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egg mcwilliams

All Photos: Kate Williams

The Egg McWilliams


This best-ever, ultra-quick breakfast sandwich only needs four ingredients

When it comes to weekday breakfasts, I'm very much a creature of habit. There once was a two-year stretch where I ate nothing but overnight oats with nuts and fruit, each and every Monday through Friday. (And yes, I did mean two years and not two months, or some other reasonable time frame.) I don't like to think; I just want something that will fill me up and taste good with my cup of black coffee.

But weekends are a different story. I love going out for breakfast — not brunch or any early morning meal where there's a line — and at any given diner, I'll order eggs, biscuits, bacon, grits and a pecan waffle (if I'm at that glorious restaurant that never closes). However, I'm perfectly happy to stay at home and eat, as long as I've got English muffins (the Thomas brand, obviously), cream cheese, eggs and butter in the kitchen.

With these four ingredients (and sometimes bacon), I make the greatest breakfast sandwich of all time, the Egg McWilliams. My mother named this creation at some point when I was a kid. It is clearly a homage to the only thing at McDonald's she'd ever order, but made undeniably better with an over-easy or medium egg and non-plasticy cheese.

You can probably look at the photo above and know just how to make an Egg McWilliams yourself — toast an English muffin, fry an egg in butter and sandwich it all together with cream cheese. But there are a couple of tricks for Egg McWilliams perfection. 
Number one: Always almost burn the English muffin. This is no time for a light toast. Indeed, the slightly bitter char balances out the sweetness of the cream cheese and the crisp crust is basically your only textural variation in a sandwich that is otherwise very soft.

Number two: Spread the cream cheese on right after the muffin comes out of the toaster. No one, except for my fiance, likes a block of cold cheese in between warm bread and eggs. Even better — take the cream cheese out of the fridge before you make your coffee so that it can start to come up to room temperature. 

Number three: Don't forget to season your egg. No matter how you like your eggs cooked (I personally like the exploding yolk of a sunny side-up egg, but I realize that mess isn't for everyone), you must salt them properly. Again, this step will help to both balance out the sweetness of the cream cheese, and it'll highlight the cheese's tang. It also ensures that your egg actually tastes like something.

Number four: Eat right away. No one wants a cold egg.


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Kate Williams is the former editor-in-chief of Southern Kitchen. She was also the on-air personality on our podcast, Sunday Supper. She's worked in food since 2009, including a two-year stint at America’s Test Kitchen. Kate has been a personal chef, recipe developer, the food editor at a hyperlocal news site in Berkeley and a freelance writer for publications such as Serious Eats, Anova Culinary, The Cook’s Cook and Berkeleyside. Kate is also an avid rock climber and occasionally dabbles in long-distance running. She makes a mean peach pie and likes her bourbon neat.