How to Poach an Egg

It really wasnt until recently that I felt comfortable on my ability in executing a perfect poached eggs. When we go out to brunch, ordering an eggs benny is pretty close to necessary but making them at home? No, thanks. This post is focused on one thing and one thing only: how to poach an egg.

Once you master this technique, youll find your tossing poached eggs on everything, even when its completely superfluous. Best of all, this technique goes beyond just how to poach AN egg but will help you master poaching MULTIPLE eggs and then youll really be on your way to blowing everyones minds.

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A perfectly poached egg has velvety yolks and soft whites.

How to Poach an Egg:

  1. Fill a wide saucepan up with a good amount of water. I like to fill it about 1-2 from the top.
  2. Add a big splash of distilled white vinegar (or even rice vinegar). Do not add salt to the water as it can cause the egg whites to break up.
  3. Turn the heat on the saucepan to medium-low. The water should not be boiling but some small bubbles should regularly be rising from the bottom of the pan to the top of the water.
  4. Crack an egg into a ramekin.
  5. Place fork tines at the bottom part of the ramekin and gently tip the ramekin into the fork over the skin to strain off excess egg white. Note: You can also strain the egg through a fine mesh sieve into the ramekin. I find the fork method to be easier and less cleanup, but the goal is to just lose a bit of the wispy egg whites.
  6. Create a gentle whirlpool in the middle of the saucepan using the back of a wooden spoon.
  7. Pour the egg into the whirlpool. You may need to use a fork or spoon to keep the whites from detaching from the egg. If they begin spinning and floating about, simply gather them above the egg yolk gently using a fork or spoon.
  8. Now, this may be controversial, but I do not set a timer. Allow the egg to cook for anywhere from 3-4 minutes. Once the egg looks set, use a slotted spoon to carefully lift it up out of the water. If it seems too soft, gently return it to the water to keep cooking. I find setting a timer leads to undercooked eggs. Just check on them occasionally.
  9. Once the whites are set, lift the egg out of the water and transfer to a plate and serve immediately!

How to Poach Multiple Eggs:

When it comes to poaching multiple eggs, the tactic is nearly the same. Be sure to use a somewhat wide pan if youre new to poaching, but Ive poached 4 eggs in a saucepan before.

I do recommend cracking and straining the eggs into individual ramekins, but if you only have 1 ramekin, its okay to use it multiple times but youll need to adjust the cook time for each egg depending on when you get into the water. IE: The first egg will nearly finish cooking by the time you get the fourth egg into the water.

To poach multiple eggs, simply follow the instructions above but when you make your whirlpools, start at the 12 oclock mark in the pan and make a gentle whirlpool there and drop the first egg in. Next, move on to 3 oclock and drop the second egg. Then move to 6 oclock and drop the third egg. Finally, at 9 oclock, drop the fourth egg. Cook as you would normally and remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to a plate. Season with salt and pepper and serve!

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