Here is how to poach an egg, perfectly every time! Get runny yolks and firm whites in a perfect little package.
Poached eggs are a staple of Eggs Benedict, learn how to make perfectly poached eggs, every time with this tutorial.
When Cooking a Poached Egg, Use Fresh Eggs
This is more of a guideline than a hard-and-fast rule, because it can be tough to know how fresh the eggs you purchase at your local grocery store are.
However, try to use eggs you’ve recently purchased instead of ones that have been sitting in your refrigerator awhile.
You will also want to use your eggs when they are still cold from the refrigerator to help the eggs keep their shape.
You Must Crack Eggs without Breaking the Yolk
The key to poached eggs with a nice runny center is to start with an intact yolk.
If you struggle to crack open eggs without breaking the yolk, try giving them a single swift crack against the top of a bowl with a thin (vs. thick or rounded) edge.
This creates a clean, thin break that is easy to crack apart without damaging the yolks in the process.
Strain your Eggs
Straining your eggs in a fine mesh sieve allows any runny whites to pass through, leaving out the firmer part of the white behind.
Straining your eggs can help you achieve perfectly shaped poached egg, and key to learning how to poach an egg.
If you choose to skip straining your eggs, you will need to add a little vinegar to the water.
How to Poach an Egg
After straining, transfer each egg into its own ramekin or small bowl.
This will make it easier to add each egg as quickly as possible to the boiling water.
Plus, it helps keep the eggs separated from each other if you are poaching multiple eggs at one time.
Start by bringing water to boil in a large pot.
One popular poaching technique is to create a “swirling vortex” by vigorously stirring the boiling water with a large spoon in circles until it continues to rotate on its own after you stop stirring.
The key to success when using a swirling vortex is to dump a single egg quickly into the center of the vortex, rather than outside the center.
By dumping the egg into the center, the swirling action forces the egg white to close in around the yolk to create a nicely shaped outer layer without a lot of wispy white tendrils hanging off of it.
How to Poach Eggs for a Crowd
Although swirling the water works well for a single egg, it is not ideal for poaching multiple eggs at one time.
In that case, drop the eggs, one at a time, into the boiling water without swirling it first.
For consistent results, set a timer and be sure to remove the eggs from the boiling water in the same order you added them.
How Long Do You Cook Poached Eggs?
Cook time will vary depending on desired level of doneness.
The general rule for a perfectly runny egg is a 3-minute cook time. If runnier or firmer results are desired, adjust the cook time accordingly.
When done poaching, remove eggs from water with a slotted spoon and transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to absorb any excess water.
Gently pat dry before serving.
Can you Poach Eggs Ahead of Time?
If the poached eggs are not going to be eaten immediately, reduce cook time by 30-45 seconds, then reheat later by dropping them back in boiling water for another 30-45 seconds.
- 1 Large Egg
- 1-2 tbsp vinegar, optional
Crack an egg into a fine mesh strainer over a bowl and swirl slightly until any loose egg whites are removed.
If using, stir the vinegar into the water.
Create a “swirling vortex” by vigorously stirring the boiling water with a large spoon in circles until it continues to rotate on its own after you stop stirring.
Remove eggs from water with a slotted spoon and transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to absorb any excess water.
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Serving Size:1 Poached Egg
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 77Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 186mgSodium: 72mgCarbohydrates: 0gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 6g
Liz Lampman is a coffee-fuelled Mom of 2 girls and lives in Hamilton, Ontario. She enjoys cooking and baking, food photography, and reading.