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How to Poach Eggs Perfectly Every Time

Two avocado sandwiches with poached eggs.

Enjoy poached eggs, but don’t know how to make’ em? That’s what we’re here for! With the right knowledge and tools, and a little bit of practice, you’ll be poaching eggs like a pro in no time.

A lot of people avoid poaching eggs simply because they’re unfamiliar with the process and think it will be difficult or overly fussy. But we assure you, it’s not!

With our tips, tricks, and recommended tools, you’ll be poaching eggs flawlessly every single time. And who doesn’t want to enjoy a delicious, wholesome breakfast at least a few days of the week? It doesn’t have to be fussy and with a little trick here or there it can be downright easy!

5 Tips for Poaching Eggs

Poaching eggs can be boiled down to something as simple as cracking an egg in hot water, then serving it with something like an English muffin.


However, to reach the perfect oval-shaped pillows of egg whites filled with bright yellow yolks that ooze just right, you’ll need to know these simple tricks. Do the following, and you won’t even need the hollandaise:

  • Always use fresh eggs: This will help you avoid thin, wispy strands of cooked egg white that disperse in the water. You can usually find fresh eggs at a local farmers’ market or from a friend who raises chickens. Old egg whites start to lose firmness over time, making it harder to keep that nice oval-shaped egg when poached.
  • Add a splash of vinegar: About a tablespoon added to your boiling water will do. This helps keep the egg whites intact, but it also gives your eggs a slight vinegary taste.
  • Use a deep pot: A skillet will also work, but we find a deeper pot works best to evenly poach the eggs.
  • Crack your eggs into a smaller bowl or ramekin first: Do this before you pour them into the water to avoid broken yolks, burnt fingers, or floating eggshell pieces. Use a large slotted serving spoon to remove them.
  • Spoon finished eggs onto a paper towel: This will absorb all water. Then you can transfer them to a plate. Soggy, wet eggs are gross.

What You’ll Need

Four ramekins on a tray with cereal in them.

You really don’t need a ton of stuff to make poached eggs, and you probably already have most of the necessary tools in your kitchen.

As we mentioned previously, a mini prep bowl will come in handy for cracking the eggs before you add them to the hot water. We like these ramekins by Sweese because they’re perfect for holding raw eggs. They can also double as dipping bowls and soufflé dishes.


You’ll also want a slotted spoon, like this one from OXO, to conveniently remove your eggs. The nylon material is perfect for delicate foods, like poached eggs.


A few of the other essentials you’ll need to get poaching include:

  • A Saucepan: For boiling water and evenly poaching your eggs.
  • White distilled vinegar: A splash will keep egg whites intact.
  • Fresh eggs: They always trump older ones with thin whites.
  • Paper towels: For dabbing and pulling water from poached eggs.

How to Poach an Egg

A poached egg on a piece of bread with spinach.

Now that you’ve read our tips and gathered everything you need to make some rich, yolky treats, it’s time to poach!

Follow these instructions:

  1. Fill a saucepan or pot with at least four inches of water and bring to a boil.
  2. While the water heats, crack an egg into a small bowl. (Use separate small bowls for individual eggs if you plan to poach more than one.)
  3. Reduce boiling water to low heat, then add 1 tablespoon of vinegar.
  4. Gently pour the cracked egg into the pot of simmering water and let it cook for about three minutes.
  5. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the egg to a paper towel and lightly dab it with another to remove any excess water.
  6. Plate and enjoy!

Poached eggs taste amazing on their own, topped with just a pinch of sea salt and some freshly cracked black pepper. You can also serve them with fruit, an English muffin, or a croissant if you prefer. Now that you know how to poach, it’s time to move on to even more eggcellent breakfast ideas.

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