Societal and technological changes render traditional study designs less feasible for investigation of outbreaks. We compared results obtained from case-case and case-control designs during the investigation of a Salmonella Enteritidis PT14b (SE14b) outbreak in Britain to provide support for validation of this approach. Exposures of cases were compared to concurrent non-Enteritidis Salmonella cases and population controls recruited through systematic digit phone dialling. Infection with SE14b was associated with eating in oriental restaurants [odds ratio (OR) 35·8, 95% confidence interval (CI) 4·4–290·9] and consuming eggs away from home (OR 13·8, 95% CI 1·5–124·5) in the case-case study and was confirmed through a concurrent case-control study with similar effect estimates and microbiological findings of SE14b in eggs from a specific chicken flock on a Spanish farm. We found that the case-case design was feasible, quick and inexpensive, potentially minimized recall bias and made use of already interviewed cases with subtyping results. This approach has potential for use in future investigations.