I can't tell you how many times a simple egg has saved my life, or at least my day. That's because adding a perfectly fried or poached egg, its runny yolk surrounded by creamy white, can turn just about anything into a filling meal—even the random bits and bobs from my refrigerator on nights when I'm too busy to plan out dinner.
That's not to say eggs should be limited to supporting roles, of course, since they also work beautifully as protein-packed bases for breakfast, lunch, and dinner dishes. From easy eggs Benedict, to creamy-and-cheesy grits, to pork chops glazed in brown sugar and bourbon, these 20 dishes all depend on eggs for their greatness—or are made greater by them.
Breakfast and Brunch
Foolproof Eggs Benedict
Eggs Benedict sounds like an intimidating dish, but a little technique makes it easy. Draining off the excess egg whites is the key to perfectly poached eggs, and a hand blender allows you to create a creamy Hollandaise sauce in just two minutes—no slaving over a double boiler required.
Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict With Dill Hollandaise
Smoked salmon and eggs Benedict are both brunch classics; combine them, and you get a dish that's greater than the sum of its parts. A little dill livens up the Hollandaise sauce, which perfectly complements the fatty salmon.
Eggs Sardou (New Orleans-Style Poached Eggs With Artichoke Hearts, Spinach, and Hollandaise)
Eggs Sardou might be greener than eggs Benedict, but it's no less rich. In this hearty New Orleans-inspired brunch dish, poached eggs and Hollandaise sit atop a bed of slowly simmered creamed spinach and artichoke hearts warmed in butter.
Breakfast Tacos With Crispy Potatoes, Chorizo, and Fried Egg
Potato tacos often suffer from textural homogeneity—a soft tortilla wrapped around soft potato makes for a pretty boring taco. We get around this problem by first boiling the potatoes and then frying them in chorizo fat, making them extra crispy with a fluffy interior.
Black Bean, Avocado, and Egg Tostadas
Soaking beans overnight requires some advance planning, but the improved quality you'll get over canned beans is worth the effort. Similarly, although frying your own tortillas is a little more work than buying packaged tostadas, you can't beat the crisp, puffy golden shell you get by doing it yourself.
Huevos Rancheros Verdes (Fried Eggs With Green Salsa and Refried Beans)
Huevos rancheros is most commonly made with a tomato-based salsa. We love the classic version, but here we've opted for a tangy green salsa made with tomatillos and green chilies. If you're lucky enough to have access to Hatch chilies, use them, but poblanos or Anaheims will also work.
Quick and Easy Huevos Rancheros With Tomato-Chili Salsa
Not sold on the notion of green huevos rancheros? Fortunately for you, we've got a great traditional-style recipe as well. Save time by using canned crushed tomatoes, which cook much faster than whole fresh ones. A mix of dried ancho chilies and canned chipotles in adobo gives the salsa a rich, deep flavor.
Ratatouille With Fried Eggs
Ratatouille is summer comfort food—thick, nourishing, and packed with seasonal vegetables, warm herbs, and a generous helping of olive oil. Pairing it with fried eggs and a crusty loaf of country bread transforms it into an excellent brunch or light dinner. And feel free to make the stew in advance, because ratatouille is even better when it's sat in the fridge for a night.
Chorizo and Halloumi Pancakes With Fried Eggs
A firm white cheese from Cyprus with a squeak reminiscent of cheese curds, halloumi is surprisingly at home embedded in a pancake. To boost the savoriness, we add Spanish-style chorizo in three ways: first, by mixing some straight into the batter; second, by throwing some on the pan before pouring that batter; and finally, by topping the finished dish with more chorizo and a drizzle of rendered fat.
Bourbon-Glazed Pork Chops and Fried Eggs
We're all used to seeing pork on the breakfast table, but if there comes a morning when you're looking for a departure from the usual bacon or sausage, try pork chops instead. In this recipe, we glaze the chops with bourbon, brown sugar, and smoked paprika, then serve them with fried eggs for a hearty, sweet-savory brunch.
Lunch and Dinner
Kale, Parmesan, and Fried Egg Tartine
When you broil kale, it turns out crisp and sweet, perfect for topping a piece of good, crusty toasted bread. Add a fried egg and plenty of nutty Parmesan cheese, and you've got yourself a hearty snack or light lunch.
Poached Eggs With Corn, Chorizo, Basil, and Brioche Croutons
This elegant dish starts with a ragout of corn, chorizo, and fresh herbs. For some extra crunch, top it off with croutons toasted in the rendered chorizo fat. A runny poached egg creates a rich sauce to bring everything together in a beautiful union.
Cheesy Grits With Spring Vegetables
It's common to cook grits in plain water, but they're none too exciting that way. Using a combination of milk and water makes them creamier, and stirring in plenty of cheese and butter makes them extra rich and flavorful. Topping the grits with delicate poached eggs and a mix of spring vegetables, like asparagus and morels, makes this dish totally healthy—we promise.
Cheesy Mashed White Beans With Kale, Parmesan, and a Fried Egg
Mashed white beans loaded with cheddar and Parmesan provide a comforting creaminess similar to that of the grits from the previous recipe, and they don't require as much time to cook. Sautéed kale and a fried egg turn this into a balanced and easy, yet impressive meal.
Mushrooms, Bacon, and Asparagus Topped With Eggs
Bacon-wrapped asparagus may be a staple of fancy meals, but it's also a classic case of prioritizing form over function—because it's nearly impossible to properly cook both the bacon and the asparagus when they're combined. Cooking the ingredients separately ensures crisp bacon and tender asparagus.
Sweet Potato, Sage, and Fried Egg Tacos
Sage and sweet potatoes were made for each other, and we bring new life to that marriage in these tacos. To keep the recipe quick, we don't go to the trouble of making a salsa, instead using a fried egg, hot sauce, and Mexican crema to make an easy topping.
Sautéed Asparagus With Chorizo, Fried Eggs, and Smoked Paprika Allioli
Frying eggs in a mixture of chorizo and olive oil adds flavor and has the pleasant side effect of leaving you with crisp chorizo to scatter on top. Sautéed asparagus and a zesty allioli turn a simple breakfast into a full meal.
Harissa Chickpeas With Fried Eggs
This is a shining example of how easily basic ingredients can be transformed into dinner with fried eggs. Here, the eggs top harissa-spiced chickpeas, arugula, and pita bread for a satisfying weeknight meal that takes just 15 minutes to make.
Portuguese Garlic and Cilantro Bread Soup (Açorda à Alentejana)
Croutons, French toast, and breadcrumbs are obvious ways to use up a loaf of stale bread. If, however, you want to mix things up a little, try this unusual Portuguese bread soup topped with chorizo and a gently poached egg. Cooking the bread slowly in a flavorful broth turns the mixture into a thick porridge similar to congee.
Torn Pasta Sheets With Brown Butter, Herbs, and Poached Eggs
Cheesy buttered noodles seem like a pretty pedestrian meal at first glance, but adding brown butter and tons of herbs makes this dish something to crave. Poached eggs lend protein and a rich yolk to bind the pasta sheets together.