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How to Poach an Egg

How To Poach the Perfect Egg in 4 Steps

There’s nothing to be afraid of when it comes to how to poach an egg. All it involves is gently cooking eggs in simmering water. Easy! Once you get the hang of it, you’ll find all kinds of reasons to poach eggs.

Step 1

Fill a 10- to 12-inch sauté pan with at least 2 in. water and 2 tbsp. white or cider vinegar. Heat the water over medium-high until it comes to a gentle boil.

The acidity of the vinegar helps keep the egg white intact during poaching.

Step 2

Add the eggs to the simmering water one at a time. Gently swirl the water with a spoon after adding each one to prevent it from sinking and sticking to the bottom. Reduce the heat if the water is actively simmering—this will help keep the egg yolks from breaking.

To prevent breaking the yolk, crack each raw egg into a saucer or small bowl so you can carefully slip the egg into the water.

Step 3

Cook the eggs until they’re done to your liking: soft-poached eggs take 3 to 5 min.; medium-poached take 5 to 7 min. Check doneness by carefully lifting out an egg with a slotted spoon and touching the yolk with your finger. If it yields to gentle pressure it is still runny; a firm yolk won’t run as much or at all.

Step 4

Remove the eggs from the water with a slotted spoon. Gently blot excess water off the egg with a clean kitchen towel or paper towel before serving.

Poach eggs 1 or 2 hours before serving and hold them in a bowl of cool water. To reheat, transfer the eggs to a pan of simmering water and cook just until heated through.