The Iconic Breakfast Dish With More Than 25 Different Names

June 14, 2018

It's a simple dish: it needs just four ingredients (bread, butter, salt, and an egg) and couldn't be easier to make—cut out a circle from the middle of a piece of bread and cook an egg in the empty space. But the name for this iconic breakfast food is anything but simple.

We realized that when Nancy Romaine DeWitt posted a photo of her breakfast, called eggs in the nest in Itamar Srulovich and‎ Sarit Packer's cookbook Golden, our Baking Club's book of the month. A few different names popped up in the comments, and when we polled Club members, "egg in a hole" and "toad in a hole" were the runaway favorites (the former has a slight edge in popularity over the latter). They were far from the only options though, we ended up with more than 25 names for the same dish:

Photo by James Ransom

Eggs in... something

  • Egg in a hole
  • Egg in a hat
  • Egg in a nest
  • Egg in a basket
  • Egg in a window
  • Egg in the eye
  • Egg in a frame
  • Egg in a pocket
  • Egg in bread

Mona Martin Davies says, "My husband calls it egg in a hat. His dad toasted the cut-out circle and put it on top, so it did look like a hat."

More eggs

  • Picture frame eggs
  • Bullseye eggs
  • Betty Grable eggs
  • Bob Smith egg
  • Buzzy egg
  • Egg surprise
  • Peek-a-boo egg
  • Rocky Mountain eggs
  • Pop-eyes
  • Egg in a blanket

Kayla Mize shares: "For some reason, my family called it a buzzy egg when I was growing up. I can't seem to find a reference to that online, so I have to assume this is a weird made-up thing."

Gimme the toast

  • Egyptian toast
  • Sunshine toast
  • Holy toast
  • An egg toastie

Heather McKimmey calls it holy toast, explaining, "it went from a hole for an egg toast to holy toast somehow."

Animals, eyes, and everything else

  • Toad in a hole
  • Birds in a nest/bird's nest
  • Chicken eye
  • Egyptian eyes
  • Moon over Miami
  • Boy Scout sandwich

Erica Stokes Lowther says: "We call it toad in the hole, though I know that the English dish toad in the hole isn't the same at all. And my husband is English. Go figure."

Whew. It's probably time for dessert by now

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I like esoteric facts about vegetables and think ambling through a farmers market is a great way to start the day. My first cookbook, available now, is called Cooking with Scraps.


MrsMehitabel July 29, 2019
I don't remember having these as a child, but I believe my sister calls them ace-in-the-hole!
Jeanine April 26, 2019
Hobo egg
Rebecca S. December 24, 2018
An egg cooked in a holed-out piece of bread is a split-in-the-eye!
Beaulaker December 22, 2018
we call it Cyclops
FrugalCat July 11, 2018
Grew up calling it Egyptian Eye. My dad loved those and always wanted me to make him one.
Tasha June 22, 2018
To the best of my knowledge, “Shit on a Shingle” is creamed chipped beef on toast
K M. June 21, 2018
Gaslight Eggs! I saw that in a movie. In my home, we always called them Eggs-In-A-Frame, however.
P M. June 20, 2018
You know what? MY DAD also called them "shit in a shingle"
maybe it was a WWII thing?
Charlotte June 5, 2019
I think that usually referred to creamed chipped beef on a waffle. Their recipe for that was not too popular apparently.
Cindy F. June 19, 2018
Humpty dumpty eggs.
Laurette June 18, 2018
Always called a “gold mine” in our home.
Camihenry June 15, 2018
We call it egg in the middle.
Sherri M. June 15, 2018
My mom called it Egg a la Hollywood--can't imagine why!! My mother-in-law called it a Miss Francis Egg, after a 1960s children's TV host...
Jordann June 14, 2018
Poor man's omelette is what my mom always called them
nancy E. June 14, 2018
"Toad in a hole" is sausages cooked in yorkshire pudding batter.
Author Comment
Lindsay-Jean H. June 15, 2018
The name is used for both dishes!
Natalia W. June 14, 2018
We called them toad in the hole growing up, and my husband's family called them shit on a shingle haha!
Author Comment
Lindsay-Jean H. June 15, 2018
Julia A. June 14, 2018
My dad calls it a “wink eye”
Carole June 14, 2018
“One-Eyed Jack” is the name, and it is great with Rye bread!
Erica V. June 14, 2018
My mom called them Top Hat Eggs - you have to put the little toasted bread circle on the egg. So strange that all the names sound just as wrong to me as I bet Top Hat Eggs sounds to everyone else!
Alice June 14, 2018
Cowboy eggs!
Jessica P. June 14, 2018
We call this a Fluffy Duffy Special. I don't know how that name came about, my mother said her dad would make it for them.