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Poached eggs are the crown jewel of fresh egg preparations, but making the delicately cooked orbs can be tricky. Various techniques involve adding vinegar to just-boiling water, swirling, straining, and salting, or whatever method you find easiest. And don't kid yourself, ease is key on a rushed or weekday morning when you just want a healthy, yet indulgent breakfast. If you just don't have time to boil water and coddle your one, lone egg, try poaching it in the microwave.

Large eggs—opt for free-range, if you can—work best for this technique, but depending on your microwave strength and egg preparation preference, any size can work. 

poached egg on toast with tomatoes
Credit: Getty Images

How to Poach an Egg in the Microwave:

  1. Fill an 8-ounce mug with tap water, leaving about 1 inch of space at the top.
  2. Crack an egg into the water-filled mug. Use a toothpick to quickly poke a hole in the yolk, so it doesn't explode in the microwave. The yolk should remain intact, and not leak at all. 
  3. Put the mug in the microwave for one minute. Use a spoon to remove the egg from the water, and rest it on a paper towel or serve immediately.
  4. Note: If your egg whites are not fully cooked after one minute, let the egg rest in the hot mug filled with water for 30 seconds. If it's still not fully done, microwave it again in 10-second intervals.

As you'll see, microwave poached eggs yield a slightly runny yolk. If you prefer your yolk to be more solid and cooked, just leave the egg in the warm water for a few extra seconds so it can firm up.  

As you get comfortable with this microwave poaching method, feel free to experiment with various shaped mugs. Wider mugs result in a flatter poached egg (perfect to top an English muffin or toast) while slimmer mugs can yield a more traditional round poached egg.

And that's it! No vinegar, swirling motions, or other techniques required. To dress up these one-minute microwave miracles, try them with chile butter and yogurt, or rest them on top of your next savory toast.