If you ask me what my top breakfast meal is, eggs benedict has got to be up in the top three. Possibly in the number one slot. There is nothing about it I don't love. Crispy English muffins ready to sop up the yolks and hollandaise, salty, savory bacon, runny egg yolks...I mean. Come on.
Eggs benedict are a classic because they bring together a perfect combination of flavors and textures. You've got the rich, creamy hollandaise sauce drizzled over tender, poached eggs and crisp, salty Canadian bacon, all nestled on top of a toasted English muffin.
It's a dish that satisfies all your savory cravings in every bite. And let's not forget about the indulgence factor - there's something so luxurious about drizzling rich sauce over perfectly cooked eggs. That's why eggs benedict remain a staple on brunch menus and a crowd-pleaser year after year.
Eggs benedict combines so many different elements for the ultimate flavor and texture experience. This dish satisfies savory cravings big-time, making it a luxurious and beloved staple on brunch menus.
Why You're going to Love this Recipe
- They're a great balance of richness and lightness. The creamy sauce and tender eggs are decadent, but the English muffin provides a toasty, buttery base that keeps the dish from feeling too heavy.
- The dish is versatile. You can switch up the ingredients to suit your taste, whether that's using smoked salmon instead of Canadian bacon or swapping out the English muffin for a croissant.
- They're a satisfying meal. Eggs benedict offer protein and carbohydrates in one delicious package, making it a filling and satisfying brunch option.
- They have a bit of history and tradition behind them. The dish has been around for over a century and has been enjoyed by countless people, making it a classic.
- The combination of flavors is simply irresistible. The tangy hollandaise sauce, the salty bacon, and the soft, yolky eggs all complement each other perfectly.
Frequently Asked Questions
Eggs Benedict is a dish made of poached eggs, Canadian bacon or ham, and hollandaise sauce served on an English muffin.
Eggs Benedict is typically served as a brunch dish, often with a side of home fries or roasted vegetables.
Totally! It requires poaching eggs and making hollandaise sauce from scratch, but the process is fairly straightforward. This post is going to walk you through all of it.
Eggs Benedict can be high in calories and fat due to the hollandaise sauce and butter used in the dish. However, it is possible to make healthier versions of the dish by using low-fat dairy products, reducing the amount of sauce used, and incorporating more vegetables.
Origin & History
So, it's a bit of a mystery, but the most widely accepted story is that it was created in the late 1800s by a man named Lemuel Benedict. He was a wealthy New Yorker who ordered some strange combination of food items at the Waldorf Hotel, which the chef then transformed into the dish we now know as eggs benedict.
Another story goes that it was created at the iconic Delmonico's in New York City for Mr. and Mrs. Legrand Benedict, who wanted something new and that wasn't on the menu.
Over the years, the dish has evolved, and there have been a bunch of variations, but the basics have remained the same: an English muffin, ham or bacon, poached eggs, and hollandaise sauce. It's become a classic brunch dish and a staple in American cuisine.
- English muffins: These provide a sturdy base for the dish and a toasted texture that pairs well with the creamy hollandaise sauce.
- Canadian bacon, bacon or ham: Adds a savory, salty flavor to the dish and provides a base for the poached eggs.
- Poached eggs: The soft, runny yolks of the poached eggs add a rich and creamy texture to the dish.
- Hollandaise sauce: This classic sauce is made with egg yolks, lemon juice, melted butter, salt, and cayenne pepper. It provides a tangy and creamy flavor that complements the other ingredients in the dish.
- Fresh parsley or chives: These herbs add a fresh and bright flavor to the dish and help to balance out the richness of the hollandaise sauce.
How to Make Eggs Benedict: Step-By-Step
So, making Eggs Benedict might seem a little intimidating, but trust me, it's not that bad! First, let's start with the hollandaise sauce (note: if you're making it for a crowd or want to keep the ingredients warm while you prep - skip to the next section. You just have to make it in a different order). You're gonna need a double boiler for this, which is just a pot of simmering water with a heat-proof bowl on top.
In the top of the double boiler, you're going to whisk together egg yolks, lemon juice, salt, and cayenne pepper until they're fully combined. Then, you'll slowly add melted butter to the egg mixture while whisking continuously. This is the key to a creamy, emulsified sauce.
The bubbles should look like this. One of the easiest ways to scramble your eggs if if the water is too hot, so monitor carefully! Whisk the eggs, lemon juice, and cayenne pepper. Put the mixture over your simmering water, and slowly whisk in the butter.
P.S. If you want the full breakdown on hollandaise sauce, how to make it, and how to make sure you don't mess it up, check out my full guide!
Keep whisking the mixture over the simmering water until it thickens up and becomes smooth and creamy. You'll know it's ready when it coats the back of a spoon and doesn't separate. Once it's ready, remove it from the heat and keep it warm.
Next, it's time to poach the eggs. Fill a saucepan with about 2 inches of water and bring it to a gentle simmer. Crack each egg into a separate bowl, then gently pour it into the simmering water. Cook for about 3 minutes or until the whites are set and the yolks are still soft.
SImmer your water gently for the eggs. Drop each egg into a sieve first - this will help with some of the whispies. Gently lower in your eggs, cook for three minutes, until the white is just set.
While the eggs are cooking, you can toast the English muffins and cook the Canadian bacon or ham until it's crispy. To assemble the dish, place a toasted English muffin on a plate, top it with a slice of Canadian bacon or ham, and then place a poached egg on top.
Finally, it's time to drizzle that delicious hollandaise sauce over the eggs. Don't be afraid to be generous here! Sprinkle some fresh parsley or chives on top, and you're good to go.
There you have it! A classic brunch dish that's sure to impress your friends and family. And don't worry if it takes a few tries to get the hollandaise sauce just right – that's normal. Just keep practicing and you'll be an eggs benedict pro in no time!
Making for Crowd & Keeping them Warm
If you're making eggs benny for a crowd, there are a few things you can do to keep everything warm (this is the method I use in the video!):
- Preheat your oven to 200°F (93°C) and place the toasted English muffins on a baking sheet. Wrap them in foil to keep them warm.
- Cook the Canadian bacon or ham in a large skillet and keep it warm in the oven on the same baking sheet as the English muffins.
- Poach the eggs in batches, using a slotted spoon to remove them from the simmering water. Place the poached eggs on a plate lined with paper towels to remove any excess water, then transfer them to the oven to keep warm.
- Make the hollandaise sauce in a double boiler or a heat-proof bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Keep the sauce warm on low heat, stirring occasionally, until you're ready to serve.
- To assemble the dish, place a toasted English muffin on a plate, top it with a slice of Canadian bacon or ham, and then place a poached egg on top. Drizzle the hollandaise sauce over the eggs, sprinkle with fresh parsley or chives, and serve immediately.
By keeping everything warm in the oven, you'll be able to assemble and serve Eggs Benedict quickly and efficiently without sacrificing taste or quality.
I'm Scared. Soothe Me.
I know eggs benedict can seem intimidating, but it's actually not as difficult as it looks. (And please remember I say this as someone who still, to this day, cannot make poached eggs without destroying the first 6 I try. Poached eggs are my kryptonite). With a little practice and these tips and tricks, you'll be making them like a pro in no time.
Remember, the key to success is to work methodically and have all of your ingredients prepped before you start cooking. Take your time, and don't be afraid to try and make mistakes, they happen to the best of us! And most importantly, have fun in the kitchen and enjoy the process.
And if all else fails, think of it as a fancy breakfast sandwich, it can be that simple! So don't stress, give it a try and see for yourself how amazing it can be. And, quite frankly, you can be.
- Smoked salmon and dill hollandaise: Top your English muffin with smoked salmon, poached eggs, and a tangy dill hollandaise sauce for a delicious twist. This is one of my favorite versions!
- Spinach and mushroom: Sauté some spinach and mushrooms, then top your English muffin with the veggies, poached eggs, and hollandaise sauce.
- Avocado and bacon: Top your English muffin with sliced ripe avocado, crispy bacon, for a decadent brunch dish.
- Pulled pork and chipotle hollandaise: Top your English muffin with pulled pork, poached eggs, and a spicy chipotle hollandaise sauce for a bold and flavorful bite.
- Lobster and tarragon hollandaise: Top your English muffin with chunks of cooked lobster, poached eggs, and a tarragon-infused hollandaise sauce for a luxurious and indulgent brunch dish. Another top favorite for me - I think I'll write a recipe for this soon!
Tips & Tricks
- Perfect poached eggs: Listen - I am not a pro at poaching eggs. I mangled 6 eggs to get 4 perfect ones for this recipe. The key is to be so SO gentle. Literally any wrong sudden move, and those yolks are spilling everywhere. To get the perfect poached egg, crack it into a sieve first. This helps cut down on the whispy whites and keep it's shape. Cook for about 3 minutes, then remove with a slotted spoon and place on paper towels to drain.
- Don't try and cook too many eggs at once: This was another huge mistake I made - If you have too many eggs, you can't really see what's going on in the pot. And then I started stabbing the yolks because I had no idea what was going on.
- The right English muffin: Look for a sturdy English muffin with a good crumb structure so it doesn't fall apart when you top it with the other ingredients. Toast it lightly to bring out its flavor and keep it from getting soggy. PRO TIP: if you use regular bacon, toast your English muffins top down in the bacon fat after you cook the bacon.
- Crispy bacon or ham: Cook your bacon or ham until it's crispy to add a delicious crunch to your Eggs Benedict.
- The right sauce: Hollandaise sauce is a must for Eggs Benedict, and using a double boiler is the best way to make it. Whisk egg yolks, lemon juice, melted butter, salt, and cayenne pepper together until the sauce thickens and becomes smooth and creamy.
- Assembly: To assemble the dish, place a toasted English muffin on a plate, top it with bacon or ham, then a poached egg. Spoon the hollandaise sauce over the top and sprinkle with a little paprika for color.
Other Fun Brunch Ideas
- 3 egg yolks
- 2 tablespoon lemon juice
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ C melted butter
- 4 english muffins toasted
- 8 eggs
- 8 slices Canadian bacon cooked, you can also use regular bacon or ham.
- parsley, chives, or dill for garnish
Make the Hollandaise
- Fill the bottom of a double boiler with water and bring it to a simmer over medium heat.
- In the top of the double boiler, whisk together egg yolks, lemon juice, salt, and cayenne pepper until combined.
- Add melted butter to the egg mixture, a little bit at a time, whisking continuously until the sauce thickens and emulsifies.
- Once the sauce is thick and creamy, remove it from the heat and keep it warm.
Make the Eggs Benny
- Toast English muffins and cook Canadian bacon or ham until crispy.
- Fill a saucepan with about 4 inches of water and bring it to a gentle simmer.
- Crack eggs into a sieve, letting the excess whites drain. Then pour each egg into the simmering water and cook for about 3 minutes or until the whites are set and the yolks are still soft. BE SO GENTLE as you're doing this.
- Remove eggs from the water using a slotted spoon.
- To assemble the dish, place a toasted English muffin on a plate, top with a slice of Canadian bacon or, bacon, or ham, then place a poached egg on top.
- Drizzle hollandaise sauce over the eggs, sprinkle with fresh parsley or chives, and serve.
Hi, I'm Cara! I'm a food writer, journalist, and recipe developer. I'm obsessed good food, good wine, good cocktails and entertaining. I've picked up a few tips over the years, and love sharing them with others.