October 13, 2021
A poached egg may be simple, but it’s also versatile. Instead of just being an egg recipe people make for breakfast, it’s more like recipes, plural, and for any time of day.
A perfect poached egg is the star of a number of dishes, whether ramen, bowls, salads, or the almighty avocado toast. Plus, a poached egg can be quite impressive. If you get it right (and you will after this tutorial), the egg will split at the mere touch of a spoon, releasing a warm golden yolk full of flavor and silky texture.
Read on to learn how to cook poached eggs like a professional chef.
Do’s and don’ts when poaching eggs
Do get very fresh eggs.
Do spin the simmering water into a whirlpool before adding the egg to help the white wrap around the yolk.
Do cook the egg in plastic wrap as shown here for a perfectly spherical result.
Don’t boil the water. Just heat it to a simmer.
Don’t feel like you need to use vinegar. It can help with texture but may give off an unwanted sour flavor.
Tips adapted from Jamie Oliver’s how to.
How to make poached eggs
Preparation time: 0 minutes
Cooking time: 3 minutes
Total time: 3 minutes
Servings: Each egg makes one serving.
- Fresh large eggs
- Simmer a few inches of water in a medium-sized pot.
- Salt the water (just a pinch will do).
- Crack one egg into a small bowl, ramekin, or teacup, and then transfer the egg to the simmering water. As described above in the “Do’s and Don’ts” section, you can give the water a swirl before dropping in the egg, or you can put the cracked egg in plastic wrap and tie a knot around it to ensure a globular shape.
- Cook the egg for roughly three minutes.
- Remove the egg from the pot of water with a slotted spoon. You can gently poke the egg white over the yolk to ensure the texture is firm but spongy.
Chef’s tip: You can cook multiple eggs at a time, but don’t crowd the water and or swirl it beforehand either, as doing so could cause the eggs to collide and stick together.
Recipe adapted from The Pioneer Woman.
Fat: 5.4 grams
Saturated fat: 1.5 grams
Protein: 7.5 grams
Cholesterol: 186.5 milligrams
Carbohydrates: 0.6 grams
- On toast: Toast a bagel, English muffin, or thick slice of your favorite bread. While waiting, mash up some avocado with a squirt of lemon juice, some salt, and red pepper flakes. Spread the avocado mash on the toasted bread and then top with the poached egg. Sprinkle on some freshly grated parmesan, and garnish with fragrant greens like arugula.
- In a bowl: Pick a theme for your bowl and go all out. Whatever you choose, a poached egg will add great flavor, not to mention visuals. For example, try a bibimbap-inspired bowl with a bed of rice topped with wilted spinach and shredded sauteed veggies like zucchini and carrot. Arrange your bowl by placing the cooked vegetables in a circle atop the rice, keeping each vegetable separate for wow-factor aesthetics. Add a heaping spoonful of kimchi and place your perfectly poached egg at the center of the dish. Often, bibimbap comes with a warm egg yolk, and upon eating, diners mix the runny yolk into vegetables and rice for a flavor explosion.
- With greens: Fresh or cooked greens go well with the flavor profile of a poached egg. So, make up your favorite salad or sautee other greens (or even asparagus) and top with a protein-packed egg. Sprinkle the finished dish with feta or parmesan cheese crumbles or drizzle with hollandaise sauce.
- In soup: Because poached eggs are nicely contained, you can add them easily to soups without things getting too messy. Ramen is a great place to start. You can place the egg on top of the noodles, preventing it from dropping into the broth before you have a chance to serve the dish and enjoy that special moment of splitting the egg. Other soup recipes work well, too, especially those with savory, spicy flavors. Check out this one for sausage, cornmeal, and collard greens soup.
Poached eggs FAQs
How long do you poach eggs?
The optimal cooking time for poached eggs is between 2 ½ and three minutes (in simmering water).
Can you poach eggs ahead of time?
Can you poach more than one egg at a time?
Absolutely. Just be sure not to crowd the pot or spin the water before adding in multiple eggs. Essentially, you’ll want to make sure each egg has enough space to cook comfortably without getting stuck to another.
How do you poach an egg with a poacher?
An egg poacher is an easy-to-use tool that helps you get this dish right every time. There isn’t necessarily a special egg poacher recipe. Your main ingredients are still water and eggs. However, the cooking style is a bit different. The poacher consists of a pot base for heating water, a removable mold, and a lid. When cooking with a poacher, you simply drop the eggs into the receptacles in the mold, which helps the egg whites achieve a nicely rounded form. You can also make several eggs at once easily, without worrying if they will stick together. You affix the lid during the process to trap steam inside, ensuring even cooking.
Why do some people add vinegar to their water?
Vinegar helps firm the whites of the egg faster. That said, it can leave an unwanted sour taste behind, so add as little as possible to your cooking water if trying this method.
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