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.

Eggs Benedict on a slate board

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 poached egg on top of prosciutto and ciabatta bread cut open with yellow yolk running out

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.

Bringing a pan of water to a simmer

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.

Adding an egg to simmering water

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.

Pouring an egg into water too cook

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.

Using a slotted spoon to remove a poached egg

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.

Placing a poached egg onto a paper towel

Which vinegar is best for poaching eggs?

You will need a clear (regular white vinegar) or white wine vinegar.
For every liter of water add 2 teaspoons of clear vinegar.

Poaching liquid for eggs

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!

You can also FOLLOW ME on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, INSTAGRAM and PINTEREST to see daily recipe updates.

Yield: 1

How to Poach an Egg

Using a slotted spoon to remove a poached egg

An easy, step by step method for poaching the perfect egg

Prep Time 1 minute
Cook Time 4 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes


  • 1 large egg, cold
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons white/clear or white wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons salt


  1. To a pan that is at least 3 inches deep, fill 3/4 full of water and bring to a boil. Once boiled, turn down the heat to just below a simmer (very gently bubbles at 200°F/90°C) and stir in the vinegar (for every liter of water add 2 teaspoons of vinegar) and salt.
  2. Crack the egg into a small bowl (in case there is shell and makes it easier to add to water) and gently lower into the water. The egg white may look like it’s spreading and coming to the surface, just leave it and it will come together. When you start to see it firm up and turn white, use a rubber spatula to gently nudge it off the bottom of the pan to make sure it’s not stuck.
  3. After 3-4 minutes, use a slotted spoon to gently lift out of the water. If you gently giggle the spoon and see the egg white giggle to much , return to the pan for another minute or so. Check again, the yolk should be slightly soft to the touch.
  4. Remove from the pan once done and place on a paper towel to drain.

Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 72Total Fat 5gSaturated Fat 2gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 3gCholesterol 186mgSodium 71mgCarbohydrates 0gFiber 0gSugar 0gProtein 6g

Avocado Artichoke Toast with Poached Egg

4 Avocado artichoke toast with poached eggs on a slate board