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 379 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!

Ingredients

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

Instructions 

  • 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.

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

  1. Love the very clear instructions on the video!  Now I can’t wait to make these beautiful babies for a delicious brunch of eggs Benedict!5 stars

  2. Well done video !!

  3. Thank you for ALL the info in one place.
    Very nicely organized and presented.

    Cheers! :-D5 stars

  4. Such a simple dish, but beautifully explained recipe. Using the sieve to seperate the viscous from watery white worked brlliantly. Thank you for all the future perfect brunch time eggs.  5 stars

  5. I have everything in your video and followed instructions exactly. Placed egg in a small fine sieve exactly like yours and disposed of any white that came through it. My eggs must be fresher because only about 1 tsp came through. I gently transferred to a ramekin. Gently boiling water and I did not add salt but added 1 T apple cider vinegar. I stirred to make a vortex. Removed spoon and dumped egg all at once into the center. Stringy white egg white went everywhere! Why? Is it possible to have too strong of a whirlpool? 

    I did try to pull the white over and pile on the top of the egg. I had to place it upside down on my plate to hide the nest of a mess and the underside looked normal. Seeing is believing, so I know your method works from your video, and I really want to learn how. Why would it be a stringy mess after adding it to the water?

  6. Re: “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.” Does this mean to leave them in the water? If not, should they be stored in the refrigerator in a covered container, or an open bowl?

  7. That was fabulous……and I’ve tried a few of the mistakes you mention. Will be trying your tips tomorrow with asperagus……thanks so much…

  8. Thanks This was a perfect easy instructions for a perfect poached egg5 stars

  9. I now know how to make a good poached egg!! Many Thanks!!5 stars

  10. I don’t have a sieve and I was out of vinegar so I tried just the vortex. I did do a couple of things differently. I cracked two eggs into a small bowl and then poured them together into the vortex. I also left them to cook a little longer as I didn’t want them too runny. They still came out good and oddly, the two eggs didn’t stick together. I ended up with two separate poached eggs.5 stars

  11. Great tutorial5 stars

  12. Kia ora, 
    Although I love poached eggs I’ve always lacked confidence making them, but followed your steps and they came out perfect. Thanks!5 stars

  13. I followed your instructions to the letter and my very first attempt came out perfectly! I was so proud of myself. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!5 stars

  14. Thank you. I always forget about poached eggs.5 stars

  15. I tried this recipe this morning. I think I definitely need the strainer and my pot is way too large (circumference) – but my smaller circumference pan is too shallow. Can you tell me exactly what pot you used for this? I’m going to treat myself to it. Thank you!! You are awesome and I appreciate you so much!

  16. Oh my! The poached egg I made following your recipe & instructions was absolutely perfect, and magazine cover worthy! I was so excited to try the egg when it came out visually perfect, I forgot to take a picture. I will not forget next time! Thank you so very much for posting all the tips that worked — straining the egg through a fine mesh strainer and adding a tablespoon of white vinegar to the water. My poached egg came out a perfect little round delight! I am 71 years old and have poached eggs for almost 50 years and this was my first PERFECT poached egg ever!5 stars

  17. At last! At age 73, I finally had the PERFECT poached egg with easier clean up. Thank you, Lisa. Really enjoyed your expert research and video. God bless.5 stars

  18. This worked perfectly! I’ve made poached eggs before but straining the egg before using is genius! I added the vinegar and it turned out beautiful. Thank you!5 stars

  19. Fantastic results. At the end was a perfect egg. Thanks for such clear instructions!5 stars

  20. I’ve used this recipe at least two dozen times and it works every time. I don’t know why I want my poached eggs to look like this. Maybe it makes me feel like I am in a fancy restaurant.5 stars

  21. Yes,  very well presented. I’ve poached eggs these two ways for years, but I’ve learned lots from this presentation. The icing on the cake, so to speak. When I was young, my cousin called me Eggie I was so fond of them. Two poached eggs for breakfast every day while growing up were a really good start to life, brilliant for health, and I believe, longevity.5 stars

  22. Excellent instructions, especially in conjunction with the video. Thank you!5 stars

  23. Holy Cow. I have been failing at poaching eggs for years. This worked and I finally made a perfect poached egg!5 stars

  24. Thanks for making it look so easy😀

  25. Perfect egg every time !5 stars

  26. Worked absolutely perfect!  Cooked 2 eggs per the instructions with no vortex.  Amazing!5 stars

  27. Thanks for the fantastic tips on this poached eggs recipe, I am now an eggs benedict expert after learning how to make the perfect hollandaise sauce on the Internet as well. Much appreciated.5 stars

  28. Appreciate the thorough and simple step by step recipe alternatives and instructions.
    Very well spoken- able to understand the cooking process.
    Enjoyed very much- basic kitchen prep and pantry solutions- for at home use.5 stars

  29. I really like your methods!  But the word is pronounced “siv” not “seeve.”  It took me a few minutes to realize what you meant!5 stars

  30. Poached eggs have always been hit or miss for me but these came out perfectly! Thank you!!!5 stars

  31. Perfectly poached every time!
    I never heard of straining the egg….what a game changer! I also prefer a 3 minute egg. Thanks for sharing!

  32. I’ve never poached an egg before, and Lisa’s suggested approach worked like a charm!5 stars

  33. Came out perfectly, thank you for your very helpful tips, including what doesn’t need to be done. I love the make ahead tip also. I only make it once, and have poached eggs for two more breakfasts!5 stars

  34. I always made my poached eggs fresh and now I have learned how to save them for the meal prep.
    I love it, its quick, fast and no fuss when we have too many people around.5 stars

  35. This is the first time I’ve ever tried to poach an egg, and I used your method. I’m really glad I did, because my eggs turned out perfectly! I’ll definitely repeat this method on a more regular basis, creating light, fresh and deliciously poached eggs every time.

  36. Best poached egg video and recommendations her instructions are right on point5 stars

  37. Great instructional video with many great tips.5 stars

  38. Taken decades but finally perfect poached eggs and no vinegar flavour! First class instructions thank you.5 stars

  39. I just made my first poached egg, thanks to you. It was delicious!5 stars

  40. Nailed it! White-whispies be gone! Thanks.5 stars

  41. Your poached egg recipe was perfect, never had my eggs turn out so perfect, thanks for sharing 

  42. Thank you.
    It took me fifty years but I finally made the perfect poached egg.5 stars

  43. Thanks for your advice. For the first time ever I made poached eggs that look right and tasted great. I served them with toast, spinach and cream.5 stars

  44. Instructions take out the guess work!  Thank you so much!5 stars

  45. That is absolutely the best my poached eggs have ever turned out. The strainer was the key. Thank you so much for the time and effort you put into this.  Fantastic!!5 stars

  46. The Vinegar stops the egg spreading, especially older eggs.5 stars

  47. Thank you for sharing! It’s perfect. No more white fluffies all over the pan. I’m excited!!

  48. So excited! Just made my first poached egg after watching your video, and it was perfect! Even using eggs that had been in the fridge for a few days. 
    Thank you for putting this video together with all the tips5 stars

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