How To Make The Perfect Poached Egg

by | Mar 10, 2023 | Recipes

You’ve probably perfected a jammy soft-boiled egg or a fluffy scramble for your breakfast. The next thing to add to your egg repertoire is a poached egg. But, it might take a little practice.

“Poached eggs are tough for a lot of people to grasp. It’s because the technique is so different from how we cook most other eggs,” says Joshua Resnick, culinary arts chef-instructor at the Institute of Culinary Education. “There’s no pan and no fat. The eggs are cooked in a pot with a lot of water that has to be hot not too hot. And the right amount of vinegar.”

Unlike a hard- or soft-boiled egg, you can’t rely on a timer to know when a poached egg is done.“The technique is delicate and requires some practice to get right,” Resnick says. And, once you do, you can regularly churn out the most cloud-like poached egg for eggs benedict or avocado toast. “Learning the technique for properly poaching an egg isn’t difficult,” Resnick says, but it might take three or four attempts to perfect.

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“Where the finesse comes in is how to know when the egg is done,” he adds. “Cook it too short, and you’re eating raw egg white. Too long and the yolk starts to set.”

Poached Egg


  • 1 egg white
  • 1 cup of water
  • Half of a cup of vinegar


    Fill a medium pot with water and add the vinegar. Resnick recommends the 1/4 cup of vinegar per 1-quarter of water ratio because “this helps the egg white coagulate into the nice, round shape you want." Add too much vinegar and the white will firm up so much that it will resemble a “bouncy ball.”
    Bring the pot of water and vinegar to a boil and lower it to a simmer over low to medium. Resnick says that one of the biggest egg-poaching mistakes is not having the water at the right temperature. “It needs to be at a very low simmer. If the water is too hot, the friction caused by the movement of air through the water will cause the egg to fall apart.” To be precise, 160 to 180°F degrees is the ideal water temperature. If you don’t have a thermometer, bring the water to a boil and lower the temperature until a few bubbles stream up the side of the pot.
    Carefully crack an egg into a small bowl. Avoid putting more than one egg in the bowl at a time. No, you don’t want to crack the egg directly into the water. “If the yolk were to break in the transfer, the water would become cloudy and be difficult to work with going forward,” Resnick says. And, if a piece of shell falls into the water, it could get enveloped in the egg.
    Use a slotted spoon to swirl the water at the point to create a vortex. Hold the small bowl with the egg close to the water’s surface and carefully guide the egg into the vortex. “The white should start to set and turn white,” Resnick says. Use the spoon to make sure the egg isn’t sticking to the bottom. Cook until the egg white feels firm through to the yolk. “If it feels like a water balloon, that means the white isn’t fully set,” he explains. Exactly how long to cook the egg can vary, depending on the water temperature, and knowing when it’s cooked is one of the trickiest parts of poaching an egg. The Incredible Egg recommends poaching eggs for three to five minutes.
    Once the eggs are cooked, carefully remove them with the slotted spoon. Trim off any rough edges or tails, and serve. Resnick says, don’t worry too much if your eggs don’t come out looking pretty, as long as they’re cooked correctly. “You can always throw some extra hollandaise sauce over the top, and it’s going to taste good!”

*Words: Erica Sweeney

*This article was originally published by Men’s Health US

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