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Poached eggs are a delicious addition to many dishes. Don’t be afraid to try poaching an egg if you haven’t yet or haven’t been successful in the past. Follow these simple instructions for the perfect poached egg every time!

A plate of poached eggs seasoned with salt and pepper. Yolks are cut into with a fork and runny


If you find yourself craving a poached egg to top your salad, or serve for brunch, don’t opt out because you’re intimidated. There is no reason to shy away from recipes that call for poached eggs. This easy method with assuage your fears and turn you into a poaching master! Poached eggs are easier to make than you might think, but well worth knowing how to cook. It is best to start with the whirlpool method and then try the skillet method when you’ve got the knack.

What is the best method for poaching eggs?

There are two popular methods for poaching eggs.

WHIRLPOOL METHOD: This method is best for cooking 1 to 2 eggs at a time. In this poached egg method you use a saucepan of gently simmering water and stir the water to create a whirlpool. The whirlpool motion will help gently wrap the egg whites around the yolk.

SKILLET METHOD: This method is best for cooking larger amounts of poached eggs at a time. In this poached egg method you use a 12-inch skillet filled with just 1 to 2 inches of simmering water. The skillet gets covered and the heat is turned off. You can comfortably poach up to 6 eggs at a time using this method.

MAKE AHEAD METHOD: You can easily cook poached eggs ahead of time using either the whirlpool or skillet method. Once the eggs are done poaching, put them in an ice bath (a bowl of water and ice) to stop the cooking process. Store in the refrigerator for up to 8 hours. When you are ready to serve, simply slide them in a pot of simmering water for 1 minute to heat through.

Should I use vinegar to make poached eggs?

Vinegar is often added to the water when making poached eggs. 1 to 2 teaspoons is all you need to add, but it is optional. Adding vinegar to the simmering water helps keep the egg whites together, but it does add a subtle tang to the finished poached egg. The swirling that the whirlpool method uses also helps the egg white to gently wrap around the yolk and keep the whites from becoming stringy.

Is it possible to make prepare poached eggs in advance?

Yes, you can cook poached eggs ahead of time! Once they are done poaching, put them in an ice bath (a bowl of water and ice) to stop the cooking process. Store in the refrigerator for up to 8 hours. When you are ready to serve, simply heat them in a pot of simmering water for 1 minute.

Poached Eggs Pro Tips:

  1. Use fresh eggs—this will make a big difference and help the whites to achieve the custard-like consistency you want.
  2. Don’t overcook the eggs. Be sure to use a timer and remove the eggs from the hot water promptly when the timer goes off.
  3. Always crack the eggs in small, separate dishes beforehand—this ensures that the yolk doesn’t break.
  4. Don’t use boiling water—keep it to a simmer to achieve the delicate texture of a great poached egg.
Poached Eggs cut into with a fork and knife, yolks running out

If this was helpful for you, here are some other how-to instructional egg recipes you might find handy:

Watch the video below where Rachel will walk you through every step of this recipe. Sometimes it helps to have a visual, and we’ve always got you covered with our cooking show. You can find the complete collection of recipes on YouTube, Facebook Watch, or our Facebook Page, or right here on our website with their corresponding recipes.

A plate of poached eggs seasoned with salt and pepper. Yolks are cut into with a fork and runny
Poached eggs are a delicious addition to many dishes. Don’t be afraid to try poaching an egg if you haven’t yet or haven’t been successful in the past. Follow these simple instructions for the perfect poached egg every time!
Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Ingredients
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar optional
Instructions

Whirlpool Method (The whirlpool method is best used for cooking 1 to 2 eggs at a time)

  • Fill a saucepan with 1 to 2 inches of water. You want the water to be fairly shallow so that the egg doesn't have too much area to float around in. This will help keep the egg whites together.
  • Add 1 teaspoon of salt and 2 teaspoons of white vinegar to the water.
  • Bring the water to a simmer. Boiling water is too violent to poach an egg in. The water needs to be just barely at a simmer. You will have to adjust your heat source accordingly.
  • Crack an egg into a small bowl.
  • Use a spoon to stir the water in one direction so that it is in motion, like a whirlpool.
  • Stop stirring. While the water is in motion, gently slide the egg into the center of moving water. The swirling motion of the water will help prevent the egg white from spreading and will gently wrap the egg yolk.
  • Cover the pot and turn off the heat. Let poach for 5 minutes.
  • Use a slotted spoon to remove the egg from the water.

Skillet Method (The skillet method is best used for cooking large batches of eggs at a time, about 6)

  • Fill a 12-inch skillet with 1 1/2 to 2 inches of water. You want the water to be fairly shallow so that the egg doesn't have too much area to float around in. This will help keep the egg whites together.
  • Add 1 teaspoon of salt and 2 teaspoons of white vinegar to the water.
  • Bring the water to a simmer. Boiling water is too violent to poach an egg in. The water needs to be just barely at a simmer. You will have to adjust your heat source accordingly.
  • Crack eggs into separate small bowls.
  • Gently slide each egg into the simmering water, giving a little space between each egg.
  • Cover the skillet and turn off the heat. Let poach for 5 minutes.
  • Use a slotted spoon to remove the eggs from the water.
Notes

Cooking Ahead Instructions

You can cook poached eggs ahead of time! Once they are done poaching, put them in an ice bath (a bowl of water and ice) to stop the cooking process. Store in the refrigerator for up to 8 hours. When you are ready to serve, simply heat them in a pot of simmering water for 1 minute. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1egg | Calories: 63kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 164mg | Sodium: 450mg | Potassium: 61mg | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 240IU | Calcium: 25mg | Iron: 0.8mg
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Keyword: poached eggs
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Dee
August 28, 2020 4:39 pm

5 stars
This was delicious! I was worried I wouldn’t cook it correctly, but it came out great! I served it with a salad and homemade croutons. Next time, I’ll try serving it with Rachel’s ham salad.

Selah Howard
September 2, 2019 2:22 am

Hi there! So, I can’t exactly say how well this recipe works or tastes since I am allergic to eggs, but I do want to compliment you on something, Rachel. I just want to say that you and your videos are very pleasant and enjoyable. Your smile is beautiful and I like the sound of your voice (I know it sounds weird and maybe even creepy but hear me out), I get the impression that you are a very soothing person, at least that is how you come across. You are beautiful in your own unique way and I love… Read more »

dorcas perry
October 27, 2020 2:33 am

5 stars
The writer clearly knows what they are talking about. Main point is to use a very fresh egg & gently simmering salted water being careful about how you tip the egg into it. If you do this, swirling isn’t really needed. If your egg isn’t so fresh then make scrambled egg or omlette.

August 28, 2020 11:16 am

Those look perfect!

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