Classic Eggs Benedict has the perfect mix of egg, Canadian bacon and toast all wrapped in a creamy hollandaise sauce. An easy, gourmet breakfast for everyday and special occasions!
Classic Eggs Benedict is a breakfast lovers dream. A perfectly poached egg over crispy canadian bacon a top an english muffin. If that wasn’t enough it then has creamy homemade buttery hollandaise sauce spooned over the top for a delicious mouthful every single bite.
This eggs benny recipe Im sharing today could be intimidating. There is a LOT of cooking technique involved in achieving the end result. Poaching eggs, making a hollandaise sauce and the over all timing of cooking the ham, muffins, creamy sauce and perfectly cooked eggs and having them come out all at the same time.
Wait– don’t panic– its very simple to make this classic eggs Benedict recipe I promise!!!
Today Im going to share a step by step instructions for how to make eggs benedict successfully and answer any question you might ever have about Eggs Benedict.
Lets start with —where did Eggs Benedict get its name?
Eggs Benedict has been around for over a hundred years. According to What’s Cooking America there are two sources of its creation. Some say it was done at Delmonico’s restaurant by a customer named Mrs. Legrand Benedict and the chef at the time Charles Ranhofer that he called Eggs a’ la Benedick.
Others credit Lemans Benedict’s order after a drunken bender for buttered toast, crisp bacon, two poached eggs, and a hooker of hollandaise sauce at the Waldorf Asortoria.
No matter who did— the bottom line is that it’s a creation of breakfast dreams!
How to Poach an Egg
Let’s start with the eggs. Eggs are easy to poach with some simple tips I learned along the way. Three things that I do every single time so that my eggs are cooked to end up perfectly oval and where the yolk is just the right consistency while still being cooked safely with the ooze factor happening! (You know where it oozes out all velvety, creamy and smooth!)
- Use a wok, or a pan with rounded edges
- Swirl the water then add egg from a measuring cup.
- Poach for exactly 3 minutes.
Bring a wok to a low simmer. There will be a couple of bubbles coming up, not a full on rolling boil. A full on boil will cook the egg too quickly and yield tough egg whites and over cooked yolks.
Using a wok allows the water swirl easily… the one I have pictured has a flat bottom, which works fine, but a round bottom works even better. By swirling the water right before adding the egg, then being able to actually use a cup to follow the swirl as the egg is dropped the egg will not stick to the bottom. It also allows for the egg to maintain its oval shape with the slight pressure of the moving water.
I usually then swirl the water one more time for good measure then set the timer for 3 minutes. Thats it. If you set the timer and remove it promptly you will have a perfectly cooked and shaped poached egg. In the photo below to the right you can see how the water is still moving, helping the egg maintain its shape as it begins to poach.
A perfectly cooked poach eggs takes 3 mins to cook. I suggest cooking them in small batches, usually at max 3 at a time. The temp of the water fluctuates too much with more than that. Use a slotted spoon to gently lift the eggs one at time from the simmering water. Allow excess water to drain away before setting it onto a bowl until ready to plate the Benedict.
Can Poached Eggs be made ahead of time?
They can, although they are easy enough to make fresh and I really think they taste better made to order.
However, I get it, sometimes you need to make them ahead for the purpose of time constraints.
From a health standpoint you could poach them up to 3 days ahead of time and store them in the fridge until ready to warm and use. In testing them I highly suggest you make them at most one day ahead. The texture changes enough that they seem a little rubbery when eating them.
If you make them ahead, store them in water in a sealed container in the fridge until ready to use. Bring some water to simmer, then let sit for 8 minutes off heat. Then lift the eggs out of the containers water and place in the warmed water to warm up for about 2 minutes until heated.
What is in Eggs Benedict?
- English Muffins
- Hollandaise Sauce
Traditionally eggs Benedict has bacon or ham in it. There are lots of other variations including Eggs Sardou, which has spinach in it along with ham. In my recipe I suggest using Canadian bacon becasue its super easy to cook. Placed in a pan with a little bit of butter and it cooks in minutes so I can spend the time making the hollandaise sauce.
What is Hollandaise sauce?
A hollandaise sauce is an emulsion of egg yolks and melted butter. It usually has a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and a dash of cayenne pepper for a bright flavorful taste. Hollandaise is not only for eggs Benedict, it can be used as the base with the addition of tarragon to create Bernaise Sauce to be used on a steak or over the top of fresh steamed veggies. You can use orange juice instead of lemon for another option that works great over spring peas.
Many recipes use clarified butter (butter with the salts and solids removed) however I find making the simple homemade sauce with regular melted butter works fine. There are recipes that you can make ahead of time and in order to reheat it you would have to use clarified butter in order for it not to separate.
If prepared correctly it is a smooth velvety sauce that lightly coats what ever its spooned over. Being made with butter you would think it would be really rich and filling. Its not, its light and melds the bacon, egg and toast just beautifully. We joke in my family that we like it so much we really would like to lick the bottom of the plate to get every last drop!
Tricks for no fail creamy, velvety hollandaise?
- Add a dab of water to the egg yolks.
- Whisk the eggs until very frothy and you cant see thru them on the spoon.
- Drizzle the butter at a snails pace when adding them to the yolks.
Adding a dab of water slightly thins the egg yolk. It takes very little…. like 1/4 teaspoon. It makes the eggs forth a little better. Whisk them like crazy to get them very frothy.
Once the eggs are frothed, you’ll slowly add melted butter to do the emulsion. I cannot stress enough, slowly slowly slowly. If the butter is added way to quickly the hollandaise will be way too thin and there is a big chance it will separate. If added slowly the texture will be really smooth and will coat the back of a spoon and not be able to see through it.
The last step is the seasoning. Adding the splash of lemon juice and cayenne pepper and any herb you might want.
Step By Step Instructions for Timing Eggs Benedict for Entertaining:
- Toast the English muffins, place in a 225° oven to keep warm until you need them.
- Crack eggs, separate out yokes, add splash of water and whisk until frothy. Set aside.
- Cook the meat in a skillet in butter then once cooked/warmed keep warmed in oven until assembly.
- While the meat is cooking brink the water in a wok to a simmer.
- Poach eggs in wok, placing onto a warmed plate when done.
- Melt butter in microwave.
- Refresh egg yolks by whisking one more time, then slowly add melted butter until thick. Finish with seasonings.
- Assemble muffin, then meat, then egg – two on a each plate.
- Spoon about 2 tablespoons hollandaise over the top, then serve.
Looking for other Brunch Ideas for Special Occasions:
Loaded Breakfast Cups ~ West Via Midwest
Asparagus Fritata ~ Lemon Blossoms
Cinnamon Swirl Bundt Cake ~ Shugary Sweets
Breakfast Quiche ~ Pinch and Swirl
Classic French Chocolate Eclair ~ Sugar and Soul
Step by step process to serve Eggs Benedict for company
- 16 large Eggs
- 1 pound Canadian bacon (16 slices)
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 8 English Muffins split in half
- 1 cup butter
- 3 large egg yolks
- 1/4 teaspoon water
- 1 squeeze lemon juice
- 1 dash cayenne pepper
Preheat Oven to 225°.
Toast English muffin halves and place on a baking sheet. Once toasted, keep in oven to keep warm.
Start the Hollandaise sauce, by cracking 3 eggs and separating out the yolks. (toss whites) Place in a bowl. Add 1/4 teaspoon water to them then whisk until very frothy. Set aside.
Place wok filled with water on stove, heat on high until just simmering.
Heat a skillet to medium high. Add 1 tablespoon butter. Heat Canadian bacon about 1 1/2 minutes on each side until heated thru. Cook in batches, place on oven save plate and keep warm until ready to assemble.
Once Canadian bacon is done, the water should be ready to poach the eggs. Into a measuring cup (that will not melt in boiling water) crack one egg, making sure not to crack the yolk. Swirl water with a slotted spoon, then immediately add the egg in measuring cup. Add the egg in the same direction as the water is going. Continue to stir the water once egg is placed into the water.
Add 1- 2 more eggs the exact same way. Cook for 3 minutes, then remove to a side plate.
Finish poaching all eggs. When you put the last batch in, place the butter in the microwave and melt. Start at 30 seconds. Then check it, then 30 seconds until completely melted.
Once all eggs are cooked, set them aside until ready for assembly.
Finish Hollandaise Sauce: Whisk the egg yolks for a quick freshen up. Then, at a very very slow pace, while continuously whisking, add the melted butter to the frothy egg yolks. Add until it is all incorporated. This emulsion process should take over a minute long.
Add a quick squeeze of lemon juice and a dash of cayenne, then whisk one last time to incorporate.
Assemble onto plates 2 muffin halves, Canadian bacon with the poached egg on top. Spoon 1 tablespoon of hollandaise sauce over the top of each egg. Serve immediately.
Note, the recipe is for 2 tablespoons hollandaise sauce per serving. I almost always make 1 1/2 recipes for the hollandaise because we LOVE a lot of it!