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12 Secret Ingredients You Should Be Using In Your Fried Egg Sandwiches

Fried egg sandwich with tomatoes
Fried egg sandwich with tomatoes - Maria Tebriaeva/Shutterstock

A fried egg sandwich is a simple thing of beauty. A warm egg between slices of toasted bread. That's straightforward comfort food. But what's beyond our comfort zone? Perhaps an entire world of flavors and textures that will bring a fried egg sandwich to a whole new level.

In the search for secret ingredients, swapping around the condiments is a good place to start — play with fancy mustards, add sriracha or buffalo sauce to your mayo, mess around with garlic aioli, barbecue sauce, or ranch dressing. But in our quest to improve the fried egg sandwich, we're going to go beyond condiments. We're going to consider adding ingredients — something crunchy, perhaps? And we're going to explore some cooking techniques that infuse flavor and texture right as your egg fries in the pan.

As we embark on this culinary journey, rest assured — there's absolutely no pressure to give up on your classic fried egg sandwich. It's not going anywhere. It will be ready to comfort you at any time. But if you're game for some adventure, let's crack open some eggs and see if we can level up that fried egg sandwich.

Read more: 15 Mistakes Everyone Makes When Cooking Eggs

Insert A Hash Brown Patty

pan with hash brown patties
pan with hash brown patties - Collins Unlimited/Shutterstock

A hash brown patty may be the crunchy, golden key to an upgraded fried egg sandwich. No need to relegate potatoes to a side dish — they want to be part of the main event! A fried egg sandwiched with a hash brown patty offers the perfect crispy-soft contrast. And if your egg is the runny type, it'll love seeping into the hash brown's soft interior. Enjoy as the savory potato flavor complements the richness of the egg.

For such an impressive upgrade, hash brown patties are surprisingly low-maintenance. The frozen aisles are brimming with them, so you can keep this secret ingredient on hand in your freezer. But if you want to make this crunchy, golden key extra special, try homemade waffled hash browns with rosemary. Using a waffle iron creates hash browns that are golden and crispy on both sides with zero flipping required — that's tasty efficiency. Whether you opt for the convenience of frozen or the special touch of homemade, adding a hash brown patty transforms your fried egg sandwich into a substantial and filling meal — perfect for keeping you well-fueled for a long day.

Use Cinnamon Raisin Bread

Buttered cinnamon raisin bread
Buttered cinnamon raisin bread - Cislander/Getty Images

Swapping the bread is an easy way to elevate your traditional fried egg sandwich. Sourdough or garlic bread? An English muffin or a bagel? You could even use waffles! But if you're ready to really level up, consider cinnamon raisin bread.

Cinnamon raisin bread gives a fried egg sandwich that touch of sweet mixed with savory pairing. Just as raisins add a burst of plump sweetness to chicken salad, they can add a perk to your fried egg sandwich. And the delightful fragrance of cinnamon not only enhances your overall eating experience — it might even improve your day. A 2009 study from the American Psychological Association found that the odor of cinnamon increased ratings of alertness and decreased frustration during a simulated driving task. So if you're looking for a fried egg sandwich upgrade that can improve your morning commute, make cinnamon raisin bread your bread of choice.

Fry The Egg In Sauce

tomato sauce in a pan
tomato sauce in a pan - Goskova Tatiana/Shutterstock

It's one thing to slather condiments on your sandwich bread, but why not give your fried egg sandwich a saucy makeover by letting the egg sizzle in sauce? Frying your egg in sauce not only infuses the egg with the sauce's flavor — it also gives your leftover sauces from last night's dinner a curtain call. Whether you're in the mood for a tangy marinara, a zesty pesto, a rich curry, or a decadent mushroom cream sauce, the flavor is up to you.

As an example, enchilada sauce might be all you need to revamp your fried egg. In your frying pan, heat butter or oil, and add a couple tablespoons of enchilada sauce. As the sauce starts to bubble in anticipation, crack your egg on top of the sauce. To flip or not to flip, that is your call, but once those egg whites are firm, your flavorful egg is ready for sandwich stardom. Add some creamy avocado and Monterey Jack cheese.

Slather It With Cream Cheese

bread with cream cheese, olives
bread with cream cheese, olives - Gala Didebashvili/Getty Images

For an easy and creamy upgrade to your fried egg sandwich, slather a generous layer of cream cheese on your bread. This can be any bread, but with cream cheese in the mix, this might be the time to let your fried egg live its best life on a bagel. Regardless of the bread, cream cheese makes a great upgrade, whether you're a purist who prefers plain schmear or a flavor explorer spreading garden vegetable or chive and onion on that bagel.

Cream cheese isn't just about adding a creamy flavor and texture — it's also an unsung hero of sandwich architecture. It's like duct tape, but tastier, keeping those pesky, loose ingredients like olives from executing a daring escape every time you take a bite. Olives, with their salty, briny charm, are great in theory but a slippery mess in practice. Cream cheese to the rescue! Beyond olives, many other unruly ingredients go well with cream cheese and benefit from its adhesive properties. Think capers, sundried tomatoes, or sliced jalapeños. With cream cheese, your fried egg sandwich is a well-organized, flavor-packed experience that won't fall apart at first bite.

Add Flair With Kimchi

Kimchi cabbage from jar
Kimchi cabbage from jar - Nungning20/Getty Images

Jazz up your morning routine with a sidekick that's zesty: kimchi! Kimchi is a traditional Korean side dish made from fermented vegetables mixed with a variety of seasonings. Traditional cabbage kimchi is common — napa cabbage mixed with ginger and garlic. But kimchi is a pickling technique, not a strict recipe — you'll find many variations reflecting regional and personal tastes. From radishes to cucumbers, carrots, and beyond, each vegetable gets a chance to shine in a flavorful pickled ensemble, spiced with chili peppers, garlic, ginger, scallions, and maybe a dash of fish sauce.

Top your egg with a generous spoonful of this pickled wonder to add a tangy crunch. Or, blend some drained kimchi with mayonnaise to whip up a kimchi mayo spread. Getting creative with kimchi not only adds new flavor, but also sneaks in a powerhouse of nutrition — it's packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. As a fermented food, it's also a gut-friendly probiotic. For a new zing to your fried egg sandwich, add kimchi to enjoy the unique taste and health perks.

Toss In Some Chips

open bag of barbecue chips
open bag of barbecue chips - sasirin pamai/Shutterstock

Feeling like your fried egg sandwich is missing a little pizzazz? Fear not, because there's a secret weapon that's as crispy as it is easy — chips! Chips aren't just a snack for those couch potato nights. They're an easy, cheap, and fun way to play with texture and flavor in your favorite breakfast sandwich.

Classic potato chips add a reliable crunch, but why stop there? Barbecue chips bring in a sweet, smoky depth that pairs beautifully with a creamy mayo. If you're craving a zestier adventure, lime-flavored chips are your ticket. The citrus notes brighten up the sandwich and go wonderfully with a slice of avocado for an extra kick of freshness. For a tangy crunch that complements the richness of the egg, try salt and vinegar chips. They go well with simple, homemade tartar sauce or a sprinkle of fresh dill. And for the spice enthusiasts, jalapeño chips introduce a fiery twist to awaken your taste buds. Pair these with a cool, soothing condiment like classic ranch to balance the heat. With so many chip flavors out there, these suggestions are merely an appetizer for your culinary exploration. Enjoy some crunchy creativity to discover your new favorite secret ingredient for your fried egg sandwich.

Layer In Refried Beans

Refried beans in a bowl
Refried beans in a bowl - Elena Veselova/Shutterstock

The traditional Mexican mollete, an open-faced sandwich with refried beans and cheese, makes a great muse. Adding a layer of refried beans brings in a creamy, rich texture and a nuanced earthiness to your fried egg sandwich. They're relatively simple to make and there are many ways to liven up refried beans. Add a squeeze of lime for a zesty kick or stir in some sour cream for extra silkiness. Whatever you do to your refried beans, definitely complement them in your sandwich with plenty of cheese. Whether stringy mozzarella or melty Monterey Jack, going with mild cheese allows the other flavors in the sandwich to shine through.

Top off this version of your fried egg sandwich with a spoonful of salsa. Tomato salsa always works, but tomatillo salsa verde, the zesty "green salsa," is one of the best sauces for eggs. It's bright, it's tangy, and it's just the right amount of spicy, cutting through the richness of the beans, cheese, and egg to offer a refreshing boost that elevates the entire fried egg sandwich.

Fry The Egg In Sesame Seeds

shaking sesame seed jar
shaking sesame seed jar - Petri Oeschger/Getty Images

Upgrading your classic fried egg sandwich can be as simple as adding sesame seeds to the frying process. Heat oil or butter in a pan and sprinkle a layer of sesame seeds before cracking the egg on top. Sprinkle on a few more seeds. Cook the egg to your liking, flipping part way through, and you'll end up with a fried egg encrusted with toasty sesame goodness on both sides. To complete the sandwich, add a drizzle of soy sauce on the egg or whip up a blend of teriyaki and mayo to spread on your bread.

Enjoying a sesame seed fried egg does require deciding on your sesame seed preferences. Toasted or untoasted, black or white? Toasted seeds work well for fried egg sandwiches. With a consistent crispness, they hold up well against the moisture of the egg. Choosing between black or white sesame seeds is a matter of personal choice, like picking between classic rock and smooth jazz. Black sesame seeds are the rock stars — bolder and nuttier with a hint of bitterness. White sesame seeds are more of a smooth jazz vibe, with a milder and sweeter flavor. Whether you go for the bold or the gentle crunch of white, frying your egg in sesame seeds is a delicious and easy upgrade.

Spread A Layer Of Peanut Butter

peanut butter spread on bread
peanut butter spread on bread - Fcafotodigital/Getty Images

Forget PB&J and try PB and egg, a protein-packed breakfast sandwich. Spread a generous layer of peanut butter on your toasted bread before adding your perfectly fried egg. The warmth of the egg slightly melts the peanut butter, creating an irresistible, gooey richness that melds beautifully with the egg's savory flavor.

A layer of peanut butter works well whether you're team creamy or a fan of crunchy. Creamy peanut butter lovers will relish in the velvety texture this spread adds. Enthusiasts of the crunchy variety will enjoy an auditory experience with the satisfying crunch in every mouthful.

Regardless of creamy or crunchy, adding peanut butter to your fried egg sandwich also brings in extra protein and healthy fats, which helps keep you feel full for longer. And a 2021 study in Clinical Nutrition even found that making peanut butter your pal could sharpen your memory. So not only will you not forget your keys again, but you'll also always remember the secret ingredient for taking your fried egg sandwich from meh to magnificent.

Fry The Egg In Cheese

shredded Parmesan cheese
shredded Parmesan cheese - Lenorko/Shutterstock

Of the many fried egg cooking hacks, frying an egg in cheese is one of the easiest ways to add flavor and a satisfying crunch to elevate your fried egg sandwich. Here's the game plan for a Parmesan-crusted sensation: Grab a nonstick skillet, add a bit of olive oil, and sprinkle in about ¼ cup of shredded Parmesan. Heat over medium. When the cheese starts to melt, crack the egg over the Parmesan and cover the pan. As the egg sets, remove the pan cover and crank up the heat to finish toasting the cheese. Slide this crispy, cheesy egg between your choice of bread — sourdough, ciabatta, or an English muffin are all great options for a Parmesan-crusted fried egg sandwich.

For another cheesy option, fry an egg in feta cheese for a creamy and crispy creation. Heat your skillet and form a feta cheese circle. As the feta gets melty, break an egg into the middle and season with a pinch of black pepper. The feta's salty personality means you can skip the salt. Cover and let it cook until you've got a soft yolk encased in a crispy feta frame. If the feta starts to brown too quickly, lower the heat to prevent burning. Add the cooked egg to your favorite bread for a new twist on a fried egg sandwich. To complement the tanginess of the feta, consider a spread that adds moisture and another layer of flavor, such as a smear of pesto.

Let Pizza Inspire You

pepperoni and green bell pepper
pepperoni and green bell pepper - from my point of view/Shutterstock

Ditch that cold slice of leftover pizza for a pizza-inspired fried egg sandwich. The simple version: fried egg with a generous layer of pizza sauce topped with a slice of mozzarella. The heat from the fried egg will help melt the cheese as you enjoy a pizza-flavored egg sandwich.

To kick things up a notch, while your egg cooks, sprinkle on some Italian seasoning — a little oregano, basil, and thyme action will whisk your senses straight to the heart of Italy. Pop that fragrant egg between two pieces of cheesy garlic bread, add a little pizza sauce, and throw in a few of your favorite toppings. Think of it as a pizza party on a sandwich — pepperoni, mushrooms, bell peppers, basil, onions, olives, etc.— if it's good on a pizza, chances are it's good in a fried egg sandwich.

But no need to limit yourself to tomato-based pizza sauce. Many pizza sauces break flavor traditions and they work wonderfully in a fried egg sandwich. For a fresh and herby twist, spread pesto on your bread, add a fried egg, and then top with slices of fresh tomato and mozzarella cheese. Or take some savory and slightly sweet inspiration from a barbecue chicken pizza — shredded chicken tossed in barbecue sauce, a bit of red onion and cilantro, and maybe some shredded mozzarella and cheddar cheese, all harmonizing with that fried egg.

Combine Fried Egg With Another Sandwich

melty grilled cheese
melty grilled cheese - Wirestock/Getty Images

Why settle for one when you can double the fun? Take that simple, yet oh-so-delightful fried egg sandwich and introduce it to a buddy, say, a grilled cheese. Indeed, one of the most common grilled cheese sandwich mistakes is limiting your filling options. Why not add a fried egg to the cheese fest? You'll get the classic comfort of grilled cheese with the hearty addition of a fried egg. Just make sure you choose bread that can handle this, like sourdough or a hearty whole grain. Cook your egg to perfection, cozy it up with some cheese between slices of bread, and grill it to golden deliciousness.

But we don't want to put all our eggs in one basket, so why stop at grilled cheese? You could elevate your fried egg sandwich game by merging it with a BLT. Turn that classic BLT into a BELT — Bacon, Egg, Lettuce, Tomato. Or for the truly hungry soul, how about a fried egg sandwich meets meatball sandwich? Meatballs, marinara, cheese, and a fried egg — all piled onto a roll or baguette sturdy enough to hold all the goodies. Really, almost any savory sandwich makes a good secret ingredient to take your fried egg sandwich to the next level. Turkey and Swiss cheese with fried egg, pastrami on rye with fried egg, veggie and hummus sandwich with fried egg — the world of sandwich fusion is vast and delicious.

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