I’m almost embarrassed to admit this, but before I wrote this post I had never actually made a decent poached egg in my entire life! They just didn’t seem to turn out as well as my favorite Instant Pot boiled eggs, so I had only attempted to make them a handful of times over the years, because each time I tried they were a complete and utter failure.
After each attempt I would solemnly vow, “Never again!” But time has a way of taking the glare off of our most spectacular flops and we start to think, “Oh, it wasn’t THAT bad… I should try it again!” Only to be painfully reminded of just how bad it was in the first place!
And so I recently found myself trying (again) to successfully poach an egg. But THIS time I decided to do a little research first, and that made all the difference! I discovered this particular method, and finally managed to make a perfect poached egg. So you can imagine my excitement to share my secret with you today! 🙂 Here is how I did it!
Related: A Genius Trick for Foolproof Oven Poached Eggs
How To Poach An Egg
- Pinch of salt
- 2 teaspoons vinegar
Step 1 – Prep
Crack each of your eggs into a small bowl or cup.
Use a wide skillet with straight sides and fill it with hot water. Bring the water ALMOST to a simmer over medium heat, but not quite. When the bottom and sides of the pan are covered with bubbles, that’s when it’s time to poach!
Once it gets to that point, turn the temperature down a bit so it doesn’t start to boil. Then add the salt and vinegar to the water.
Step 2 – Swirl
Gently swirl the water with a wooden spoon to get it spinning. This will help to keep the egg’s shape when you drop it in, and hopefully keep it from sticking to the bottom. (Fingers crossed!) 😉
Step 3 – Cook
Then gently pour each egg into the water in one fluid movement. Leave plenty of room between them. Don’t worry if the edges look a little scruffy, you can trim them off after they are cooked.
If your egg sticks to the bottom of the pan, use a rubber spatula to gently release the eggs.
Depending on your pan, a really soft poached egg should take around 2 minutes. An egg in the less-soft to firm range will need 4 minutes. The cook time also depends on the size of the eggs and whether you’re using them straight from the fridge – larger and colder eggs will both require more time in the water.
When they’re ready, remove the eggs from the water with a slotted spoon.
Step 4 – Test
Rest the spoon on a spoon rest or a towel, then check whether the egg is done. Then give it a gentle push with a spoon or your finger. If it feels too soft, put it back in the water and let it cook for another minute or two.
My favorite way to eat poached eggs is on Eggs Benedict, but here are a few more serving suggestions:
- With baked beans, a cooked tomato and sausages.
- With a salad.
- Inside a pita bread pocket.
- On top of cooked vegetables.
- On top of buttered toast.
Bonus Tips For Successful Poached Eggs
Use eggs that are as fresh as possible; a fresh egg will coagulate quicker and keep its shape better.
You can tell whether an egg is fresh by cracking it on to a plate. If the yolk is firm and round and the white isn’t watery, it’s fresh.
Store eggs in the box you buy them in. Egg shells are porous and can absorb the odors of other foods so try to keep them away from anything strong-smelling, like fish.
You can refrigerate poached eggs for up to 3 hours, on a parchment-lined plate. To serve, heat water in a skillet (like described above) and gently add the eggs. Cook just until heated through, 30 to 45 seconds.
Now that you know the “secret” to making beautifully poached eggs, feel free to pass it on! Let’s make mangled poached eggs a thing of the past! 🙂