Poached eggs are one of those things that I am always surprised when people think they are hard to make. They are not. I eat them for breakfast almost every day — and my cholesterol is just fine, thank you.
The trick is to use fresh eggs. If you plan to poach eggs, try to buy eggs that day or the day before, preferably from the farmer’s market. There are some awesome farm fresh eggs at the markets in Minnesota; I have yet to find any within a reasonable distance in San Diego. If nothing else, take a minute and dig to the back of the egg case at the grocery store for the package with the latest “fresh by” date on it. Old eggs are just going to spread in the pan and frustrate you. Fresh eggs. Trust me.
You will need a pan filled with at least one inch of water. I use a small non-stick frying pan for easier clean up. In these pictures, I poached two eggs. I have the same pan in a larger size that I used to poach four eggs at once. Add your water and heat it over medium to medium-high heat until bubbles start to form. Some people like to add a splash of white vinegar, but I don’t find it necessary. I won’t judge you, though.
It shouldn’t be boiling, but a little simmer is fine. The eggs will cool the water off a little anyway.
Grab your eggs. Some people like to break the eggs into a small bowl and slide them in from there. If you’re more comfortable that way, go ahead! I like to crack my eggs using the back of a knife which helps avoid bits of shell and such, so I just break them gently into the simmering water. But don’t dip your knuckles in the hot water when doing this. I’ve heard it can be unpleasant.
So, eggs. Crack. Slide gently into the water.
You can see a few bubbles on the sides of the pan, but our water isn’t super hot. I turn the heat down to medium-low at this point. The whites are already starting to set.
Now for the hard part: don’t touch them. Just let them cook. You can see my eggs are completely submerged. If the top of your yolk peeks out a little, don’t worry. Once the eggs are almost done, you can splash a little water on top of the eggs until the very top is cooked. This should take 3-5 minutes.
Now you can see the whites are mostly set. Use a spoon to splash water over the tops of any exposed yolks. You can skim the floaty bits out, too. These were a little too thin to fish out. The eggs aren’t quite ready, though. The problem is that once they look opaque, people want to pull them out, but the white next to the yolk isn’t cooked through, yet. Eww.
At this point, I take my slotted spoon and carefully dislodge the egg from the bottom of the pan. This will save us from the possibility of the runny delicious yolk leaking all over the pan later. I also lift up the egg to see if the white feels set. If the yolk looks “loose” in the surrounding white, it’s not ready. If the yolk itself jiggles a little but the white stays put, it’s done!
Now, if I have a bigger pan (or plan to make a second batch), I carefully scoop out the eggs using my slotted spoon and set them on a paper towel to absorb excess water — we don’t want soggy biscuits. Since I only made two, I carefully poured the water out into the sink, leaving the eggs there. Then I set them back on the warm (but off) burner to evaporate the water underneath. I’m lazy.
When the bottom of the pan looks pretty dry, I can rescue my eggs to layer with my biscuits and protein. Yum. See how the white is solid around the yolk?
Voila! Poached eggs. Simple and delicious.
We have biscuits, we have smoked salmon (courtesy of Costco and my in-laws), we have poached eggs. Tomorrow, we will drown this bad boy in Hollandaise sauce and
die happy have some serious breakfast!
- Fill a saucepan with an inch or so of water. Bring water to a bare simmer over medium to medium-high heat.
- When bubbles have formed but water is not boiling, gently slide eggs into the pan. Reduce heat to medium-low.
- Leave eggs to cook for 3-4 minutes. Skim any frothy bits from the surface of the water.
- Use a slotted spoon to dislodge the eggs from the bottom of the pan. Lift an egg with the spoon to check if the white is set around the yolk. If the yolk moves easily, let the eggs cook another minute. If the yolk jiggles only in the center, the eggs are done.
- Pour the water very carefully out of the pan, or just scoop the eggs out of the pan with a slotted spoon onto a paper towel and pat dry.
- Serve immediately or move immediately into a bowl of cold water for up to 24 hours, then heat in a warm water bath before serving.