Why cut a circle out of your bread when you could use a bagel instead?

By Bridget Hallinan
Updated February 27, 2020
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Everyone has a morning bagel routine. You might prefer them simply spread with a slick of cream cheese, or piled high with eggs, bacon, and cheddar; you might even be like me, who occasionally enjoys a plain toasted buttered bagel, too. (*Gasp*). However, the next time you grab a dozen for your breakfast spread, you might want to consider saving some for an egg in a bagel hole—a quick, indulgent riff on egg in the hole that only takes 10 minutes to make.

Egg in a Bagel Hole Recipe
Credit: The Ingalls

The recipe comes from Josh Russ Tupper and Niki Russ Federman of Russ & Daughters, New York City’s famous appetizing shop, who shared it with us in our March 2020 issue. The dish is so popular with their family that they’re considering adding it to the menu at Russ & Daughters Cafe—and now, you can make it at home, too. The ingredient list is relatively short, comprised of an everything bagel, unsalted butter, eggs, water, kosher salt, black pepper, cold-smoked salmon, and your choice of caviar or sliced avocado. Then, all that’s left to do is cook, and in two steps, you’ll have perfectly set egg whites, crisp toasted bagel halves, and yolks that are begging to be broken. 

Check out key tips for making the dish below, sourced from the recipe as well as our Associate Food Editor, Kelsey Youngman.

Use good bagels

For the best possible results, you want to make sure you’re using a high-quality bagel, not the pre-packaged kinds from the grocery store. Head to a local shop (such as Russ & Daughters) and get them fresh.

Make sure they can fit the egg yolks

You’ll want the holes in the bagel halves to be about 1.75 inches wide so the egg yolks nestle neatly inside. If they’re not, widen them using a paring knife—as an added bonus, you’ll have a little bit of bagel to snack on while you cook.

Butter them…

Instead of adding butter to the skillet to toast the bagels, spread the butter directly on the bagel halves instead (both sides). This not only adds flavor, but helps the bagels brown evenly.

…and stick with unsalted butter, while you’re at it

You want to use unsalted butter in this recipe in order to control the amount of salt in the dish. Some bagels, like everything bagels, already come topped with salt, so you don’t want to go overboard. However, once everything is done cooking, you can always add kosher salt if you'd like.

No toaster needed

While you’d normally toast bagels in the toaster, in this case, you’re already toasting them in the skillet. Add them cut-side up and let them cook for two to three minutes over medium heat until they’re golden brown.

Add water to the pan

Once the bagels have browned, flip them over so they’re cut-side down and reduce the heat to low. Then, crack the eggs into the bagel holes and pour one tablespoon of water around the edge of the skillet—cover immediately. In a similar vein to this fried egg technique, the steam from the water helps cook the eggs all the way through (no flipping!) without burning the bagels. It also ensures that the butter on the bagels doesn’t brown too quickly, either. After the eggs are done, you’re all set to add the toppings and eat.

Customize them

Feel free to make this recipe your own by swapping in your favorite type of bagel and mixing up the toppings. You could use bacon and avocado instead of smoked salmon and caviar; we could also see this being a fun riff on a croque madame, combining ham and cheese with the egg and bagel. If you’re hosting brunch, set up a toppings bar so everyone can pick what they like.

Get the Recipe: Egg in a Bagel Hole