How to Poach an Egg
Wondering how to make perfect poached eggs? Follow this simple step-by-step guide, and you'll end up with gorgeous eggs worthy of any Instagram post.
How to Make Poached Eggs
This is the traditional way to make poached eggs on the stovetop. For a quicker method, check out how to poach an egg in the microwave.
1. Use the freshest eggs
Egg whites turn runny with age, so the fresher the egg, the firmer the whites. Make sure to check the date on the carton before you buy.
2. Use a ramekin
Crack each egg into a small ramekin or glass bowl. You will be able to see and remove any bits of shell, and if the yolk ends up getting cracked, you can dispose of the egg without dirtying your poaching water. The bowl also makes it easier to slip the egg into the water gently, so it stays in one piece.
3. Add a splash of vinegar
Vinegar in the poaching water helps keep the whites together; it firms up the proteins on the outer surface of the egg, making the egg rounder and the white less wispy. Don't worry about flavoring the egg, at 1 teaspoon salt per quart of water, you'll barely taste it. Any kind of white vinegar you like works fine.
4. Don't drop the egg into boiling water
Dropping a raw egg into boiling water is the recipe for scrambled egg soup. Get the water hot by bringing it to a boil over high heat, THEN lower the heat until the water is just barely simmering. Gently simmering water keeps your eggs together.
5. Set the timer
It doesn't take long to poach an egg. Cook for 2-3 minutes for soft yolks and about 4 minutes for medium to firm yolks. For hard cooked eggs, bump the cook time up to 5 minutes.
6. Dry before serving
Remove the eggs from the poaching water with a slotted spoon so the water can drain off. Then, blot the bottom of the spoon onto a clean kitchen towel to remove any remaining water.
Ready to put these tips to work? Try these recipes:
"My version of eggs Benedict. Serve your bacon or sausage on side with vegetables. Everyone loves this." -- Babs Hanna
"A delicious dish inspired by eggs Benedict with mozzarella, tomatoes, and pesto." -- Yoojin K
"Imagine the best French toast you've ever had, combined with the best ham and cheese sandwich you've ever had, topped with perfectly poached eggs. You don't need any Hollandaise because the poached egg yolks are the sauce." -- Chef John
Explore our complete collection of Breakfast Egg Recipes.