Learn how to poach an egg at home. Use poached eggs on Eggs Benedict or serve them on a green salad or roasted vegetables.
Let's see a show of how of hands for how many of you quake with fear at the thought of poaching an egg. I fully admit that, up until about six months ago, I would have raised two hands. Poaching eggs was a task that should be left to the professionals. Each time I attempted the seemingly impossible skill, creeping tendrils of egg white would fill the pot, or the yolk would be hard as a rock. The eggs were getting the best of me and the little control freak sitting on my shoulder was not okay with that.
When I went on a trip with the kind people at the American Egg Board (you know, the Incredible Egg people), Jeffrey Saad (host of the Cooking Channel's United Tastes of America), showed us how to achieve a perfect, runny poached egg every time out of the gate. It was probably a skill he learned on day one of culinary school but, to me, it made the man a verified genius!
Come on, who can resist getting their picture taken in an egg chair?
By using a large skillet rather than a pot, this method gives you more control over the eggs. A touch of vinegar is added to help keep long tendrils of egg white under control. And the timing? Three minutes every time - it works like a charm.
Here are a few of my favorite recipes using poached eggs:
- Poached Eggs Over Avocado & Smoked Salmon
- Poached Egg on Toast with Chipotle Mayonnaise
- Southwestern Egg Benedict
How to poach an egg:
STEP 1: Fill a large skillet with water to three-quarters full and set over medium heat. Bring to the water to a simmer, add 1 teaspoon vinegar (any kind will do), and a couple pinches of salt.
Vinegar is used to speed up coagulation, which will stop the egg from spreading through the water. The salt is added for seasoning, and is optional. If you prefer, season after removing the eggs from the water.
STEP 2: Crack the eggs directly into the water. Make sure the water remains at a simmer, adjusting the heat as necessary.
Many people recommend cracking the egg into a small bowl, and then sliding the egg into the water. However, if you take care not to break the yolk, it is easier to crack the egg directly into the water. Just go for it!
STEP 3: Cook for 3 minutes to achieve a perfectly poached egg. Using a slotted spoon, remove each egg from the water and blot on a paper towel to remove excess water before transferring to serving plate.
No one likes soggy toast or English muffins, so be sure not to skip this step.
If you are making poached eggs for a crowd, they can be made ahead of time. When first poaching, the eggs should be undercooked, for 2 minutes. Store the eggs in a bowl of ice water in the fridge for 1 to 2 days. Before serving, use a slotted spoon to transfer the eggs from the bowl into gently simmering water. Leave in the water for 1 minute, then remove, following directions above.
How to Poach an Egg
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vinegar such as white vinegar or white wine vinegar
- Pinch of salt optional (See Note)
- Fill a large skillet with water to three-quarters full and set over medium heat. Bring to the water to a simmer, add 1 teaspoon vinegar (any kind will do), and a couple pinches of salt.
- Crack the eggs directly into the water. Make sure the water remains at a simmer, adjusting the heat as necessary.
- Cook for 3 minutes to achieve a perfectly poached egg. Using a slotted spoon, remove each egg from the water and blot on a paper towel to remove excess water before transferring to serving plate.
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Thanks so much for sharing this! I read this last night and made some this morning for breakfast! I think I need a deeper pan as my yolks were sticking up out of the water a bit but it actually turned out AWESOME! I'll be making these a lot more often! Thanks again!
This is exactly how my mother taught me to poach eggs, and I love them to this day.
Thanks to your lovely and explanatory how to, I poached my first egg with no redo. 🙂
Dara (Cookin' Canuck)
Elena, I'm so glad to hear that! Way to go!
My fave! And adding vinegar to the water is key. Great tutorial. They photograph much nicer than fried eggs, too 🙂
How often I forget how much I love poached and soft boiled eggs. They're so delicious.
Thank you for this tip! I've poached many imperfect eggs and some OK ones, and now I can finally make the perfect poached egg. 🙂
Sprinkled with Flour
Ok, since I have never mastered the art of flipping a fried egg without murdering it, I though maybe I could learn to poach one instead. Your post has given me the courage to try it....we'll see:)
Great article! I am a sucker for the perfect runny egg. I could eat a poached egg for breakfast, lunch and dinner!
If that isn't a perfectly poached egg than I don't know what is! A little globe of healthy goodness (the egg that is). Such great tips that are so useful, the vinegar is one I learned not so long ago. Who would've known?! I just sent the spaghetti squash recipe to the twitterverse. Happy Cooking!
A Canadian Foodie
Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant, especially the 1 to 2 day ahead tip! Love the learning here. I also do a sous vide egg that is DEADLY delicious - in the shell in the water bath for an hour - really low and slow and it comes out of that shell in an indescribable consistency that is heaven on a plate.
poached eggs are so easy but not a lot of people know how easy it can be. adding the vinegar to the water was the trick for me - from then on, every egg came out perfect. nice pics too Dara!