My love for the McMuffin and McMuffin-esque breakfast sandwiches is not a secret. The tender English muffin, salty meat, melted cheese, and perfectly round egg create a beautiful breakfast bite. Making your own version at home is not an excessively difficult task, but the round, steamed egg is crucial.
You can use a ramekin and zap your way to a McMuffin, but if you prefer a stove-cooked situation (or just don’t own a microwave), an ice cube is surprisingly helpful. As Jim Foreman (my new grandpa) explains in his charming instructional video “How to Cook Round Eggs,” you need two things for a perfect McMuffin egg: a silicone ring (get the ones with a foldable handle) and an ice cube. The reason for the ring is obvious—it helps the egg keep a perfectly round shape while cooking (Jim found mason jar rings to be leaky and sticky), but the ice cube is the true quietly brilliant hack.
To make an egg that’s gently cooked all the way through, you need to steam it, which means you need to add moisture to the pan. A splash of liquid water can work, but it can also sputter (dampening your egg) or evaporate (if you don’t add enough water). A small ice cube is not only the perfect amount of water for steaming an egg, but its frozen state ensures it won’t immediately evaporate in a hot pan. It’s very elegant.
To cook your round egg, hit the pan and the mould with a little cooking spray, heat the pan to medium, then crack your egg into the mould, breaking the yolk a bit. Add the ice cube, cover the pan, and in about two minutes you’ll have a gently steamed, perfectly round egg ready for sandwiching.
This article has been updates since its original publication.