Every morning, my son Pete wakes up at 6:30 AM. I have 2 ½ hours to get us both ready for the day, which seems like it should be plenty of time. But each day the nanny arrives at 9, and I’m never ready to leave! So I started making these freezable breakfast sandwiches to help me get out the door faster.
I’m a personal chef, so I’m really fast in the kitchen. Before I had Pete, I never really understood why people said that they didn’t have time to cook breakfast in the morning. Scrambling an egg takes no time at all! But now I realize, you have to clean the pan, the spatula, your plate, and also eat the eggs with a fork in your kitchen, all while trying to wrangle the baby in the other arm. In this new reality, minutes matter.
Finding a quicker breakfast solution
So I wanted a quicker and cleaner way to get my fuel in the morning. While oatmeal and granola can be nice occasionally, my go-to breakfast will always include eggs. They give me long lasting energy, plus I almost always prefer savory to sweet. I needed a way to have my eggs quickly, without having to do any of the actual cooking in the morning. Ideally, something that could be made in a big batch and frozen in individual portions.
Strata was an early contender. This Vegetable, Egg and Cheddar Strata recipe is one I make for clients often and it freezes beautifully. But there’s a lot of up-front prep, a long cook-time, and it still requires a plate and fork. I also considered quiche, my personal brunch favorite. It didn’t make the cut for the same reasons. So then I started thinking of the breakfast sandwiches they serve at Starbucks. They’re pre-made, pretty tasty, and always hit the spot when I need a quick breakfast. I decided to make my own version that I could enjoy at home for a third of the price per sandwich.
The beautiful thing about these breakfast sandwiches is that they are completely customizable. Ham, sausage, bacon, turkey bacon, and veggie sausage are all great options. Cheddar is my favorite cheese choice, but you can use any sliced cheese that melts well. You can even mix cooked veggies into the eggs to increase your morning fiber intake. Once you get the overall method down, it’s easy to switch it up.
Cooking the Eggs
The only tricky step, and the one I get the most questions about, is cooking the eggs. You have a few different options and all of them give good results.
One way is to fry the eggs individually in a wide saute pan. Just crack in about three at a time, break the yolks, and flip when they’re halfway cooked. It’s fast, but pretty hands on. Another option is baking in an 8 x 10 pan. If you’re a perfectionist, and need the perfect circle to cover the muffin, this is the way to go. You can then cut them out with a large biscuit cutter. This does make scraps though, and you’ll need more than six eggs, so I generally avoid this method.
For some people, the best option is to use a cupcake tin. You can go about it a few different ways. One way is to crack and whisk the eggs in a bowl with some milk and then pour them in. If you want to use less dishes, you can crack directly in the tin and mix up with a fork, milk optional. Or you can add veggies and cheese like they do in this recipe. Then you can bake them all in the oven at once.
But after making literally dozens of these over the past few weeks, I’ve found that the microwave is the way to go! It’s the fastest method, and it also results in more tender eggs after freezing and re-heating. My favorite way is to use silicone muffin cups in the microwave. Just put them on a plate and when you’re done, the cups go into the dishwasher. If you don’t have these, simply spray small microwave-safe bowls with non-stick cooking spray and proceed.
The Fastest Way
You have lots of options for cooking your breakfast sandwiches, but for a make-ahead meal, I recommend the easiest and fastest way possible. There are a few things you can do to shave minutes off your total prep time. One obvious way is to buy pre-sliced cheese. Also, you don’t want to waste time cooking your meat, so even though my husband loves bacon and sausage, I go with ham. If you have leftover bacon or cooked sausage though, go for it. And for the eggs, go with the silicone cups in the microwave. If you do these things, you can have all six breakfast sandwiches in the freezer in less than fifteen minutes.
The recipe I’m sharing here is the exact way I make them for my family and also for clients. It’s quick, easy, and uses the minimum number of dishes. I like using lightly toasted English muffins, ham, cheddar, and eggs from the Mount Pleasant farmers market. I make six at once, but you could easily double the recipe with little extra added time.
I’ll be honest, I’m still not ready when the nanny arrives! But I’ve had my coffee and my breakfast, so I consider that a win. I hope you enjoy these breakfast sandwiches, and a few extra minutes in the morning, as much as I do.
Makes 6 breakfast sandwiches
6 white English muffins, cut in half (Vermont Bread Company recommended)
6 large eggs
2 tablespoons milk (optional)
6 slices of cheese, such as cheddar or swiss
6 slices of ham, cooked bacon or cooked sausage
- Preheat the oven on broil.
- Spread the English muffins on a sheet pan. Cook until lightly toasted, about 3 minutes.
- Spray 6 silicon muffin cups with non-stick cooking spray.*
- Crack an egg into a plastic cup or liquid measuring cup. Add the milk, if using, and season with salt and pepper. Whisk together and divide among the cups.
- Cook 3 eggs at a time. Microwave on high until the eggs are puffed up and cooked through, about 2-3 minutes.
- Remove the eggs from the microwave and place on the bottom halves of the muffins.
- Top the eggs with the meat, cheese and other half of the muffin.
- Wrap each sandwich individually in foil. Then place in a large bag in the freezer.
- To heat, remove the sandwich from the foil. Wrap in a paper towel.
- Microwave on high until heated through. Time will vary depending on your microwave, but it will be around 1 1/2 minutes.
* If you don’t have silicone muffin cups, you can also use microwave-safe bowls without the plate underneath.