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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Poached eggs are my favorite! I usually get them right, but sometimes, they just don't cooperate. Or maybe it's me and not the eggs, haha!
Thanks so much for sharing this no-fail method!
Thanks for this awesome tutorial. I always have issues with these and will certainly put your tips to use.
Just gorgeous Dara...what a great tutorial. Love the pic of you in the egg chair!
A great tutorial. I especially remember my mom poaching eggs at dinner time to eat with corned beef hash. She would poach the same way.
Michelle @ Brown Eyed Baker
This is an awesome tutorial! I can never seem to get them quite right.
I LOVE that picture of you in the egg chair! You are so darn cute! I LOVE poached eggs. I used to be terrified of them too. So glad I got over it! Oh, and your pictures seem to get more gorgeous every day!
Poached eggs are my favorite. I love putting them over nontraditional food like salads. Yum. Gorgeous, Dara!
Great tutorial! I've never poached an egg before so I will have to try it!
Thanks Dara, I love these little tutorials. I had always heard to swirl the water and then drop the egg in. Or is that some random folktale my grandma told me that somehow stuck?
Oooh! Thanks so much for posting! I tried these techniques last night for dinner and, voila! lovely poached eggs! I've been poaching eggs a different way for years, but I love this one much better. Cheers and Happy Valentine's Day! (And really beautiful egg photo, too!)
Thank you for this! I have never poached an egg before, but I think I can do it now that I read your thorough instructions!
A SPICY PERSPECTIVE
I love these how-to post! And the photo in the egg chair is too cute! Happy Valentine's Day!
I'm totally making poached eggs for breakfast!! Love them, and this is a terrific page to bookmark.
Love the eggy photos! I am a egg lover, so bring on the poached eggs!! Happy Valentine's Day Dara!!
I can't say I'm afraid of poaching a egg any more cause I've done it, but I do sometimes have a problem with how long to cook it for. Love knowing the exact time for it now and I really must try this skillet version, thanks for the lesson 😀
Elizabeth and Jared
Thank you so much for giving me these instructions. I've never poached an egg! Out of fear that I'll ruin it and never try it again! Im going to try it this weekend! Thanks Again!
oh fun, I have that plate! so much fun to plate food on! And poaching eggs is great and make for good bfast food, especially with avocado. 🙂
Excellent demo on how to properly poach an egg!!! It definitely looks scarier than it is and you did a great job illustrating how easy it is to do!!!
Perfectly poached! Love that chair!
Just the way I love it - the oozy yolk is GOOOOD. Thanks for this post; will do the vinegar next time. I use vinegar when a boiling egg cracks, but never did it while poaching.