Burgers on English muffins or burgers with poached eggs are nothing new but hopefully this idea for serving open spicy burgers on toasted muffins with lightly poached eggs will prove a little bit different to anything many people have seen before. Like any burger concept, it is open to almost infinite variation. The eggs could be fried, the burgers could be made with pork or even turkey and be made to be less spicy, or the muffins could be replaced by traditional burger bun bases or even thick toast cut to shape with a large drinking glass. The one thing it's probably not a good idea to do with this precise serving suggestion is add tops to the creations, or at least not to press them down in to place. The eggs are very lightly poached and hot yolk could squirt out and cause a nasty burn or at the very least an embarrassing stain on a shirt.

Spicy Burgers on English Muffins with Poached Eggs
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Spicy burgers and poached eggs on toasted English muffins

Ingredients (Serves 1)

  • 1/2 pound ground (minced) beef
  • 1 tablespoon freshly chopped cilantro (coriander leaf), plus a little extra to garnish
  • 1 teaspoon dried chili flakes
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil or sunflower oil for frying
  • 2 medium sized eggs
  • 4 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 English muffin


Take your eggs from the fridge half an hour before they are to be poached and allow them to reach room temperature. This is always important to ensure best results when cooking eggs by whatever means but is especially important when they are to be poached or fried.

Beef and Burger Seasonings
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Ground beef and burger seasonings are added to a mixing bowl

Put the beef in to a large glass or stone mixing bowl. Add the chopped cilantro and dried chili flakes. The dried flakes could be replaced by a small, finely diced fresh chili if you prefer. Season with salt and pepper and use your hands to mix and combine everything together. Take a minute or so to do this properly and ensure the seasoning in particular is evenly distributed through the mix.

Burger Patty Combination
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Spicy burger patties combination

When the burger mixture is combined to your satisfaction, divide it in to as close as you can determine two equal halves. Roll each half in to a ball and flatten between you palms in to patties, each around three-quarters of an inch to an inch thick. Sit them on a plate while you prepare the pan for frying.

Frying Burgers
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Starting to fry spicy burger patties

Pour the vegetable or sunflower oil in to a small, non-stick frying pan and bring it up to a medium heat. Lift the burgers in to the pan and fry for eight to ten minutes each side. Try to turn them with your spatula only once rather than turning them on a regular basis. Turning them too often could lead to irregular cooking with one side being over cooked and the other under cooked.

While the burgers are cooking, break the eggs carefully in to two small cups or bowls. This makes it so much easier to add them to the poaching water and means that any errant piece of shell which finds its way in to the bowl can easily be removed rather being incorporated in the poaching egg in the pan. If you do need to remove a bit of shell from one of the bowls, wet your finger with cold water and the piece of shell will stick to it much more easily.

The way the eggs were poached in this instance means only one egg can be poached in the pan at a time. You could poach them one after another but that would mean one growing cold as the other cooked. I instead used two small saucepans to cook the eggs simultaneously.

Put two tablespoons of white wine vinegar in to each pot and add cold water to a depth of around three inches. Bring the water in the pots to the most gentle simmer you can achieve.

Cooked Burgers
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Spicy burgers are cooked and ready to be rested

When the burgers are done, turn off the heat and push the pan to a cool part of your stove to let them rest. Turn your broiler (overhead grill) on to preheat to maximum.

Take a spoon and start stirring the first pot of simmering water, slowly increasing your speed, until you have a whirlpool effect in the pan. Lift the first egg  bowl and carefully pour the egg in to the vortex, bringing the lip of the bowl as close to the water as you can without actually touching it. Do exactly the same with the second pan and egg. Keep the water just on a simmer and no more for three minutes to cook the eggs.

Put some ice in to a bowl of water. This will be used to stop the eggs cooking when they are lifted from the poaching water. Cut the muffin in half and toast lightly under your broiler.

Lift the first egg from the poaching water with a slotted spoon. Keeping it on the slotted spoon, submerge it in the iced water for ten seconds before lifting it up, allowing it to drain and sitting it temporarily on a holding plate. This doesn't suddenly make the egg go cold - it simply halts the residual cooking process and ensures the yolk remains nicely liquid. Do the same with the second egg.

Toasted Muffin Halves and Burgers
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Toasted muffin halves are laid cut sides up on the serving plate and topped by a burger

Lay the muffin halves cut sides up on a serving plate and lift a burger on top of each half with a spatula. As you lift each burger from the pan, hold it in place for a few seconds to let the excess oil drain back in to the pan.

Poached Eggs on Burgers
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Poached eggs lifted on to spicy burgers

Using the slotted spoon again, lift a poached egg on to the top of each burger.

Burgers are Garnished
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Spicy burgers and poached eggs are garnished and ready for service

Garnish with the last of the cilantro and serve immediately. A fork and ideally a knife will be required in order to eat these assemblies.