Equal parts definitive, painstaking list and cry for help
More than any other meal, breakfast demands something quick and easy. If you’re not rushing to find the simplest thing to eat in your kitchen every morning, you should really consult someone about how to use your snooze button. While plenty of foods fit the late-for-work bill—cereal, yogurt, breakfast bars, and toaster pastries, to name a few—no grab-and-go staple is quite as classic as the breakfast sandwich.
The sausage or bacon, egg, and cheese is a regular at fast food restaurants and food carts. And thanks to your microwave, you can whip one up in fewer than two minutes. But which of the major brands in your grocery’s freezer case are worth your time? I looked at a variety of breakfast sandwiches from well-known brands to save you time in the supermarket that would be better used for sleep.
13. Bagel Bites Breakfast Sausage, Egg & Cheese Mini Bagels
Despite having all the proper components, bagel bites aren’t technically a sandwich (though you could easily mash two together to make one). The worse news is, based on their flavor, these unpalatable mini bagels barely qualify as a food. The strange topping of cheese and egg is equal parts milky and salty, an unappealing mix to say the least, sprinkled with tiny sausage crumbles that impart no sausage taste whatsoever. Another odd feature: You have to cook the entire box, all nine bites, at once; though on the bright side, you won’t be stuck with any leftover in your fridge. The back of the packaging features a mother sending her kids off to school with a plate of these little bagels. Someone might want to consult child protective services for these poor children.
12. Pillsbury Toaster Scrambles Sausage Toaster Pastry
Pillsbury is known for making Toaster Strudels, and this “Toaster Scramble” variety proves the company should stick to what they know best. Despite its savory filling, the pastry crust remains distinctly sweet. This contrast might be interesting if the filling weren’t so unsubstantial and unappealing: nothing more than some Velveeta-esque cheese paste, little bits of sausage you can’t even taste, and an indistinguishable amount of egg. Instead, this Scramble tastes more like an ill-advised dessert than a breakfast. Plus it requires both microwaving and toasting, meaning it takes two steps to be completely disappointed.
11. Weight Watchers Smart Ones Smart Beginnings English Muffin Sandwich Canadian Style Turkey Bacon
At just 210 calories, this Weight Watchers breakfast sandwich is intended to help with your diet; you may find yourself saving even more calories after throwing half of it out. The English muffin was rubbery and hard to bite through, though it was downright soft compared to the turkey bacon that could barely be cut with a knife (and tasted as bad as you might imagine). Using egg whites didn’t add much of a pop, either. Plus, the product was constructed with one other weight-watching component: When the cheese melted, it ran right off the sandwich.
10. Jimmy Dean Delights English Muffin Turkey Sausage, Egg White & Cheese
“Delights” is Jimmy Dean’s entry into the surprisingly robust low-calorie microwavable breakfast sandwich category. But despite being the biggest name in the market, Jimmy’s execution on this product falls flat, especially compared to their classic sammies. The muffin, though chewy, is reasonably tasty; however, the egg whites aren’t very delicious or well-textured (they seem fried), and the turkey sausage pales in both texture and taste to most other sausage patties on this list.
9. Kellogg’s Eggo Breakfast Sandwiches Sausage, Egg & Cheese
Eggo’s answer to McDonald’s McGriddles does a better job of taking on the delicate balance of savory and sweet than Pillsbury’s attempt. Surprisingly, the sausage patty has a solid spiciness to it, and the cheese and egg components weren’t any better or worse than anything else on this list, but the waffle came across as sugary sweet without striking any unique harmony. At 290 calories, this waffle sandwich wasn’t completely out of line with other offerings, but it’s hard to recommend for anyone without a serious sweet tooth.
8. Hot Pockets Applewood Bacon Egg & Cheese
Look, it’s a Hot Pocket. Setting those preconceptions aside, the “croissant crust” is extremely doughy, but still soft and a pleasurable kind of chewy. The filling is a hot, gooey mess, but at least it’s substantial enough to balance out all the bread, featuring oddly cut little egg squares swimming in a sea of cheese and bacon bits. If you’re looking for a refined breakfast, you’ve come to the wrong place. But if you’re hungover and don’t give two shits, this could be a frighteningly satisfying breakfast.
7. Morning Star Farms Southwest Sunrise Breakfast Sandwich
This vegetarian-friendly, 200-calorie option from Morning Star packs plenty of protein (12 grams) and fiber (4 grams) into its unique “Southwest Sunrise” frame: “a spicy black bean, potato, and scrambled egg patty with pepper jack cheese on an English muffin thin made with whole grains.” Though that strange mashup doesn’t immediately scream “breakfast,” the spicy bean flavor certainly mixes things up in the morning. Overall, it’s far from a new classic, but enjoyable for a quick fix.
6. Bob Evans Biscuit Sausage, Egg & Cheese
The first offering on our list that rings true as a “classic,” Bob Evans proves his spot as a standard-bearer of microwavable breakfast sandwiches—a fact that would help even more if they had a glowing reputation. Still, the biscuit is as thick and buttery as you could hope from something out of a microwave. The cheese is ample, and the egg and sausage hit the mark. Let’s call it solid, though far from exceptional. Bonus points for being sold in an individually wrapped package.
5. Evol Egg & Smoked Gouda
Evol pulls off a meatless wonder here with smoked gouda as the absolute star. The unique cheese selection imparted a lot of meat character to this vegetarian sandwich, a satisfying little maneuver. And maybe it was luck, but the gouda got nice and crispy around the edges as well making it even more enjoyable. The egg tasted very natural, and though the “multi-grain flatbread” wasn’t the best texture-wise, it helps bring 2 grams of fiber to this 190-calorie sandwich.
4. Aunt Jemima Biscuit Sandwiches Sausage, Egg & Cheese
Though no individual element stood out on Aunt Jemima’s sandwich, the package worked extremely well as a whole. The biscuit, as was the case with everything on this list, tasted like it just came out of a microwave, but was still as good as you’d hope for something bearing Jemima’s name. And while the sausage wasn’t anything to write home about, the rest of the center was a fluffy, eggy, cheesy delight. Surprisingly solid.
3. Jimmy Dean Croissant Sausage, Egg & Cheese
Jimmy Dean proved his status as king of the microwavable breakfast sandwich with this classic configuration. The croissant was surprisingly light and fluffy with a good buttery flavor; the sausage had a slight sweetness that actually worked here. Overall, this looks and eats like a bigger sandwich, and at 410 calories it’s the most substantial breakfast on the list. Sure, it’s far from a refined meal, but if you want the equivalent of a fast food breakfast at home, this is your clear winner.
2. Amy’s Breakfast Scramble Wrap
Granted, by making this a wrap, Amy could be considered a bit of a cheater, but this breakfast burrito stuffed with tofu, vegetables and cheese is really the only item on this list that approaches any sort of refinement. Despite a laundry list of ingredients, there’s a delicate balance of flavors that doesn’t rely on any one element too much yet still features nice flourishes of tofu and spinach. Plus, the texture is spot on. Unlike a lot of things here, you may actually want to eat this one again.
1. Kellogg’s Special K Flatbread Breakfast Sandwich Sausage, Egg & Cheese
In general, this list turned out pretty much as you might expect: classics like Jimmy Dean and Bob Evans besting newfangled and health conscious offerings. But apparently no one told Special K that a cereal brand isn’t supposed to be whipping up solid breakfast sandwiches. Every element works here: The whole wheat flatbread is soft and tasty; the white cheddar, though not award-winning, resembles real cheese; the egg is hearty; and the sausage has a multilayered spicy kick that lingers into the next bite. Kellogg’s packs all this into a 220-calorie sandwich that also boasts an alarming five grams of fiber. It all seems like sorcery. But until it’s revealed that eating one sells your soul to the devil, Special K has topped the microwavable breakfast sandwich list.