Out of all the ways to prepare eggs, none are as playful as eggs in a basket. There’s just something magical about an egg cooked inside a piece of toast that can instantly brighten any morning. And did I mention they also taste really, really good?
As simple as this dish is to make, there are a few techniques that will help you achieve a perfectly cooked egg inside a golden, buttery slice of toast every time. Here’s everything you need to know.
Are Eggs in a Basket the Same as Egg in a Hole?
If you’ve never heard of eggs in a basket before, chances are you know the dish by another name. In fact, some sources claim there are as many as 66 different names for this dish! Some of the most popular names include egg in a hole, eggs in a frame, gashouse eggs, and a one-eyed Jack. Whatever you call it, just make sure you don’t confuse it with toad in the hole, which is a completely different dish (but also sometimes used to describe eggs in a hole). Confused yet?
What Are the Origins of Eggs in a Basket?
Eggs in a basket have a somewhat ambiguous history and no clear birthplace, although references of their existence begin as early as the 1890s, when a recipe for “egg in a hat” was published in Fannie Farmer’s Boston Cooking School Cookbook. The dish has also appeared frequently in popular culture, including in an episode of Friends and the romantic comedy Moonstruck. The dish appears to have been passed from home cook to home cook, with the name changing based on who was cooking it.
4 Tips for Perfect Eggs in a Basket
Before you head into the kitchen to make this recipe, keep these tips in mind.
- Cut the right-sized hole. A 2- to 2 1/2-inch round cutter creates the perfect-sized hole for a standard large egg. If you don’t have one, use the rim of a small drinking glass, which is about the same size. Of course, feel free to get creative — a heart-shaped cutter for Valentine’s Day is always a cute idea!
- Use a large nonstick skillet. The nonstick surface will help the egg release with ease, and the large size means you can toast two slices of bread and their cut-out centers at the same time.
- Cook low and slow. Don’t be tempted to crank up the heat to move things along more quickly. A gentle medium-low flame ensures the toast browns at the same rate that the egg cooks.
- Cover the pan. After cracking the eggs into the bread, you’ll want to cover the pan to help the egg whites set. If you prefer your yolks cooked through as well, cook a few minutes longer.
What Should I Serve with Eggs in a Basket?
Garnish your eggs with fresh chives, then serve with classic breakfast fare: bacon, orange juice, and plenty of coffee. A bottle of hot sauce would be a good addition, too!
Here's how to achieve a perfectly cooked egg inside a golden, buttery slice of toast every time.
YieldServes 1 to 2, Makes 2 toasts
Prep time 1 minute
Cook time 10 minutes
- 2 slices
hearty sandwich bread (1/2- to 3/4-inch thick), such as sourdough, whole-wheat, or multigrain
- 3 tablespoons
Freshly ground black pepper
Chopped fresh chives, for garnish (optional)
2- to 2 1/2-inch round cutter
Large nonstick skillet
Cut holes in the bread. Using a 2- to 2 1/2-inch round cutter (or the bottom of a small drinking glass), cut out the centers of 2 slices sandwich bread. Reserve the centers.
Melt the butter. Melt 3 tablespoons unsalted butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Swirl the pan as the butter melts to evenly coat the entire surface. You don’t want to brown the butter — just melt it. The pan is ready when the butter just starts to sizzle.
Toast the bread. Add the bread slices with the centers cut out, then nestle the bread rounds next to them. Cook until the bread is toasted and light golden-brown on the bottom, 3 to 4 minutes.
Add the eggs. Flip the slices and rounds over using a thin spatula. Crack 1 large egg into each hole. (It’s OK if some of the egg white seeps out from underneath the bread slice.) Season the eggs with kosher salt and several grinds of black pepper.
Cook the eggs. Cover the pan and cook until the egg whites are fully set, the yolk is still runny, and the other side of the bread is golden-brown, 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 minutes. Check the eggs after 3 minutes: If the bread is not browning, increase the heat. For hard-cooked egg yolks, cook for 5 to 5 1/2 minutes instead.
Serve immediately. Transfer the toasts and the cut-out rounds to a plate. Garnish with chopped chives, if using, and serve immediately.
Note: If your pan is not big enough to fit both the bread slices and rounds at the same time, toast the rounds separately in the pan after the eggs come out, about 40 seconds per side over medium-low heat.