The iconic New Jersey breakfast sandwich of fried pork roll, egg and American cheese on a hard roll is a delicious culinary staple throughout the Garden State.
When thinking about breakfast in New Jersey, only one quintessential breakfast sandwich comes to mind. A pork roll (aka Taylor ham), egg and cheese sandwich is a Garden State staple and available in every diner, deli, and sandwich shop across Jersey.
what is pork roll?
Pork roll or as some call it Taylor ham is made from pork, sugar, salt, spices and preservatives. Think of it as Jersey’s tastier version of Canadian ham.
With only 5 ingredients, it is easy to replicate a pork roll, egg and cheese sandwich at home. The standard sandwich includes slices of pan fried pork roll, a fried egg, slices of American cheese and a kaiser roll. But there are numerous ways to stack the sandwich with variations of the tried and true ingredients.
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ingredients in a pork roll, egg and cheese sandwich
- Pork roll or Taylor ham – Depending on where you live in New Jersey, this salty and processed ham goes by 2 different names. Both names refer to the same product which is made from pork, sugar, salt, spices and preservatives. But, semantics are important. If you reside in north Jersey, it’s Taylor ham all the way. Central and south New Jerseyans refer to the breakfast sandwich staple as pork roll. In our house, the thin sliced pork roll (as pictured above) is preferred over the thick slices of pork roll one. Both are available in east coast stores and online. Can’t get pork roll? That is sad but, try crispy bacon, Canadian ham, or sausage patties instead
- Eggs – Plain and simple, use large eggs in making your egg sandwiches.
- American cheese – The mild yellow cheese is a perfect compliment to the salty pork roll. And when it melts, the cheese holds the sandwich together.
- Kaiser roll – Also known as a hard roll, a kaiser roll is traditionally used to make a pork roll, egg and cheese. Soft on the inside with a slight crispy crustiness on the outside make it the perfect roll.
- SPK – Salt, pepper and ketchup are the standard condiments.
I crank out a dozen or more of these delicious breakfast sandwiches when we have a house full of visitors to our Jersey shore home. Along with a pound cake and a few smoothies, toasted hard rolls with layers of crispy pork roll, fried eggs and melty, gooey American cheese are stacked on a platter for our guests. As pork roll is generally not readily available outside of New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania, the iconic sandwich is a welcome breakfast for out of town travelers.
chef tips for making a pork roll, egg and cheese sandwich
- Cut slits along the edges (my preference is 3 slits) of the pork roll to prevent it from curling up as it cooks.
- Cook (aka fry) the pork roll until its edges are brown and crispy for the best flavor.
- The fried egg can be cooked to your desired doneness. A common practice is to poke or break the yolk as it cooks. This yields a more well done egg.
- Lightly toast the roll and immediately top each half with the American cheese. This helps melt the cheese to a gooey goodness.
variations for breakfast sandwiches
The standard pork roll, egg and cheese sandwich is just that. Pork roll. Egg. Cheese. Hard roll. But, there are many variations to make the breakfast sandwich to your own tastes.
- The sandwich has pork roll in its name but, there are other meats that can be substituted. Try crispy bacon, a thin sausage patty or fried deli ham too.
- I’m partial to a fried egg. Scrambled or poached are also some options for cooking the egg.
- The list of cheeses to use is endless. Swiss, cheddar, brie, pepper jack, and Asiago are just a few of the options.
- Nothing beats a toasted hard roll for the breakfast sandwich. Bagels (everything, poppy seed, whole wheat, and egg), English muffins, croissants and hamburger buns are suitable stand ins.
- Salt, pepper and ketchup are the standard condiments. Hot sauce, sriracha and salsa can also season the sandwich.
how to make breakfast sandwiches in advance
The handheld breakfast is perfect to make ahead of time. Prepare a half dozen or so of these Jersey sandwiches in advance. Let cool completely after cooking and assembling the sandwiches. Then wrap in plastic wrap or my choice of a waxed paper bag and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat for about a minute or so on 70% power in the microwave and breakfast is ready!
If you make pork roll, egg and cheese sandwiches, I’d love hearing from you all. Be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating ~ I do my best to reply to all your comments. And snap a photo to post to Instagram. I’ll add the photos to my Insta stories as I love seeing all your creations.
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The iconic New Jersey breakfast sandwich of fried pork roll, egg and cheese on a hard roll is a delicious culinary staple throughout the Garden State.
- Heat a large saute pan or griddle over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of butter to the pan. While the butter melts, cut 3 even slits around the edges of the pork roll.
- When the butter has melted, add 4 slices of pork roll to the pan. Cook for about 2 to 3 minutes per side or until crispy brown and starting to just char. Remove from the pan to a plate. Cook the remaining 4 slices of pork roll in the same manner.
- In the same pan, add the remaining butter. When the butter has melted, crack the 4 eggs into the pan. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook eggs until desired doneness.
- While the eggs are cooking lightly toast the buns. Remove the buns from the toaster and place each half of bun on a large cutting board. Immediately top each side of the buns with a slice of American cheese and a slice of the cooked pork roll. Each sandwich should have 2 slices of American cheese and 2 slices of pork roll.
- Place the 4 cooked eggs on 4 of the bun halves. Top with the remaining buns and serve immediately.
Cut 3 slits around the edges of the pork roll. This will prevent the pork roll from curling up as it cooks.
A traditional pork roll, egg and cheese sandwich includes a fried egg. But, a scrambled or poached egg can also be used to make the sandwich.
A Kaiser hard roll is the standard roll in a pork roll, egg and cheese sandwich. Bread, a bagel or an English muffin can also be used.
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Category: entree
- Method: stove top
- Cuisine: American
- Serving Size: 1 sandwich
- Calories: 586
- Sugar: 2.2 g
- Sodium: 1382 mg
- Fat: 36 g
- Saturated Fat: 17.7 g
- Unsaturated Fat: ~
- Trans Fat: ~
- Carbohydrates: 35.9 g
- Fiber: 1.3 g
- Protein: 29.8 g
- Cholesterol: 260 mg
Keywords: pork roll egg and cheese, breakfast sandwich, egg sandwich, taylor ham egg and cheese