How To Make Perfect Poached Eggs

How To Make Perfect Poached Eggs

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Have you ever set out to make the perfect poached egg, only to fail miserably? What was supposed to be your flawless, magazine-worthy addition to the breakfast table – or wherever you like to have your eggs – ended up a less-than-desirable blob. If you’re like a lot of people, poaching eggs might seem like an unattainable fantasy created to confuse and frustrate. Even those with a go-to egg poaching method can still struggle.

So, what’s the secret behind making this eggy-dream a reality? Turns out, it’s not much more than a slotted spoon, some boiling water, and a little bit of time. Oh, and a pro tip from the late, great Julia Child wouldn’t hurt, either. So, turn on your stove, grab your spoon, and get ready to make the perfect poached eggs…


Secrets From The Master

Okay, you’ve got your eggs, some water, and a spoon on stand-by. You’re ready to get crackin’ (couldn’t resist a good pun). But, before you begin, there are a couple of small extras you’ll want to grab, courtesy of Julia, herself:

  • A pin (this can be a safety pin or a push pin; sewing pins are not recommended)
  • A timer, set to 10 seconds

That’s it. That’s all Julia says you need – apart from the boiling pot of water, slotted spoon, and eggs, of course – to cook absolutely perfect poached eggs right in your own kitchen.

Photo: Yarzab

Making The Perfect Poached Eggs

Now that you’ve got that sage advice from one of the greats, it’s time to put it to use and dive right in…

Photo: WikiMedia Commons/GRAN

Boil Your Water

Fill a large pot with water and bring it to a boil. Simple, right? You’re off to a great start.


Pierce The Eggshell With Your Pin

Grab your safety pin or push pin (make sure you properly clean and sanitize it first) and make a small hole in the shell of your egg.

This is going to release any air that’s inside the egg, and is vital to creating that perfectly rounded shape – more on that next. Oh, and don’t worry about your egg leaking. The hole is way too small for anything to escape.


Boil Your Egg

Your first instinct might be to just crack that egg open and – gently – plop it into the water, right?

That might be how most conventional methods have you make poached eggs, but Julia Child may know better. This is where those 10 seconds come in.

Place the entire egg, shell and all, into the boiling water for 10 seconds. Then, use your slotted spoon to lift it out of the water and let it cool for a few moments, until you can comfortably pick it up with your bare hand.

Boiling your egg first cooks the whites just enough that it helps to keep its shape once you crack it. And, it might seem unrelated, but you know how boiled eggs usually have that indentation on the bottom? That’s where the pin prick comes in.

Because you make that small hole and let the air release, there’s no air bubble in the end to make that pesky imprint in your poached egg. It also cuts way down on those wispy whites that can form. (It’s also a great technique to use with boiled eggs, too.)

While your egg is cooling, reduce your water to a simmer.

Photo: Swain

Poach Your Egg

Once your egg is cool and the water is simmering away, it’s time to crack your egg into the pot. Most methods will ask you to create a “vortex” of swirling water – this is exactly what it sounds like, stirring your water really fast until you get that water-tornado effect – to drop your egg into. You can absolutely still do this, but you might find that it’s no longer necessary.

For a runny yolk, set your timer for 3 to 4 minutes, or 5 to 6 minutes for a firmer yolk. When the time is up, gently remove the poached egg out of the water and let it dry off on a clean kitchen towel. You can even dap it a little with a napkin just to get any excess water off before you serve.

And that’s it. Just a few – super simple – extra steps can almost guarantee you a perfect poached egg to wow your friends and family, or even just for your own satisfaction.