Poached Eggs: How to Poach an Egg Perfectly

Poached eggs are a beautiful thing. The whites are just firm enough on the outside to contain an oozy, golden yolk in a round little egg package. And with a few tips, you too can learn how to poach an egg perfectly every time!

Poached Eggs are the perfect healthy breakfast recipe. Here's how to poach an egg perfectly every time.

Poached eggs are one of those items I find folks order frequently in restaurants, but they don’t make very often at home. Why? I think most would say that it’s difficult to get that perfect, spherical shape without lots of crazy white wispies.

But poaching is one of the best cooking methods for creating healthy eggs. So today I’ll share with you a few tips to make the perfect poached egg. I’ve tested every method under the sun (vinegar, salt, swirling vortex, etc) and I’ll share with you the tried-and-true method that works.

Watch My Poached Eggs Video to See These Tips in Action

Once you get the hang of it, poached eggs are easy. But if you’re a beginner, make sure to watch my tutorial video. I walk you through the process step-by-step!

Tips That Do (and Don’t) Work

Salt: I found that adding salt to the water actually created more white wispies. Salt increases the density of the water which makes more of the egg white float and splay out. In other words, a not-so-pretty poached egg.

  • Verdict: Don’t do it.

Vinegar: I was initially dead set against adding vinegar to my water as I didn’t want my eggs to taste like vinegar. As it turns out, you have to add quite a bit of vinegar to have any vinegar taste transfer to the egg. I found that adding one tablespoon of a light colored vinegar didn’t flavor the egg but it did help to keep the egg white together.

  • Verdict: Optional, but I do it.

Swirling a Vortex: We’ve all heard that the best method for poached eggs is to drop them in a swirling vortex of water, right? Well, this is true. This does help to create a more spherical shape as the egg white wraps around itself. But here’s the reality. If you’re only cooking one poached egg – go for it. If you’re cooking more than one poached egg – don’t fret about the vortex. Your egg(s) may not be quite as spherical, but you can cook several simultaneously and they’ll still taste darn good.

  • Verdict: Yes, for one egg. No, for more than one egg.

Fine Mesh Sieve: This is the one tip that consistently produced the BEST poached egg. When you crack an egg you’ll notice that there’s a firmer white and a more liquidy white. Well, that liquidy white is what creates all those white wispies. So add the egg to a fine mesh sieve/strainer and the thinner, more liquid white is removed, leaving only the firmer white which will envelop the yolk.

  • Verdict: Do it.

Deep Pot of Water: After trying both a regular pot of water (4-inches deep) and a sauté pan filled with water (2-inched deep), I will say that the deeper pot produced a more classical spherical or teardrop shape. The is because as the egg falls in the water, the yolk sinks first and the white trails behind. You can still make poached eggs in a more shallow pot, but the shape will be flatter – similar to a fried egg.

  • Verdict: Use a pot with at least 4-inches of water

Ramekin: Most say to crack the egg first into a ramekin, then pour the egg into the water. And I’d have to agree. Using a ramekin ensures that your egg is 1) properly cracked with an unbroken yolk, 2) there’s no shell in the egg, and 3) you can more easily pour the egg in one swift move. Now, combine this method with the fine mesh sieve and you’ve got a winning combo.

  • Verdict: Do it.

Poached Eggs are the perfect healthy breakfast recipe. Here's how to poach an egg perfectly every time.

Poached Eggs are the perfect healthy breakfast recipe. Here's how to poach an egg perfectly every time.

Fresh Eggs Are Best

Now that you have 6 tips for making the best poached eggs, there’s one tip that can’t be overlooked. And that’s using the freshest eggs possible. This truly is the #1 most important factor in determining the success of your poached eggs. Fresh eggs have firmer whites, less liquidy whites and just hold their spherical shape better.

Ideally, this would mean purchasing fresh eggs on the morning you’re poaching eggs. But let’s be honest, most of us aren’t running to the market just to make breakfast. Therefore, if you use the tips above you’ve still got the best shot at making a perfectly poached egg.

And if you’ve got older eggs in the fridge, like the one below, don’t forget that those are perfect for making soft boiled and hard boiled eggs.

Poached Eggs are the perfect healthy breakfast recipe. Here's how to poach an egg perfectly every time.

How Long Do You Poach Eggs?

For a firm white and runny yolk you’ll want to poach the eggs for 3-4 minutes. I prefer a 3 minute poached egg. And if you plan to poach a batch of eggs ahead of time and reheat later, just keep in mind that reheating may firm up the eggs a little more as well.

Can You Poach Eggs Ahead of Time?

Absolutely! After the eggs have finished poaching, just place them in an ice water bath and store them in the fridge for up to 2 days.

When you’d like to eat them, just add some hot water to a small bowl or cup and add the poached egg until it’s warmed up (about 20-30 seconds).

How to Make Poached Eggs (Perfectly)

Alright, are you feeling confident in your egg poaching skills? To summarize all the information above, this is how to poach an egg:

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, then reduce to low (or turn off the heat).
  2. Crack the egg in a fine mesh sieve (over a small bowl) and remove the liquidy whites.
  3. Transfer the egg to a small ramekin or bowl.
  4. Add one tablespoon of light-colored vinegar to the pot and stir to create a vortex.
  5. Pour the ramekin with the egg into the middle of the vortex and set a timer for 3 minutes.
  6. Once the egg is done, use a slotted spoon to remove the poached egg. Dab with a paper towel to remove excess water and eat immediately.

My Best Poached Egg Recipes

Poached Eggs are the perfect healthy breakfast recipe. Here's how to poach an egg perfectly every time.

Poached Eggs are the perfect healthy breakfast recipe. Here's how to poach an egg perfectly every time.

Poached Eggs Recipe

4.99 from 325 votes
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 3 mins
Total Time: 8 mins
Servings: 1 egg
Author: Lisa Bryan
Poached eggs are a delicious, easy, healthy breakfast recipe. Watch my YouTube video above and learn how to poach an egg perfectly every time!


  • 1 large egg
  • 1-2 tbsp vinegar, optional


  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil, then reduce the heat to low.
  • While waiting for the water to boil, crack an egg into a small fine mesh sieve over a bowl. Swirl the egg in the sieve until all the liquidy egg whites have been removed. Then, place the egg in a ramekin.
  • Stir the vinegar into the water and create a vortex. Add the egg to the middle of the vortex and cook the egg for 3 minutes.
  • Remove the egg with a slotted spoon and dab it on a paper towel to remove any excess water. Serve immediately.
  • Alternatively, if making the poached eggs for meal prep or ahead of time, transfer the cooked poached eggs to an ice water bath and refrigerate for a couple of days. When ready to serve, add boiling water to a bowl, then add the cold poached egg and submerge for 20-30 seconds or until warmed through. Remove the poached egg with a slotted spoon, dab dry and serve immediately.

Lisa's Tips

  • This is the fine mesh strainer I used in the video. It's the perfect size as it's small and doesn't take up much space.
  • These are the glass nesting bowls that I use all the time in my kitchen and in my videos.
  • As mentioned above, you can store poached eggs for 4-5 days in the fridge. Just make sure they're in fresh, cold water in a sealed storage container.


Calories: 65kcal, Protein: 5g, Fat: 4g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 163mg, Sodium: 62mg, Potassium: 60mg, Vitamin A: 240IU, Calcium: 25mg, Iron: 0.8mg
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Keyword: How to Make Poached Eggs, Poached Egg, Poached Eggs
©Downshiftology. Content and photographs are copyright protected. Sharing of this recipe is both encouraged and appreciated. Copying and/or pasting full recipes to any social media is strictly prohibited.
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710 comments on “Poached Eggs: How to Poach an Egg Perfectly”

  1. This is the best method I’ve found that makes perfect poached eggs!5 stars

  2. I was going to put an easy-over fried egg on my Swedish hash, but this method looks like a winner, so I’m going to try it.  I appreciate the tip about straining off any loose egg white before poaching, since It’s impossible to know how old grocery store eggs are.  Makes sense and I hadn’t seen that tip before.
    Thanks for the good tips and the video.5 stars

  3. Many years ago, I worked in a restaurant, but I could never produce a decent poached egg. None of the training experts were able to tell us how to produce a decent poached egg. Thanks for experimenting and posting and easy to follow how-to. I live in the Andes, so I may have to do a little tweaking, but again, thanks. And I will be back for more tips.5 stars

  4. Absolutely clearly resourced methodology! Thank you Lisa, more power to you.5 stars

  5. Excellent with tips and even if your eggs aren’t fresh. what to do. Any kind of vinegar, number of eggs…it’s all good. Thank you so much. Next recipe down the road is Eggs Benedict! Fir New Years! 

  6. came out perfect! thank you!5 stars

  7. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! Best eggs Bennie I’ve ever done5 stars

  8. Made 3 eggs and followed her instructions to a tee, and it was perfect. Thank you5 stars

  9. Here’s how I make perfect poached eggs and no wispies.

    1. Carefully break three eggs into a plastic Chinese type collander (flat bottom). 2. let wispies drain for couple minutes 3. Bring 3+inches water to simmering in a pan that can hold the collander. 4. Put collander with eggs in pan for desired time 5. Use slotted spoon to remove and place on buttered toast. YUM! Now, I’ve made myself hungry so I’m off to poach some eggs…

    • Thank you for all your tips! The BEST one is using the sieve to separate the watery white from the thicker white. I am now making perfectly cooked poached eggs with hardly any ‘whisps’ of white. I just served restaurant-equivalent Eggs Florentine, thanks to you! Delicious! 5 stars

  10. Can confirm! I’ve made poached eggs in the past and this time I used four tricks from the video (water height, fine mesh strainer, vinegar, and vortex) and it ended up perfectly and much better than previous attempts. Thank you!!5 stars

  11. Thank you so much! I watched your video and it was absolutely excellent!! What a fantastic tutorial that explained the step-by-step procedure for the perfect poached egg. Thanks so much for sharing!!!5 stars

  12. Worked AMAZINGLY. Egg was perfectly cooked, and it was my first attempt at a poached egg! Thank you! I ate it by itself because this was kind of an experiment- the egg yolk was perfectly runny and I loved it. 5 stars

  13. Made this this morning for breakfast for eggs Benedict for one. Poached eggs turned out perfectly. I like my eggs a little more set and left in for another minute but perfect. 5 stars

  14. I can tell this from my experience in making egg recipes one of the best methods of making healthy eggs is poaching. We LOVE this recipe! Love this video. There was no way to click “like” on it as I was watching it embedded in this article, however. So I am writing a review instead to say I went from being a person who never wanted to try making a poached egg at home — to being a person who feels totally confident about it. This was really the perfect instruction video (except the background music which, hey, I am willing to forgive because the presenter was so clear and the video itself was so useful.)5 stars

  15. I’ve never poached eggs before. This video was super simple to follow and my first time try was a success!! My poached eggs were pretty and tasted great, were perfectly cooked. Thank you!5 stars

  16. This worked perfectly – thanks for the tutorial!5 stars

  17. Nice article.thanks

  18. Perf! Thanks for the recipe. Took mine out just a bit under 3 min because my water was hotter but it was perfect 5 stars

  19. Thanks a million for your tips. For the first time my poached eggs came out beautiful, so perfect. I’m so proud of myself and greatful to you for sharing your knowledge.5 stars

  20. Great video

  21. Excellent, easy peasey5 stars

  22. Thankyou Thankyou Thankyou 
    I’m not keen on the poached eggs myself but my daughters are
    Followed your tips and came out perfect!
    Super easy to follow 😊5 stars

  23. Thank you for such a thorough take on this! I’ve tried various methods too, so I appreciate that you experimented to find what works best. I hadn’t thought of the deeper pot scenario so far I will try that next time but the sieve technique is genius!5 stars

  24. Thank you for your tutorial I am going to try this morning. 5 stars

  25. Great tips

  26. Perfectomundo! Thank you! And for a real taste treat, serve atop a toasted slice of “Toasted Onion Square” bread! Dee-lishhh-ous!!!5 stars

  27. Worked beautifully thank you!!!5 stars

  28. How nice!
    I can perfectly poached eggs!
    so easy, Thanks5 stars

  29. I have always avoided trying to make poached eggs because everyone told me how difficult they are to make properly. I just made some following your video and they came out perfect! I’m going to have to check your soft boiled egg video too as I love soft boiled eggs, but I always under or over cook them. Thanks for a great tutorial!5 stars

  30. Lisa’s tips defiantly works!! 

    Thank you!5 stars

  31. Stupid question:/. When making ahead do you leave them in the ice water for up to 2 days?

  32. Finally! I’m embarrassed to admit that I have always avoided the daunting poached egg. This recipe was perfect! To the point and easy to understand. Thank you.5 stars

  33. Your videos and instructions are so clear, and so well tested!  I was referred to your site by a comment on Food52 and I’m thrilled I discovered you.  Thank you for all you’re doing!5 stars

    • Happy to hear you stumbled upon Downshiftology Glenn! Hope you continue to find tons more recipes to try across the website :)