Eggs Benedict, made easy! Featuring my no-compromise Easy Method for Poached Eggs and a 90-second Foolproof Hollandaise Sauce.
But if it all sounds too daunting for a sleepy Sunday morning, take the easy way out and prepare the poached eggs and Hollandaise Sauce up to 2 days ahead. They both reheat perfectly!
The great brunch favourite has finally arrived! Truthfully, I didn’t want to publish this without also sharing Poached Eggs and Hollandaise Sauce at the same time, and it’s a LOT of work to do all three which is why I’m releasing this months later than I promised.
Logic would prevail that I should have shared the Poached Eggs and Hollandaise Sauce separately. And while both are what I call Life Essential recipes, they don’t exactly make you jump up and down with excitement on their own, do they?
At least, not compared to seeing THIS:
And so, I persevered. All 3 must go out together – and they have arrived!
Eggs Benedict – The four parts
Here are the 4 components that make up Eggs Benedict:
Poached Eggs – while this recipe contains the directions for poached eggs, for an explanation of specific things I call for in the recipe (such as using fridge cold eggs, straining the eggs), see the separate Poached Eggs recipe for details;
Hollandaise Sauce – this is one of the great classic sauces of the world that’s notoriously hard to make by hand, even for seasoned chefs. I use a really easy blender stick method that takes 90 seconds flat with exactly the same quality! 90% faster and foolproof;
Ham, bacon or smoked salmon – traditionally, Eggs Benedict were made with what’s called “Canadian Bacon” in the US, which is the eye of bacon sold in Australia (ie the oval part, not the streaky, fatty part). However, over the years, all sorts of variations have evolved and here in Australia, the ham version is more common than bacon (bonus: it’s easier to cut through and eat). Smoked salmon is very popular (my personal favourite!). More variations: crab or lobster meat for very fancy options, bound together with a bit of mayonnaise and perhaps a squeeze of lemon.
English muffin – this is the traditional bread used for Eggs Benedict, but nowadays, especially with the evolution of the trendy bistro crowd, all sorts of fancy bread is used. Currently, brioche is all the rage – and not just yellow brioche, I’ve had it with jet black-coloured charcoal brioche too! (Which BTW, tastes exactly the same – it just looks cool, I suppose!).
How to make Eggs Benedict
Eggs Benedict isn’t hard, it’s just about the order in which things are cooked so it all comes together while everything is warm. So here’s the order in which I make things:
Prepare all the ingredients and get the water boiling for the poached eggs;
Heat the oven on low to keep the English muffins and cooked bacon warm;
Cook bacon – If using bacon, cook the bacon at this stage then place in the oven to keep warm in a small baking dish covered with foil. If using ham, just put into the oven to warm up – nobody wants cold ham with warm-everything-else for their Eggs Benedict!
Toast the muffins then place in the oven to stay warm;
Make Hollandaise Sauce – my method takes 90 seconds flat, and it will stay warm for 15 minutes. Even at room temp is fine – you just don’t want it cold;
Poach the eggs using my Easy Method so you can make 8 eggs in 2 batches (so there will be no need to reheat). If you want to use the traditional Whirlpool Method, you will find the directions in my Poached Eggs recipe, but just be mindful that it takes experience to make multiple eggs at the same time with this technique!
Assemble – place muffins on serving plates, top with ham/eggs/smoked salmon, then a poached egg. Spoon over Hollandaise sauce and serve!
Also, both the poached eggs and Hollandaise Sauce can be made up to 2 days ahead and reheated – directions are in the recipe card notes.
How to make EASY Hollandaise Sauce
So, first up – Hollandaise sauce – my easy foolproof way! You will need a tall glass, jug or similar that the blender stick head fits in – it must reach all the way down to the base. I’m pretty sure most blender sticks come with a jug or milkshake-maker cup – but I have no idea where mine is!
Then here’s what you need to make Hollandaise Sauce, and how to make it:
Blitz yolks with cayenne pepper, lemon juice, salt and water (for thinning);
Pour in butter slowly over 45 seconds while blitzing constantly;
After the butter is in, move stick up and down to blend thoroughly for another 10 seconds;
Voila! Perfect Hollandaise Sauce for your poached eggs!
BONUS: Can be made ahead and reheated.
How to make poached eggs – my Easy Method
The steps explained below are for my Easy Method for making poached eggs that even beginners can use. For the traditional Whirlpool Method, please see the Poached Eggs recipe. The Whirlpool Method will make more “perfect” poached eggs shape, but it does take practice to perfect, it’s difficult to make more than one at a time, and you need eggs < 4 days old max.
For a full explanation of the why for the steps explained below, see the Poached Eggs recipe. If I explain everything here, it will take too much reading for you to get on with making your Eggs Benedict! 😂
A. Poached Eggs Preparation – key step
Strain the eggs in a small strainer to drain off watery whites which are the biggest offender in poached egg disasters – they cause the ghostly wispy whites.
Jiggle about and let the watery whites drip out for about 30 seconds;
Teacup – transfer the egg to a teacup for ease of slipping into the hot water. Much safer than using small bowls!
Repeat for as many eggs as you plan to make in the first batch – 4 at a time is easily manageable, 6 is for experienced, 8 is for poaching pros! (Oh, and you’ll need an extra big pot for 8!)
B. Right water temperature
Getting the right water temperature is key. If the water is too rapid, then the egg will jiggle about too much and get those untidy wisps. But if it’s not hot enough, the egg might not set and the whites just dissolves into the water.
I’ve found that the best way to get the right temperature is to bring the water to a boil first (to get enough heat in it), then turn the stove down until you get tiny bubbles rising from the base of the pot but no big bubbles breaking the surface of the water.
C. Poaching the Eggs
There’s a few key tips in these steps here to ensure poached eggs success!
Roll the eggs out of the teacup onto the base of the pot while submerging the teacup into the water. Reason: The shorter the distance the eggs fall, the better shape they will hold;
Continue with all eggs, spreading them out across the base of the pot;
Roll before they set – after 20 seconds, the eggs should be barely starting to set but manageable enough to roll over – this will form the poached eggs’ shape;
Poach 2 minutes for set whites and runny yolks, turning once more to make a nice poached egg shape;
Remove with slotted spoons – poke to check it’s done to your taste;
Drain and serve!
The Poached Eggs recipe also contains directions for the Whirlpool method of poaching eggs but it takes experience to do more than one at a time (successfully!). However, if this your preferred method, feel free to use it – directions (including video) are in the Poached Eggs recipe
Breakfast in PJ’s!
Poached Eggs and Hollandaise Sauce done, now the rest is a cinch! Toast the bread, cook the bacon (if using), then assemble.
Yes, making Eggs Benedict at home has a few components and yes, it might be daunting the first time you try your hand at it, especially if you want to make 8 eggs to serve 4 people.
But I promise you, if you read the recipe from start to finish and follow the steps in the order I’ve written them, you will be fine. So what if some of the eggs are a bit cool by the time you serve? So what if they are a bit wonky, and some have firmer yolks than you’d like? You’ve just made Eggs Benedict at home, you’ve saved a bucket of money (it’s expensive to have them out – north of $20 for a plate in my neck of the woods!), and you haven’t even had to get out of your PJ’s! – Nagi x
Watch how to make it
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- 3 egg yolks , from large eggs (55-60g / 2 oz each, Note 1)
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper or white pepper
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice , plus more to taste
- 1 1/2 tbsp water , plus more as needed
- 175g/ 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter , cut into 1.5 cm / 1/2" cubes (Note 2)
- 8 large eggs , fridge cold (Note 3)
Protein - choose one:
- 8 slices bacon - streaky, Canadian (traditional) or other
- 200g / 7oz shaved or sliced ham (16 slices, ie. 2 slices per muffin half)
- 250g / 8oz smoked salmon slices , at room temp
- 4 English Muffins, split (or 8 slices other bread, or 4 brioche or other rolls)
- 1 tbsp each Chives and parlsey , roughly chopped, for garnish
- Preheat oven to 50°C/120°F.
- Cook bacon in a little oil or butter to your liking. Transfer to small baking pan, cover with foil then place in oven.
- Ham - if using ham, cover and place in oven to warm slightly.
- Lightly toast English muffins then keep warm on rack on tray.
- Place egg yolks in a tall narrow jug that the blender stick fits in, all the way to the base.
- Add water, lemon juice, cayanne pepper and salt. Blitz briefly to combine.
- Melt butter in a heatproof jug until hot (be very careful to ensure it doesn't explode if using microwave!). If you use a stove, pour into a jug. Let it stand for just 15 seconds until the milky whites settles at the bottom of the jug. (Note 2)
- With the blender stick going on high, slowly pour the butter in a thin stream into the eggs over around 45 seconds. Leave behind most of the milky whites in the butter - about 1 1/2 tbsp. (Note 2) Once all the butter is in, the sauce should be thick, creamy, smooth and pale yellow. Now blitz for a further 10 seconds, moving the stick up and down.
- Thickness - If too thick, mix in warm tap water 1 teaspoon at a time. It should be thick but pourable so it will coat and stick to the eggs but not be transparent.
- Keep warm - Transfer to a bowl, cover and keep warm - it will stay warm for 15 min but even room temp is fine (will heat up when in contact with hot eggs).
- Strain eggs - Crack an egg into a small strainer set over a bowl or glass. Leave for 30 seconds and jiggle around a bit so watery whites strain through. Transfer to teacup. Repeat for another 3 eggs - separate teacup for each
- Heat water - Fill a large pot with 7.5 cm / 3" water. (Note 4) Bring water to the boil over high heat, then turn the heat down so there are tiny bubbles from the base of the pot but big bubbles are not breaking water surface. (Note 5)
- Roll eggs into water - Submerge a teacup into the water so you can gently roll the egg out onto the base of the pot - minimise the drop distance for neatest shape. Repeat with remaining eggs - don't take longer than 15 seconds to put them all in.
- Turn eggs - 20 seconds after the first egg has gone in, eggs should be starting but are not fully set. Use a slotted spoon and tablespoon/dessert spoon to gently turn the eggs upside down - start with the first egg that went in, end with the last.
- Poach 1 1/2 minutes - Leave for 1 minute, then turn again. Leave for another 30 seconds then using a slotted spoon, lift one out to check for doneness - whites should be soft but set, yolks should be runny.
- Drain - Transfer to paper towel to drain and for top to dry with residual heat - 15 seconds. (Don't leave for too long or it can get stuck to the paper towel.)
- Place 2 English muffins halves on a plate. Pile on ham, bacon or smoked salmon. Top with poached egg, spoon over Hollandaise Sauce, sprinkle with parsley and chives. Serve immediately!
Whirlpool method - large saucepan or small pot. Don't use a large pot - the vortex can be so fast, the egg will spin too quickly and the yolk might separate from the whites! 5. Water temp - bring to boil first to get enough heat in it, then reduce heat. If water is bubbling/moving too much = eggs jiggle = mess. If not hot enough = eggs mix into water instead of setting. Tiny bubbles coming up from base of pot is ok, but do not have big bubbles breaking surface. Surface can be barely quivering, but not rippling.
After heat is turned down, drop eggs in immediately before water temp drops. 6. Make ahead - both poached eggs and Hollandaise Sauce can be made up to 2 days ahead.
- Poached eggs - make, then submerge in cold water to stop them from cooking. Store in airtight container in fridge for 2 days. To reheat, bring pot of water to the boil, then turn down to low. Immediately add all eggs, leave for 30 seconds, then drain and use per recipe. See Poached Eggs recipe for complete directions and photos.
- Hollandaise sauce - make then transfer to airtight container and refrigerate up to 2 days. To warm, place airtight container in large bowl of very warm (but not scalding hot) tap water. Leave 20 minutes, stir, replace water and repeat as needed until sauce is warmed. Can loosen with touch of hot tap water. See Hollandaise Sauce recipe for complete directions and photos.
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