How To Poach Eggs
How To

How To Make Poached Eggs

Poached eggs are seen as the most difficult way to cook eggs and just like all of the other methods of cooking eggs, there are different ways to do it and really, they are not difficult to master.

Much like how to cook boiled eggs, it is all a matter of timing. If you don’t poach the eggs for long enough, they will be too runny and if you poach them for too long, they will be too firm. There is probably nothing more disappointing in this world than an overcooked poached egg!

Let’s jump right in and look at the different ways you can poach an egg. Don’t forget to also check out our tips below for poaching the perfect egg.

Poach eggs in a frypan

This method will give you a poached egg that more resembles a fried egg, meaning that it will be flatter and wider. This method is very forgiving and is the easiest way to do poached eggs, although probably not the ‘cafe-style’ poached eggs you might be used to.

  1. Take a wide shallow frypan and fill with around 1 inch of water
  2. Add 1 tablespoon of vinegar – see below about using vinegar with poached eggs
  3. Bring water to boil on a high heat
  4. Crack your eggs into a cup and then gently pour into the frypan, being very careful not to break the yolk. The eggs will lie on the bottom of the pan and spread out much like a fried egg
  5. Cook for anywhere between 3 and 5 minutes, depending on how runny you like them
  6. You can gently spoon the hot water over the top of the yolks if they are sticking up above the water
  7. Remove eggs with a slotted spoon and allow to drip dry for a few seconds

Poach eggs in a saucepan

This is the ‘cafe-style’ method of making poached eggs and involves a few little tricks to help create the perfect poached eggs.

  1. Take a small to medium sized deep saucepan and fill halfway with water
  2. Add 1 tablespoon of vinegar – see below about using vinegar with poached eggs
  3. Add a pinch of salt
  4. Bring water to boil on a high heat
  5. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer
  6. Crack your eggs into a cup
  7. With a wooden spoon or a spatula, stir the water around in a circular motion to create a whirlpool
  8. Gently pour an egg into the saucepan, being very careful not to break the yolk
  9. Cook for anywhere between 2 and 4 minutes, depending on how runny you like them
  10. Remove eggs with a slotted spoon and allow to drip dry for a few seconds

Using vinegar with poached eggs

There is a bit of debate about using vinegar in the water when cooking poached eggs.
The idea is that adding a tablespoon of vinegar will lower the pH of the water which helps to coagulate the egg whites. This helps to cook the egg whites faster, which allows for perfectly set whites and perfectly runny yolks.
On the flip side, peoples arguments about using vinegar is that it can give the eggs a vinegary taste. But when used sparingly, there should be no vinegar taste.

Tips for perfect poached eggs

  • Fresh eggs are a must! This is important for all types of egg cooking but especially true when poaching. Egg whites are thicker and will hold together much better when they are fresh. An old egg will have a watery white that will tend to fall apart more easily in water.
  • Cracking the egg into a cup before poaching ensures the yolk stays in tact and there are no shells added.
    Whilst it takes a little longer, cooking only 1 or 2 eggs at a time is the preferred method when poaching.
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