Let’s Crack the Code on How to Poach an Egg

Poached eggs is a mystery for a lot of home cooks, yet it’s a culinary staple that dates back to the dawn of time.

Today, let’s crack the code on how to poach an egg.


Why Poach An Egg

With a history that dates back to antiquity, the poached egg’s popularity is due to its light, delicate texture of its whites combined with the rich, runny yolk that’s like a built-in sauce.

Poached eggs make an appearance in multiple cuisines such as the American classic Eggs Benedict, North African shakshuka, and Turkish çilbir which is poached eggs with a tangy yogurt sauce.

Poached eggs are a versatile and nutritious option any time of day.

Eggs clock in at only 78 calories each and with 6 grams of protein.

They’re also rich in a variety of nutrients including Vitamin D.


Poached Eggs Can Be a Challenge

So you’re tired of the same ol’ same ol’ scrambled egg routine, but you dismiss the idea of poaching an egg because it can be a challenge.

The whites spread out in the water like a beautiful sea creature but not a great look for poached eggs where you want tight and compact whites.

Sometimes the egg sticks to the bottom of the pan and then tears apart as you remove it from the water.

Or you may overcook or undercook your egg, either way it’s not a pleasant result.


Top Three Tips for How To Poach an Egg

Let’s peel away the mystery of poached eggs.

Here are my top three tips.

  1. Maintain a gentle simmer between 185˚ – 190˚ F throughout the poaching process. A kitchen thermometer is a great investment and a handy tool to have on hand to help maintain the proper temperature.
  2. Drop your WHOLE egg still in its shell into the simmering water for 10 seconds. This will assist in congealing the whites prior to poaching. After this, you’ll break your egg and add it to the water for 3 minutes, no longer than 5 minutes.
  3. Add a bit of white vinegar to the water to help congeal the whites.

Contrary to critics of this approach, I’ve never had an egg that tasted like vinegar.

Get ready to enjoy the glory and versatility of poached eggs. Once you have the process down, your creativity is you only limitation.

Get the full recipe on how to poach an egg below.



How To Poach An Egg

Life At The Table | How to Poach an Egg. Poached egg atop a bed of shredded beef with a chipotle hollandaise.

Poached eggs are a delicious and versatile option any time of day. Take the guess work out of achieving a perfectly poached egg with this recipe.

  • Author: Life At The Table


  • Eggs
  • Pot or deep saucepan filled with at least 1 quart of water
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • Wooden spoon
  • Slotted spoon or fish spatula


  1. Fill a large pot with at least 1 quart of water.
  2. Bring the water to a simmer, at least 185 – 190 degrees F. You’ll see bubbles on the bottom with lots of steam coming up. A kitchen thermometer is a handy tool in the kitchen to monitor the temperature of the water.
  3. Drop your WHOLE egg into the simmering water for 10 seconds. Count this off so you don’t go over.
  4. Remove the whole egg from the water.
  5. Add 1 tablespoon of white vinegar to the water.
  6. Break the egg into a small ramekin.
  7. Swirl the water with the stem of a wooden spoon.
  8. Dip the ramekin into the water to release the egg into the swirl.
  9. Set your timer for 3 minutes. No more than 5 minutes, depending on how much you want the yolk cooked.
  10. Remove the egg from the water with a slotted spoon or fish spatula.
  11. As the egg is simmering, check the temperature of the water. Maintain as close as possible the goal of 185-190 degrees F.
  12. Voila! Perfectly poached egg.


  • With this approach there is no need to strain your egg beforehand, or trim the whites afterwards. Cooking the whole egg for 10 seconds works to begin the process of congealing the whites before dropping the unshelled egg into the water.
  • Enjoy!
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