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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 4-5 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.
4.96 from 72 votes

Poached Eggs Recipe

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

Ingredients

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

Instructions

  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
  • 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.

Nutrition

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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201 comments on “Poached Eggs: How to Poach an Egg Perfectly”

  1. Thank you for this tutorial! My husband followed this to surprise me with poached eggs for breakfast – they were perfect and delicious!

  2. THIS WAS SO SO HELPFUL! YOU MAD IT SO EASY. THANK YOU.

  3. Fantastic Video.  This week for the first time I tried poaching eggs.  I never really have liked the white part of an egg but there was something different about the flavor when poached.  I loved it. The only thing that didn´t feel totally successful was all the wispy pieces from the whites.  I thought it had to do with the temperature of the water.  I think you have  solved my problem and am so excited to do the strainer method for my next attempt at poached eggs.  Thank you!

    • Hi Sharon – Congrats on making your first set of poached eggs! The whispy pieces sometimes do depend on the temperature of the water, but it sometimes inevitable :) Do let me know how the strainer method works for you!

  4. Very thorough & well explained. Not as hard as I thought. Can’t wait to poach!

  5. I’ve seen many known chefs making a poached egg but honestly hands down YOU ARE BY FAR THE BEST 👍🏼

  6. Never poached an egg before in my life-followed this recipe and managed two perfect eggs. amazing. 

  7. Turned out great. Straining off the excess fluid was the key. So glad I watched your video. What a relief after of years of trying for that perfect poached egg. 

    • Hi Vivian – I’m so glad this method worked out for you! Now you will have beautiful poached eggs every time :)

  8. thank you much for this easy to follow recipe! was finally able to create the perfect poached eggs. served it over some yoghurt mixed with garlic with a drizzle of brown butter and paprika. perfect!

  9. Awesome!!!! Can’t wait to try it! Right now!

    • Hi Amy – Yay! Let me know how this method works out for you :)

      • Very clear instructions that were easy to follow, and made a fabulous egg. It was also nice to see and have explained why certain methods were used and others were not.

      • Hi Jordan – So glad you were able to follow along to these instructions easily! Now you’re a poach master :)

  10. Thank you fir sharing, I tried your way and it is so far the best way. 

  11. Easy, clear instructions , SUPER helpful, video with perfect results ! Though vegan I get eggs from a friend who treats her hens as pets with no slaughter until old age. LOVE this egg method and the asparagus idea! I look forward to more great  learning !

  12. My eggs turned out perfectly! The stuck to the bottom, not sure why…. I had two eggs, timed 3 minutes and they were perfectly shaped and perfectly cooked. Thank you!!

  13. you make it look easy. looking forward to giving it a try & watching more your “how 2’s”

  14. This worked awesome – thank you!! First time ever making them and they turned out great. Thanks for your help!

  15. First time ever attempting poached eggs because I thought they wouldn’t ever work out. Tried your method and bam! First shot and they were damn near perfect! Thanks! This is definitely something I will be doing from here on in. 

  16. Where did you purchase those bags that you froze the zucchini in. Thanks

  17. I’ve tried poaching eggs before and I must say the straining was what made the difference. Very helpful trick! I just used water and no vinegar with the vertex and my eggs turned out great. I’d recommend doing one egg at a time though. 

  18. What happened?  I had an unexpected event.  My egg stuck to the bottom of the pan and the yolk broke when I removed it.  :-o

  19. Finally!! Perfection!!Thanks ?

  20. Since when are eggs vegetarian? They’re an animal product. I grew up a lacto-ovo vegetarian. (Lacto = milk and milk products. Ovo = eggs)

  21. Extremely helpful ?

  22. Hi! I was just wondering how long can you keep these eggs in the fridge?

  23. Greatest poached eggs!

  24. Hi Lisa! Another amazing blog post, thanks so much! I just want to say I am an egg lover and by far the best eggs I have found are the Organic Valley brand. I was so impressed at the size and the freshness evidenced by the super liquidy white I don’t want to buy any other egg again. Worth the extra money by far. Costco eggs I tried were small with very firm white and even though I’m cheap I will not be buying those again. Not to mention their plastic packaging is super wasteful!

    • Hi Patricia – I’m glad you loved the post, and I agree, Organic Valley is a great brand for eggs!

  25. Lisa, thank you so much for taking the time to research, and then post for all of us. I absolutely love eggs benidict and the many variations. But as I developed my skills (perfecting my hollandaise 15 years ago, properly poaching my eggs only a few months ago, lol) I still only shared these dishes with my immediate family and always found myself serving folks one at a time…but then I found your blog!
    I was able to pre-poach for a beautiful brunch party this week and served 8 of my best friends with minimal delays! Thanks again!

    • Hi Dan- I am so glad you loved the Poached Egg tutorial and was able to pre-plan for your brunch party! Creating the perfect poached eggs definitely takes time, but looks like you’ve got it down. Hopefully you can use this tip for more brunches in the future :)

  26. My goal for this staycation was to learn how to poach eggs. With your video and tips, I perfected it on day one. Thanks for helping learn how to make my favorite kind of eggs.

    • Hi Karen – so glad you enjoyed the Poached Egg tutorial! Poaching eggs are always tricky, but excited that you got the hang of it :)

  27. Im Dominican and Im a total rookie un the kitchen and I made this for breakfast for my mom. The first 2 were a disaster, but the second 2 were just perrrfect. Mom was surprised. This is awesome, thank youuuuu.

  28. Following this direction for our school activity in T.L.E subject ??

  29. These eggs are great!! A few things I want to note: if you have chickens and the eggs you use are straight from the chickens you do not need to strain them. ALso, the closer you drop your egg to the water the tighter it will be and the better it will turn out. 

  30. Out of this world. Thank you so much for walking me through this process.

  31. Oh my gosh! I’ve been wanting to make a certain recipe, which includes a poached egg but because of the egg, put it off for a year! Crazy, right? I found your video, which is amazing! We followed along and made the perfect egg, the first time!

    I then made the recipe for a blog picture. The first egg came out really good, but I got greedy and burned three more eggs : / I had to wake my husband up (granted it was 10am, as we were woopin’ it up the night before, so I don’t feel too bad ; ) but he came out and saved the poached egg and blog picture. 

    Thank you for your time, effort, and taking all the guess work out for us. I so appreciate you for sharing. I hope you don’t mind if I soon give you all the poached egg glory and link to your blog and video.

    ♥️  

    • Hi Jen – I’m so happy you were able to make the perfect poached egg! Yay! And that would be great if you’d link to me from your blog and video. Thanks so much! :) x

  32. My first time ever doing poached eggs and they came out amazingly ?

  33. Very good. I am guessing it takes a little practice but my 1st go was easy and yummy.

  34. Made poached eggs for first time, came out perfect!

  35.  It never occurred to me to strain the eggs before you cook them. That’s a great technique I’ll have to do that next time. ( I read this article right after I made poached eggs)

  36. Nice tutorial

  37. Thank you very much, Lisa! I now know how to poach eggs perfectly. (Soft boil them too – so thanks for that as well!) I really appreciate the time taken to research and test all the ways too do it. I have read many methods and tested a few, but nothing yielded poached eggs so perfectly as this. I had never heard of straining the eggs and I think I always used salt. Now I know, TAH-DAH! 6 attempts, 6 beautifully poached eggs. Quenching and reheated also a home run. Thanks again.

  38. The perfect poached egg!

  39. Perfect poached eggs!

  40. I’ve tried to poach eggs following other recipes I’ve found online. This one worked perfectly.

  41. I usually only poach eggs when I make ramen noodles (Don’t judge lol) and I’ve found Turkey eggs poach much better than chicken eggs because the whites and yolks are generally thicker. They also have a lot more flavor. I know not everyone has access to Turkey eggs, but if you get the opportunity I highly recommend them for poached eggs.

    • haha no judgement here :) I can sadly say, I’ve never had a turkey egg before! I’ll have to seek one out and try it. Thanks for the recommendation!

  42. Thank you!! Helped me make my wife’s mother’s day breakfast perfect (the eggs, for a first try, came out a little less perfect than yours). ;) #workingonthevortex

    • Awesome, Jay! I’m so glad you were happy with your poached eggs for Mother’s Day! Keep practicing that vortex ;)

  43. Absolutely great easy to understand video on how to make poached eggs!!

  44. Thank you so much! I love poached eggs but could never make them without being stringy!  This method works perfectly!  I even made 3 eggs at the same time and they came out great too! 

    • You are so welcome, Lynn! Glad your eggs turned out perfectly poached and not stringy! :)

  45. I am so glad you put this out here. I love poached eggs and had never perfected a method, although I tried with several types of poaching cups.
    Thank you for this easy, successful method!

    • Hi Deb – You are so welcome!! Thank you for the kind comments and I’m so glad you’re loving your poached eggs! :)

  46. Absolutely awesome presentation and directions. Perfect Poached eggs! Thanks so much! =)

  47. I didn’t have that much luck with this method. I tried twice but to no avail. The first time the egg was under done and the second time i ended up with what appeared to be a hard boiled egg with the egg white perched on top of the yoke. I’ll give it another shot soon….fingers crossed.

  48. Perfect poached eggs! ???

  49. Followed your directions and had my first perfect egg! Thank you