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!