Shortcut Recipes: How to Poach an Egg

I love poached eggs, I almost always order them when I am out for breakfast or brunch. I’ve frequently have gone out for breakfast just because I wanted poached eggs, never thinking that I could actually successfully do it myself. I’ve tried many a way to prepare poached eggs at home other than actually cooking them. I’ve tried every little gadget and expensive pot that can be sold in stores, but I just felt cheated like they weren’t authentic poached eggs, and no matter what I did they never tasted the same as they did in restaurants. So I decided that there’s no time like the present and I might as well give it a go.

Turns out there’s really nothing to be afraid of, I might have screwed up the first one (it’s always awkward the first time), but I got it on the second try. Which of course sparked a little victory dance in my kitchen. While I marveled in my success I realized that the trick for perfectly cooked poached eggs is the water temp, and the amount of vinegar. The first time I tried I don’t think the water was hot enough, and I don’t think I added enough vinegar. Also the first time I was concentrating so hard on making a successful whirlpool that when I was trying to “gently” pour my egg into it, the overly ambitious slippery little sucker leaped out of the bowl and directly into trauma. It was a stringy egg white catastrophe, and so naturally I tossed it and tried again.

The trick is that you want to get the water to the temperature just before it boils. The pot will fill up with little tiny bubbles all over the surface, and when it’s just about to boil that’s when you turn your heat down, pour in your vinegar and start your whirlpool. 

You will need:

One medium to large pot
One egg (set aside in a small bowl)
Vinegar (about a 1/4 cup or so)
A rubber spatula (or spoon)
A large slotted spoon
Paper Towel 


Crack an egg into a small bowl and set aside. Did you know that if you crack an egg on a flat surface that the egg actually cracks open easier? Crack your egg against the counter rather than the side of bowl it makes it much easier, and you’ll get fewer broken shells.

Bring a medium or large bot of water to a boil. I filled a medium sized pot about 3/4 with water. Allow the water to get just hot enough that the pot fills with little tiny bubbles, and it is JUST about to boil.

Turn the heat down. 

Pour in a splash of vinegar. If you’re like me and you have NO bloody idea how much is a splash then I’d say I put in about 1/4 of a cup of vinegar?

Using a spatula or a spoon start creating a whirlpool (the video below gives you a good idea of speed). 

While the water is still turning around in your pot gently poor in your egg from the bowl. It’s much much easier for newbies to use a bowl. Don’t get cocky with poached eggs trust me you need the bowl.

Now your egg should be gently spinning around and slowing adhering to itself. It’s going to look like it’s not going to work out, but it will (hopefully). 

Allow your egg to cook for about 3-4 minutes on the reduced heat. If your egg sinks to the bottom of the pot, or the side of the pot, just use your rubber spatula to gently encourage it away. 

Once your egg is ready scoop it out with a slotted spoon, and allow to drain on paper towel.

I served my perfectly poached egg on top of whole grain toast, apple wood smoked cheddar cheese, reduced salt turkey bacon, and it was divine. I think poached eggs might be a Saturday ritual in the making. 

If you want to make more than one, simply make one at a time, and then just before you serve them put the cooked poached eggs back into warm water (not boiling) and allow to warm up before you serve them.

If you are brave enough to accept this challenge I challenge you to attempt the poached egg, and PLEASE let me know how it goes or if you figured out any other tricks or tips!

Thanks for Reading and happy Tuesday, 
Short Presents

If you liked this post be sure to check back on Tuesdays for new recipe posts, and while you wait I encourage you to browe the “recipe” section for previously posted recipes.

*To help ensure my success in this endeavor I relied on these two sources:Smitten Kitchen’s instructions and this Youtube video

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1 Comment

  • Reply KD July 11, 2013 at 9:38 pm

    I will definitely try and let you know if it worked!

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