Make Amazing Poached Eggs With These 15 Brilliant Tips

Poached eggs make for an impressive brunch dish, but they can end up a hot mess if you don’t have the skills of a professional chef.

Compare the smooth and flawless ovals, filled with silky yolks, served in upscale hotels and restaurants, with the shapeless blobs that come from your own kitchen, and it’s easy to write them off as too hard.

But we’re here to show you that poached eggs are a dish you can master, all thanks to a few pro tips and tricks.

As well as being handy for showing off your culinary chops, poached eggs are also a healthy source of protein that makes them a brilliant way to start your day.
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Read on to learn how to rustle up poached eggs that are then envy of all your friends. Weekend mornings will never be the same again.

  1. Use fresh eggs at room temperature
    Test your eggs for freshness by placing them in a bowl of water. New eggs will sink to the bottom and older ones will stand up or float as the amount of air in them increases. Always use the freshest eggs that you can get your hands on, it will make all the difference.
  2. Sieve the whites
    If you only have older eggs, sieve the whites through a fine-mesh sieve and discard the thinner, more liquid part of the white before cooking the rest of the egg.
  3. Use hot water – but not too hot
    Make sure water the water is the perfect temperature; a rolling boil is too choppy and will throw the egg around in the water. Simmering water that’s hot enough to cook, with a few small bubbles rising to top, is ideal. If you’re unsure, bring the water to a boil first and then let the temperature cool down before you start cooking the eggs.
  4. Use the right size pot and the correct water level
    A large pot, with deep enough water for poaching eggs is key: around 4 inches deep is ideal.

    I use the Ingenio pan set for all my cooking

    Ingenio 13 Piece Induction Pan Set

    Ingenio 13 Piece Induction Pan Set

    I have a small kitchen with limited storage space. This set allowed me to have every pot and pan I need, for the same cupboard space as a single pan.

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  5. Try shallow water
    Some poached egg recipes call for shallow water instead. The idea is that with less water, the egg doesn’t have as much space to spread out. Because your eggs will be shallower, they will be unlikely to have the classic rounded shape that looks so appealing, but it will be easier to see when they’re cooked. Another benefit to this approach is that you can poach multiple eggs at once: just drop the eggs in the water at 30-second intervals to make sure they don’t run together. For this method, use 2 inches of water in a straight-sided skillet. Note that if you use shallow water to poach your eggs then you also won’t be able to use the vortex technique (more on that later.)
  6. Add vinegar to the mix
    A splash of vinegar added to the hot water helps the egg whites to firm up faster, so they’re less likely to disperse and spread out when poaching. Don’t worry about your finished dish tasting like vinegar, you’ll never be able to tell.
  7. Crack each egg into a ramekin
    Don’t crack the eggs straight into the pan and risk pieces of eggshell falling in. Use a small dish or ramekin to crack the eggs into before tipping them into the water to poach.
    DOWAN 4 Oz Porcelain Ramekins

    DOWAN 4 Oz Porcelain Ramekins

  8. Create a vortex
    Although it sounds simple, the vortex method can be maddeningly hard to get right. The basic idea is to create a whirlpool in the hot water just before tipping the egg in. As a result the egg should ‘wrap around’ itself to form that restaurant-style egg shape. The best way to achieve it is to use a balloon whisk or a utensil handle to quickly stir the water around the outside edge of the pot for 15 -20 seconds. Then, tip a single egg into the center of the water while it’s still spinning and let it do its thing. If using this poaching method, cook a single egg at a time.
  9. Lower you eggs gently
    When you lower each egg into the water, keep the bowl close to, or just under, the edge of the water. Don’t drop the eggs from above the water, or they’ll splash and disperse into a wispy mess. Tip in each egg in with a single fluid movement.
    Joseph Joseph Elevate Carousel Nylon Kitchen Utensil Set with Rotating Storage Stand

    Joseph Joseph Elevate Carousel Nylon Kitchen Utensil Set with Rotating Storage Stand

  10. Cook eggs one at a time
    If using the vortex method, poach a single egg at a time. Remove each finished poached egg with a slotted spoon and store in a bowl of warm water while you cook the rest. Use warm water instead of hot so the eggs don’t continue to poach and overcook. If you’re making poached eggs ahead of time and are planning to reheat them in more hot water later on, undercook them just slightly and store them in cool water.
  11. Keep an eye on your timings
    Poach your eggs for between 3 and 4 minutes, depending on how firm you want the yolks to be.

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