In an interview recorded in the "Talk of the Town" column of The New Yorker in 1942, the year before his death, Lemuel Benedict, a retired Wall Street stock broker, said that he had wandered into the Waldorf Hotel in 1894 and, hoping to find a cure for his morning hangover, ordered "buttered toast, poached eggs, crisp bacon, and a hooker of hollandaise". Oscar Tschirky, the maître d'hôtel, was so impressed with the dish that he put it on the breakfast and luncheon menus but substituted ham for the bacon and a toasted English muffin for the toast.
A later claim to the creation of eggs Benedict was circuitously made by Edward P. Montgomery on behalf of Commodore E. C. Benedict. In 1967 Montgomery wrote a letter to then The New York Times food columnist Craig Claiborne, which included a recipe he said he had received through his uncle, a friend of the commodore. Commodore Benedict's recipe—by way of Montgomery—varies greatly from Ranhofer's version, particularly in the hollandaise sauce preparation—calling for the addition of a "hot, hard-cooked egg and ham mixture".
Many variations of eggs Benedict exist, involving replacing any component except the egg:
Avocado toast eggs Benedict – substitutes toast in place of the muffin and adds sliced avocado.
California eggs Benedict – adds sliced Hass avocado. Variations may include sliced tomato instead of Canadian bacon.
Eggs Blanchard – substitutes béchamel sauce in place of Hollandaise.
Eggs Chesapeake (crab eggs Benedict, crab cakes Benedict) – substitutes a Maryland blue crab cake in place of Canadian bacon.
Eggs cochon (eggs cochon de lait) – substitutes pork "debris" (slow roasted pork shredded in its own juices) in place of Canadian bacon, buttermilk biscuit in place of the English muffin. Served in New Orleans restaurants.
Eggs Florentine – adds spinach, sometimes substituted in place of the Canadian bacon. Older versions of eggs Florentine add spinach to poached or shirred eggs.
Eggs Hebridean – a Scottish variety, substitutes black pudding in place of the Canadian bacon.
^"Menus". The Cricklade Club. Retrieved November 9, 2021.
^Rombauer, Irma S.; Marion Rombauer Becker (1995) . "Egg Dishes". The Joy of Cooking. Illustrated by Ginnie Hofmann and Ikki Matsumoto (1st Scribner 1995 ed.). New York, New York: Scribner. p. 222. ISBN0-02-604570-2. Here the recipe is called poached eggs Blackstone. It uses a fried slice of flour-dipped tomato, minced bacon, poached eggs, and hollandaise. No bread for base.
^Hirtzler, Victor (1988). The 1910 Hotel St. Francis cook book (1st ed.). Sausalito, California: Windgate Press. ISBN978-0915269068.
“Was He the Eggman?” An account in The New York Times about Lemuel Benedict and the efforts of Jack Benedict, the son of Lemuel's first cousin, to promote Lemuel's story. Article includes link to an audio slide show.