To me, there’s nothing more rustically elegant – or delicious – for breakfast than Eggs Benedict. Toasted English muffins topped with slices of sweet Canadian bacon and delicate poached eggs, then slathered with buttery, lemony Hollandaise sauce. Yum! If you’ve been intimidated to try making this delectable breakfast delight, then you’ve come to the right place. In this post I provide a complete how-to guide, including how to poach eggs and how to easily make hollandaise sauce in a blender. I’ve also included directions for preparing everything ahead, so all you have to do is rewarm key ingredients then assemble these adorable little open-faced sandwiches shortly before serving.
Table of Contents
What are Eggs Benedict?
By definition, Eggs Benedict is a dish comprised of toasted English muffin halves topped with sliced Canadian bacon, poached eggs and Hollandaise sauce. Who invented this wonderful breakfast dish is widely debated, but most food historians agree it first became popular in New York City in the late 1800s/early 1900s.
Ingredients for Eggs Benedict
Here’s the complete list of what you’ll need to make these heavenly Eggs Benedict, including for the sauce:
- Lemon juice
- Lemon (or white) balsamic vinegar
- Unsalted butter
- Gremolata (or Lemon) olive oil – can also use extra virgin olive oil and lemon zest
- White wine or cider vinegar
- English muffins (homemade or store bought)
- Canadian bacon
- Chopped parsley, chives or dill, for garnish
How to Make Eggs Benedict
I love it when I discover that recipes I thought would be difficult to prepare are actually quite easy! Here’s a quick overview of how to make these impressive eggs:
- Make Blender Hollandaise Sauce.
In a blender, process together egg yolks, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar and salt. Heat butter and olive oil over medium heat until butter is melted. With blender running, very slowly add butter mixture and process until blended. (See details in my post Blender Hollandaise Sauce.)
- Prep English muffins.
Split and toast the muffins; spread with 2 tablespoons butter. Set aside.
- Poach eggs.
Poach eggs until desired doneness (check out my detailed egg poaching directions).
- Prep bacon.
While eggs are cooking, place a large skillet over medium heat. When hot, fry bacon in two batches just until lightly browned on both sides (around 1 minute per side). Don’t overcook or it will dry out.
- Rewarm hollandaise sauce (if needed).
Place in the top of a double boiler over simmering water and heat, stirring, just until warm. If sauce is too thick, whisk in 1 tablespoon hot tap water.
- Assemble and serve.
Place English muffin halves on individual plates or a serving platter. Top each with a slice of Canadian bacon, then a poached egg. Spoon sauce over the top. Sprinkle with chopped parsley, chives or dill. Serve immediately.
Perfectly Poaching an Egg
The keys to poaching eggs perfectly are the temperature and state of the water. The water needs to be near boiling, but not at full boil.
“Poaching” in cooking refers to cooking an ingredient in liquid – in this case cooking eggs in water. The keys to poaching eggs perfectly are the temperature and state of the water. The water needs to be near boiling, but not at full boil. If there’s too much motion in the water, it will cause the egg white to be pulled into the water and separate from the yolk. And, swirling the water to form a vortex in the middle helps to keep the egg together – but if the water is moving too quickly, again, the white will separate. To avoid these issues, follow my step-by-step instructions in How to Poach an Egg.
What Sauce is Commonly Used on Eggs Benedict?
Eggs Benedict traditionally calls for Hollandaise sauce. One of the “five main French mother sauces” invented by Chef Auguste Escoffier in the 19th century, hollandaise is a rich, lemon-y butter sauce that’s actually easy to prepare in a blender. In my version (Blender Hollandaise Sauce) I also include a few additional ingredients to increase the lemon flavor and decrease the richness a bit.
You could also use a derivation of hollandaise (another one of the five mother sauces) – Béarnaise. For this sauce, white wine vinegar is used instead of lemon juice and shallots and fresh herbs (typically tarragon) are added.
Eggs Benedict Variations
One aspect of Eggs Benedict that makes them an ideal candidate to have in your repertoire is that you can create numerous variations. Instead of Canadian bacon, try one of these ingredients (you could combine a few together, too):
- Prosciutto or ham
- Lump crab meat (or maybe leftover crab cakes)
- Smoked salmon (and this variation has a name – Eggs Royale)
- Sautéed spinach (a.k.a. Eggs Florentine)
- Sliced tomato and avocado
To take your creativity even further, use one the Hollandaise Sauce variations included in my sauce post.
How to Reheat Eggs Benedict
If you would like to make this dish ahead, prepare the poached eggs and Hollandaise sauce per the recipe. Place the eggs in a covered container of water and refrigerate. Place the sauce in a separate container, cover and refrigerate. Since the muffins toast up quickly and the bacon heats in 2 minutes, there’s no need to make these components ahead.
Here’s the order in which I recommend reheating and assembling your Benedicts:
- Reheat the Hollandaise sauce (directions follow). Remove from heat and set aside (I prefer the texture after it sits for a minute or three).
- Toast the English muffins; heat the bacon.
- Reheat the poached eggs (directions follow).
- Place muffins on plates or a platter; top with bacon, then egg. Spoon sauce over all.
Reheating Hollandaise Sauce
Here are two options for reheating the sauce:
- Rewarm in a double boiler (my preferred method): Place hollandaise in the top of a double boiler (a pan set on top of simmering water). Heat, stirring constantly, just until barely warm. If very thick, whisk in 1 tablespoon hot water. If sauce is too thin after heating, remove from heat and let sit for a few minutes.
- Rewarm in a microwave: Place hollandaise in a microwave safe bowl and zap for 10 seconds; whisk. If very thick, whisk in 1 tablespoon hot water. Place back in microwave and heat in 7 to 8 second increments, whisking in between, until just barely warm (usually just takes around 2 more times). Don’t overcook – it could separate and/or eggs could scramble.
How do you reheat cooked poached eggs?
To reheat poached eggs, gently drop into very hot/simmering water for 1 minute.
Can I reheat poached eggs in the microwave?
I don’t recommend reheating poached eggs in the microwave because you can easily overcook them. Plus, it only takes a minute to reheat them in hot water, where you have much more control over the outcome.
Eggs Benedict Recipe FAQ
Canadian bacon is different than American bacon, because it comes from a different part of the pig. The Canadian version comes from the loin and looks (and tastes) more like ham, with much less fat.
Because this dish is fairly rich I like to serve it with lighter sides – a bowl of fresh berries or other in season fruit is the perfect complement. If serving for a brunch, I might also add a spring greens salad (with fresh tomatoes and a vinaigrette dressing) and/or Sautéed Asparagus.
Eggs Benedict calls for Canadian bacon, while Eggs Royale calls for smoked salmon.
- 1 batch Blender Hollandaise Sauce
- 3 English muffins (homemade or store bought), split in half
- 2 tablespoons butter, softened
- 6 large eggs
- 6 slices Canadian bacon
- Chopped parsley, chives or dill, for garnish
- Prepare Blender Hollandaise Sauce. Set aside.
- Toast muffins, spread with softened butter. Set aside.
- Poach eggs to desired doneness (follow my How to Poach an Egg directions).
- While eggs are cooking, place a large skillet over medium heat. When hot, fry bacon until lightly browned on both sides (around 1 to 2 minutes per side). Don’t overcook or it will dry out.
- If hollandaise sauce needs reheating: place in the top of a double boiler (a pan set on top of simmering water). Heat, stirring constantly, just until barely warm. If very thick, whisk in 1 tablespoon hot water.
- To assemble: place toasted English muffin halves on individual plates or a serving platter (ask guests if they would like one or two). Top each with a slice of Canadian bacon, then a poached egg. Spoon sauce over the top. Sprinkle with chopped parsley, chives or dill. Serve immediately.
Make ahead: Prepare the poached eggs and Hollandaise sauce. Place poached eggs in a covered container of water and refrigerate. Place the sauce in a separate container, cover and refrigerate. Since the muffins toast up quickly and the bacon heats in 2 minutes, there’s no need to make these components ahead. To reheat poached eggs, gently drop into very hot/simmering water for 1 minute. Follow directions in recipe for reheating sauce.
- Category: breakfast, eggs
- Method: No bake
- Cuisine: American