Recipes

bodega-style egg and cheese sandwich

Like many New Yorkers, I have strong feelings about bodegas (adoration born of dependence) that go from the bodega cats to the stuffed shelves (mine appears to carry more items than our Trader Joe’s), to the griddles. I am in awe of the people who cook at them. I am constitutionally incapable of multitasking, I can barely handle simultaneously cooking a dinner and a side dish without setting fire to one or the other, but they make half a dozen different egg sandwiches at a time like it’s nothing.


quick whiskpour the egg flatcheese in the middlefoldall tucked indone in one minute

I know the BEC (bacon egg and cheese) is the gold standard of bodega breakfast sandwiches, but I like my bacon crisp and on the side, thank you very much, and rarely on a Monday morning. My order is always an egg-and-cheese on rye toast, and truly one of the most blessed things about NYC is that is rye bread is often considered a standard bread option. My only quibble with them is that often the cheese isn’t melted enough either because the cheese was not engineered with melting in mind (ghastly) or because it wasn’t given long enough to heat up. I am not giving cooking tips (please cancel me immediately if I do) to someone making me an egg sandwich for $5 so instead try to make them at home as often as possible where I have my own little method that ensures that the cheese is always melty.

bodega egg-and-cheese

I shared this with Cup of Jo seven years ago, when I’d sometimes make them for my son’s after-preschool lunch. At the time, there was a bit of commotion over the fact that I’d used cheese singles “engineered with melting in mind.” At the grocery store this week, it appears that cheese slice options have come a long way, there were multiple cheddars and more to choose from with relatively unscary ingredient lists, although I still shamelessly defaulted to that which provokes the most outrage applause. Of course you can use any cheese that makes you happy, be it crumbled, grated, or sliced; you can add minced scallions, chives, or crumbled bacon too. The awesome thing about this is that it’s so easy, it requires no planning (especially if you’re not crazy enough to make the deli rye english muffins from Smitten Kitchen Every Day first, as I did) and you can be eating these in approximately 3 minutes, which is exactly what I want to hear at 9am on a Saturday.

bodega egg-and-cheese

Previously

One year ago: Stromboli and Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Cookies
Two years ago: Guacamole and Broccoli Pizza
Three years ago: Banana Puddings with Vanilla Bean Wafers and Taco Torte
Four years ago: Charred Cauliflower Quesadillas and Chocolate Oat Crumble
Five years ago: Garlicky Party Bread with Herbs and Cheese and Fennel and Blood Orange Salad
Six years ago: Egg Salad with Pickled Celery and Coarse Dijon and Salted Caramel Brownies
Seven years ago: Cheddar, Beer, and Mustard Pull-Apart Bread
Eight years ago: Roast Chicken with Dijon Sauce and Mushroom and Farro Soup and Meatball Subs with Caramelized Onions
Nine years ago: Mixed Citrus Salad with Feta and Mint and Edna Mae’s Sour Cream Pancakes and New York Deli Rye Bread
Ten years ago: Flaky Blood Orange Tart and Warm Butternut Squash and Chickpea Salad
Eleven years ago: Rigatoni with Eggplant Puree and Matzo Ball Soup and Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Squares
Twelve years ago: Miniature Soft Pretzels and Sour Cream Bran Muffins

And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Marbled Raspberry Pound Cake
1.5 Years Ago: Blackberry-Blueberry Crumb Pie
2.5 Years Ago: Blueberry Bread and Butter Pudding
3.5 Years Ago: Takeout-Style Sesame Noodles with Cucumbers
4.5 Years Ago: Bourbon Slush Punch

Bodega-Style Egg and Cheese Sandwich

  • Servings: 1
  • Source: Smitten Kitchen
  • Print

This makes one petite egg sandwich, which is all I need, but you can use the same method with two eggs and a slightly longer cooking time.

  • An English muffin, roll or two slices bread of your choice
  • 2 teaspoons butter or oil
  • 1 egg
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 slice of cheese or a small pile of grated or crumbled cheese
  • Spoonful of sliced scallions, chives, crumbled bacon, or whatever else you want in your eggs

Toast your bread. Heat a medium-sized skillet, preferably nonstick, over medium-high heat.

Beat one egg with a 1/2-teaspoon water, a couple pinches of salt and a few grinds of black pepper until just blended.

Melt butter in your pan or brush it with oil, to thinly coat it. Pour in the egg and roll it around so it coats the pan, as a thin crepe would. Immediately place your cheese and/or other fillings in the middle. After a minute, the egg will have set.

Fold the part of the egg closest to you over the cheese, like the first part of a business letter fold. Repeat this on the three remaining “sides,” forming a small square, or you can aim for more of a rectangle if that’s the shape your bread is. Leave the folded egg-and-cheese in the center of the skillet to cook for another 30 seconds, then slide onto your muffin or toast. Top the sandwich with the other half and eat immediately. Notice a couple sets of eyes gazing at you, perhaps wondering where their sandwich might be. Repeat a couple more times and not even mind because it’s so easy.

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78 comments on bodega-style egg and cheese sandwich

  1. juliecoursen

    This was perfect! Perfectly timed and absolutely delicious. I was looking for breakfast recipes this morning, but my fridge is utterly cleaned out. What a luck of stroke that you posted this today! And then the recipe was absolutely delicious – steaming hot eggs and that incredible pocket of melty cheese in the middle. It was too good not to share with my roommate :)

  2. Diana

    I’ve loved your egg cheese method since you posted it on cup of Jo. Beware the hot cheese lava that can ooze out if you don’t make perfect folds.

  3. Jo

    I make an egg and cheese sandwich every other morning but I’ll give this method a try. I tend to do it open-faced and put the cheese directly on the toasted English muffin halves and the hot egg on top. (Usually add some spinach and sprinkle of bacos. Perhaps a bit of avocado.) It doesn’t get super melty like this but the hot egg makes it warm and soft enough. I’m about to go make one now. Mmm.

  4. Zoe

    Yesss I have made these once and a while since you shared on Cup of Jo and they always hit the spot. I love ALL types of cheese, nothing melts like a cheese slice melts… No one should be above a cheese slice ;)

  5. enemycoward

    These are one of my standards since you posted on CoJ! People get very impressed by the egg folding, even though it’s super easy. Thanks for years of tasty sandwiches!!

  6. Amanda

    Deb, I woke up after having a few too many glasses of wine last night and this popped up in my feed. It was exactly what I needed – I had all ingredients on hand and immediately made two. So good, so easy. Bless you!

  7. briarrose1987

    This was a perfect quick lunch, even on store brand sliced bread and made witj shredded mozzarella (all I had in the fridge). I love the cheese-melting trick!

  8. Anna

    I used the cup of jo post to gently nudge my husband in the direction of a better/easier egg sandwich and he has truly perfected it (lots of butter, a shake of everything bagel seasoning). We usually give you a shout out when they are especially good :) You should be hearing a lot of “Deb! The best!!” from up in Albany NY

  9. Marcia

    Egg sandwiches have kept my whole family alive and alert for many years. Always nice to have a new one.. love the way the cheese is placed ! All you need is one little change .. cheese, roll, and it’s new again.

  10. Danette meier

    I make my own. I do cheat & buy round sausage pattys. I use different cheeses, shredded taco, cheddar. My husband said mine are better than McDonald’s. I have the egg Mc muffin gadget but don’t use it. Another useless waste of time gadget.

    1. Jean

      The breakfast sandwich maker is great for students in dorms and we used it a ton when travelling with our kiddos for sports – saved us having to schlep out in an unfamiliar town (because we never stayed near anything!) at 5 am for something to eat when a game was at 7 am. So it has its place, but agreed that nothing is better than doing it stovetop.

      1. Actually, I totally love my sandwich maker. I often plug it in when making coffee, throw eggs in there, cheese, whatever, unplug it, get dressed, and grab my hot breakfast on the way out. Minimalist cooking.

  11. I liked your rye English muffins the one time I made them, so I need to make them again! Then I will make one of the sandwiches. I also plan to use a cheddar that is made with goat milk and some finely chopped cilantro.

  12. Jackie C

    I have been making these since I saw your post on cup of jo (how has it been 7 years?!) one tip I’ve learned over the last few thousand sandwiches – if you season the egg once it’s in the pan, it’s more evenly distributed. Maybe it’s user error but my spices always clump if I put them in while whisking the egg. I like to add paprika and garlic powder with the salt and pepper. So good! Sometimes these simple recipes that are more about technique than ingredients are your best ones – although I love them all!

  13. Andrew

    If you have a spud vide tool and just want to be SUCH a food geek go to chef steps and look up their meaty cheese slices recipe. I made some aged Wexford cheddar melty cheese that is just SO GOOD in a grilled cheese sandwich and really set my Christmas Martha’s Mac and cheese OTT this year. I can only imagine how wonderful it would be with this. I’m going to go try like right now.

  14. JP

    Some how this reminds me of those long ago commercials about “the incredible, edible egg”! I am old enough, also, to remember when the health word was to stay away from eggs (especially the yolks, heaven forbid!). I never believed them any more than I believed that margarine was better than butter. Eggs! Delish! Thanks for a great looking sammie!

  15. Michelle C.

    Sigh… I so miss getting bacon, fried egg, and cheese on hard roll….. No hard rolls (the light, airy type of my youth, with poppyseeds on top) outside of the Metro NY area….

    Perhaps SK can come up with one? :-)

    1. Yes! Hard rolls are unknown outside of the NYC area (and even in NYC not nearly as good as they used to be.) I second the idea of an SK version! Living in MA now, I miss them so!

  16. Bob

    As someone who has made more bec than you could imagine this is no where near how we make a bec in New York. So you know I had worked in ny delis and bodegas for over 10 years making eggs and it’s not hard. 1st we do not scramble eggs unless they are asked for, they come fried. 2nd unless your at a kosher deli we never use butter or oil it’s bacon fat (it is cheaper and this why it tastes like it does.) 3rd if you wrap the sandwich for 30 seconds in parchment paper it foil the cheese melts. (we tend to use the cheapest American cheese because of the melt), if not leave for about a minute and it’ll start melting. So next time you want a real baconeggandcheese (yes how you say it) just ask someone who works there, or at the very least rename your article.

    1. kate

      Woah. Deb, can’t wait to try your technique for the perfect melt (having READ your post and realizing that’s why you do it your way.)

      1. Vanessa Lilly

        Maybe he came across as negative… but a NYC bacon egg & cheese IS always a fried egg on a kaiser roll!! The yolk breaking in unexpected & different ways in each bite is key! Plus bread that soaks up the fat but doesn’t let it get on your fingers! Since it’s from Deb, I bet this is yummy too!!!!

  17. OG New York

    The fuck kinda McDonald’s McMuffin shit is this? BACONEGGANDCHEESE, it’s one word, on a bagel, or preferably, a kaiser roll. Stay the hell away from my bodegas.

    1. NYer Forever

      Seriously?? As a born, raised, and survived NYer I’m embarrassed that you would use this website to post your nasty comments. There’s a way to disagree with an opinion, or a recipe, simply scroll past, it’s easy, try it.

  18. Ttrockwood

    I think the bodega rolls are a big part of what make the sandwich so good. Although for Next Level Awesome getting an egg sandwich from a good bagel shop trumps the bodega hard rolls.
    I think my diet was 50% eggonaroll sandwiches in college, they were really cheap and the bodega near my classes would make them any time of day. (No cheese or bacon for me, yes add ketchup!)
    The rude comment here from another new yorker does make a good point that the double wrap of parchment and foil is important, although silly to do at home.

    My parents visit me in nyc every year- they have ever since i started college- and the first breakfast they want is a bodega eggonaroll since nothing seems to come close to those hard rolls and the magic of an abused flattop griddle

  19. Jamie

    Ever since I read about your technique all those years ago this has been my go-to method for egg sandwiches. It works with any kind of toasted bread and any kind of cheese. I’ve used everything from sourdough to hamburger buns and every cheese from American to sliced swiss or cheddar to that pre-shredded cheddar/jack mix. It’s. Always. Awesome.

  20. Nomes

    I’ve never been to NY and sampled the infamous ‘bodega egg sandwich’, but this method is genius and I’m about to try it out for brunch

  21. Katie C.

    I love egg sandwiches! I have a version that I make using everything bagel thins, two slices of Canadian bacon to cover the holes, a square folded egg and of course, melting cheese. The gooier, the better!

  22. karennemiah

    All Hail the crispy bacon sandwich !! Personally, it’s the ONLY way to go! (Although I take exception with those places that deep fry bacon to get it crispy. Yuck.) A BEC is KEY for any morning following a an evening where someone might have over served me. Making BECs at home has always meant fried eggs, because I didn’t know the bodega secret. Can’t wait to try your technique, Deb!

  23. Susan Yesavage

    This is perfection! It is perfect for a very chilly Portland, OR winter morning with. Cup of hot coffee. I used a whole grain bread from a local bakery since that was what I had. I would definitely enjoy this on rye bread or English muffin. Thank you!

  24. Babs

    I am, admittedly, a cheese snob. I spend more money (and calories) on cheese than anything else. Nothing but the best. And yet, there is a little pile of “singles” in my fridge for grilled cheese and for egg sandwiches. Because . . . MELTY. And . . . YUM.

    1. Kit

      I agree with every word. Those are the only two exceptions for me. My husband also must have the “singles” on a burger. He’s never happy when that option is not available at a burger joint.

  25. DEB! I just figured out how to cook eggs this way but for a different application–a freezer breakfast burrito. I cook them this like this but then sprinkle on Monterey Jack cheese and add a line of black beans and then fold it into a burrito shape. Then, I let the chill on a cookie sheet in my fridge and then freeze. When I have them for breakfast at work, I have the tortilla seperate–that way it doesn’t get weird–and heat them in the microwave.

    I know you recently made breakfast burritos, but for me they were just too *big*. This is basically the same concept but more petite. AND–cooking them thin like this means the eggs also don’t get weird–they don’t separate and turn watery.

  26. Leah

    Bless you — I am a New Yorker trapped in Los Angeles (where “delis” — forget about bodegas — don’t even have grills), and I’m going to make this the next chance I have!

  27. Liz

    I’ve made these nearly weekly since your CoJ post! Usually with a healthy dash of Valentina hot sauce in the middle, or a spoonful of leftover pesto. Favorite breakfast/lunch/dinner/snack/etc etc etc.

  28. Caroline Newell

    I made your lime pickled red onions to go on top of black beans and rice last night. Our company went crazy over such a simple thing that made the meal. Second helpings for all!

  29. stephanie

    This looks fabulous! Makes me miss those “hard rolls” that you find in NYC and surrounding areas! Would die to have a lead on where to mail-order hard rolls for this recipe.

  30. Rochelle

    I have made more egg sandwiches than I care to admit. No bodegas here in Toronto to compare, but mine requires no griddle or pan. Break one egg into greased ramekin/bowl , prick yolk (important), salt and pepper.
    cover with paper towel and microwave for 60 seconds. Place cheese over hot egg and cover with tea towel while toast….toasts. Cheese will be nicely melted, I sometimes also add prosciutto or Calabrese salami for a spicy kick.
    Deliciousness in under 2 minutes with zero pans to wash.

    1. Heidi Pohle

      I do the same thing with my egg in the microwave. I always try to time it right so I have the toast just ready when the egg is ready. I never thought about putting the cheese right on top of the egg while the toast finishes. Good idea! I’ll try that out this weekend when I’m home for breakfast.

  31. sarste

    This was… a revelation. So simple but so good. It certainly didn’t look as cute as yours, but with a little grated cheese on a homemade bagel, it was perfect.

  32. DeAnna

    Made this today — delicious! Just salt, pepper and some faboo very sharp white cheddar. (I would have used bacon if I had any in the house.) Tomorrow I’m going to add a little bit of scallions.

  33. Stephanie

    This recipe popped up on my social media feed Sunday morning and I knew I was going to make it ASAP. I made one for my son….and then one for my hub….and then one for me. DELISH. Only thing this upstate NYer living in the South needs is the rye english muffin recipe! Will definitely make again! YUM

  34. Adina

    Deb, your “egg pocket” has become a breakfast hit in my house. We have it at least 50% of mornings! We usually skip putting it between bread, but with or without, it’s a perfect way to start the day. Thanks!

  35. Hillary

    Wonderful!! I made one this morning with shredded sharp cheddar cheese in the middle! Had a little difficulty making the last fold, but got it! Slid it onto a toasted rye English muffin from your cook book which worked well – first English muffin I’ve ever made!

  36. Ashley

    I saw this and I was like “um, I’ve seen this before. have I seen this before?!” and when it didn’t say you were updating an old recipe at the top of the article, you had me questioning my sanity. UNTIL! I saw that you had posted on A Cup of Jo before. You two are my favorite blogs, so OF COURSE I’ve seen this before. Haven’t tried it, though, and will rectify this weekend. Thank you! <3

  37. SarahJ

    So I may have specifically bought cheese for this last time I was at the store, and made this for lunch today. Way faster than I had expected, & as good as I’d hoped. The pronouncement was; ‘Deb, I love you!’
    My latest favourite SK offering, sitting alongside the Chocolate Pav I made for a dinner party last week, that won the adoration of the gathering of Kiwis & Aussies :)
    Thank you Deb, (& Family), for making our lives yummier!

  38. Dina

    vis-a-vis cheese melting…one has to remember that your corner bodega comes in very early in the morning, removes that stack of cheese slices from the fridge and they are most likely room-temp when the demand for BEC starts up…therefore, it melts more easily. I take mine out an hour before I make the sandwich. Eggs as well. I dug out my carbon steel crepe pan yesterday and does very nicely with your method.

  39. Liz

    I used this technique this morning … on my homemade sourdough ciabatta roll and YUM. I’ve seen the folded egg but never thought to do it. I am so happy to know how to do this: ridiculously easy and quick. And I saw another commenter’s use in a burrito which sounds brilliant, also! I know it will not be a BEC but I’m thinking some thin ham and swiss would go well in there. Thanks, Deb!

  40. Deb, this is so cool! I first found Smitten Kitchen through that Cup of Jo feature and your egg and cheese sandwich is still one my favourite things to make! I didn’t realise it was 7 years ago – thanks for the constant cooking inspiration XxX

  41. Billie

    This was so delicious! I used grated cheddar and some toasted Turkish bread simply because that’s what we had. I followed the directions and did two eggs so my husband and I could have one each. Great technique and fast!

    Deb – these types of recipes (quick meal hacks) are my favourite of yours. Plus I love seeing how you like to eat 😊

  42. Cait Lovelace

    It’s almost midnight and I’m still awake because I had three too many cups of coffee today so I’m reading your site and just got out of bed to make myself one of these egg sammies and it was 100% worth it

  43. Jenny Mesisca

    Omg. I just made this and I think you saved my life. My husband and I moved from NYC to California in June (I lived in the city for 12 years… still processing) and bodegas/egg & cheeses were SO in the top 5 things I was near tears about in leaving. Thank you for bringing a dose of homey feel to my OC kitchen this morning!