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How to Make Eggs Benedict—And 8 Ways to Upgrade the Brunch Staple

·6 min read
Eggs Benedict brunch
Eggs Benedict brunch

Debby Lewis-Harrison/Getty Images

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  1. On This Page

    • Cooking Tips

    • Recipe

    • Upgrades

It's a classic for a reason. Eggs Benedict is a rich and satisfying dish found on brunch menus everywhere. The good news is that you don't have to leave home to relish in the tastiness of Eggs Benedict, and you can cook up this crave-worthy brunch item from the comfort of your own kitchen. The ingredients are simple, it's the techniques that have home cooks thinking it's too big a feat to take on.

Traditionally made with just English muffins, Canadian bacon, poached eggs, and a creamy Hollandaise sauce, Eggs Benedict only really requires making two out of the four standard components from scratch. Once you grasp the easy techniques for making the poached eggs and Hollandaise sauce from start to finish, you'll be serving up plates of Eggs Benedict like a pro.

How to Make Eggs Benedict

There are a few steps to making Eggs Benedict. Beyond toasting the English muffins and crisping up the Canadian bacon (usually precooked and smoked), eggs must be poached and Hollandaise sauce must be made. Hollandaise sauce is an emulsion of egg yolks, melted butter, and lemon juice (much like making mayonnaise from scratch) and here, a shortcut blender method is used.

RELATED: Burnt Out on Hard-Boiled? Here Are 12 Other Delicious Ways to Cook Eggs

Some handy tips to keep in mind:

  • A wide shallow pan with straight sides is preferred for poaching the eggs thanks to the larger cooking area. However, a pot or saucepan will yield just as great results.

  • Crack each egg individually into a small bowl(s) as you go before dipping the egg into the cooking water. This keeps the egg whole once it hits the hot water and also avoids any of the egg shells making their way into the water.

  • A touch of vinegar in the cooking water helps to set and solidify the egg white to avoid any stringy bits. Because it's just a small amount of vinegar, it doesn't affect the taste of the eggs.

  • Keep the cooking water at a very gentle simmer for even cooking.

  • Using a blender to make the hollandaise sauce is not traditional, but it's foolproof, plus it will save you time and energy.

  • Bonus points: Strain each egg using a fine mesh strainer before adding it to the cooking water. This yields the neatest results, as the loose part of the egg white separates and drains and does not create any sneaky egg white tails after poaching. This is optional and just for looks.

Eggs Benedict Recipe

Below is a list of ingredients you need to make Eggs Benedict for two at home, as well as step-by-step cooking instructions to follow.

  • 1 tablespoon vinegar

  • 4 large eggs, plus 2 large egg yolks, divided

  • 1 stick (½ cup) plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, divided

  • 4 slices Canadian bacon

  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt

  • Pinch of cayenne, plus more for serving

  • 2 English muffins, split and toasted

  • Freshly ground black pepper and chopped fresh chives, for serving

  1. Fill a large pot with 3 inches of water and add the vinegar. Bring to a boil over high and reduce heat to medium to maintain water at a gentle simmer, reducing heat to medium-low if simmering too vigorously.

  2. Crack 1 egg into a small bowl. Gently stir the water to create a whirlpool in the pot. Add the egg in close proximity to the water. Working quickly, repeat method with the remaining 3 eggs. Cook until the white is set and the yolk is still soft, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove eggs one by one with a slotted spoon, tapping bottom of the spoon onto a paper towel to dry, and transfer to a plate.

  3. Heat 1 tablespoon of butter in a large skillet over medium. Add the bacon and cook until golden and crispy, flipping once, about 4 minutes per side.

  4. Blend egg yolks with lemon juice in a blender until combined. Heat the remaining 1 stick of butter until melted and hot in a small saucepan or in a heatproof bowl in the microwave. With the blender running, gradually pour in the hot, melted butter in a very thin stream through the opening in the lid, until thickened and pale yellow, about 1 minute. Stir in salt and a small pinch of cayenne. Add 1 tablespoon warm water if the sauce is too thick for your liking.

  5. Place bacon on toasted English muffin halves. Top with poached eggs and spoon hollandaise over the eggs. Sprinkle with black pepper, cayenne, and chives, if desired.

RELATED: 11 Recipes That Prove Breakfast for Dinner Is the Best Kind of Evening Meal

Eggs Benedict Upgrades

Make Eggs Benedict the traditional way, then make them again with these elevated and delicious takes on the classic.

Swap Canadian Bacon

Try standard bacon, the streaky supermarket kind instead. Or go Italian and try crisping up slices of pancetta, alternatively try prosciutto or prosciutto cotto, which can be used straight from the packaging. Sausage patties or cooked deli ham are excellent substitutes as well.

Go Fish

Using smoked salmon instead of Canadian bacon in the traditional Eggs Benedict preparation is called Eggs Royale, and it's divine. It's also often seen as Eggs Norwegian. This variation is perfect for pescatarians, and one little perk is not having to clean a skillet. Or for a coastal variation known as Eggs Neptune, try fresh crab meat seasoned lightly with lemon juice and a pinch of salt.

Very Veggie

Sure, bacon is part of the traditional eggs Benny package, but there are veggie variations that are also delightful. The addition of sautéed spinach to this brunch staple is known as Eggs Florentine, but sautéed kale or Swiss chard would be just as tasty. For a fresh take, try some arugula or watercress.

Hot Potato

It's hard to beat an English muffin, but for a scrumptious option give hash brown patties a whirl. Buy the patties frozen or make your own and use them as the base.

RELATED: 11 Cheesy Potato Recipes That Go With Everything

Switch Up the Base

Try different types of bread for a twist on the base. Danish rye bread or thick slices of toasted sourdough bread would make stellar options, while square slices of fluffy focaccia would be a dream. Or go wild and try Eggs Benedict on a bagel or buttermilk biscuit.

Opt For Avocado "Hollandaise"

For a healthier twist, make an avocado sauce. Simply process 1 avocado with a couple of spoonfuls of Greek yogurt, a squeeze of lemon, and a drizzle of olive oil. Season with salt and cayenne. Add 1 tablespoon of water at a time to thin out the sauce, if desired, and spoon over the poached eggs.

Umami Boost

Roasted portobello mushroom caps are not only nutritious and gluten-free, if that's what you're looking for, but also deliver a big savory flavor boost since they're a rich source of umami. Just remove the stems, brush with olive oil on both sides, and season with salt and pepper. Roast at 425 degrees on a parchment-lined baking sheet, flipping halfway through, until tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Then, skip the English muffins and use the roasted portobello mushroom caps as the base instead.

Waffles!

If fried chicken and waffles are a thing, why not Eggs Benedict served on waffles? The subtle sweetness of waffles is a great contrast to the savoriness and richness of all the components of Eggs Benedict.