Last summer my husband was on a fishing trip in Canada and wanted to impress the guys with his culinary cleverness. So he asked me (via text) how to do it. I texted him back this foolproof poached egg recipe that has never failed me!
5 Easy Steps to the Foolproof Poached Egg
- Boil at least 3 inches of water in a pot with 1 teaspoon vinegar.
- Turn the heat off and gently swirl the water in a circle with a spoon.
- Break an egg into a bowl and carefully drop the egg into the center of the slow swirling vortex.
- Cover the pot and cook the egg for exactly 4 minutes.
- Remove the egg with a slotted spoon and serve.
Jerry made them just like this and they were a big hit with the guys!
A Perfectly Poached Egg is rare. If you order a poached egg in a restaurant, it can be a crap shoot.
Sometimes the yolk is solid through, sometimes the yolk and the whites are runny. Yuck. But a perfectly crafted poached egg is a beautiful thing and it’s so easy to do at home.
All the whites should be cooked through with just the bare rim of the outside of the yolk tender and opaque, leaving the center of the yolk a little jammy with a touch of golden lava flow. Hubba hubba…
Sprinkle your poached eggs with a little salt and pepper. Add 3 dots of a little herb olive oil on top, and that, my friend, is a fine… fine thing.
Tips and Tricks for a Foolproof Poached Egg
- Use fresh eggs – the fresher the egg the tighter the albumen (the egg white) will adhere to the yolk making a rounder shape. The whites in older eggs are much looser and spread easily.
- Crack an egg into a small bowl instead of directly into the water – this reduces the chance of the yolk breaking.
- Add vinegar to the water
- Swirl – Swirl – Swirl! – A nice smooth water rotation helps keep it all together.
- Carefully slip the egg into the water – this will help keep the white close to the yolk. If you drop it in 2 inches or higher from the water, you’ve stretched the whites and they can detach from the yolk altogether.
- Turn the heat off completely and cover the pot – If you only reduce the heat, the egg may get over done.
- Use a fine mesh strainer – this gives the delicate egg plenty of support while allowing the water to drain away. A slotted spoon works well too.
Foolproof Egg Poaching YouTube Video
Why add vinegar?
Vinegar is an acid and by adding it to the water you are lowering the pH of the water. This helps the albumen (egg white protein) to unwind more quickly, bond to itself, making a network lattice of proteins.
Basically, vinegar helps set the egg faster. The faster it sets, the less feathering there is and the prettier the poached egg looks.
What to do if you don’t have any vinegar?
Jerry didn’t have any vinegar in the cabin, but he did have a lemon! He used the juice of 1/2 the lemon and it was enough acid to keep the egg whites from disintegrating into a complete mess.
1 Minute Hollandaise Sauce
This is my #1 go to method for making Hollandaise sauce. I love it so much not only did I write a post about it, but I also created an entire mini Free course around it too with a video and everything. This is one recipe that you should definitely have in your arsenal!
How many eggs can you poach at once?
With this foolproof poached egg method, the first egg into the water gets the maximum benefit of the center vortex. That one always turns out best. So ideally, one at a time is the way to go if you’re looking for beautiful egg poaching. But when faced with a hungry horde, I’ve poached up to 3 at a time with great success.
Can you make Poached Eggs ahead of time?
These are the perfect ‘make ahead’ little treat. Make a whole bunch at one time. Put them on a paper towel in an air tight container and they’ll last for 5 days in the refrigerator. Bring them back to life by setting them in a bowl of hot water or simmering water for 2 minutes.
This past Thanksgiving we had the family over for brunch (13 of us!). I made enough poached eggs for 16 egg Benedicts 2 hours before everyone came. I laid them on paper towels on a baking sheet and kept them in the oven at 175F. They were perfect!
Poached Egg Recipe - Easy, healthy, and delicious! Not to mention a great use for leftovers. | www.lakesidetable.com
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar
- salt & pepper to taste
- really good olive oil light or flavored with herbs
- small sauce pan
- small bowl
- slotted spoon
- paper towel
Simmer 1 1/2 to 2 inches of water, white vinegar, and salt in the small sauce pan. A small sauce pan will keep the whites closer to the yolk and not disperse all over the place and the vinegar and salt help bind the proteins to keep them from feathering.
Crack the egg over a small bowl into the palm of your hand. Let the thin white run into the bowl and try to keep the thick white with the yolk in your hand. The older an egg is, the more the white will thin out.
Swirl the simmering water with your spoon. Carefully lower the egg into the middle of the vortex. Cover with a lid for 3 minutes. No peaking! Remove with a slotted spoon and place on paper towel to take off any extra moisture.
Put your beautiful poached egg on top of warm toast, english muffin, or warmed up leftover marinara. Add salt, pepper, and olive oil to taste.
Remember you can make these ahead. In an air tight container, they will last 5 days in the refrigerator. Bring them back to life by putting them in simmering water for 2 minutes.
Special thanks to Heather Mumma for coming over and giving me the finer points of egg poaching and for being my hand model. 🙂