Joe’s Special (Scrambled Eggs with Spinach, Beef, and Mushrooms)

Make a diner classic for dinner tonight - Joe's Special! Scrambled eggs with spinach, beef, onions, garlic, and mushrooms. 30 minutes.

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings


  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 8 ounces crimini mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 6-ounce bag (8 cups) baby spinach
  • 1 pound (85 to 95%) lean ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce, optional
  • Sliced sourdough bread or rolls, to serve


1 Cook the mushrooms, if using: Melt the butter in a large (12-inch) skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms into the skillet in a single layer and leave them alone, without stirring, until they begin to brown, about five minutes.

Joe's Special Scrambled Eggs with Spinach, Beef, and Mushrooms Joe's Special Scrambled Eggs with Spinach, Beef, and Mushrooms

2 Cook the onions: Add the onions, garlic, and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt to the mushrooms. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are softened and the garlic has lost its raw bite, about five more minutes.

Joe's Special Scrambled Eggs with Spinach, Beef, and Mushrooms Joe's Special Scrambled Eggs with Spinach, Beef, and Mushrooms

3 Wilt the spinach: Add the spinach to the skillet, stirring it into the other ingredients for a couple minutes so that it wilts and reduces in volume.

When the spinach has just barely wilted, transfer everything from the skillet to a large, shallow serving bowl. 

Joe's Special Scrambled Eggs with Spinach, Beef, and Mushrooms Joe's Special Scrambled Eggs with Spinach, Beef, and Mushrooms Joe's Special Scrambled Eggs with Spinach, Beef, and Mushrooms

4 Cook the ground beef. Add the ground beef to the empty skillet over medium heat. Sprinkle the Worcestershire sauce, pepper, nutmeg, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt over top. Cook the beef, breaking it up with your spatula into crumbles.

Continue to cook until the beef is fully cooked through with no trace of pink remaining, 8 to 10 minutes.

Transfer the cooked beef to the serving bowl with the sautéed vegetables. Pour off any fat still in the pan, leaving just a thin film to cook the eggs. (Add a teaspoon of cooking oil or butter if the pan seems dry.)

Joe's Special Scrambled Eggs with Spinach, Beef, and Mushrooms Joe's Special Scrambled Eggs with Spinach, Beef, and Mushrooms


5 Scramble the eggs. Return the pan to the stove and reduce the heat to medium low. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the eggs with tabasco, just until thoroughly combined.

Pour the eggs into the skillet, and scramble just until the curds are barely wet and beginning to break apart, stirring often, about five minutes.

Joe's Special Scrambled Eggs with Spinach, Beef, and Mushrooms Joe's Special Scrambled Eggs with Spinach, Beef, and Mushrooms Joe's Special Scrambled Eggs with Spinach, Beef, and Mushrooms

6 Mix everything together and serve. Add the cooked beef and vegetables back to the skillet, breaking up the eggs into bite sized pieces and stirring everything together until evenly combined.

Transfer everything back to the serving bowl and serve hot, with sourdough bread alongside.

Joe's Special Scrambled Eggs with Spinach, Beef, and Mushrooms

Click on the comments you'd like to print with your recipe. Grayed out comments will not print.


  • Jeffrey Sellegren

    I use breakfast sausage and parmesan cheese in Morrell mushrooms are a good addition too.

  • John Kalkowski

    Been making this for years since I lived in the Bay Area and ate at Original Joe’s. However, try it with Mild Italian sausage instead of beef and some frozen creamed spinach. Yum!

  • Linda

    Delicious! And Easy. And just downright gooooood! Thank you for reminding me of an old favorite.


  • donna

    I like this OK but there is just something missing…..Im thinking Feta instead of Parmasean and top with lemon juice for a more Greek version…?


  • CS

    I was born in SF and my mom often made Joe’s Special just like this when I was a kid. The only difference was that she used added oregano but omitted the Worcestershire. I still make it pretty much the same as she did, but often add cheese; parmasan, mozz, or cheddar, all work well. As a good California boy I fully agree that sourdough is the proper accompaniment. Alternatively, you can sub chili powder for the spices, put it all on a tortilla, and add some salsa for an excellent taco.

    • Christo

      Hello CS,

      This simple dish and the comments have brought back a lifetime of fun memories.

      Initially thought I’d written your response myself — am also an SF native and my (Greek) mom would add oregano, too. Not sure about the Worcestershire. I remember her adding a grind of nutmeg. Sometimes she used ground lamb. Always used frozen spinach, a fresh chopped onion, garlic powder, and sometimes fresh or canned shrooms or olives. She might have added cheese, I wasn’t paying close attention since boys weren’t supposed to cook, anyway (Ha!). Joe’s Special was sort of her “cop-out meal” — like making scrambled eggs and pancakes for dinner, which was awesome for us kids. We’d have Joe’s Special at least once a month. My father would also make it, but he’d add a cup of Vodka or cheap Gallo Burgundy or something and f-ck it up.

      A few decades ago, tried to make it for my partner without knowing the recipe, let alone how to cook. It was just…meh. No internets back then. Stoveside cordless phone-long distance calls to my mother, who was retired, nearly deaf, and now far away, became like scenes from Woody Allen movies.

      Meanwhile, the partner, a carnivorous Chicano, had me heat up some soft flour tortillas on the stove flame, load them up with this stuff, drizzle on hot sauce, and roll em up. Not bad. It salvaged many subsequent attempts, and became our Grexican Gyro-ritos. I had Sourdough at every meal. He had tortillas. But that’s not why we split.

      Fast forward to tonight’s nostalgic craving. I came upon this recipe and directions. Voila! It’s my Mom’s perfect Joe’s Special! Perfect for a rainy night. I used a giant bag of fresh, organic spinach, cage-free eggs, grass-fed beef, locally-sourced Cowgirl Creamery cheese, yada yada yada. Delicious.

      Who knew that a certain dish or meal could evoke a lifetime of recollections?

      Thank you, Coco, for re-creating this Bay Area original, and to CS for his (making an assumption here) comments.


  • Dave

    Very good change of pace for breakfast with rye toast. I cut the recipe down for one or two and follow the recipe as written.


  • Jaques DeMoines

    Best recipe I’ve found so far for Joe’s Special.


  • Andi Flanagan

    I’ve been making Joe’s Special for over 40 years! I always top it with Parmesan.

  • Mike

    I think at the time, Original Joe’s was in North Beach; Marin Joe’s was in San Rafael.

  • Octavia

    Big hit in my house! I didn’t expect it to be a favorite but it really ended up being great. So simple too, may make this again.


  • Elaine

    In the early 60’s the California Beef Council put out a similar version called Joe’s Special using frozen spinach and canned or fresh mushrooms. I still have my recipe card that was distributed at the county fair by the Sonoma County Cow Bells.

  • Merry

    A delicious classic from Original Joes. Shredded parmesan on top is super yummy.

  • Ron

    I ate it at Original Joes in San Rafael. The Mayor at the time was Joe Alioto and I shook his hand. That’s how long ago it was. Can’t tell you who originated this recipe but.just adding my two cents.

    • Ron

      I meant the Mayor of San Francisco was Joe Alioto.

  • Christine

    This was scrumptious and quick. A perfect weekday meal when you only have minutes to cook. I decreased the beef and eggs but kept all of the remaining measurements in order to serve three people a higher ratio of veggies. Sourdough bread was a great accompaniment, as suggested.


  • Renee Mills

    LOL! I literally laughed out loud when I finished reading through this recipe! My family will LOVE this! :D

  • Michael Woodke

    The origin of this dish was was always locally disputed. Some fans claimed Original Joes, others gave the credit to Marin Joes in Marin County. I’ll go with Marin Joes. We lived in the area for over 20 yrs and ordered this almost every time we went in there. It was great every time! Thanks for this Coco. Elise, you do a terrific job.

    • darlene

      oook … i lived in san francisco, the city, for 30 years and we went to joes all the time for the joes special … it didn’t have mushrooms in it then {might now, haven’t been back in many years!} but it was delicious … and awesome and so tastey … i’ve made it myself, but never the same as joes …

      i attended lowell high school, the old lowell on masonic … hippie in golden gate park, then moved to canada for almost 25 years …

      thanks for the great recipe …. love your blog and have for years, elsie … thanks coco …

  • Patricia

    Is this from Original Joes? I was there when there was only one stainless steel diner at the top of Lombard Street….

  • jimmy smith

    I add a little jalapeno hot sauce for a little kick

  • Kathleen

    This sounds delicious. Will definitely try it.

  • Steve Maskery

    I made this last night and it’s easy to scale down for one. I could have used more kick but it was absolutely excellent. Delicious.
    I’m going Low-Carb at the mo, because I’m a fat middle-aged geezer, so no sourdough, but I made cauliflower mash instead and it was very good indeed. One to keep, definitely.

  • Vi

    Oh, My Gosh!
    My Aunt from San Francisco used to make this for us when we were kids when she visited back East. She called it “Original Joe’s”. I loved it and have been faking it since, because she wasn’t around to ask about it anymore.
    This is totally it!
    But, I don’t remember the mushrooms – we might not have eaten them when we were little.
    Thank you!

  • Sara @ Last Night's Feast