Have you heard of eggs in a basket? There are many different names for this one dish (over 66), but the way this breakfast recipe is made remains the same: a fried egg is cooked inside a slice of buttery toast.
A fancy, quick, and fun way to make eggs and toast at the same time. And if you have kids, bonus: they’ll love eating an egg cooked inside bread!
Eggs are on repeat in our home. They’re cheap, easy-to-make, and a nutritional powerhouse! There are over 15 different ways to cook eggs for breakfast and 16 different egg styles. The egg dish possibilities are endless.
Let me show you how, step-by-step, to make eggs in a basket, at home, in under 5 minutes!
Why is it called Eggs in a Basket? And what’s the origin?
The true origin of this breakfast meal and its name is hard to know, since this is a common meal across multiple cultures.
The first time this particular recipe appeared in print was in the Boston Cooking School Cookbook in the 1890s by Fannie Farmer.
The recipe called for using a 2 1/2 inch cookie cutter to remove the center from a slice of bread, served with a cooked egg, with the “hat” (center piece) for dipping in the runny egg yolk.
The recipe was a less-fancy version of the popular dish, Eggs Benedict.
Over the years, this recipe has been called many different things (over 66 different names). From Eggs-in-a-Hole, Toad-in-a-Hole, Frog-in-the-Pond, and Egg-in-a-Frame. Learn more about the history of this recipe.
I grew up calling this breakfast dish “Eggs-in-a-Basket.” The meaning behind this name comes from the cooked egg appearing to sit inside a hole cut in the center of the bread (a “basket”).
This is also why this recipe is commonly called “Eggs-in-a-Hole.”
I believe this is also the name Cracker Barrel has given this egg dish, which has made the recipe and name famous.
This is also the breakfast V makes in the movie V for Vendetta. Another reason why this recipe has become popular in recent years.
How to Make
Making an eggs-in-a-basket breakfast is, in my opinion, easier than making toast and eggs. Everything is cooked in one skillet: the egg is cracked directly in the skillet with the bread and butter.
No need to break out the toaster, scramble eggs, butter toast, or dirty extra dishes.
- Simply melt the butter in the skillet, make a hole in the center of the bread, add the bread and cook for 2 minutes.
- Then add the egg to the hole in the bread, cover and cook until over easy or well done (your choice). Then serve.
Step By Step Instructions
I personally love instructions with photos, so below you’ll find a step-by-step guide for making this dish.
Step 1: Cut a Hole in the Bread
Use a 2-2 1/2 inch biscuit cutter (like this) to cut a hole in the center of a slice of bread. If you don’t have a biscuit cutter, use a sharp knife to create a hole, or use the rim of a drinking glass.
Step 2: Melt Butter in a Skillet
Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a skillet, over medium-high heat, for each egg-a-hole you plan to make. For 2 servings, melt 2 tablespoons butter.
Step 3: Add the Bread
Once melted, reduce to medium heat and add the bread (and the cut out) to the skillet. Cook the bread on each side for 1 minute, uncovered. Don’t forget to flip the cut out piece, too.
Step 4: Crack the Egg
Crack a large egg directly into the bread hole. One egg per slice of bread. I find it helpful to crack the egg on the countertop, then open the egg once positioned directly over the cut-out hole.
Don’t open the egg too high in the air as the egg yolk may break and spread with impact.
Step 5: Cook for 2 Minutes
Cover the skillet and cook the bread and egg (essentially making a fried egg) for 2 minutes.
Step 6: Flip the Egg in a Hole
After 2 minutes, remove the lid from the skillet. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the egg.
Use a spatula. Quickly and gently flip the egg and bread. The egg white should be mostly set before flipping, with just a portion of the egg white (near the yolk) and the yolk itself uncooked.
At this time, remove the cut out piece of bread to a plate.
Cook, uncovered, for about 15-30 seconds for an over easy egg (a slightly runny yolk). Or cook for 1 minute for a well done egg (a solid yolk).
Step 7: Remove from Heat and Serve
If you want extra flavor, sprinkle chopped herbs (like basil, parsley, chives, or even dill) over the eggs.
The bread cut out, now perfectly toasted from the butter, is ideal for dipping in an over easy egg and the runny egg yolk.
Cooking Tips: How to Cook the Perfect Eggs in a Basket
Best type of bread: We’re big fans of sourdough bread around here. It’s easier to digest, traditional, nutritionally superior, and has great flavor. Sourdough is what I use for this recipe. A soft brioche is also a lovely choice. Honestly, any plain sandwich/loaf bread will work for this recipe. You could also use einkorn sandwich bread. If you’re gluten-free, use a gluten-free bread.
Dairy-free version: If you’re dairy-free and can’t consume butter, try ghee if it agrees with you. Many folks who don’t tolerate butter, can tolerate ghee with the milk proteins removed. Another option is olive oil.
Best type of skillet: I mostly use cast iron and stainless steel for cooking, so that is what I use to make this egg-in-a-hole recipe. Since we’re using a generous amount of butter, use any skillet in your kitchen. No need for a non-stick pan.
How to make eggs for the whole family: Since slices of bread are large, you’ll only be able to fit 2 slices of bread in a 10 or 12-inch skillet. If you’re making this breakfast for the whole family and don’t want to work in batches (cooking 2 at a time), use a griddle instead.
Add flavor: The bread slices take on so much flavor from the butter. If you want to add more flavor, sprinkle on paprika or Italian seasoning while cooking (when adding salt and pepper). Or top the egg and toast with fresh herbs, like parsley, dill, or basil, or arugula (tossed with salt and lemon juice) before eating.
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Eggs in a Basket Recipe
- 1 10 or 12-inch skillet with a lid: cast iron, stainless steel, your favorite cooking skillet, or a griddle
- 1 2-2 1/2 inch biscuit cutter or sharp knife or drinking glass
- 2 tablespoons butter salted or unsalted, or ghee or olive oil
- 2 eggs
- 2 slices of bread such as: sourdough, white, whole wheat, brioche, etc.
- Use a 2-2 1/2 inch biscuit cutter to cut a hole in the center of a slice of bread. If you don't have a biscuit cutter, use a sharp knife or the rim of a drinking glass.
- Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a skillet, over medium-high heat, for each egg-a-hole you plan to make. For 2 servings, melt 2 tablespoons butter.
- Once melted, reduce the heat to medium and add the bread (and the cut out) to the skillet. Cook the bread on each side for 1 minute, uncovered. Don't forget to flip the cut out pieces, too.
- Crack a large egg directly into each bread hole. One egg per slice of bread. I find it helpful to crack the egg on the countertop, then open the egg once positioned directly over the cut-out hole in the bread. Don't open the egg too high in the air, as the egg yolk may break and spread with impact.
- Cover the skillet and cook the bread and eggs together for 2 minutes.
- After 2 minutes, remove the lid from the skillet. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the eggs.
- Use a spatula. Quickly and gently flip the eggs and bread. The egg white should be mostly set before flipping, with just a portion of the egg white (near the yolk) and the yolk itself uncooked.
- Cook, uncovered, for about 15-30 seconds for an over easy egg (a slightly runny yolk). Or 1 minute for a well done egg (no runny yolk).
- This dish is best enjoyed ASAP. If you want extra flavor, sprinkle chopped herbs (like basil, parsley, chives, or even dill) over the eggs.
- Eat with a fork and knife. Serve alone or alongside the serving suggestions below. The bread cut out, now perfectly toasted from the butter, is ideal for dipping in an over easy egg and the runny yolk!
10 More Egg Breakfast Recipes
Different Ways to Make This Breakfast
Using the stove-top is the classic way to make eggs-in-a-basket (or whichever of the 66 names you’d like to call this recipe). If you want to venture away from using bread or try a different cooking method, here are a few other ideas.
Use the Oven: This is a great way to make this breakfast for a crowd. Use the oven and baking sheet, and you can add bacon! Make Sheet Pan Egg-in-a-Hole
Make Avocado Toast: Mash 1/2 an avocado with lemon juice and salt, spread the mashed avocado over the top of the toast and egg after cooking. This recipe is a great example.
Eggs-in-a-basket is best eaten with a fork and knife, particularly if you like your egg over easy (a bit runny). If you cook your egg well done, then you could pick up the buttery toast and eat it like a sandwich.
One egg contains 6ish grams of protein, which is decent. And the bread, particularly if using a sourdough or whole wheat bread, contains healthy carbohydrates for fuel and some protein. And, of course, the butter adds satiating fat…and deliciousness!
If you want to serve something alongside the eggs-in-a-hole, whether for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, here are a few side dish ideas:
Healthy Yogurt Bowls: Serve alongside a bowl of yogurt sweetened with fruit, honey, and granola.
Sautéed Greens: Saute’ greens in the same skillet (after cooking the egg and bread).
Roasted Potatoes: Roast up potatoes in the oven. A great option to prep in advance and reheat for breakfast.
Hash: Another great prep-ahead and reheat side dish.
Avocado Slices: Add avocado slices to the top of the egg, cut with a fork, enjoying the egg, bread, and avocado in one bite.
Cheese: Serve alongside slices of cheddar or parmesan cheese. Or shred cheese and sprinkle over the eggs immeadiately after cooking.
Arugula Salad: Arugula has a spicy bite. Toss a handful of arugula with lemon juice and olive oil, then sprinkle with salt and top over the egg and toast.
Bacon: Serve alongside a few slices of bacon for extra protein and healthy fat. Prep bacon in advance and reheat for a quick breakfast side. I use the oven method.
Sausage: Another great prep-ahead option you can reheat in the moment. You can even make your own sausage.
Fruit: Serve alongside seasonal fruit: grapefruit, berries, cantaloupe, etc.