How to Poach an Egg

There are several ways to make poached eggs, but the most basic method just requires a pan, some water and a slotted spoon.

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Start with the freshest eggs you can find when you’re poaching eggs. A fresh egg will have a firmer white and therefore give you fewer whisps of white in your poaching liquid. You can strain your raw eggs through a fine strainer to ensure you are only poaching the firmest white. 

Ensure that your poaching water is just barely simmering – just seeing a few bubbles on the bottom of the pan is sufficient. Crack the eggs into a bowl before putting them into the water – that will make the transition much easier. 

Eggs will only take about 2 to 3 minutes to poach. When the yolk is done to your liking (push on it with your  finger to see how soft or hard it is), remove the eggs with a slotted spoon and dry lightly with a clean paper towel before plating it. 

If you’re planning a brunch, you can actually make your poached eggs ahead of time. Poach them to your liking and then transfer them to a bowl of ice water. Store them in the ice water until you’re ready to serve and then simply re-heat them in simmering water for about 30 seconds. 

Basic Instructions:

  1. Bring about 1½- to 2-inches of water to a boil in a wide deep sauté pan or Dutch oven and then turn the heat down to a simmer.
  2. One at a time, crack each egg into a ramekin or small bowl.
  3. One at a time, gently slide each egg from the bowl into the water.
  4. Time the eggs for 2 to 3 minutes, depending on how well done you want the yolks cooked.
  5. Remove the eggs with a slotted spoon and test for doneness just by pushing on the yolk gently with your finger. Gently pat the egg with a paper towel to dry it before serving.

Quick Notes:

  • The freshest eggs are the best because the whites are firmer and stay together better.
  • The poaching water should be at a bare simmer – just a few bubbles on the bottom of the pan.
  • Adding vinegar may help keep the whites together, but you’ll have a slight vinegar taste.
  • Test for doneness by pushing on the yolk with your finger to feel how firm it is.
  • Dry the poached egg well with a paper towel.

How to Poach an Egg

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