I lost my Egg McMuffin cherry at Mickey D's in the 1970's. It was love at first bite -- a crunchy English muffin with a soft, sour-doughy texture, segueing into hot melted American cheese covering a firm springy disc of egg, and finishing up with smokey-sweet Canadian Bacon. A truly international melding of flavors, the Egg McMuffin is built to satisfy.
Initially, McDonald's corporate elites threatened to close down the Santa Barbara-adjacent franchise that created this breakfast treat. But when its owner, Herb Peterson (who also invented it), served it to McDonald's big cheeses, it took hold, and took off from there.
The trick to an Egg McMuffin's pleasing visual aesthetic is a metal frying ring. You saute the egg in it, and you also cut out a circle of ham and cheese. (Canadian bacon is normally used, but hard to get here, so I am substituting similar tasting ham.) I made my own egg frying ring from a discarded can of water chestnuts that I got for 49 cents. Its diameter is about the same as an English muffin.
Any can with a similar diameter is fine to use, just make sure you can remove both ends with a can opener -- a tuna can would be perfect, but it has a rounded bottom that is too hard to cut through, so stick with cans where the bottom is the same as the top lip. I originally used a 16-ounce tomato sauce can, but changed to a shorter water chestnuts can so I could better photograph the frying egg. You can also use the metal lid of a canning jar. I've cooked up half a dozen Egg McMuffins so far and the ring is holding up fine.
McDonalds Egg McMuffins cost $2.59 plus tax. Except for the thick ham slice (I could've bought a package of thin sliced ham for 99.99 cents,) all the ingredients I picked up are cheap. For about $4 worth of supplies I can make six Egg McMuffins easily -- that's way less than a dollar apiece, and I still have eggs left over. And I don't have to eat breakfast in the parking lot!
So if you don't want to waste gas in the drive-thru or wait in line, be sure to watch my easy-to-follow video directions and make your own Egg McMuffin while wearing your pajamas - 99 Cent Chef style.
Since I have a frying ring, now I need to figure out how they get that syrup into a McGriddle pancake breakfast sandwich -- so I can start making my own!
Homemade Egg McMuffin - VIDEO
Play it here. Video runs 3 minutes, 15 seconds.
To view or embed from YouTube, click here.
Ingredients (one sandwich)
- 1 egg
- 1 slice of ham or Canadian bacon - I used a thick slice of ham, but you could also use cheap regular packaged thin-sliced ham.
- 1 slice of American cheese - or any favorite cheese.
- 1 English (style) muffin
- Oil for metal egg ring - I used cooking spray. You could also smear-on regular cooking oil.
- Salt and pepper to taste - optional for seasoning the frying egg.
I made my own egg frying metal ring. You want a can that is as wide as a muffin, so the egg is not too large or too small. I found that 16 ounce tomato sauce cans work well. You want a can that does not have a rounded bottom, as it is too hard to remove. I used a short can of chestnuts for this video -- so you could easily see the egg cooking. One can that does not work is a tuna can (although it is the right diameter) because it has a rounded bottom.
Remove the top and bottom of the tin can with your can opener and empty it. Wash and rinse out the can so canned flavors do not contaminate the frying egg. When the can is damp it is easier to remove the label. If you do not get it all off, that's okay -- the sides of the can do not get that hot. Dry off the can.
I found it easy to use the can to stamp/cut-out the American cheese and ham. My ham slice was thick, so I had to use a knife to slice it all the way through. Set aside round cut cheese and ham.
Use your favorite omelet pan over a medium heat. Lightly oil the inside of the egg metal ring with cooking spray (okay to wipe on regular veggie oil.)
Place the ring in the heating pan. Add one egg into the ring. You can scramble the egg first (anyway you like it ) in a bowl, and then add it, or just break the egg directly into the ring. A little egg may leak out the bottom of the can, but not that much. Take a fork or knife to break the yolk (or not, it's up to you.) Over medium heat, it takes about 5 minutes for the egg to cook through, since it is a thick puck you are frying.
It's best to leave the can alone so the bottom of the egg gets a nice crusty bottom. As the top of the egg starts to get firm, it's time to add the ham, and toast the English muffin.
You can heat up the ham in the same frying pan, if there is room. When the top of the egg looks firm enough, take a butter knife and loosen the egg from the inside of the can. Remove the can from around the egg - and depending on how hot the pan gets, be careful when handling the egg frying ring. Use a spatula to loosen the egg from the frying pan and flip it over.
Add the cheese to the egg. Heat ham through as muffin toasts. Egg only needs to cook for barely a minute more. Remove the egg and cheese if the ham takes long to heat through -- no need to overcook it all.
When the muffin is lightly browned, and the ham is heated though, assemble the Egg McMuffin.
If you don't like a crispy skin on your egg, you can add a 1/4 cup of water to the frying pan or a pot with a cover (once the egg is in the ring,) so the egg poaches, instead of frying (add more water if it cooks out before the egg is firm.) Drain out the water when it is time to remove the ring and flip the egg over (to finish cooking.) Obviously you will heat up the ham in a different pan, or just microwave.
McDonald's sells a Sausage McMuffin, too. That's easy enough to make at home as well. Just start the sausage cooking earlier or pre-cook it. An Egg McMuffin is just as tasty without meat - egg and cheese is satisfying enough.
McDonald's brushes the muffin inside with butter, I left it off. Instead, I like mayo on my breakfast sandwiches. You can also add lettuce and tomato for fresh roughage.
If appearance is unimportant, don't cut the ham and cheese into discs, or even cook the egg in my homemade frying ring. Just cook everything the way you like it and build a breakfast muffin sandwich to suit your own taste.