Make a healthier McDonald’s Egg McMuffin for 65% less

Everyone wanted a piece of that tasty muffin, and most were willing to pay $3.69 for the pocket-sized munch of brunch.

Me? I came for the coffee. But with the McDonald’s breakfast bunch lineup snaking outside and around the corner, I couldn’t help but notice the number of people ordering that McMuffin thing.

tasty egg mcmuffin

What’s in that muffin, anyways? As I inched closer to the cashier, the truth behind the mystery muffin was revealed — mostly ’cause I was wearing my glasses and could read the ingredients off the menu:

McDonald’s McMuffin Menu: “Our signature sandwich is made with a freshly cracked Grade A egg with extra lean Canadian bacon and a slice of melty American cheese, held together by a freshly toasted English muffin. And all that for 300 calories.”

Order it with a side of French fries and this Canadian, American, and English muffin mashup becomes an international incident. Frack, COUNT ME IN!

egg mcmuffin

So with my Squawky senses tingling, I skipped my cheapo coffee and ordered a classic McDonald’s Egg McMuffin for $3.69 (including tax). I then drove my Smart Car home to replicate this “signature sandwich” — essentially the world’s most popular muffin — for dimes on the dollar. In true Squawkfox style, my goal was to make this greasy muffin less expensive and healthier too. Could I do it?

egg mcmuffin homemade

What I didn’t bank on was the smell in the back of my car. That’s one stinky muffin.

The McMuffin Math

Did I do it? Could I make the muffin math work in our favour, err flavour? Of course I made my McMuffin healthier, less costlier, and more frugalicious. Sure, my muffin post is a little more salacious, and therefore a lot more delicious than those average muffins gallivanting across the interwebs. But that’s Ok!

Here’s the McMuffin mathy math:

mcdonalds nutrition facts

Bottom Line: By opting for healthy ingredients low in sodium and high in nutrition, I managed to make a McMuffin with fewer calories, half the fat, and 65% less cost than the classic McDonald’s Egg McMuffin. Too easy.

Bonus Points: There was no stinky smell.

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How to make a homemade Egg McMuffin

Making a homemade Egg McMuffin isn’t like rocket science, computer science, or mathy science either. It’s like cooking. Actually, it’s like cooking with really basic ingredients you can get like, anywhere.

Because a copycat Egg McMuffin contains just five ingredients, I have complete confidence that anyone can master their muffin — fully buttered or not.

egg mcmuffin recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 English muffin
  • 1 slice Canadian bacon
  • 1 slice American cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1 dab of butter (optional)
  • 1 cup water

Like the ingredients, McMuffin cooking tools are pretty basic kitchen essentials too. But perfectionists who want a round, perfectly-sized egg perched on top may need to invest in something called a Ring Mold or Egg Ring, or you can use a tuna can with the top and bottom removed.

egg mcmuffin egg ring

Equipment:

  • Nonstick pan with lid
  • Spatula
  • Ring Mold, English muffin size
  • Toaster

Here’s how to get the frugal muffin fun done.

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Directions:

STEP ONE: Toast your muffin. Toast your muffin until a nice golden brown. Butter both sides if you prefer a moist muffin. Done.

egg mcmuffin toaster

STEP TWO: Prep your mold. Dab a bit of butter or spritz a little olive oil onto your egg ring to keep your perfectly unstuck round egg from becoming an awkward omelet.

egg rings

STEP THREE: Get crackin’. Place your egg mold in the centre of a lightly greased pan set to medium-high heat — yeah, we like it hot. Crack your egg into the ring. Use a fork to break the yolk and drizzle it down the inside of the egg ring.

Note: A drizzled yolk makes the presentation pretty — I missed this step in my photos. So sad, too bad.

fried eggs


STEP FOUR: Add water, cover, and cook. Adding a cup of water to the pan outside the egg ring will turn a flat egg into something fluffy. You want to fluff your egg, yes?

egg dishes

Get everything hot and steamy by covering your soon-to-be fluffed egg with a lid. Any lid will do.

poached eggs

But don’t pop your lid too often — simmer the egg until the texture suits your preference. Just be sure the egg has set nicely in the ring.

STEP FIVE: Bacon. The internet is fueled by bacon, mostly because bacon is delicious. So make your Canadian bacon the most delicious ever by adding a little pan heat. Flip. Instagram that bacon for all to see. The internet is jealous.

egg recipes

STEP SIX: Layer. To keep your muffin tight, you’ll need to layer it right. Start with the melty American cheese. Make it too melty and your muffin will turn into a mess. No one wants a messy muffin.

american cheese

Add the perfectly round fluffy egg.

mcdonalds menu

Canadian bacon on top. A million Canucks just cheered ’cause I used the words Canadian and on top. There’s a back bacon joke in there somewhere.

canadian bacon

Complete the stack by topping with the English muffin.

mcdonalds egg mcmuffin

Eat your muffin. Or share it with a friend.

So where am I going with this?

This post is a mouthful of muffin. But there’s actually a serious message, maybe.

Fast food may be convenient, but it ain’t cheap. Making your own breakfast or brunch can save you 65% over buying McMuffins at McDonanld’s. Not only will you bank some serious nutrition points by staying home, but you’ll avoid the crazy morning lineups under the Golden Arches as well. Seriously.

Here’s a final muffin shot.

homemade egg mcmuffin

Love,
Kerry

Your two cents:

  1. Christel March 23rd, 2013

    Guess who is buying English muffins and back bacon today? Drool. Love your blog :)

  2. Anne March 23rd, 2013

    Hi Kerry
    Love all your frugal ideas!

    know you were trying to duplicate it exactly, and I have a couple of options to make the sandwich even healthier:
    use whole wheat (or gluten-free as needed)
    use Canadian cheddar, sliced with a cheese slicer, which makes super-thin slices which do their own melty thing when you drape it on top of the hot egg.
    Mind you, I haven’t done all the cost-comparison that you have, just throwing out ideas. Heck, you’ve probably already said something like this on your site somewhere!

    Oh, and for the egg ring, I got this super one at the dollar store, made from yellow silicone – it’s got a cute little grab thingy on the side. Makes the egg bigger than an English muffin though.

    Don’t bother publishing all this drivel though, just wanted to connect with a kindred spirit today!

    Cheers!
    A.

  3. Christine S-P March 23rd, 2013

    Canada is NORTH of the US. We are always on top.

    Great post Kerry! :)

  4. Jenn March 23rd, 2013

    Yummy! We make these at home–however using a whole wheat muffin for even added nutrition. Where did you purchase that back bacon? Here in Ontario I’ve only seen strips or slabs.

  5. Connie March 23rd, 2013

    My husband would like to know what you would use for the sausage patty in the sausage and egg McMuffin when making it at home

  6. Ruth March 23rd, 2013

    Great Blog. We have made these for years but with sausage. Since going lacto-ovo vegetarian over a year ago I use veggie sausage. I haven’t found a vegetarian Canadian Bacon option that I like yet.

    @ Connie – I don’t know where you live but where I am (near Seattle, WA) I get either Jimmy Dean Sausage rolls and make my own patties for my hubby’s muffin (a hamburger press works wonders for them) or we get pre-made patties in the freezer section of the store. ;-)

  7. Patricia March 23rd, 2013

    So inspirational!

    Thanks!

  8. Candace March 23rd, 2013

    I’ve been making my own for years. Most times I leave out the Canadian bacon to save sodium. I love your idea of using the ring mold, water and lid. Will try that soon. I find that even my version keeps me going till lunch without snacking.

  9. Henry Ballon March 23rd, 2013

    I also have been making my own version for years but in the microwave… cutting out most of the fat as well as sodium (skipping the bacon).
    Crack one egg into a large mug and add a shake of pepper or other spice as desired. Break yolk with a fork and stir. Nuke for about one minute.
    Remove from oven and wait a few seconds for egg to settle. Invert the mug and plop egg onto one half of a toasted English muffin or bagel. Top with pre-sliced (or post-sliced) cheese of choice and cover with the other half of the muffin.
    You can also make two open-faced versions by slicing the prepared egg in half horizontally and placing the slices on the each half of the muffin.

  10. doug beggs March 23rd, 2013

    Found this via twitter ref.
    I couldn’t make under 295 calories. What am I missing?
    whole wheat eng muffin – 130; omega egg 70, sliced sausage 60; no-fat slice cheese – 35 = 295. (no butter, no spray).

  11. Dutch March 23rd, 2013

    I use the outer ring of an onion for my ring mold, kinda like this http://www.apronstringsblog.com/onion-ring-sunny-side-up-eggs-sauteed-onion-as-a-ring-mold-for-eggs/

  12. DianneT March 23rd, 2013

    As a golden oldie, been making these for ages. Now using those wonderfully easy cleaning silicone egg rings with the little “handle”, instead of the metal ones (used to be made from the deadly aluminum, don’t know if that is the case now).

  13. Chelsea March 24th, 2013

    Doug,
    Canadian bacon only has 35-45 calories per slice (depending on brand & size).

  14. Susan March 24th, 2013

    Sadly, either version contains a whopping half the daily sodium requirement of 1500 mg.!

  15. Colette March 24th, 2013

    So Kerry, how come your version has less than half the fat of the McD’s version? What are you doing differently? Buttered muffin, Fried egg, bacon…Why so much less fat?

  16. Donna March 24th, 2013

    I have tried this by baking my eggs in muffin tins and it works out very well. I can make a fresh egg sandwich every morning. Quick, easy and frugal. Great suggestion.

  17. Peter March 24th, 2013

    I’m lovin’ it but Kraft singles?? Yuck. Swap those processed, Dye #13 petroleum slices in plastic sheets for some real cheese and you’ll feel the McLove.

  18. Wendi March 24th, 2013

    Great post.
    I know this is terribly but I couldn’t help thinking of all the innuendos about muffins.
    Throw in a Beaver and this may not be so family friendly any more.

  19. Gracii March 24th, 2013

    Hi there!
    I have been making my own McMuffin for years! But I have quickened the egg cooking process by taking a small glass prep bowl (slightly larger than a prep-size ramekin), spray with non stick spray, add egg, scramble, microwave with a paper towel on top for 42 seconds, then add cheese on top and let that melt while prepping my canadian bacon (10 sec in microwave), etc.

  20. Darlene March 24th, 2013

    I have been making these for years. also make them with sausage

  21. Bon Bon March 24th, 2013

    I loved the idea until I saw you use the Kraft Cheese Slices… thanks, but not on my food. I crumble feta cheese with herbs and spices on mine. Amazing flavor.

  22. Kerry March 24th, 2013

    Yes people, the Kraft Slices are icky. But to stay true to the original McMuffin, I caved and melted the “American Cheese” on my copy. Using real cheese would have borked the final cost analysis. Sheesh.

  23. Deana March 24th, 2013

    We make them with cinnamon raisin muffins and a little Miracle Whip. Salty, sweet and tangy!

  24. Peter March 25th, 2013

    Sorry, Kerry but not using “real cheese” borked the final taste analysis! lol

  25. Kerry March 25th, 2013

    @Peter Agreed, process “cheese food” is a terrible food. Yet another reason to skip McDonald’s and make your McMuffin with real cheese at home.

  26. Rob March 25th, 2013
  27. Karyn S March 26th, 2013

    Now I’m craving an egg mcmuffin. How long did it take for you to make it?

  28. Angela March 28th, 2013

    White bread English Muffins and processed cheese are by no means in any way healthy. Its still not a great choice of meal either way.

  29. William @ Bite the Bullet April 1st, 2013

    We started doing this about a month ago, only we add a slice to tomato to go Mickey Dee one up.

    Not only cheaper and more nutritious, but it’s so much faster when you eat at home. Plus the OJ from your fridge is also a whole lot cheaper.

    But the tuna can for the mold — that’s awesome.

    Thanks for sharing!

  30. TKSF April 9th, 2013

    I do this regularly with ingredients from Trader Joe’s. Their items do not typically contain any artificial preservatives or ingredients.
    Organic eggs which I cook in the ring over a pan sprayed with olive oil cooking spray
    Whole grain English style muffin
    All natural and lean Turkey bacon or Canadian bacon
    All natural sharp cheddar slices

    You get an EVEN healthier alternative and it typically turns out even less daily, about $2.75 per breakfast.

  31. Nick @ BayCrazy April 14th, 2013

    Well done on this Kerry, that’s certainly a significant saving if you’re gonna be munching those regularly…

    One question: did it taste as good?

  32. David @ Quizzle April 17th, 2013

    So, guess who is headed to the store this afternoon in preparation of the morning? Moi! Thanks for this recipe, should be able to convince the significant other that we can have McDonalds for breakfast sometimes :)

  33. Amy April 17th, 2013

    Great post, I make these whenever I fancy them as like you say, the smell of the real deal is overpowering.
    It is also so rewarding to eat something you made yourself that costs less and you have enough ingredients to make them for others too!

  34. rb August 10th, 2013

    I do this too but can’t be bothered with the fluffy water bath. I fry the egg in butter. For pete’s sake. And, to the construction phase, I add a slice of raw onion and a smear of Dijon or mango chutney, a couple lettuce leaves, the latter for guilt erasure. Also? I use real cheddar and put it on the toasted split muffin (or bagel) as soon as they are done. Melty.

    I just made myself hungry.

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