How to Make Perfect Poached Eggs, According to Professional Chefs

All for the coveted golden yolk drip.

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Of all the egg-cooking techniques, poaching might be the one that trips people up the most. Yes, poached eggs might seem fancy, but when it comes down to it, they’re just eggs simmered in water. Memorize the method, and you’ll be able to whip up perfect poached eggs whenever you like. Additionally, almost anything can be elevated with a poached egg; we love them atop buttered toast, grain bowls, salads, and roasted veggies, to name some ideas. And if you want to impress someone, make Eggs Benedict with homemade hollandaise. 

Keep reading for our go-to instructions for poaching eggs, as well as some hacks from professional chefs to perfect your poached egg game.

How to Make Poached Eggs

Ready to make your own poached eggs? Follow the easy step-by-step recipe below.

  1. Fill a saucepan with water and bring it to a boil.
  2. Once boiling, reduce the heat until the water is at a bare simmer.
  3. Crack an egg into a small bowl, and gently tip it into the water. Make sure to add one egg at a time.
  4. Turn off the heat, cover the saucepan, and set a timer for 3 minutes. You’re looking for fully cooked whites with just-runny-enough yolks. Play around with the timing for your perfect poached egg.
  5. Remove the poached eggs with a slotted spoon, and set them on a piece of paper towel to drain slightly before serving.

Poached Egg Hacks

Ready to elevate your poached eggs? Try these hacks from professional chefs that are guaranteed to take the popular breakfast to the next level.

Add vinegar and salt

Sarah Schneider of Egg Shop in New York City recommends adding a splash of light white vinegar to your poaching water. Champagne, cider, and rice vinegars are all good light white vinegar options. Schneider also adds a pinch of salt to the water, because the combination of vinegar and salt causes the eggs to float in the water and cook more evenly than they would otherwise.

Swirl the water

Eldad Mashiach, co-owner of Reunion in Brooklyn, New York, suggests swirling the water and dropping an egg into the middle of the spiral. By poaching the egg in a mini vortex, the whites will wrap more tightly around the yolk, resulting in a neater poached egg. You’re welcome!

Strain the egg

Strain eggs one at a time in a fine mesh strainer before adding them to the water. By straining the eggs, you’ll get rid of extra wispy whites that can result in a sloppy poached egg.

Use your senses

The best way to test a poached egg’s doneness is by lifting it out with a slotted spoon and giving it a “gentle wiggle or poke” with your finger, says Schneider. With a simple touch and a little experience, you’ll be able to tell if the egg white is set and the yolk is cooked to your liking.

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