Making these five-minute poached eggs is easy; you don't need a special poacher.
The result, creamy and delicate, is well worth the slight effort. It's one of my favorite ways to cook eggs!
I love eggs in pretty much any way you can make them. But as someone who loves runny yolks, poached eggs are my favorite way to enjoy this delicious and versatile food.
You'll only need four ingredients to make these poached eggs. The exact measurements are listed in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of what you'll need:
- Vinegar for the water: Any vinegar will work. I use distilled white vinegar.
- Egg: I use large eggs in most of my recipes, this one included.
- Salt and pepper: Used to season the egg.
The best way to vary this recipe is to use different seasonings for the eggs. If you want to try something other than salt and pepper, you can sprinkle the eggs with garlic powder and/or smoked paprika. You can also season them with hot sauce.
Poached Eggs Instructions
Using an egg poacher for the stovetop or microwave is the easiest. I own a stovetop poacher and use it frequently. It's the best way to poach several eggs at once. But if you don't own a poacher, using a saucepan is entirely doable. It's simply a matter of technique.
The recipe (and video) below will show you how to poach eggs in a saucepan with boiling water, vinegar, and a whisk. The vinegar helps the egg white congeal - that's its only purpose. Don't worry - it doesn't give the eggs a vinegary taste.
The detailed instructions for making this recipe are listed in the recipe card below. Here are the basic steps:
Bring a small pot filled with water to a gentle boil. Break an egg into a small bowl.
Add vinegar to the boiling water. Vigorously whisk the water, then slide the egg in.
You can gently push the egg white closer to the yolk if it spreads too much:
Cover, turn the heat off, and wait for five minutes.
Lift the egg out of the water with a slotted spoon and place it on a paper towel to drain.
Season with salt and pepper, and serve.
Adding vinegar to the water helps the egg whites congeal. The faster the egg whites cook, the less risk of the egg dispersing in the water, leaving you with an unappetizing and messy boiled scramble.
You add just a small amount of vinegar, so you don't actually taste it. Regardless, using mild-tasting vinegar such as rice or champagne vinegar is a good idea. Although I've used plain white vinegar plenty of times and it was just fine.
Poaching is cooking food in a hot liquid kept just below the boiling point. In the case of eggs, the idea is also to cook the egg out of its shell, and that's the challenge. You want the egg to end up round and pretty, with perfectly cooked whites and a thick, liquid yolk.
Not long! It all happens quite fast. After placing the egg in the hot water, you turn the heat off and leave the egg in the hot water for just five minutes. That's the time it takes for the egg white to become fully cooked while the yolk remains runny.
Any longer than that, and the yolk will not be runny anymore. Needless to say, that would be hugely disappointing!
This is up to you. A poacher does make the process easier. But it's not really necessary.
I own two poachers. One that you lower into a saucepan filled with hot water and a silicone one that you use in the microwave. The microwave one is actually quite tricky. It often produces firm yolks, which is not what we're after here! So, in a sense, the old-fashioned method outlined here is more reliable.
When you serve the eggs on any type of bread, make sure to drain them for a few seconds on a paper towel to prevent soggy bread.
While you can find tips online for storing and reheating poached eggs, I don't like storing them. I only make as many as my family will eat right away.
More Egg Recipes
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Easy Poached Eggs
- 1 tablespoon vinegar for the cooking water
- 1 large egg
- Pinch sea salt
- Pinch black pepper
- Fill a small saucepan with water and bring it to a gentle boil. Meanwhile, break the egg into a small bowl. This will make it easier to slide the egg into the hot water while keeping its shape.
- When the water has reached a gentle boil, add the vinegar. The vinegar helps the egg white congeal.
- Use a hand whisk to vigorously whisk the water, then slide the egg into the whirlpool. This will help the egg hold its shape when it first enters the water. If making more than one egg, repeat the process (use a larger saucepan).
- If some of the egg white spreads out and does not curl around the yolk, gently push it in with a spoon.
- Cover the pot, turn the heat off, and set the timer for 5 minutes.
- After 5 minutes, use a slotted spoon to lift the egg out of the water and place it for a few seconds on a paper towel to drain.
- The egg white should be cooked yet creamy. The yolk should appear soft. When cut open, it should be thick but gooey. Season the egg with salt and pepper, and enjoy!
- The vinegar helps the egg whites congeal. The faster the egg whites cook, the less risk of the whole egg dispersing in the water, leaving you with an unappetizing boiled scramble.
- You add just a small amount of vinegar, so you don't actually taste it. Regardless, using mild-tasting vinegar such as rice or champagne vinegar is a good idea. Although I've used plain white vinegar plenty of times and it was just fine.
- While you can find tips online for storing and reheating poached eggs, I don't like storing them. I only make as many as my family will eat right away.
- The FDA recommends cooking eggs thoroughly.