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Poaching eggs made easy! Follow our simple tips, and you’ll learn how to poach an egg for perfect poached eggs every time. Fluffy, round, and perfectly set on the outside, with a runny, golden yolk – yes, please!
Use your perfect eggs for your favorite poached egg breakfast recipes, or even as a topping for a sandwich or burger. No poached egg maker necessary! This easy poached eggs guide will teach you how to poach an egg without vinegar or any extra tools.
What are poached eggs?
Poached eggs are round, with firm egg whites and a soft, runny yolk. Poaching refers to the poaching cooking method. This involves submerging and cooking food in a liquid. You make poached eggs in water, without the shell.
Poaching is different from boiling or simmering as it uses a low temperature, ideal for cooking delicate food like eggs.
This results in beautiful, round eggs with a runny center, perfect for poached eggs on toast (especially poached egg avocado toast!). These perfect eggs are even amazing on a poached egg burger! And, of course, they make the most delicious healthy breakfast ideas with eggs.
Easy Poached Eggs: Everything You Need
- Eggs (as many as you would like to poach)
- Fine mesh strainer (this will get you the best results)
- Deep saucepan
- Optional: White vinegar
If you’re looking for that perfectly round shape when poaching eggs, having a mesh strainer on hand makes it easy.
Although your eggs will taste delicious either way, perfect eggs have less white “wisps” around the edges.
Using a mesh sieve means you can make perfect eggs without swirling the water, and you can even avoid using vinegar.
How Long to Poach Eggs
The time to poach eggs is about 3 minutes. It’s a quick and easy process, and 3 minutes will give you a runny, perfectly poached egg every time!
How to Poach an Egg in Water
- Line a plate with a paper towel – you will be resting the eggs here after cooking.
- Add 3 to 4 inches of water to a deep saucepan. Bring the water to a slow boil over medium heat. Do not be tempted to cook at a higher temperature.
- While you wait for the water to boil, drain the eggs. Crack an egg into a fine mesh sieve and allow the thin whites to drain out into a bowl. After draining, transfer the egg to a separate bowl and continue draining all eggs.*
- When the water reaches a slow boil, gently lower each egg into the water. Do not swirl the water – this is unnecessary thanks to draining the eggs!
- Make sure the water is maintaining a slow boil, and set a timer for 3 minutes.
- When 3 minutes is up, use a slotted spoon to transfer the eggs to the plate with paper towels. Season with salt and pepper or use with your favorite recipes, and enjoy!
Tips for Poaching Eggs
- Don’t salt the water. You may be tempted to salt the water, but avoid that temptation! Salting the water encourages the egg whites to spread out from the egg, meaning your eggs will come out less round.
- Crack your eggs into separate bowls before cooking. If you do not have a sieve, we still recommend you crack your eggs right into individual ramekins or small bowls. This is so you can avoid getting eggshells in the egg or breaking the yolk.
Spoon water on top while poaching eggs. For a perfectly white poached egg, gently spoon some of the hot water on top of the egg yolk as it cooks.
- Deeper pots = rounder eggs. 3 to 4 inches of water cooks a rounder poached egg.
- You can use white vinegar when cooking the egg. It isn’t a necessary step, but using vinegar while cooking the egg will help it hold its shape. If you do, use about a tablespoon or so – you won’t taste any vinegar in your eggs.
Great Breakfast Ideas
For more great breakfast ideas with and without eggs, try our Chilaquiles Rojos Mexican Skillet. This is a hearty, easy breakfast recipe using scrambled eggs, tortillas, and salsa. It’s delicious!
Another great choice is our Fluffy Japanese Pancakes recipe. These perfectly fluffy pancakes are called souffle pancakes for a reason! Or, try our Dutch Baby Pancake with Berries and Cream for a sweet skillet pancake recipe.
And of course, our Sausage Breakfast Casserole Recipe with Crescent Rolls is a must-try. This deliciously easy breakfast casserole recipe can be made ahead of time to enjoy in the morning. It’s perfect for special occasions!
What’s your favorite recipe to make with poached eggs? Let us know in the comments below, and be sure to leave a rating! It takes just seconds, but helps other people find our guide.
Serve Poached Eggs with Air Fryer Bacon!
And while you’re at it, why not save How to Poach an Egg 📌 on Pinterest?
How to Poach an Egg
- Fine mesh sieve
- Deep saucepan
- 1 egg or however many you want to poach
- 4 inches water fill saucepan 3-4 inches deep with water
See our Cooking Conversions Chart for help converting measurements!
- Line a plate with a paper towel – you will be resting the eggs here after cooking.Add 3 to 4 inches of water to a deep saucepan. Bring the water to a slow boil over medium heat. Do not be tempted to cook at a higher temperature.While you wait for the water to boil, drain the eggs. Crack an egg into a fine mesh sieve and allow the thin whites to drain out into a bowl. After draining, transfer the egg to a separate bowl and continue draining all eggs.
- When the water reaches a slow boil, gently lower each egg into the water. Do not swirl the water – this is unnecessary thanks to draining the eggs!Make sure the water is maintaining a slow boil, and set a timer for 3 minutes.
- When 3 minutes is up, use a slotted spoon to transfer the eggs to the plate with paper towels. Season with salt and pepper or use with your favorite poached egg recipes, and enjoy!
- Don’t salt the water – this will encourage the egg whites to spread out more, so you won’t have a perfectly round egg.
- Crack the eggs into separate bowls before cooking, even if you are not using a sieve to drain them. This will help you avoid getting eggshells in the egg or breaking the yolk. It makes it quick and easy to pour the egg into the boiling water.
- Spoon water on top of the eggs while they’re cooking for a perfectly white poached egg all around.
- Deeper pots means rounder eggs. 3 to 4″ of water is best for poaching eggs.
- Using white vinegar while cooking the egg isn’t necessary, but will help it hold its shape. Add ~1 Tbsp. white vinegar to the water if you want to try it out – it won’t make your eggs taste like vinegar.