By Cassie Johnston
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So, over on Instagram, I pretty frequently post pictures of my breakfast. Because that’s what people who are obsessed with food do, ya heard? And pretty frequently, that breakfast involves eggs. That’s one of the benefits of being able to walk out the door and nab farm fresh eggs from our hen house—gloriously egg-tastic breakfasts whenever I want!
Whenever I happen to poach those eggs, I inevitably get comments asking how in the world I make such perfectly poached eggs! Well, I’m going to let you in on a little secret—I almost always cheat and use an egg poaching pan (affiliate link). I love my egg poaching pan, and I use it multiple times per week!
But, I know not everyone wants to drop almost $50 on a pan that just poaches eggs (worth noting, there are cheaper versions out there, but all of them have a non-stick coating – the price hike comes from having a fully stainless steel pan). So I thought I’d share with you four ways to poach an egg—two of them use “special” equipment, and two of them use stuff you probably already have in your house.
Egg poaching is one of those things that everyone seems to have their own method or trick to getting it just right, so experiment with these and figure out which one is right for you. The first two methods I show below take a little bit of practice, so don’t get discouraged if the eggs don’t turn out perfect the first time you try it—you’ll get better!
And if appearance of your final egg is important to you, check the image above to see the final product of each method. If you want a perfect circle of a poached egg, an egg poaching pan is your friend, but if you like the organic, rustic look of a traditionally poached egg, one of the first two methods is for you!
Alright, let’s dig into the methods. First up, the traditional/normal/regular way to poach an egg.
This method has two keys to success: first up, you add regular white distilled vinegar to the pot – this helps the egg stay together in the water. Secondly, just before you drop the egg in, you swirl the water with a spoon to make a whirlpool. That way the egg keeps moving in the pan instead of sticking to the sides or the bottom. Okay, let me walk you through it.
The Queen Bee of cooking herself, Ms. Julia Child, had her own method for poaching eggs. Her method recommends parboiling the egg in the shell first for 10 seconds, and then breaking it into the cooking water. Why? Well, the parboiling helps the egg keep it’s shape, and helps keep the wispy white strings from going crazy in the water. Because the egg is already warm and has begun cooking, it also sets up much more quickly, meaning you don’t have to worry as much about it sticking to the bottom or the side of the pan.
Now this is where we start to get into the gadgets! Egg poaching cups landed on the scene a few years ago, and they’re a really great invention for folks who maybe don’t have the space for a full egg poaching pan in their kitchen, but still want an easy and less-fussy way to poach an egg. Most egg poaching cups are silicone, and I’ve heard you can actually cook eggs in the microwave using them as well, although I’ve never done it before. You can get them at most kitchen supply stores. Mine are EZE Homegoods brand (affiliate link), and they are bright and colorful and make me smile.
My parents had an egg poaching pan when I was growing up, and we had poached eggs on toast for breakfast every week! An egg poaching pan makes it so easy to make a bunch of poached eggs at once, and get them perfect. If you love poached eggs (and don’t mind being a “cheater”), I highly recommend investing in an egg poaching pan. I’m not normally a big fan of unitaskers in the kitchen, but my egg poaching pan (again, this is mine <—affiliate link), is my true love. The five spots are perfect for our little family—two for Mama, two for Daddy, and one for the adorable egg-loving toddler. They also have smaller or larger poaching pans.
Alright, now there has to be a method in this post that is right for you! And if you have a method or trick that I didn’t list in the post, I’d love to hear them in the comments. I’m always a fan of learning new ways to do my favorite kitchen tasks! Happy poaching, friends.
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Long live the poached egg….
Love me some poached eggs! They are such a simple and inexpensive way to add something special to a meal. We poach some at least once a week – on top of avocado toast, or panzanella, or a veggie/grain bowl, or whatever. Golden deliciousness ensues.
I usually use a shallow pan, like one you might brown ground beef in. An inch or so of water and a few dashes of vinegar, plus a bunch of swirling and I’m on my way. I usually can get 4 or 5 in the pan without too much trouble, as long as you swirl and find an empty space to place each egg, and swirl some more.
Thanks for sharing this post! I think people are scared of poached eggs, but they are really pretty simple with some practice, and really delicious. New eggs definitely work best! (and I’m totally jealous that your eggs are minutes-fresh from your backyard!)
My Mum uses the Delft blue egg coddlers she inherited from her Grandma. They always seem to do the trick although it’s hard to get them out of the coddler and onto the toast. To be fair coddling is of course different than poaching but my Mum always leaves them in the boiling water a little longer).
Love poaching eggs, and am always on the search to look for new ways to perfect them. Definitely trying out these techniques.
I bought on line a frying pan with 4 containers to poach eggs and a lid. I don’t know how to open the lid and have access to the 4 containers. I have always loved poached eggs. Please, don’t judge me from this question….Help!!!
Wiltshire Poachies. Google them. Like a mini coffee filter. The best way….
Thanks for the great tips! I used the whirlpool method this morning with great results– definitely the most success I’ve ever had with poached eggs. Please keep the great tips coming!!
Thank you. My poached eggs are never so great. I will look at the costs of an egg poacher pan or those silicone cups. Love poached just cant seem to get the knack.
I found a method for poaching eggs using the microwave (Pinterest, of course), and used it last night for my supper ‘eggs and toast.’ It worked perfectly, and was SO easy.
Poached each egg alone in just 1/2 cup of water in a smallish microwavable bowl, covered with a saucer, just over a minute (any longer than 1 minute and 10 seconds will cause the egg to explode). Both eggs were perfect (runny yolks, set whites). I have a brand-new 1,000 watt micro;; don’t know what more or less power would take time-wise, but the method is terrific, and is the only one I’ll use from now on. Oh, this was my fist time in my life making poached eggs, and I’m 63; I learned to cook when I 8 y.o., but never did learn poached eggs..til last night :-)
May be a dumb question!! While using the pan or cups, should they be kept immersed in simmering water for the duration of cooking?
You can also crack your egg into a tea strainer. All of the thin liquid of the egg white will go straight through leaving a thicker part along with the yolk. Then poach your preferred method. You are then left with no stringy bits. Give it a try. If you have a fine sieve that’ll also work. Don’t forget to first put the prepared egg in a small dish before putting it in the wate
I sometimes Cook the eggs în plastic foil and add bacon, cheese and herbs. Tastes great! I use a cup so that my egg will Be in place în the foil, then I add goodies and tie the foil with thread and throw the ‘ball’ into the pot.
I’ve always done poached eggs in a deep pan (like one used to brown hamburger meat in) with a few inches of water in it. I first set the temp very low, until it simmering lightly. I lower the egg in with a small bowl and cook it at that low temp until just the outer white is set. Then I turn up the heat to a boil and it cooks all the way through. I’ve never had issues with white strings or sticking with this method, just Instagram-worthy eggs every time!
Good to know!!
Great advice! I’m going to try to Julia Childs tomorrow morning. Thank you.
If you want to do a lot of eggs at once (say, for DIY freezer breakfast sandwiches, etc.), you can do this in the oven with a muffin tin! Heat your oven to 350*F. Put 1 Tablespoon of water in each muffin cup. Crack the egg into the cup (or a glass custard dish to check for blood spots, then pour into cups). Bake for 11 to 15 mins, depending on how you like it. Done!
My 4 year old son LOVES poached eggs. He calls them weird eggs. I just use a little vinegar in the water. I crack the eggs in a little cup first and try my best to drain the really runny part, that helps reduce the little wispys. I have now gotten the hang of making poached eggs and can do 3 at a time.
“Weird eggs” is an excellent name for them. ?
I poach eggs in metal egg rings. You use non-stick egg rings and put them flat in a non-stick frying pan. Add water to approximately 1cm above the top of the ring and bring it to just below simmering. Crack an egg into each ring at cook until set to your preference, about three minutes for soft, six for firm. Use tongs to remove the egg ring and then a spatula to remove the egg.
– If your pan is too hot bubbles may form under your egg and the bottom might cook faster that the top.
– If wispy bits form, use the spatula to gently move water across the top of the eggs ad it will just float away.
– If I’m feeling fancy, I crack the egg into a little bowl and gently stir fresh herbs and other goodies through the white while taking care not to break the yolk. Then you just poach using your favourite poaching method. I like chives and parmesan or basil and cherry tomatoes. Just make sure everything is diced diced grated really small.
I use an egg poaching pan, but do it this way: while the pan is coming to a boil, Place the ring (with the poaching cups in place) on the counter and break the eggs into the cups. When the water is boiling, lift the ring, with the cups, using a fork and knife placed into the large holes on opposite sides of the ring, and place in the pan. Put the cover in place and cook for the desired time – three to five minutes. When time is up, remove lid, and lift the entire ring, with egg cups and place on counter top. Empty each cup. This allows each egg to cook exactly the same amount of time.
I always make a small sauce pot of boiling water then set 3 eggs still in their she’ll into the water for 3 to 4 minutes turn out almost perfect every time no mess just rinse pot and dry, set eggs in cool water to Pearland when you use ure fork to cut it open the yolk runs out
That’s not a poached egg. That’s a,soft boiled egg.
I recently sold my poaching pan as it overcooked the eggs. But now I’m thinking we should have added the egg cups to it AFTER the water boiled. Live and learn. I’m attempting the vinegar method today.
Some great ideas from Jamie:
I poach eggs in the microwave
Put egg in 1/2 cup of water
Cover with saucer
Cook on high 1 min
Perfect every time
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