Poached eggs are a big part of brunch and then some. Lately, you’ll find poached eggs atop many a salad—often accented with bacon. It doesn’t stop there: These soft, runny eggs are showing up alongside grilled asparagus or topping an entrée of pasta, or merging with tuna, beef or lamb for a double dose of protein.
Bottom line: If you care about cooking, you should know how to poach a damn egg.
Easily and often overcooked or undercooked, poached eggs are intimidating, but they don’t need to be. Follow our steps below for perfect poached eggs every time.
What you’ll need:
Large pot, lemon juice or vinegar, small bowl or ramekin, eggs, slotted spoon
- Fill a large pot with at least 6 inches of water.
- Add a teaspoon of vinegar or lemon juice for every cup of water in the pot. The acid helps the eggs whites coagulate, to encase the yolk.
- Bring the water to a full boil, then turn the heat down so that the water is only slightly boiling— just one line of bubbles coming up from the bottom of the pot. (If the water is boiling too rapidly, the egg whites will break before they coagulate.)
- Crack an egg into a shallow bowl or ramekin and then slowly slide the egg into the water. The egg whites should float to the top, resembling plumes of smoke.
- Cook for about 2-3 minutes for runny yolks, 4 minutes for medium yolks, 5 minutes for firmer yolks. You can poach more than one egg at a time, but they will take longer to cook. For 4 runny yolked eggs , cook for about 7 minutes.
- Gently remove the eggs using a slotted spoon, allowing the water to drain through the spoon.
- Poached eggs can be made several hours in advance and refrigerated in a bowl of ice water. Reheat in hot water but do not re-boil them.