Learning how to poach an egg is easier than you’d think! Here’s how long to poach an egg, and a few tips for the poaching process.
When Alex and I were first learning to cook, we started watching some of the old Julia Child cooking shows. One of the best lessons we learned from Julia is that you can make a meal out of any dish by doing something very simple: by putting an egg on it. Salad + egg = meal. Potato + egg = meal, and so on. Poaching was Julia’s favorite preparation, as she said that they are the “purest and loveliest of ways to cook eggs.” It took a while to convince me, but when you finally learn how to poach an egg, it turns out perfect every time. A creamy poached egg on top of fresh greens makes about the best salad ever. How long to poach an egg? Keep reading for our method.
What is a poached egg?
Commonly enjoyed atop eggs Benedict and avocado toast, poached eggs are eggs that have been cooked outside the shell in boiling water Poached eggs typically have a delightfully runny yolk and are one of the healthiest ways to prepare an egg since no oil is needed during the cooking process. Poached eggs can be dressed with hollandaise sauce, served on salads and stir-fries, enjoyed plain with toast, and more!
How long to poach an egg
First, a tip: it’s best to use really fresh eggs when you’re poaching eggs. Otherwise you end up with a mess! Before you start to poach an egg, make sure that your eggs are very fresh.
To poach an egg, heat a small pot of water with a splash of vinegar until it’s almost simmering. (You won’t taste the vinegar, but it helps the egg whites firm up faster and prevents them from dispersing into the water.) While the water is simmering, crack your egg into a bowl. This does two things: it prevents you from adding a potentially broken yolk into the hot water, and it makes it easier to gently slide the egg into the water. After you’ve slid each egg into the water, cook the eggs for 4 minutes before removing them with a slotted spoon.
Your first few attempts at making poached eggs might not be perfect, but it gets easier with time! If you’re still struggling to poach an egg after a few tries, we recommend gently swirling the water with a spoon just before tipping in the eggs. This should help the egg whites stay together more easily.
Looking for more poached egg recipes?
Now that you’ve mastered how long to poach an egg, here are a few recipes for where to use it:
- Turmeric Poached Egg Avocado Toast
- Whole Wheat Chive Waffles with Poached Egg
- Sweet Potato Hash with Poached Eggs
This recipe is…
This recipe is vegetarian and gluten-free.Print
Learning how to poach an egg is easier than you’d think! In this post, we’ve laid out how to poach an egg in three basic steps.
- 4 fresh eggs
- Splash of vinegar
- Kosher salt
- Equipment: Small bowl, large skillet, slotted spoon, tea towel
- Fill a large skillet with 1 1/2 inches of water. Add a pinch of salt and a splash of vinegar. Heat over medium-high heat until the water just starts to bubble, just below a simmer (about 190°F). Be careful to maintain the temperature throughout the cooking process and ensure the water does not boil.
- Crack each egg into a small bowl, then carefully slide each egg into the water. Make sure to give plenty of space between each egg. The egg whites will spread out a bit as they hit the water, then soon start to form up.
- Allow the eggs to cook for 4 minutes, until the whites set. Remove the eggs with a slotted spoon, then place them on a tea towel-covered plate to allow the to water drain. If desired, trim the edges before serving.
Keywords: how to poach an egg
About the Authors
Cookbook Author and writer
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Cookbook Author and photographer
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.