August 5th, 2014
10:00 AM ET
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America's Test Kitchen is a real 2,500 square foot test kitchen located just outside of Boston that is home to more than three dozen full-­time cooks and product testers. Our mission is simple: to develop the absolute best recipes for all of your favorite foods. To do this, we test each recipe 30, 40, sometimes as many as 70 times, until we arrive at the combination of ingredients, technique, temperature, cooking time, and equipment that yields the best, most­ foolproof recipe. America’s Test Kitchen's online cooking school is based on nearly 20 years of test kitchen work in our own facility, on the recipes created for Cook's Illustrated and Cook’s Country magazines, and on our two public television cooking shows.

Eggs Benedict relies on two tricky egg-based components—poached eggs and hollandaise sauce. If you follow our method for poaching eggs, the first part is easy. Adding vinegar to the water helps to set the whites and prevents feathery whites. Cracking the eggs into the teacups and gently sliding the eggs into the salted, acidulated water ensures they all go into the water at the same time—so they all are done at the same time.

Water temperature is key when poaching eggs. We bring the water to a boil and turn off the heat. We add the eggs and then quickly cover the pan. The gentle residual heat produces restaurant-worthy poached eggs with soft, runny yolks and perfectly formed, round whites.

But don’t just take our word for it: Let Bridget Lancaster and Mari Levine of our online cooking school teach you the ins and outs of egg-poaching in this new video.

As for the hollandaise, many newer recipes call for making hollandaise in a blender or food processor to ensure an emulsified sauce without the tedious whisking. These methods work, but only if the sauce is served immediately. We developed an unconventional technique that requires whisking softened (rather than usual melted) butter and egg yolks on the stovetop in a double boiler. We use a lot of water in this sauce and add the lemon juice off heat. The sauce is foamier than a classic hollandaise, but it holds without breaking for as long as an hour. It can also be refrigerated for up to three days and reheated in the microwave without breaking.

If you like, you can toast the English muffins and warm the bacon 20 minutes in advance. Reheat them in a 200-degree oven just before serving.

eggs benedict

Eggs Benedict
(Serves 6)

Ingredients:

12 Tablespoons unsalted butter , softened
6 Large egg yolks
1/2 Cup boiling water
2 Teaspoons lemon juice
salt
2 Tablespoons white vinegar
12 Large eggs
6 English muffins, split
12 Slices Canadian bacon

Instructions:

1. For hollandaise: Bring water to boil in kettle.
2. Fill medium saucepan with about ½ inch of water and bring to bare simmer.
3. Place 12 tablespoons softened unsalted butter and 6 large egg yolks in large heat-resistant bowl.
4. Set bowl over barely simmering water (don’t let bowl touch water).
5. Whisk eggs and butter together.
6. Pour 1/2 cup boiling water from kettle into liquid measuring cup.
7. Whisk 1/2 cup boiling water into bowl with butter and eggs.
8. Cook, whisking constantly, until thickened and sauce registers 160 degrees, 7 to 10 minutes.
9. Carefully remove bowl from saucepan. Stir in 2 teaspoons lemon juice and 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper. Season sauce with salt.
10. Transfer sauce to liquid measuring cup and cover cup with plastic wrap. (Sauce can be refrigerated for 3 days.)
11. For poached eggs: Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat broiler.
12. Fill 12-inch nonstick skillet nearly to rim with water. Add 2 tablespoons white vinegar and 1 teaspoon salt and bring to boil over high heat.
13. Crack 3 large eggs each into 4 teacups (12 eggs total).
14. Turn off heat and slide pan to cool burner.
15. All at once, lower lips of cups into water and tip eggs into water.
16. Cover pan and poach eggs until whites are set but yolks are still slightly runny, about 6 minutes.
17. Using slotted spoon, transfer eggs to paper towel-lined plate.
18. To assemble and serve: While eggs are poaching, arrange 6 split English muffins, split side-up, on rimmed baking sheet.
19. Broil English muffins until golden brown, 2 to 4 minutes.
20. Place 1 slice of Canadian bacon (12 slices total) on each English muffin and broil until beginning to brown, about 1 minute.
21. Remove baking sheet from oven.
22. Place 2 English muffins on each serving plate. Arrange 1 poached egg on top of each English muffin.
23. If necessary, reheat hollandaise in microwave on 50 percent power, stirring every 10 seconds, until heated through.
24. Spoon 1 to 2 tablespoons hollandaise over each egg. Serve, passing remaining hollandaise at table.

More from America's Test Kitchen:
Watch other core technique videos from our online cooking school here
Follow the steps for making Eggs Benedict with this tutorial from our online cooking school
How to cook the most perfect bacon ever
Want to add some sweetness to brunch? Try our Sticky Buns with Pecans
Tasting different brands of supermarket bacon

Previously:
Keep the home fries roasting
Perfectly poached eggs
No yolk! The best scrambled eggs ever

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Filed under: America's Test Kitchen • Breakfast • Content Partner • Dishes • Eggs


soundoff (43 Responses)
  1. Holy Driver

    I just fry up some eggs over-easy, make bacon instead of ham, toaster-up the English muffins, and make a packet of the sauce with a half cup of milk for creamier sauce, and BAM!

    ...Heart attack on a plate...

    August 24, 2014 at 9:26 pm | Reply
  2. Jake from State Farm

    Uh...khakis?

    August 10, 2014 at 11:05 pm | Reply
  3. cacique

    I guess making this kind of eggs makes having cheffs around highly important

    August 7, 2014 at 4:04 pm | Reply
  4. Egg Hunter

    I thought poaching was illegal.

    August 7, 2014 at 12:55 pm | Reply
  5. Thinking things through

    This sounds good, and if you read the recipe as if several of the steps are combined, it isn't all that complicated. And of course I'll be scaling down...

    August 7, 2014 at 8:01 am | Reply
  6. foodfight

    I use to struggle with poached eggs. They wanted to run all over the pan, streamers, ragged edges. All the acid tricks, stirring the water, easing them in, nothing helped. Then I found the answer in Harold McGee's marvelous treatise, On Food and Cooking (page 90). The problem is the outer layer of the egg white (there are 4) is very watery and wants to run. The solution is to drain it away before placing the egg in the poaching water. Here's the trick – get a perforated stainless skimmer (Oxo Good Grips has a decent one for $10). Crack the raw egg into a small container, then over a bowl or the sink gently pour the egg onto the skimmer , and allow the small amount of watery white to drain off (it will take about 5-10 sec's), then transfer the egg directly to the poaching liquid. No streamers or runner, and the entire poaching process is much, much tidier, easier to judge and control, and the resulting egg is beautiful. It works every time.

    August 6, 2014 at 7:00 pm | Reply
    • Justsayin1951

      I've started using Eggo waffles. I use them as a template to cut a piece of ham to match their size.
      Fry the ham, while the waffle is in the toaster. I then fry an egg "over easy" in a dab of butter, in the pan I cooked the ham in.
      Ham on bottom of small plate… Waffle on top of ham… Sugar Free syrup on top… egg on top of waffle.
      It ain't Eggs Benedict- but it's really good.
      [BTW- best Eggs Benedict is at "Charley's" restaurant in Paia, Maui, Hawaii… many variations- made from scratch]

      August 6, 2014 at 8:47 pm | Reply
  7. Arnold

    We use my mother-in-laws 60+ year old poacher, Knorr sauce mix, and Orrowroot or Sarah Lee thin whole wheat buns instead of English muffins. It's a once a month on Sunday morning thing for us.

    August 6, 2014 at 4:33 pm | Reply
    • heyared

      Why use a mix for hollandaise when there are only a few simple ingredients?

      August 7, 2014 at 11:13 am | Reply
      • Canary

        Mix is cheaper.

        August 7, 2014 at 12:04 pm | Reply
  8. burf

    12 tbsp of butter and 18 eggs? my god, Im not trying to run a bed and breakfast, give a recipe that works for home without massive food waste

    August 6, 2014 at 4:12 pm | Reply
    • foodfight

      get more friends

      August 6, 2014 at 7:28 pm | Reply
    • Math Teacher

      It's a recipe for EB for 6. Get your math right before freaking out. Look up the recipe for hollandaise anywhere. Lots of eggs; lots of butter. Learn more about the world & quit hollerin' before you're hurt.

      August 7, 2014 at 6:57 am | Reply
  9. shao

    Reblogged this on A closer spot and commented:
    Super poached eggs. Thanks so much

    August 6, 2014 at 4:04 am | Reply
  10. Yakobi

    I envy the people who have the time to go through all these steps. If I had eggs, Canadian bacon and English muffins, I'd just end up making a bunch of egg McMuffins the fastest way possible.

    August 5, 2014 at 3:50 pm | Reply
    • HipSter

      I know, right?
      First world problems.

      August 5, 2014 at 4:29 pm | Reply
    • Carn E. Vore

      You have the time to go through those steps. You just choose to use that time for other stuff.

      And Hipster, "1st World Problems" is about the dumbest comment currently en vogue, narrowly surpassing the ridiculously stupid "YOLO".

      August 6, 2014 at 3:58 pm | Reply
      • HipSter@Carn E. Vore

        Well, it is what it is.

        August 6, 2014 at 4:40 pm | Reply
        • RC

          Hate that one too.....

          August 6, 2014 at 6:23 pm |
        • Carn E. Vore

          "It is what it is" is even dumber than "Yolo".

          August 7, 2014 at 5:03 pm |
      • Had to look that one up. Moderated.

        Yolo
        Abbreviation for: you only live once
        The dumbas s's excuse for something stupid that they did
        Also one of the most annoying abbreviations ever....
        Guy 1: "Hey i heard u got that girl pregnant"

        Dumbas s 1: " Ya man but hey YOLO"

        Guy 1: "Hey i heard that you broke ur leg falling off the balcony at that party"
        Dumbas s 1: "Ya but hey YOLO"

        August 7, 2014 at 11:22 am | Reply
        • Thinking things through

          Thanks for the info. I've never heard YOLO in my life before this thread!

          August 7, 2014 at 6:02 pm |
        • Ordinarywoman

          Hey man, I say yolo all the time. I live in YOLO COUNTY, California!!

          August 12, 2014 at 4:52 pm |
  11. Sapphire

    Try a different variation on it sometime. Replace the Canadian ham with real bacon, English muffin with a bagel and add lightly sauteed, fresh spinach. Good stuff.

    August 5, 2014 at 3:33 pm | Reply
    • JBJ

      Or try it with some lump crab meat, asparagus or spinach, yummy.

      August 5, 2014 at 4:26 pm | Reply
      • Ms. Grammar

        ...and with Béarnaise Sauce instead of Hollandaise. Yummy!

        September 2, 2014 at 12:05 pm | Reply
  12. Ally

    I use a tip from a cooking show that helps the poached eggs stay uniform in shape pretty well. When you're ready to poach just take a spoon and stir the water around and around in the pot until the "current" continues it's swirl. Drop an egg into the middle of the swirl. The egg will remain in the middle of the swirl and the whites wrap nicely around the yolk instead of spreading out into odd shapes.

    August 5, 2014 at 3:28 pm | Reply
  13. STP

    I too use Knorr sauce after discovering it was just as good as homemade and a lot easier. Not a purist here either but eggs Benedict is a breakfast favorite for me. Even better.. bearnaise (Knorr makes a good one of those too). However, it's also nice to know how to do it the right way if I need to.

    August 5, 2014 at 1:43 pm | Reply
    • heyared

      I don't get why use a mix full of chemicals and salt when the original recipe calls for so few ingredients. It's simple to make (I don't use the double boiler or the blender, as described here)

      August 7, 2014 at 11:15 am | Reply
  14. JellyBean

    An old friend made it for me once. Meh, didn't dig it so much.

    August 5, 2014 at 11:51 am | Reply
  15. John Moeller

    When I try this method of poaching eggs I end up with eggs tasting like vinegar. I hate that! I just use an egg poacher and my eggs are always perfect. I also use Knorr's hollandaise sauce and again, perfect. Sorry I am not a purist in my methods but eating well is more important than methodology. Kudo's to those who take the time to make this the correct way.

    August 5, 2014 at 11:04 am | Reply
    • Kathleen

      You are correct that eating well is the important thing. But I'm lazier than you–when I want eggs Benedict I immediately think "going out for breakfast/brunch".

      August 5, 2014 at 1:23 pm | Reply
    • heyared

      I too use a poacher, so these techniques are lost on me. But I don't get why so many use a mix full of chemicals and salt to make a sauce that is simple (I don't use a double boiler or blender as referenced here) and has so few ingredients. My children have grown to love EB. We make it often.

      August 7, 2014 at 11:19 am | Reply
  16. Why

    be a d ick?

    August 7, 2014 at 11:30 am | Reply
  17. Canary

    You misspelled your moniker. It should be spelled p-a-l-i-n-t-w-i-t

    August 7, 2014 at 12:05 pm | Reply
  18. Chris in Montreal

    Gross.

    August 7, 2014 at 9:03 pm | Reply
  19. Canary

    SSDD: Same stuff different doofus

    August 7, 2014 at 12:20 pm | Reply
  20. Carn E. Vore

    I'm going to set my beer down on the top of your mom's head and tell you again: get back in your pasture, Fredrick, the rest of the sheep need your comfort.

    August 7, 2014 at 5:02 pm | Reply
  21. Thinking things through

    It's not that complicated if you think about it. Granted, it is more of a weekend treat than a weekday-off-to-work thing, but it is do-able and one can still be relaxed in the morning while doing.

    August 7, 2014 at 6:04 pm | Reply
  22. Canary

    If this had been shortened, someone would biotch that steps were missing. Read the 24 lines (I think you can handle it), use what you need and throw out the rest. Can't please everybody, so why stress over trying?

    August 8, 2014 at 6:56 am | Reply
  23. AndyM

    I agree. Who really has time to cook like this? They already pre make that sauce. Buy a jar, slap it on the eggs and go.

    August 9, 2014 at 3:45 am | Reply
  24. Canary

    There's that, too.

    August 8, 2014 at 6:45 am | Reply
  25. Then

    just buy Karo syrup and dump it on everything you eat.

    August 9, 2014 at 5:03 am | Reply

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