The Measurement You Need For A Perfect Egg-In-A-Hole

Whether you call it egg-in-a-hole, picture-frame-eggs, or bullseye, fried bread with an egg nestled in the middle is a simple yet playful dish. Since it emerged in the 1890s from one of culinary expert Fannie Farmer's cookbooks, egg-in-a-hole has enjoyed several names that vary by region, time period, and even family (via Eater). Farmer called the dish egg-with-a-hat since you put the cut-out toast on top of the egg to give it a little hat. With such an origin story, it's natural that, for decades, people have been riffing off the silliness initiated by putting a tiny toast hat on an egg.

Today highlights a few of the dish's other names: eggs-on-a-raft, knothole eggs, and egg-in-the-eye. In addition to its many names, the breakfast has enjoyed numerous film and TV cameos and each cinematic appearance reintroduces egg-in-a-hole to the next generation. Eggs-in-a-hole can be spotted in "Moonstruck," "Friends," and "V for Vendetta," to name a few, per Binging with Babish.

With so many names and such celebrity status, the breakfast food invites creativity, even within the egg-in-a-hole recipe itself. Cutting out the hole allows for whimsical designs, like a heart or star rather than a circle. Cutouts can be served on the side, traditionally as an egg hat, or they can be snacked on as you cook. However, the one thing that must remain consistent is the measurements for the hole and the egg's bread "frame."

Getting the measurement right

When making egg-in-a-hole, first figure out the tools you'll use to help you create the cut-out circle. Like the name of the dish itself, you have plenty of options. For minimalist kitchens, you can simply use a knife and eyeball the shape, says Today. Those who would like a little guidance can use the rim of a drinking glass, suggests Rachael Ray. In kitchens stocked with baking tools, you can use a biscuit cutter or if you want to make fun shapes, cookie cutters work well.

No matter which tool you use, for an egg-in-a-hole to maintain its structural integrity, you need to pay close attention to the size of the hole you cut. The original 1890s recipe called for a 2 ½-inch cookie cutter, says Eater. Now, most recipes suggest a hole between 1 ½-2 inches (via Today and Food & Wine). You'll also want to keep an eye on how much space you leave around the edge. Ideally, you need at least half an inch of bread framing the egg on all sides (per Washington Post).

For a delicious shortcut, Food & Wine recommends using a bagel. That said, if the yolk can't nest neatly inside the hole, you still may have to use a knife to cut it to the ideal size. Of course, creativity doesn't stop there. Rachael Ray writes that you can make an egg in a hole with a perfectly melted grilled cheese for the ultimate comfort food.