How-To & Diy

Michael Ruhlman's Weekend Broken-Yolk Fried Egg Sandwich

April 18, 2014

Food writer and cookbook author Michael Ruhlman recently stopped by Food52 HQ to talk to us about his latest book, Egg -- which we're currently selling, signed, on Provisions. We thought it only fitting that he show us his favorite way to cook one of our kitchens' most versatile ingredients.

Today, he's explaining how to make his beloved Broken-Yolk Fried Egg Sandwich -- we suggest you make one for breakfast this weekend.

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My father taught me this sandwich when I was in fifth grade, and it was so good that I continued to make it throughout my youth. To this day, I often make it for a quick Saturday lunch. And now I include my son James, who loves it too.

One of the pleasures of this preparation is that it turns what would otherwise be a mistake -- a broken yolk -- into an advantage. It also results in its own unique flavor, completely different from both scrambled eggs and a fried egg. I always serve it on soft white bread with a generous smear of Hellmann's mayo. Use a non-stick pan for this if you have one -- it makes the egg easier to flip.


Weekend Broken-Yolk Fried Egg Sandwich 

Serves 1 hurried father, mother, or fifth grader

1 tablespoon butter
2 eggs, cracked into a bowl, yolks poked once to break them
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 pieces soft sandwich bread

Put a pan (preferably nonstick) over medium-low heat and allow it to get hot, about 5 minutes. Add the butter and allow it to melt completely. As the water cooks out of it, it will froth. 


When the frothing seems to be at its peak, pour in the eggs and give the pan an immediate shake to prevent the eggs from sticking. Season the eggs with salt and pepper and cook for 1 minute.

Flip the eggs and cook until the white is just set, about 1 minute more. Meanwhile, spread as much or as little mayonnaise on the sandwich bread as you wish. 

When the eggs are done, pour them out onto the bread, folding them over so that the eggs don't fop over the edges of the bread.

Cover the eggs with the other piece of bread and eat with a glass of milk. I usually eat there next to the stove; I don't even use a plate.

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here. 

Tell us: What does your favorite egg sandwich look like?

Photos by James Ransom

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Anonymous
  • DonnaMZ
  • David Tilford
    David Tilford
  • Dave
  • HapppyBee


Anonymous March 8, 2021
Surprisingly, due to its incredible simplicity - its wonderful! That’s its beauty - its simplicity! And ease to make, even on a weekday. Didnt even have to toast the bread! Just butter, bread, mayo, and eggs!!!
DonnaMZ June 15, 2016
Going back to the 50's and I have to admit this was one of my Dad's favorites and still is a fav of mine but break the yolk in the skillet (like someone else suggested) and put on a piece of fried bologna snipped around the edges so it doesn't curl then add a piece of cheese slide on toasted rye bread. My family and I still prefer a good St. Louis Rye!
Anonymous March 8, 2021
Fried bologna, snipped around the edges so it doesnt curl, and browned! A childhood favorite!!! I didnt know anyone else who did this! Occasionally, though, I do see a fried bologna sandwich on a menu - like Michael Symeon’s “B Spot” in Cleveland, Ohio!
David T. April 7, 2015
The egg sandwich is my specialty. You need to jazz it up a little with a slice of cheese and a spoonful of pepper and onion relish (preferably Harry & David brand). Fry one egg with broken yolk. After turning add one teaspoonful of the relish and spread evenly over the egg then add the slice of cheese. Cover until the cheese has melted and then remove from skillet and place on your favorite bread with a generous slathering of mayo. I use whole wheat bread but a large sliced and toasted croissant is a great choice too.
Dave April 6, 2015
Fry the egg in bacon grease! Use a good American cheese and enjoy? Been doing that since the 60's
HapppyBee August 15, 2014
What is old news to some is a revelation to others. If you have already been doing this egg sandwich, no need to say so. Let those who haven't seen it before learn and enjoy! Personally, I'm going to give it a go and love the story of learning to make it in the fifth grade. My version has been to fry an egg, break the yolk once in the pan (If I haven't already done that getting it in there) flip it for just a sec and put on toasted, buttered bread with ketchup and bacon. Been doing that since the fourth grade. Ha!
marymary April 23, 2014
My new favorite egg sandwiches were inspired by Starbuck's. We equally enjoy a spinach-eggwhite-pico de gallo-feta wrap and a Canadian ham-egg-mustard-gruyere ciabatta sandwich with the eggs cooked as Michael does above. In fact, that's how I usually serve "scrambled eggs". I don't like them all whisked together. I've never had an egg sandwich with mayo, so I'll give that a try soon. Thanks, Michael. I look forward to reading your book!
spot April 23, 2014
Try adding thinly sliced cucumbers to your sandwich, Michael! I have vague memories of having fried egg-mayo-cuke sandwiches in Taiwan when I was a child. I don't know if it was a figment of my imagination, but to this day, I still love that combination.
marymary April 23, 2014
I love cucumbers on sandwiches, so will definitely try this. Thanks!
red135 April 20, 2014
One of the things I inherited from my ex husband - his "recipe" for an egg sandwich. Broken yolk, like this, but with some Louisiana hot sauce and emmenthaler or jarlsberg melted on top, on toasted (preferable egg) bun, with mayo and romaine. So delish.
Kenneth M. April 19, 2014
of course this is perfect food. and the mayo you have spot on. but dot ya like a little run in the yolk?
Amy F. April 18, 2014
toasted bagel, cheese and bacon. nix the mayo.
gbatrucks April 19, 2014
tammy D. April 18, 2014
we used a glass to cut a round hole in the slice of bread, drop in a fresh egg and fry in butter. Yummmmmmm
Yancey P. April 18, 2014
Wrong mayo. Needs either Duke's or Blue Plate.
the T. May 9, 2014
Kewpie. The finest mayo on the planet fyi.
AntoniaJames April 18, 2014
By the way, this is a wonderful way to eat eggs on weekdays, too! And thanks for, finally, giving some love to an egg other than the ubiquitous runny yolk, or poached, or softly scrambled one. I've adored the broken yolk egg my whole life, and have always felt like the odd-one-out for preferring my eggs done this way. I must mention however that I like them even better when fried a skillet in which I've just fried up some outstanding bacon, and poured off the fat, and then scraped up the little crispy bits. Heaven! ;o)
stephanie April 18, 2014
Definitely just feels like an advertisement for Hellman's. Don't you have to disclose that sort of thing?
AntoniaJames April 18, 2014
Ah, let's try to seek to understand before seeking to be understood here (one of Covey's rules - the best one, to my mind). Just because someone likes a particular product doesn't necessarily mean that he or she is endorsing it for money. Often times a particular brand does make a difference. I don't always agree with Mr. Ruhlman, or with anyone else who posts here, for that matter. But if an accomplished and respected cook recommends a particular brand, especially within the context of a recipe where the quality of that ingredient matters, I take it as helpful information (with which I may, or may not, ultimately agree) and move on. ;o)
KellyinToronto April 18, 2014
This is my egg sandwich! This is excactly what you get when you ask for one at a Hong Kong - style cafe. There's no butter- it's vegetable oil, and it comes on thickly sliced, crustless untoasted white. I usually ask for luncheon meat on mine. Paired with a Milk Tea- that's always the first thing I get after I land in Hong Kong, at the Honalulu Cafe. If I'm feeling home sick, and making this at home in Toronto - there's always a dab of ( Oh ! The horror!) Miracle Whip! ( My made it that way...)
AntoniaJames April 18, 2014
I’ve always made my fried eggs this way; as a young child, I thought that runny yolks – the options being “over easy” or “sunny side up” in our house – seemed so, well, "gross", to use the common vernacular. Yes, they do have a different taste. It’s easy to overcook them, however, so one must remain attentive.
I made one a broken yolk fried sandwich just last weekend. I put it on this bread, very thinly sliced: one slice smeared with a sharp, coarse (whole seed) mustard, along with a half dozen razor-thin slivers of good salume and a couple tablespoons of grated asiago. (The egg always goes on the slice not spread with mustard, to get the buttery egg taste into the bread.) I put the sandwich on a panini press until a crispy medium brown, then ate it out on my deck, slowly, in awe of how something so simple can be so satisfying, no matter how many times one makes it. But I agree, too, that the white bread + mayo + broken yolk fried egg sandwich is a wonderful treat. ;o) P.S. I'm looking forward to getting your new book! Would appreciate data that I could take to my cardiologist, who takes a rather dim view of my enthusiasm (love affair, really) with eggs.
amysarah April 18, 2014
Huge egg fan and I love a simple preparation (for instance, the French regard for a perfect poached egg as serious cuisine speaks to me far more than any frou-frou Foam de Blahblah) ...but I have to agree that this piece feels a bit precious. This is precisely the egg sandwich - 'technique' and all - I've made since pre-history. My kids ate one en route to school countless times. So, I don't know...maybe presenting it as a revelation feels a bit twee. (But it is a fine egg sandwich!)
gfincher April 18, 2014
This has LONG been my favorite, quick fix sandwich. My variations are w/Duke's Mayo w/a bit of curry powder mixed in & maybe a slice of sharp cheddar over the egg as it is cooking. YUM!
ATG117 April 18, 2014
Is this a sponsored post by hellman's? That jar seems to perfectly placed.
Tashipluto April 18, 2014
Umm, this is what every deli in NYC gives you if you order a fried egg sandwich with mayo on white. I love eggs every possible way, except this one. (Now the eggs with vinegar -- that's a great recipe!)