How to Perfectly Poach an Egg

While many individuals find preparing a poached egg intimidating, it can be quite easy once familiar with the process (if Julia Child can master poaching an egg, so can you). Follow the instructions below for a straightforward approach to poaching eggs.   

Start by gathering a small pot, a slotted spoon, a small glass or metal bowl, a clean kitchen towel, fresh eggs, salt and pepper, a plate and whatever else you’d eat the egg with - I prefer avocado and Montreal bagels.  Once all your ingredients and tools have been gathered, add 2-3 inches of water to the small pot and put it onto the stove to bring up to a simmer.  While waiting for the water, gently crack an egg into the small bowl and set aside. As the water comes to a simmer, use the slotted spoon to create a small vortex by stirring counter clockwise.  Remove the spoon and carefully lower and tip the egg into the center of the vortex.  Set a timer for four minutes.  While the egg cooks and coagulates, use this time to prepare the other components for your egg. When four minutes are up, use the slotted spoon to gently lift the egg out of the water and rest the spoon and egg on the kitchen towel.  Once the egg is drained, place it with the rest of your dish and season with salt and pepper.  

If preparing multiple poached eggs, it's best to prepare them one at a time.If doing this, have an additional bowl with cold water set aside.  Instead of draining the cooked egg, place it in the cold water to stop the cooking.  Poach the other eggs and just before service place the cooled poached eggs into the remaining hot water to warm before plating (Child, J, et. al., 1999).  

 Step by step infographic of how to poach an egg


kate rose

Written by Kate Rose, freelance recipe developer and culinary student of Durham College   

Works Cited
Child, J., Bertholle, L., & Beck, S. (1999). Mastering the art of French cooking. New York: Knopf.