How to Poach an Egg
Everything you wanted to know about How to Poach an Egg. We all love a perfectly poached egg with the perfectly runny yolk, but not everyone knows how to cook them. You’ll be a poaching expert after you use my culinary school tips and tricks because it’s easier than you think.
It is known that a good cook should know how to cook an egg. Be it fried, scrambled, hard or soft boiled and poached. Cooking eggs and getting the way you want them is not always an easy thing.
I think poached eggs are the most intimidating way to cook an egg for most people and most of us love a good eggs Benedict. Speaking of, I have a delicious recipe for Italian Eggs Benedict (pictured below) that uses ciabatta bread instead of English muffin, prosciutto instead of ham and a creamy Parmesan sauce instead of hollandaise sauce.
For a classic egg Benedict, I have an easy homemade hollandaise that you can make that is so good!
A few key tips for making the perfect poached egg:
- Use the freshest eggs – You want them to taste good and the egg whites are thicker in fresh eggs which means they will stay together
- Cold eggs – This will help the whites coagulate quickly and stay together.
- Water temperature – 200°F/90°C is the ideal temperature
- Vinegar and Salt – Helps the egg whites coagulate quicker and stay together
- Crack each egg into a small bowl to make it easier to place into the water and if you get any shell bits you can easily remove them.
The best pan for poaching eggs
Use a pan that is at least 3 inches deep fill 3/4 full with cold water. For every liter of water add 2 tablespoons vinegar.
How to Poach an Egg – Step by Step
Start with a wide pan that is a least 3-inches/7.5 cm deep. Also, a wide surface area ensures there’s plenty of area so you can poach more than one egg at a time.
Fill the pan three quarters full with water. Heat over medium heat until you start to see bubbles form and the temperature reaches 200°F/90°C using a candy thermometer, then add clear or white vinegar. 2 tablespoons vinegar for every liter of water and a small pinch of salt, stir.
Crack your egg into a small bowl. Turn the heat down to low and regulate it to keep the temperature at 200 degrees or a very light simmer. Do not allow the water to boil. Gently pour the egg into the water. Leave the egg until you start to see the whites turn white, then use a rubber spatula to gently nudge the egg off the bottom of the pan.
The egg will cause the temperature of the water to fall slightly, so keep an eye on the temperature and adjust the heat accordingly. Have a folded towel next to the pan to drain the egg of the excess water when it comes out.
Cook for 4-5 minutes (for soft poached, still runny) until when lifted out of the water with a slotted spoon the egg white looks firm, the yolk should feel soft to the touch and a have a solid jiggle (not move too much). Drain onto a paper towel.
You will need a clear (regular white vinegar) or white wine vinegar.
For every liter of water add 2 teaspoons of clear vinegar.
You don’t have to just use water, you can use stock/broth, cream, milk or clarified butter (ghee). If using ghee the temperature should be 172°F78°C or the egg will fry. They will take longer in to cook this way.
Poached egg cooking times
- 4-5 minutes soft poached (still runny in the center and soft to the touch)
- 6-7 minutes for medium poached (yolk should be slightly set and slightly firmer to the touch)
- 8-10 minutes for hard poached (yolk should be set all the way through firm to the touch)
Alternatively, you can have a second towel handy and transfer all the cooked eggs to it and cover lightly with foil, they will stay warm for up to 10 minutes until all your eggs are cooked.
Make ahead poached eggs
This is a professional chefs trick to making poached eggs ahead for a crowd and how they do it is a restaurant. Poach the eggs for about 2 minutes (2 minutes less than done), the whole egg should be jiggly with some egg white clear and runny, then add them to an ice bath to quickly cool them which will keep the yolk runny and refrigerate. They will keep for 24 to 48 hours.
Reheating poached eggs
To reheat a poached egg that has been refrigerated, bring a shallow pot of water to a boil then reduce to a simmer. No need to add salt or vinegar to the water as they have already set. Transfer from the cold water to the hot water for a minute or so to be soft poached. Egg white should be firm and yolk soft to the touch. Drain on a paper towel.
Poached egg presentation
If you want a pretty finished look to the eggs (or just want to impress your family), you can trim off the straggly bits of egg white around the edges.
If you’ve tried this method of How to Poach an Egg or any other recipe on the blog then don’t forget to rate the recipe and let me know how it turned out in the comments below. I love to hear from my readers!
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Avocado Artichoke Toast with Poached Egg
20 Comments on “How to Poach an Egg”
I tried this for the first time today. In my silicone egg mold, 3 eggs for 6 minutes. They came out more set than soft boiled but less than hard boiled. I will definitely be trying this again and playing with the times to see what works for me. It’s a great way to make lots of poached eggs in an egg cooker at once and sure beets trying to boil or use a muffin tin in the oven.
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Great tips, Janette! Your poached eggs look spectacular!
You make the process of poaching an egg look effortless. I have never successfully poached an egg, so, this will be a great guide.
I have not even attempted to pouch an egg but you make it look easy, pinning! xo
I love a good poached egg, just like you describe, with a runny yolk. Yum! I haven’t made any in quite some time and now you have me craving them again. Time to get in the kitchen. Thanks for the tutorial!
I poach eggs quite often ,but always very haphazardly and never with a timer. Now I know that 4.5 minutes is perfect! Great tip to put the egg onto a towel, too. I often dump mine onto my toast with a bit too much cooking water!
I have never poached eggs and know this to be the correct method from all the food shows I watch, thanks for posting about it to re-educate me and to educate those who do not know.
Such a meaningful post. Great step by step. I did one of these a while back and got great exposure. I hope you do as well.
That’s great Peter, I hope so too 🙂
Thanks so much for clearing up this little issue! I LOVE poached eggs but avoid making them as all the info out there is so conflicting! Your egg looks so perfect so I will definitely use this as my go-to guide 🙂
Love the perfectly poached eggs!
Thank you Serena
Okay, you just demystified poaching eggs! Thank you.
Thank you Suzy
Fantastic instructional post! Sharing this on our FB page.
Thank you so much Dan
This is so helpful Janette! I always have hard time poaching an egg 🙁 Will try your recommendations 🙂
I used to too. I hope this helps 🙂