How to Poach an Egg

Back in June, I posted my Culinary Bucket List: a list of 15 things I want to accomplish in the kitchen — and one of them has daunted me for a very long time: poached eggs.

So let me show you a photo:

How to Poach an Egg

I did it!  I poached my first egg! And it was delicious!

Inspired by great comments from some of my readers (thanks, Marilyn!), and the fact that I’ve seen some of my best friends fearlessly poaching eggs without batting an eyelash, it was time to give it a go myself.

And you know what, it was very easy.  I don’t know why I had hyped it all up in my head, but I had, and poaching an egg really doesn’t deserve all that anxiety!

Big thanks also go to Deb, who has an awesome tutorial on How to Poach an Egg at Smitten Kitchen, that you must go take a look at.  Deb’s got great photos there documenting each stage of the process, and my favourite part of her post is where she says:

Don’t panic. Seriously, it’s going to look a little chaotic in there for a moment. You’ll probably have a little white fly off that you had wanted to keep attached to the egg. Breathe. It’s okay. It will still work out.

And Deb was so right.  There was a little eggy mess, but it all worked out!

The best tips for egg-poaching I received:

  • Don’t have the water at a full-on boil.  Instead, pop the egg in when you have high-heat water with teeny bubbles.
  • Use something to get the egg in there.  The boyfriend likes a ladle, I found great success with a teacup.  If you crack the egg into something else before you tip it into the water it has a better chance of staying together.
  • Breathe.  It will all be ok.
  • Just try it, it’s easy! (Thanks, Louise!)

How to Poach an Egg

  1. Heat a pot of water on the stove.
  2. While the water is coming to a pre-boil state, gently crack an egg into a teacup, keeping the yolk in tact.
  3. When the water has lots of teeny bubbles on the surface, use a spatula to stir a whirlpool into the water.
  4. Gently tip the egg into the whirlpool with one hand, while gently continuing to stir with your other hand.
  5. Keep breathing.  It will be ok.  You can do this.
  6. Leave the egg for 3-4 minutes (3 if you like your yolks super runny, like I do), and don’t touch it.
  7. Gently remove the poached egg from the water with a slotted spoon, and drain on a paper towel.

How to Poach an Egg

So what do you do with your perfectly poached eggs (and new-found sense of accomplishment)?  Well, you can try some of these ideas:

  • Slide them onto toast for a quick, simple & healthy breakfast.  Serve with fruit.
  • Make Eggs Florentine: layer a halved English muffin, sauteed spinach, & poached egg, and serve with Hollandaise if that’s your bag.
  • Whip up a bowl of soft polenta, stir through some smoky or old cheddar, and top with a poached egg.
  • Try Heidi’s Poached Eggs over Rice at 101 Cookbooks.
  • Top a green salad, or sauteed greens with a poached egg for some staying power.

Want more egg-cellent breakfast recipes?  How about…

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Categories: Breakfast & Brunch, Main Course, Vegetarian


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7 Comments on “How to Poach an Egg”

  1. July 27, 2010 at 11:44 pm #

    I’m so proud of you! 🙂 Poached eggs and bechamel are two things that are so easy to make and yet scare so many people… Congratulations, your poached egg looks perfect!

    • July 28, 2010 at 8:40 am #

      Aw, thanks! You were definitely a big part of my inspiration on this one — I could see you standing at the pot of water telling me just how easy it is!

      Bechamel I’ve got covered 🙂


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