Classic Eggs Benedict

//Classic Eggs Benedict

This is my favorite brunch dish of all time. It’s so simple, yet so luxurious and deeply satisfying. When not done with a tremendous amount of patience, however, it can also be deeply infuriating. Making Eggs Benedict requires a little extra muscle to whisk the buttery sauce without breaking it, but a much gentler approach when simmering and lifting out the poached eggs so they’re perfectly runny when forked (btw, adding a little vinegar is a trick to prevent those egg white fly-aways). The following method is one I learned in the first semester of my culinary program at Kendall College a little over a decade ago in 2008. Chef Pierre Pollin, my chef-instructor at the time, was anything but the stereotypical, hollering French chef. Though he was more soft-spoken and humorous, he was still strict as heck. He wasn’t going to let us break that hollandaise sauce or overcook those eggs, lest we wanted to start over. I probably made hollandaise 10 times and wasted far too many eggs and butter before perfecting it in time for my final exam (I got an A on it, thankfully). Sometimes, if I’m not patient enough, I’ll break it at home once in a while. But not today, sauce. Not today.
Course Breakfast
Servings 2 people


  • For the Hollandaise sauce:
  • 1 1/2 sticks butter
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cold water
  • Juice from 1/2 a lemon
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper or to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • For the rest:
  • 4 slices Canadian bacon
  • 2 English muffins
  • 3 tablespoons white vinegar or whatever you have on hand, but not red wine or balsamic
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 slices
  • Finely chopped fresh chives for garnish (optional)


  • Cook bacon in a cast iron pan or griddle until over medium-high heat until browned, flipping once, about 4 to 5 minutes. Set aside.
  • Microwave butter, preferably in a Pyrex liquid measure cup or other container with a spout, until melted, about 1 minute 15 seconds. Skim off some of the milk solids off the top with a spoon, being careful not to stir up any solids that have settled to the bottom. Set aside.
  • Bring a medium pot of water to a light simmer. Whisk together egg yolks and water in a medium to large mixing bowl until frothy. Gently set the bowl with the eggs over the simmering water and whisk vigorously, taking the bowl off heat every now and then if egg yolks begin to look like they are curdling, until yolks are thickened and bright yellow, about 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Remove the bowl with the yolks from the heat and set on top of a large, sturdier bowl with a towel draped over it. This will help stabilize the mixing bowl while you whisk. Whisk yolks vigorously, while drizzling in a couple tablespoons of the clarified butter at a time, being careful not to stir up those milk solids. Continue whisking vigorously while adding the butter, a little at a time, until all of the clarified butter is used and leaving behind any milk solids at the bottom. Sauce should be thick, like a mayonnaise. Squeeze in lemon juice and add Cayenne and black pepper, continuing to whisk until fully incorporated. Set aside in a warm part of the range but away from direct heat.
  • Lightly butter English muffin halves and toast on a light setting in a toaster oven. Transfer 2 halves each to 2 plates, adding a slice of the bacon atop each and set aside.
  • To poach the eggs, add vinegar and more water to the pot with the simmering water, if need be, and bring back to a light simmer. Crack eggs, one at a time, in a ramekin or small bowl and gently slide the egg into the simmering water as close to the water as you can get. Only poach 2 eggs at a time to prevent overcrowding. Gently guide any float-away egg whites around the yolk. Cook until whites are cooked through but yolk is still runny, about 1 to 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, gently lift eggs out of the water, shaking briefly to drain, and onto the English muffin halves.
  • Spoon Hollandaise sauce over each egg, top with a pinch of chives and more freshly ground black pepper, if desired, and put a fork in them immediately! Do not wait or those eggs will overcook! Enjoy.
By | 2023-08-28T23:05:52-05:00 April 3rd, 2020|Recipes|Comments Off on Classic Eggs Benedict

About the Author:

Amelia Levin is a Chicago-based food writer and magazine editor, cookbook author and certified chef who writes about food, foodservice and the restaurant industry. Her work has appeared in a variety of magazines and newspapers as well as online.