ended up here. I’m sure I’ll be trying them some time soon.
    Merry Christmas

  4. Betty December 17, 2022 at 7:14 pm #

    Yep, me too. Every Christmas, Box of Delights and the old man says “buttered eggs.”

  5. Rachel October 3, 2023 at 3:35 am #

    I first came across the term “buttered eggs” in *Swallows and Amazons*. From the concept, I always assumed they were more or less the same as scrambled eggs.

  6. No one May 21, 2024 at 12:16 am #

    This is not what buttered eggs are. Irish farmers put butter over freshly laid eggs to preserve them over winter, which gave the eggs a buttery taste. It was very common once and a great delicacy.

  7. Write Off June 1, 2024 at 1:14 am #

    I was listening to Audible Collection of Dorothy L Sayers, Lord Peter Whimsey preferred buttered eggs rather than the smell of bacon.

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