Perfect Poached Eggs

Poached Eggs Polenta Kale Walnut Pesto
Poached Eggs with Polenta and Kale Walnut Pesto

Maybe it’s just me, but for years I was completely intimidated by the idea of poaching eggs. I could make them pretty much any other way but poaching… um, no. ¬†I ¬†attempted it a few times and ended up with watery egg drop soup. Gag.

The thing is, I really like poached eggs and I didn’t want to have go out for brunch every time I craved them. So I read a bunch of cookbooks (this was pre-internet, you iPhone babies), practiced a few techniques and now… perfect poached eggs, every time.

I’m telling you, it’s easy peasy as long as you do a few things. One, don’t use boiling, bubbling water. A gentle simmer is the way to go here. Two, crack each egg into a little cup or ramekin first. Makes it so much easier to plop in the water. Three, swirl. I’ll explain that one later.

I’ve paired these poached eggs with Creamy, Soft Polenta and Kale and Walnut Pesto. Best breakfast ever?

What you’ll need:

A deep, wide skillet (something like this)
Ramekins or little cups for your eggs
A wooden spoon
A slotted spoon
Paper towels


Egg poaching process

Egg poaching process


4 Eggs (or as many as you want but I wouldn’t do more than 4 at a time)
2 tablespoons white vinegar
Kosher Salt


Fill a deep, wide skillet with water, not quite to the top and bring to a full boil. Meanwhile, crack each egg into a little cup or ramekin and set aside. Once the water is at a full boil, turn it way down until it’s just barely simmering. Add a big pinch of kosher salt (about a 1/2 teaspoon) and the vinegar. Give the water a stir to combine.

With the handle of a wooden spoon, swirl the water in a tight little circle and drop the first egg right in the middle. You can use the wooden spoon to kind of coax the white in a little bit but don’t be too stressed about it. It will come together, I promise. Do the same with the other eggs, leaving as much space as possible between each one.

Let them poach in the gently simmering water for about 3-4 minutes. Using the slotted spoon, scoop one up, and check it for doneness. For me, a perfect poached egg has a fully set white and a very runny yolk. If you like your yolk more set, let it cook a minute or so longer.

Once it’s done to your liking, gently remove them and set on a paper towel to drain. You can cut away any wispy whites if you want a perfect looking circle. Then move to your serving plate, season with salt and pepper and smile proudly. You’ve overcome your (my) greatest fear.


Nerd Tips:

If you’re making more than 4 or want to poach them in advance, you can make them slightly underdone and put them aside on a paper towel. When you’re ready for them, put them back in the simmering water for 30 sec to 1 minute. Take them out, re-drain them and serve.

Poached eggs are a fantastic way to make a side-dish into a main. I love them on Zucchini Fritters.

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