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How to poach the perfect egg

Do not fear the poached egg

With a few simple tips, perfect poached eggs are well within reach for any home cook.

Poaching an egg — for some, this is a cooking basic. But for many of us, there is nothing more intimidating than trying to create perfect poached eggs with cooked whites and creamy yolks. Poached eggs, when cooked just right, are incredibly versatile and are easier on the waistline because no fat is used in their preparation.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when attempting to create your own perfect poached eggs:

  1. Start small. Practice making 1 or 2 poached eggs at a time before you attempt to feed the masses.
  2. Simmer on low. Keep your water at a low simmer throughout poaching.
  3. Use a teacup. Cracking your eggs directly into the water can cause the yolk to break or the whites to spread out in the pan. Always crack your eggs into a teacup (a ramekin or small bowl will work) before adding them to the water.
  4. Prepare other foods in advance. Poaching eggs takes 4-5 minutes, so finish cooking everything else you will be serving, including toast, before you begin.

Do not fear the poached egg

Poached eggs

Ingredients and supplies:

Why the Vinegar? Vinegar helps the egg white firm up in the water, minimizing unruly egg whites that spread all over your pan. The vinegar taste is barely noticeable in the finished eggs, but lemon juice works as a substitute, if you prefer.
  • Eggs
  • Teacups, ramekins or small bowls (1 per egg) 
  • Pan (at least 4 inches deep)
  • Water
  • Vinegar
  • Slotted spoon


  1. Crack each egg into its own teacup, then set the eggs aside.
  2. Fill your pan 3/4 full of warm water. Add 1 tablespoon of vinegar and stir. Place the pan over medium heat and bring it to a low simmer.  (A few bubbles should continually rise to the surface.)
  3. When the water reaches a low simmer, gently lower each of the teacups into the water and tip each egg into the pan. (Note: You can use a slotted spoon or spatula to nudge the whites toward the yolk if they spread out in the water.)
  4. Poach the eggs just until the whites are cooked through, for 4-5 minutes. Then turn off the heat.
  5. Using a slotted spoon, remove each of the eggs. Gently blot them dry with a paper towel before serving.

More ways to serve poached eggs

Poached eggs with mushrooms and garlic
Veggie eggs benedict
French bistro salad

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