Eggs Benedict is one of the most iconic of breakfast meals. While the concept is simple, the execution can be challenging. Here I’ve outlined how to make eggs benedict!
What is Eggs Benedict?
There are several tales of how and who invented eggs benedict. I am not going to speculate which one is true.
What I do know is that traditional eggs benedict is made of buttered toasted bread, usually an English muffin, topped with a bulbous poached eggs with a runny yolk and a hefty dose of hollandaise sauce.
Hollandaise sauce, also known as “Dutch sauce”, has an egg yolk base with melted butter and spiked with lemon juice. It is also one of the five French mother sauces and is served over many dishes, only one of which includes eggs benedict.
There are many eggs benedict recipes out there and so many variations. Canadian bacon, pulled pork, meatless, short ribs and more, the possibilities are endless.
My eggs benedict recipe is fairly traditional I add a layer of wilted spinach to hide my veggies and add color. I like my hollandaise sauce to be thinner and frothy versus heavy and thick, so I add white wine for flavor and texture. Chives finish the look.
Poaching eggs seems like it should be easy. Boil water, crack egg into water, cook, remove. Oh contrary my friend. Egg poaching is a highly sophisticated technique that can take a long time to perfect and even the most accomplished of cooks can mess up.
This is why I like eggs Benedict. Because even if your poached egg comes out looking like egg drop soup, you can cover over it with sauce and no one will know the difference because it all tastes the same!
Tips for Poaching Eggs
- Always use the freshest eggs you can find. For us city dwellers is can be difficult to find farm fresh eggs. If you don’t have a farmers market, etc, then look for the eggs at the back of the cooler with the latest expiration date. As an egg ages the whites thin, making it difficult for the whole thing to hold together when submerged in simmering water.
- Use a non-stick pan that is deep, but not too deep. Minimum of 3 inches deep. The problem here is that if it is too shallow the egg can stick to the bottom. Too deep is just a waste of space.
- Use cold eggs. Warm eggs spread more readily and the goal here is to keep them together!
- Crack eggs into a ramekin or small dish before putting in water. You can slide them into the water evenly and closer to the surface than if you were to crack them directly into the water.
- Use vinegar and touch of salt. This aids in the white of egg holding together better.
- When all else fails, the egg will taste the same even if it looks ugly. You can also purchase poached egg cheater items like the silicone forms or special pans that work too!
Benedict sauce (hollandaise) is a speedy sauce to make, but tricky because you need to work fast. If you let the egg yolks sit too long without moving them or adding other ingredients they will turn into plain old cooked egg yolks and make you sauce lumpy.
Also, be mindful of the heat, too hot will result in eggs cooking too fast, too low and it will take forever. Prepare all ingredients ahead to have them at your fingertips while cooking.
This will be your new favorite Eggs Benedict recipe and the perfect upgrade to your brunch menu. Just stick your fork in and scramble the sun!
- Eggs – Not only do we need poached eggs for this easy eggs benedict recipe; but we also need egg yolks to make the creamy hollandaise sauce. The emulsion of egg yolks with hot melted butter makes for the creamiest texture.
- White wine – I like to use a dry white wine here. It helps to add a little something extra to the homemade hollandaise sauce. You can also use cooking wine if you have it.
- Butter – Always make sure to use unsalted butter when baking or cooking. That way you can control the amount of salt that goes into the recipe.
- Lemon – We will be using both the lemon juice and lemon zest for this recipe. A squeeze of lemon is just what we need to brighten the hollandaise sauce.
- Hot sauce – I like my classic french hollandaise sauce to have a little bit of a kick. If you do too, add a dash of your favorite hot sauce into the mix.
- White pepper – You can use black pepper if that’s all you have; I just prefer the milder flavor that white pepper has. Especially when added to this sauce.
- Canadian bacon – Canadian bacon is the traditional meat used for eggs benedict; however, it’s also a great way to use up leftover ham from the holidays! Thick sliced ham works really well too.
- Baby spinach – This isn’t always seen on this classic brunch dish, but I like to add some wilted spinach to mine for some color and a little something extra. It makes it similar to an eggs florentine.
- White vinegar – We add a splash of vinegar to the pot of water that we poach the eggs in. It helps the eggs to hold their shape a little better.
- Salt – I prefer to use fine sea salt for this recipe. If using salted butter, make sure to taste your breakfast before adding any additional salt.
- English muffins – English muffin halves serve as the base for this special breakfast. While most egg dishes are served with a side of toast, the muffin half soaks up the egg yolks.
- Chives – These are optional, but I love not only the flavor but also the color that chopped chives add to this best eggs benedict recipe.
How to Make Eggs Benedict
- Whisk eggs and wine. Using a double boiler or a medium saucepan fitted with a heat proof bowl, bring water to a gentle simmer in the lower pot. Whisk together the egg yolks and white wine in a small bowl. Add to the top pot of the double boiler.
- Add rest of ingredients. Continue to whisk until mixture becomes frothy and thick, giving you some resistance. Whisk in the melted butter, lemon juice and zest, hot sauce and pepper. Mixture should thicken, but still be pourable.
- Continue to whisk. Lower the heat to warm, cover while you prepare the remaining elements of the benedict. Continue to whisk every couple of minutes to prevent a layer forming on the top.
- Cook slice of Canadian bacon. Preheat the oven and heat a medium, high-sided skillet with a gentle coat of cooking spray to moderately hot heat. Add Canadian bacon. While Canadian bacon should be fully cooked you are aiming for a nice brown to each side. After this is complete, remove and keep warm in the oven.
- Wilt spinach. Keep the skillet hot with rendered bacon grease. Add the spinach and cook until just wilted. After wilted, remove and set aside.
- Boil water. Fill a large skillet with 2 inches of water and bring to a gentle simmer over medium-high heat. Add the vinegar and a dash of salt.
- Poach remaining eggs. Crack the eggs into separate ramekins. When the pot of water is ready, slip each egg into the water close to the top. If needed, use a spatula to fold whites over onto themselves and not separate (too much). The whites will be entirely set with the yolk a little runny. Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with a paper towel to drain excess water.
- Toast the English muffins. Assemble each with toasted English muffins, slices of Canadian bacon, perfectly poached egg, wilted greens, a generous slathering of Benedict sauce, Garnish with snipped chives.
I like this classic eggs benedict just the way the recipe reads. However, there are plenty of ways for you to make it your own.
- Make it spicy – In addition to the hot sauce that I already add to the hollandaise sauce, you can always take it a step further. Either add a little more hot sauce or you can add a sprinkle of cayenne pepper on top.
- Regular bacon – Not a fan of ham? You can substitute it for crisp bacon. Crispy bacon is a great thing to pair with this classic recipe.
- Salmon – Switch up the meat even further by substituting the canadian bacon for some smoked salmon instead.
Storage, Make Ahead and Freezing
Storage: You can store any leftover eggs benedict in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two days. Store each component separately to prevent it from becoming soggy.
Make ahead: Unfortunately, this isn’t a very make-ahead friendly recipe. You can poach the eggs ahead of time. when ready to reheat, allow them to warm up in a bowl of hot water, being careful not to over cook them. Toasted english muffins and hollandaise sauce don’t reheat well.
Freezing: I do not recommend freezing any leftovers.
What to Serve with Eggs Benedict
Serving a crowd? Make an eggs benedict casserole!
Easy Eggs Benedict Recipe
- 4 egg yolks
- 8 eggs
- 2 tablespoons white wine
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter , melted
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 3 grates lemon zest
- 3 drops hot sauce
- 1 pinch white pepper
- 8 slices Canadian bacon , or thick slices of ham
- 1 cup baby spinach
- 2 tablespoons white vinegar
- dash fine sea salt
- 4 English muffins , split
- 2 tablespoons chives , minced
- Using a double boiler or a medium saucepan fitted with a heat proof bowl, bring water to a gentle simmer in the lower pot.
- Whisk together the egg yolks and white wine in a small bowl. Add to the top pot of the double boiler.
- Continue to whisk for 1-2 minutes or until mixture becomes frothy and thick, giving you some resistance.
- Whisk in the melted butter, lemon juice and zest, hot sauce and pepper. Mixture should thicken, but still be pourable.
- Lower the heat to warm, cover while you prepare the remaining elements of the benedict. Continue to whisk every couple of minutes to prevent a layer forming on the top.
- Preheat the oven to 200°F and heat a medium, high-sided skillet with a gentle coat of cooking spray to moderately hot heat. Add Canadian bacon. While Canadian bacon should be fully cooked you are aiming for a nice brown to each side. After this is complete, remove and keep warm in the oven.
- Keep the skillet hot with rendered bacon grease. Add the spinach and cook until just wilted. After wilted, remove and set aside.
- Fill a large skillet, minimum of 2 inches deep, with water and bring to a gentle simmer over medium-high heat. Add the vinegar and a dash of salt.
- Crack the 8 eggs into separate ramekins (or work in batches of 4). When the water is ready, slip each egg into the water close to the top. If needed, use a spatula to fold whites over onto themselves and not separate (too much). Cook for approximately 4 minutes. The whites will be entirely set with the yolk a little runny. Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate.
- Toast the English muffins. Assemble each with English muffin, Canadian bacon, poached eggs, wilted greens, a generous slathering of Benedict sauce, Garnish with snipped chives.
- If you've tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was in the comments or star ratings.