Eggs Benedict is a staple on brunch menus and a big favorite of mine. The combination of bacon/ham, egg and Hollandaise sauce over an English muffin is both comforting and delicious. But it's also easier than you might think to make in the comfort of your own kitchen!
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I still remember when I first came across Eggs Benedict. In fact it was when I first discovered the delights of brunch: when I was living in New York. It quickly became a favorite, and in fact years later, my husband and I had it for breakfast the day after we got married.
For years, though, I didn't make it at home. But more recently, it's one of our go-to brunch-at-home favorites.
What is Eggs Benedict?
Eggs Benedict is a traditional brunch dish consisting of Canadian bacon or ham, eggs and Hollandaise sauce served over English muffins. It was first created and made popular in New York (so I had it at the source!), although there are conflicting accounts about which restaurant made it first.
It is not a particularly complicated dish, but does have a few components. The key is to get things going in parallel and know what you can keep warm, and what doesn't work as well.
How are the eggs cooked?
Traditionally Eggs Benedict is made with poached eggs. If you are really not a fan of poached eggs, you could cook them another way. But personally, I don't think the dish would be quite the same.
There is something about the rich sauce, the soft yolk and tender egg whites all mixing together that makes this dish special. I'll admit I never used to be that big a fan of poached eggs (and it still wouldn't be my go-to more generally), but for this dish, it's the best fit.
Tips for perfect Eggs Benedict
- Get the water for the eggs ready first, since it can take a while to boil.
- Cook the eggs last, however, since they are not something you can keep warm - they will overcook if you leave them in the hot water and cool quickly out of the water.
- A little vinegar in with the water helps the whites to cook faster and so stops them spreading too much as they cook.
- If you toast the muffins gently before you cook the rest, you can always re-toast them a little to warm right before serving.
For the Hollandaise sauce, there are a few ways you can make it. I generally make my blender Hollandaise sauce, but I have also made it using the double boiler/'bain Marie' technique.
Personally I'd say the blender method is the easiest for a smaller quantity, but if you are making more, you may want to make it a little thicker which is easier to do using a double boiler.
Eggs Benedict Variations
While Eggs Benedict is the original dish, there are many, many variations these days. There's one restaurant near us in particular where we always look forward to seeing what they have come up with on the theme for their weekend brunch special.
Most eggs Benedict variations keep the components of the muffin, egg and Hollandaise sauce but change the ham for something else. Some of the more popular variations are:
- Eggs Royale, made with smoked salmon.
- Eggs Florentine, made with spinach.
- Steak Benedict, made with steak.
- Eggs Chesapeake, made with blue crab.
I've also made a lobster Eggs Benedict, using lobster and, optionally, black pudding.
There are also variations on the sauce, such as Eggs Mornay, using Mornay (cheese) sauce and California Benedict with avocado sauce.
Yet other variations change up the ham and sauce, like Huevos Benedictos with Mexican chorizo and/or avocado and salsa on top. If you're feeling creative, why not make your own!
Once you have learned how to make Eggs Benedict, you'll soon realize it's not as complicated as you might think. Yes, there are a few components, but once you get them lined up, all are quick and easy. And the result is one incredibly special brunch dish that everyone will love.
Try these other brunch favorites:
- Shakshuka with meat
- Menemen (Turkish scrambled eggs)
- Baked eggs with mushroom and asparagus
- Individual Dutch baby pancakes with roasted berries
- Plus get many more ideas in the breakfast and brunch recipes archives.
- 2 English muffins
- 4 slices ham or Canadian bacon
- 1 tsp white vinegar
- 4 eggs
For the Hollandaise sauce
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 pinch cayenne pepper
- ¼ tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 4 tbsp butter
- Set a pot of water to boil for the eggs.
- Split the English muffins and toast them. Set aside, keeping warm if possible.
- If using Canadian bacon, cook it in skillet or under broiler, or warm if using ham.
- Make or warm your Hollandaise sauce. For easy blender sauce, put the yolks, cayenne, mustard and lemon juice in a blender container and blend until smooth. Melt the butter and pour into the yolk mixture with the blender running so that it combines smoothly. Set aside.
- Lastly, poach the eggs. Add the vinegar to the boiling water, then carefully crack the eggs in to the simmering water. Cook for around 3-4 minutes until the whites are translucent but the yolks are still slightly soft. Remove with a slotted spoon.
- Assemble the eggs Benedict - make stacks with half a muffin at the bottom, topped with bacon/ham, then a poached egg and topped with the Hollandaise sauce.
See some of my favorite cooking tools and ingredients in the Caroline's Cooking Amazon store.
I first shared the recipe for How to Make Eggs Benedict on the Sunday Supper Movement site, where I am a contributor.