One of my favourite breakfasts and brunch (and sometimes lunch or dinner) is Eggs Benedict. Making Eggs Benedict the easy way is super easy and pretty quick. If you are a hollandaise sauce purist and insist on making your own from scratch (disclaimer: never ever have I done this and have no desire to try), then this might hurt your soul, but for the rest of us, read on!
How to poach an egg
Disclaimer: I’m not really great at this, and my end result isn’t always especially pretty. But it’s always tasty! A quick search will pull up instructions for how to poach an egg, whether you want to do it in water on the stove, in the microwave, or in silicone poach pods.
I think I had some of these once. They were green, and my kids claimed them as bathtub toys because they made a great floating nest for their mermaids. So I can attest to their use as mermaid beds, but not their egg poaching abilities. True story. I poach my eggs in a pot of simmering water.
- Package of hollandaise sauce. Presumably you are reading this recipe because you’ve never tried to make eggs Benedict before, or, tried and failed. Perhaps the prospect of making hollandaise from scratch scared you off, or you subscribe to “maximum effect for minimum effort.” Solidarity, me too.
- I like this packaged sauce because it’s made with butter and water instead of butter and milk (and therefore cheaper), it’s a lower sodium option for a dish that tends towards salty anyway, and I like how this one tastes. But pick one and try, you won’t know until you do.
- Butter for the hollandaise sauce; mine requires ½ cup per package.
- Eggs. Whatever kind you like.
- English muffins, one half per egg.
- Ham, however you like it: shaved, thinly sliced, thickly sliced, carved off of your Sunday dinner leftovers.
- Paprika if you’re feeling fancy (my kids ALWAYS feel fancy, so this is non-negotiable in our house.)
That’s it! No special tools required, just basic stuff: a slotted spoon, a whisk (I like flat whisks to get into corners of pots), ordinary frying pans and pots.
Eggs Benedict the Easy Way Instructions:
Get your sauce going, following the instructions on the package. This usually involves melting butter, and then whisking in the package contents and water, but read it in advance in case yours needs something else.
While the butter melts for your sauce, get out a frying pan with enough space for your ham. Do one slice of ham per egg, or if you have shaved ham, one pile of ham per egg. I fry it on low heat while I make the rest of the bits because I don’t like wet lunch meat.
I started doing this when I was pregnant — killing off the listeria that might linger on deli meat and harm my baby — and liked it so much I kept it up. You aren’t cooking the ham, just warming it and possibly crisping the edges a tad, and that’s it, so it’s okay if it overlaps. Once it gets to a suitably warmed point turn the heat off and just let it stay there until you’re ready to build your eggs Benedict.
Don’t forget to check on your sauce, whisking as needed.
Cut your English muffins in half and get them ready to toast. I usually do this early on and leave them in the toaster ready to go. Mostly I remember to toast them on time.
Poach your eggs, which I do in a pot of simmering water (sometimes I add a splash of white vinegar because I once read this was a good idea). If you’re poaching your eggs this way it should take about 3 minutes in the pot, but I just gently lift them out and look at them to see if the white looks to be set. Once it is I call them done.
If I am cooking more than a couple of eggs at once then I will crack all of the eggs into one bowl and then gently tilt the edge of the bowl into the hot water to put all of the eggs in at once, meaning they’ll all be done at the same time. Whatever your method, keep the yolks intact.
Check on your sauce again. If it’s done (has cooked for the appropriate amount of time and has thickened nicely) you can just slide it off onto a cold burner and let it sit and wait for you. It might separate a tiny bit but that’s okay, you can whisk it again before you spoon it out on top of your eggs.
After your eggs go in remember to pop the English muffins down. They might finish toasting before your eggs are done but that’s fine, they can just hang out in the toaster staying warmish. I like mine very lightly toasted so they are easier to cut on my plate, but do them as crunchy as you like. I don’t butter them – it would get lost amongst the pile of deliciousness you’re about to stack on top of them.
Okay, ready? Get your shaker of paprika handy, a slotted spoon to lift the eggs, something with which to spoon out the hollandaise sauce, and that’s it. Hopefully you’ve planned ahead and had someone else set the table for you.
Put an English muffin half on the plate, and then a slice of ham. Lift out an egg, tilting the spoon back and forth to drain off any water that has pooled, and set it gently onto the ham. Spoon on as much hollandaise as you like, and finish with a decorative dash of paprika. Serve with a knife and fork. And that is it!
My kids love eggs Benedict the easy way and will eat one egg stack themselves, whereas I like two and my husband likes three. It’s filling and dense for sure, and not something I’d have every day, but it makes a nice treat.
It is possible to make larger quantities at once by having multiple pans going and some extra hands on deck to serve things up – but hard to do it so you can sit down and eat at the same time as everyone else. It’s the egg poaching that’s the most delicate to time, so if you have a way to manage that then eggs Benedict the easy way can be a great brunch meal that looks a lot more complicated than it is.
Leftover sauce — if there is any! — can be kept in the fridge and reheated as necessary. It’s even quicker and easier to make yourself a second breakfast of eggs Benny when all you have to do is nuke the hollandaise! My kids had this for breakfast on a busy school morning and it took almost no time at all. Not even feeling up for heating sauce? Try an egg sandwich instead.