The question of How to Poach Eggs seems to be shrouded in myth and fear. My step by step guide shows you how to easily poach an egg without fuss. There are only two simple tricks and I tell you both!
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Poached Eggs are not difficult. There is no need to panic. And no need to buy elaborate speciality pans or drown the cooking water with vinegar. There is no need to strain egg whites or create vortexes of water. And there is certainly no need to stress. There is definitely no need to avoid making poached eggs.
The Secrets to Perfect Poached Eggs
The fresher the better. The only way to stop egg white spreading when the eggs are cooking is for the egg white to be nice and firm to start with. As eggs age, the white thins and the thicker part next to the egg reduces in size.
If you don’t mind the white spreading, then older eggs are perfectly fine to poach. But if you’re looking for tight and plump eggs, go and buy a new box.
Use a Shallow Pan
Why on earth people insist on cooking a little poached egg in a huge vat of water will forever remain a mystery to me.
A frying pan provides plenty of depth to submerge the eggs and cook them. But a shallow pan also allows you to see exactly where the eggs are and how well they are cooking without having to go fishing for them.
It is also helpful to have a fish slice spatula. The flat nature of the spatula allows the eggs to easily be removed from the pan and the slits allow the excess water to drain off. Slotted spoons have a tendency of breaking the egg as you remove it from the pan.
Cooking is 2% knowledge, 1% great ingredients and 97% confidence.
Start out thinking “Its an egg, I can poach it and it’ll be great” and you probably will. Start out thinking “Ah, its a scary egg, I can’t cook it” and you probably can’t.
Confidence is key. Whether that is cracking the egg firmly or fishing out the egg. Just do it.
How to Make Poached Eggs into a Feast
I truly believe that you can make any dish into a proper feast! Whether thats a feast for one after work on a Tuesday, a casual feast for four on a Friday evening or a feast for 12 for a special occasion!
I’ve included poached eggs in two of my Feast collections.
Don’t forget to head over to the Big Brunch Feast and Big Americana Feast posts for all of my tips and tricks to help you host a fun and stress-free feast. Plus remember to check out my other feast collections and all my other brunch and Americana inspired recipes.
More Breakfast Egg Recipes
For more great egg recipe ideas, have a look at my roundup of The Best Eggs for Breakfast Recipes featuring not only more of my recipes but even more from some other top Food Bloggers.
There are plenty of ideas from pancakes to baked eggs, curds to spread on toast, spicy middle eastern dishes and comforting classics.
How To Poach Eggs – Ingredients
I’ve explained above why fresh eggs are the key to great poached eggs. But you can use any type or size fresh egg. Regular chicken eggs, duck eggs, even quail eggs. I think we all draw the line at ostrich eggs!
The water must be boiling when the eggs go in and must remain boiling throughout the cooking process. The boiling will stop the eggs from sticking on the bottom of the pan.
So many people tell me that they never cook with salt and in the same breath tell me how tasty my food is. Infuriating! Cook with salt people. Season your food!
I only really ever cook with Sea Salt Flakes. I do sometimes use cheaper table salt for salting cooking water. But I’ve experimented with poached eggs and I don’t think that salted water makes any difference to the taste of the egg.
And so I only ever season my eggs once cooked. Sea Salt Flakes can be a little chunky and I therefore make sure to crush them in my fingers as I’m sprinkling them on to my food.
Make it Allergy Friendly
Poached Eggs are free from gluten, dairy and nuts.
Egg Free: I’m sorry although I don’t think will come as any great surprise but poached eggs are simply not for you!
Please note that this recipe may contain other allergens not referred to above. For more information regarding any dietary information provided on this website, please refer to my Nutritional Disclaimer.
How To Poach Eggs – Equipment
I use a kettle to boil the water to speed up the process. If you don’t have a kettle then we can’t be friends. Sorry. Whilst you’re waiting for your shiny new kettle to arrive, you can boil the water directly in the pan. But this will take unnecessary extra time.
A silicone fish slice is my egg fishing implement of choice. I do have a weird super slotted flat spoon which is actually a Pampered Chef potato masher but unfortunately these are no longer available.
A comprehensive list of the equipment used to make this recipe is included in the main recipe card below. Click on any item to see an example. There are no hard and fast rules so many items can be sensibly substituted to achieve the same results.
How To Poach Eggs – Step by Step
Boil a kettle. Meanwhile put a couple of tablespoons of water in a shallow pan. Put the pan on a high heat.
Once the kettle is boiled, add the boiling water to the now warm pan. Ensure the water comes back to the boil before continuing.
Crack 2 eggs on a flat surface …
… and drop them directly into the boiling water.
Watch the eggs. They won’t take long – maybe 2 to 3 minutes. Don’t poke at them. If the water starts to look like it’ll boil over, turn down the heat a little.
If any yolks are sticking just out the water, you can flick water over then until they go opaque. Don’t touch them otherwise.
When the white is fully set and the yolk is at your preferred level of done, turn the heat off.
Use a flat fish slice to slide under the cooked egg.
Lift the egg on the spatula and hover above the pan for a couple of seconds to drain any excess water. Slide the egg onto the serving plate.
Repeat with the second egg.
Sprinkle 1/8 tsp Sea Salt Flakes over the eggs and serve immediately.
Still Have Questions?
Simple! Just contact me and I will do my best to help as quickly as I am able. Head over to my Contact Me page, any of my social media channels or post a comment at the bottom of this page and I’ll see what I can do.
Don’t forget to let me know in the comments if you try making this recipe – I want to know what you think and if you made any substitutions, how did it turn out?
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More Egg Based Recipes
Instructions in Brief
How to Poach Eggs
- 2 Eggs – Fresh
- 1/8 tsp Sea Salt Flakes
- Boil a kettle. Meanwhile put a couple of tablespoons of water in a shallow pan. Put the pan on a high heat.
- Once the kettle is boiled, add the boiling water to the now warm pan. Fill the pan 3/4 full. Ensure the water comes back to the boil before continuing.
- Crack 2 eggs on a flat surface …
- … and drop them directly into the boiling water.
- Watch the eggs. They won’t take long – maybe 2 to 3 minutes. Don’t poke at them. If the water starts to look like it’ll boil over, turn down the heat a little.
- If any yolks are sticking just out the water, you can flick water over them with a spatula until they go opaque. Don't touch them otherwise.
- When the white is fully set and the yolk is at your preferred level of done, turn the heat off.
- Use a flat fish slice to slide under the cooked egg.
- Lift the egg on the spatula and hover above the pan for a couple of seconds to drain any excess water. Slide the egg onto the serving plate.
- Repeat with the second egg.
- Sprinkle 1/8 tsp Sea Salt Flakes over the eggs and serve immediately.