Traditional recipes

How to Poach an Egg the Right Way

How to Poach an Egg the Right Way

Step-by-step instructions on how to achieve a perfectly shaped, perfectly delicate, and perfectly delicious poached egg

How to Poach an Egg Perfectly

Many foods can benefit from the addition of a poached egg. It can provide a luscious richness to dishes that even the best over-easy fried eggs just can’t do. Unfortunately, something as simple as cooking an egg in water is not as easy as it seems; poached eggs are fickle and dangerously delicate.

Don’t worry just yet, this article contains step-by-step instructions, throwing in helpful tips and tricks along the way, to help you to become a poached-egg master.

Step 1: Fill a Big Pot Full of Water

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You can certainly cook an egg in a shallow pool of water; it will work. However, the deeper the pot, the better the final shape of the egg.

Imagine this: if you slide an egg into shallow water to poach, the egg will simply sit at the bottom of the pot as it cooks. This egg will be very distinctly flat – just like a fried but egg without the crispy edges. But if the egg is dropped into a deep pot of water, it begins to cook as it falls, using the time gravity allows it to cook round.

Step 2: Add a Touch of White Vinegar

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White vinegar helps egg whites coagulate; this means that the vinegar in the water will help the whites set faster. However, be wary: add too much and the eggs will taste like vinegar.

Step 3: Heat the Water

Water boils at 212 degrees F, simmers at 200, and the perfect temperature to poach an egg at is 180. Egg-poaching temperature sits just below a simmer, meaning the water is still, absent of bubbling heat. Any bubbles in the water will disrupt the delicate egg, potentially ruining the shape and making it harder to time doneness. A thermometer is the best way to gauge the temperature of the water.

Step 4: Prep the Eggs

Crack the eggs into individualized dishes ahead of time. Eggs are fragile and getting the perfect poached egg shape isn’t easy. You don’t want to crack the egg directly into the water, plus if you are planning on cooking multiple eggs, having them all cracked and ready to go will help you move faster and be able to more efficiently monitor the cooking time. When you’re ready, you can slowly tip each individual egg as gently as possible into the water.

Step 5: The Stir and Swirl

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Poached eggs often have wispy white arms that set independently of the yolk, but a good solid stir of the water with a spoon just before you drop your egg can help to wrap these wisps around the yolk, creating one cohesive (and beautiful) egg mass. It can get tricky here, too, though; if you stir too hard the egg will spiral quickly around in the pot leaving a trail of white behind the yolk – i.e. you’ve just made yourself an egg comet.

Another trick of the trade instructs cooks to place a cracked egg into a ladle and to slowly lower the egg into the water – maybe even pausing to fill the ladle slightly with warmed water, helping to set the shape before completely releasing it into the pot.

Step 6: Time Your Egg

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Depending on your water temperature and how you like your eggs, timing can vary. Nevertheless, if water is at a perfect 180 degrees F, and you like your white just set to maximize the yolk explosion, then three minutes is the magic number.

Step 7: Make a Lot of Eggs

If you are making many poached eggs for a crowd, you’ll have your guests waiting if you try to make all the eggs all at once. But did you know you can make poached eggs in advance?

When the timer is up (reduce time to 2–2 ½ minutes in this case) carefully lift the eggs out of the hot water and lower into an ice bath to halt the cooking process. The fully cooked eggs can hang there until you are ready to serve. Then, you can simply warm the eggs in hot water (still not boiling).

Step 8: Plating a Perfectly Round, Perfectly Poached Egg

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Nobody like eggs with a side of egg water. Be mindful of placing water from the cooking process onto the plate. Always use a slotted spoon to transport cooked eggs and have a few paper towels handy to blot off excess water.


The Right Way To Poach An Egg

Once you've perfected basic techniques like frying an egg and cooking rice, it's time to move on to those things that may have initially scared you off. Every other Monday, chef Camille Becerra is going beyond the basics to help us tackle even the scariest cooking techniques.

Today: Put on a pot of water, and watch Camille demonstrate the technique behind a perfect poached egg. Then start putting them on everything in sight.

In the world of eggs, the poached egg is certainly king, the way it sits atop other food all regal. As cooks, we all know that presenting a perfectly poached egg puts us a notch up over others.

As the hashtag goes, #putaneggonit applies to many a meal: It’s a breakfast staple, it goes great atop a salad at lunch, and for dinner, the runny yolk becomes a sauce that finishes dishes like a carbonara, roasted vegetables, grains, and my favorite, pesto pasta.

If you haven’t quite mastered the art of a proper poach, it’s probably because of one of these reasons:

  • Water is under- or over-acidulated (in other words, you've added too much or too little acid).
  • Water is not hot enough, or it's boiling too vigorously.
  • The egg sticks to the bottom of the pan.
  • The egg is removed from the water before it's ready.

Here's how to do it right:

Fill a tall pot with water, salt it well, and add 3 tablespoons of vinegar per 1 gallon of water. (The vinegar helps to coagulate the egg.) I prefer a deep pot because I love how the egg develops a teardrop shape as its plunges into water and sinks to the bottom.

When the water begins to boil, lower the temperature just a bit so it simmers too aggressive of a boil can potentially break the yolk.

Crack an egg into a small cup or bowl this ensures the egg dives into the water in one shot, and no unwanted shells slip in.

Using a slotted spoon, begin to stir water to develop a tornado effect, then quickly drop the egg into the eye of the tornado. As the egg drops down, the movement of the water will prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pot. If you find that the movement of the water stops before the egg develops a strong outer layer, stir the water gently so that the egg stays afloat.

After about 2 to 3 minutes, use the slotted spoon to lift the egg just slightly above the surface of the water and check its doneness. When the white has completely coagulated, your egg is ready! If you still see parts of uncooked whites begin to slightly seep out of the egg, put it back into the water and let it cook for another 30 seconds. Then check it again, being careful not to leave it in water too long lest you overcook it. When you are confident that the egg is ready, remove it and allow any excess water to drain out of the slotted spoon. Plate your egg and season it with salt and pepper before serving -- a bit of olive oil will also lend a fruity richness.

More good news: Poached eggs can be made ahead of time and held in an ice bath until they are ready to be served, and then reheated in simmering water for 1 to 2 minutes.

More: Serve your perfectly poached egg atop toast with kale and sweet potatoes.


The Right Way To Poach An Egg

Once you've perfected basic techniques like frying an egg and cooking rice, it's time to move on to those things that may have initially scared you off. Every other Monday, chef Camille Becerra is going beyond the basics to help us tackle even the scariest cooking techniques.

Today: Put on a pot of water, and watch Camille demonstrate the technique behind a perfect poached egg. Then start putting them on everything in sight.

In the world of eggs, the poached egg is certainly king, the way it sits atop other food all regal. As cooks, we all know that presenting a perfectly poached egg puts us a notch up over others.

As the hashtag goes, #putaneggonit applies to many a meal: It’s a breakfast staple, it goes great atop a salad at lunch, and for dinner, the runny yolk becomes a sauce that finishes dishes like a carbonara, roasted vegetables, grains, and my favorite, pesto pasta.

If you haven’t quite mastered the art of a proper poach, it’s probably because of one of these reasons:

  • Water is under- or over-acidulated (in other words, you've added too much or too little acid).
  • Water is not hot enough, or it's boiling too vigorously.
  • The egg sticks to the bottom of the pan.
  • The egg is removed from the water before it's ready.

Here's how to do it right:

Fill a tall pot with water, salt it well, and add 3 tablespoons of vinegar per 1 gallon of water. (The vinegar helps to coagulate the egg.) I prefer a deep pot because I love how the egg develops a teardrop shape as its plunges into water and sinks to the bottom.

When the water begins to boil, lower the temperature just a bit so it simmers too aggressive of a boil can potentially break the yolk.

Crack an egg into a small cup or bowl this ensures the egg dives into the water in one shot, and no unwanted shells slip in.

Using a slotted spoon, begin to stir water to develop a tornado effect, then quickly drop the egg into the eye of the tornado. As the egg drops down, the movement of the water will prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pot. If you find that the movement of the water stops before the egg develops a strong outer layer, stir the water gently so that the egg stays afloat.

After about 2 to 3 minutes, use the slotted spoon to lift the egg just slightly above the surface of the water and check its doneness. When the white has completely coagulated, your egg is ready! If you still see parts of uncooked whites begin to slightly seep out of the egg, put it back into the water and let it cook for another 30 seconds. Then check it again, being careful not to leave it in water too long lest you overcook it. When you are confident that the egg is ready, remove it and allow any excess water to drain out of the slotted spoon. Plate your egg and season it with salt and pepper before serving -- a bit of olive oil will also lend a fruity richness.

More good news: Poached eggs can be made ahead of time and held in an ice bath until they are ready to be served, and then reheated in simmering water for 1 to 2 minutes.

More: Serve your perfectly poached egg atop toast with kale and sweet potatoes.


The Right Way To Poach An Egg

Once you've perfected basic techniques like frying an egg and cooking rice, it's time to move on to those things that may have initially scared you off. Every other Monday, chef Camille Becerra is going beyond the basics to help us tackle even the scariest cooking techniques.

Today: Put on a pot of water, and watch Camille demonstrate the technique behind a perfect poached egg. Then start putting them on everything in sight.

In the world of eggs, the poached egg is certainly king, the way it sits atop other food all regal. As cooks, we all know that presenting a perfectly poached egg puts us a notch up over others.

As the hashtag goes, #putaneggonit applies to many a meal: It’s a breakfast staple, it goes great atop a salad at lunch, and for dinner, the runny yolk becomes a sauce that finishes dishes like a carbonara, roasted vegetables, grains, and my favorite, pesto pasta.

If you haven’t quite mastered the art of a proper poach, it’s probably because of one of these reasons:

  • Water is under- or over-acidulated (in other words, you've added too much or too little acid).
  • Water is not hot enough, or it's boiling too vigorously.
  • The egg sticks to the bottom of the pan.
  • The egg is removed from the water before it's ready.

Here's how to do it right:

Fill a tall pot with water, salt it well, and add 3 tablespoons of vinegar per 1 gallon of water. (The vinegar helps to coagulate the egg.) I prefer a deep pot because I love how the egg develops a teardrop shape as its plunges into water and sinks to the bottom.

When the water begins to boil, lower the temperature just a bit so it simmers too aggressive of a boil can potentially break the yolk.

Crack an egg into a small cup or bowl this ensures the egg dives into the water in one shot, and no unwanted shells slip in.

Using a slotted spoon, begin to stir water to develop a tornado effect, then quickly drop the egg into the eye of the tornado. As the egg drops down, the movement of the water will prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pot. If you find that the movement of the water stops before the egg develops a strong outer layer, stir the water gently so that the egg stays afloat.

After about 2 to 3 minutes, use the slotted spoon to lift the egg just slightly above the surface of the water and check its doneness. When the white has completely coagulated, your egg is ready! If you still see parts of uncooked whites begin to slightly seep out of the egg, put it back into the water and let it cook for another 30 seconds. Then check it again, being careful not to leave it in water too long lest you overcook it. When you are confident that the egg is ready, remove it and allow any excess water to drain out of the slotted spoon. Plate your egg and season it with salt and pepper before serving -- a bit of olive oil will also lend a fruity richness.

More good news: Poached eggs can be made ahead of time and held in an ice bath until they are ready to be served, and then reheated in simmering water for 1 to 2 minutes.

More: Serve your perfectly poached egg atop toast with kale and sweet potatoes.


The Right Way To Poach An Egg

Once you've perfected basic techniques like frying an egg and cooking rice, it's time to move on to those things that may have initially scared you off. Every other Monday, chef Camille Becerra is going beyond the basics to help us tackle even the scariest cooking techniques.

Today: Put on a pot of water, and watch Camille demonstrate the technique behind a perfect poached egg. Then start putting them on everything in sight.

In the world of eggs, the poached egg is certainly king, the way it sits atop other food all regal. As cooks, we all know that presenting a perfectly poached egg puts us a notch up over others.

As the hashtag goes, #putaneggonit applies to many a meal: It’s a breakfast staple, it goes great atop a salad at lunch, and for dinner, the runny yolk becomes a sauce that finishes dishes like a carbonara, roasted vegetables, grains, and my favorite, pesto pasta.

If you haven’t quite mastered the art of a proper poach, it’s probably because of one of these reasons:

  • Water is under- or over-acidulated (in other words, you've added too much or too little acid).
  • Water is not hot enough, or it's boiling too vigorously.
  • The egg sticks to the bottom of the pan.
  • The egg is removed from the water before it's ready.

Here's how to do it right:

Fill a tall pot with water, salt it well, and add 3 tablespoons of vinegar per 1 gallon of water. (The vinegar helps to coagulate the egg.) I prefer a deep pot because I love how the egg develops a teardrop shape as its plunges into water and sinks to the bottom.

When the water begins to boil, lower the temperature just a bit so it simmers too aggressive of a boil can potentially break the yolk.

Crack an egg into a small cup or bowl this ensures the egg dives into the water in one shot, and no unwanted shells slip in.

Using a slotted spoon, begin to stir water to develop a tornado effect, then quickly drop the egg into the eye of the tornado. As the egg drops down, the movement of the water will prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pot. If you find that the movement of the water stops before the egg develops a strong outer layer, stir the water gently so that the egg stays afloat.

After about 2 to 3 minutes, use the slotted spoon to lift the egg just slightly above the surface of the water and check its doneness. When the white has completely coagulated, your egg is ready! If you still see parts of uncooked whites begin to slightly seep out of the egg, put it back into the water and let it cook for another 30 seconds. Then check it again, being careful not to leave it in water too long lest you overcook it. When you are confident that the egg is ready, remove it and allow any excess water to drain out of the slotted spoon. Plate your egg and season it with salt and pepper before serving -- a bit of olive oil will also lend a fruity richness.

More good news: Poached eggs can be made ahead of time and held in an ice bath until they are ready to be served, and then reheated in simmering water for 1 to 2 minutes.

More: Serve your perfectly poached egg atop toast with kale and sweet potatoes.


The Right Way To Poach An Egg

Once you've perfected basic techniques like frying an egg and cooking rice, it's time to move on to those things that may have initially scared you off. Every other Monday, chef Camille Becerra is going beyond the basics to help us tackle even the scariest cooking techniques.

Today: Put on a pot of water, and watch Camille demonstrate the technique behind a perfect poached egg. Then start putting them on everything in sight.

In the world of eggs, the poached egg is certainly king, the way it sits atop other food all regal. As cooks, we all know that presenting a perfectly poached egg puts us a notch up over others.

As the hashtag goes, #putaneggonit applies to many a meal: It’s a breakfast staple, it goes great atop a salad at lunch, and for dinner, the runny yolk becomes a sauce that finishes dishes like a carbonara, roasted vegetables, grains, and my favorite, pesto pasta.

If you haven’t quite mastered the art of a proper poach, it’s probably because of one of these reasons:

  • Water is under- or over-acidulated (in other words, you've added too much or too little acid).
  • Water is not hot enough, or it's boiling too vigorously.
  • The egg sticks to the bottom of the pan.
  • The egg is removed from the water before it's ready.

Here's how to do it right:

Fill a tall pot with water, salt it well, and add 3 tablespoons of vinegar per 1 gallon of water. (The vinegar helps to coagulate the egg.) I prefer a deep pot because I love how the egg develops a teardrop shape as its plunges into water and sinks to the bottom.

When the water begins to boil, lower the temperature just a bit so it simmers too aggressive of a boil can potentially break the yolk.

Crack an egg into a small cup or bowl this ensures the egg dives into the water in one shot, and no unwanted shells slip in.

Using a slotted spoon, begin to stir water to develop a tornado effect, then quickly drop the egg into the eye of the tornado. As the egg drops down, the movement of the water will prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pot. If you find that the movement of the water stops before the egg develops a strong outer layer, stir the water gently so that the egg stays afloat.

After about 2 to 3 minutes, use the slotted spoon to lift the egg just slightly above the surface of the water and check its doneness. When the white has completely coagulated, your egg is ready! If you still see parts of uncooked whites begin to slightly seep out of the egg, put it back into the water and let it cook for another 30 seconds. Then check it again, being careful not to leave it in water too long lest you overcook it. When you are confident that the egg is ready, remove it and allow any excess water to drain out of the slotted spoon. Plate your egg and season it with salt and pepper before serving -- a bit of olive oil will also lend a fruity richness.

More good news: Poached eggs can be made ahead of time and held in an ice bath until they are ready to be served, and then reheated in simmering water for 1 to 2 minutes.

More: Serve your perfectly poached egg atop toast with kale and sweet potatoes.


The Right Way To Poach An Egg

Once you've perfected basic techniques like frying an egg and cooking rice, it's time to move on to those things that may have initially scared you off. Every other Monday, chef Camille Becerra is going beyond the basics to help us tackle even the scariest cooking techniques.

Today: Put on a pot of water, and watch Camille demonstrate the technique behind a perfect poached egg. Then start putting them on everything in sight.

In the world of eggs, the poached egg is certainly king, the way it sits atop other food all regal. As cooks, we all know that presenting a perfectly poached egg puts us a notch up over others.

As the hashtag goes, #putaneggonit applies to many a meal: It’s a breakfast staple, it goes great atop a salad at lunch, and for dinner, the runny yolk becomes a sauce that finishes dishes like a carbonara, roasted vegetables, grains, and my favorite, pesto pasta.

If you haven’t quite mastered the art of a proper poach, it’s probably because of one of these reasons:

  • Water is under- or over-acidulated (in other words, you've added too much or too little acid).
  • Water is not hot enough, or it's boiling too vigorously.
  • The egg sticks to the bottom of the pan.
  • The egg is removed from the water before it's ready.

Here's how to do it right:

Fill a tall pot with water, salt it well, and add 3 tablespoons of vinegar per 1 gallon of water. (The vinegar helps to coagulate the egg.) I prefer a deep pot because I love how the egg develops a teardrop shape as its plunges into water and sinks to the bottom.

When the water begins to boil, lower the temperature just a bit so it simmers too aggressive of a boil can potentially break the yolk.

Crack an egg into a small cup or bowl this ensures the egg dives into the water in one shot, and no unwanted shells slip in.

Using a slotted spoon, begin to stir water to develop a tornado effect, then quickly drop the egg into the eye of the tornado. As the egg drops down, the movement of the water will prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pot. If you find that the movement of the water stops before the egg develops a strong outer layer, stir the water gently so that the egg stays afloat.

After about 2 to 3 minutes, use the slotted spoon to lift the egg just slightly above the surface of the water and check its doneness. When the white has completely coagulated, your egg is ready! If you still see parts of uncooked whites begin to slightly seep out of the egg, put it back into the water and let it cook for another 30 seconds. Then check it again, being careful not to leave it in water too long lest you overcook it. When you are confident that the egg is ready, remove it and allow any excess water to drain out of the slotted spoon. Plate your egg and season it with salt and pepper before serving -- a bit of olive oil will also lend a fruity richness.

More good news: Poached eggs can be made ahead of time and held in an ice bath until they are ready to be served, and then reheated in simmering water for 1 to 2 minutes.

More: Serve your perfectly poached egg atop toast with kale and sweet potatoes.


The Right Way To Poach An Egg

Once you've perfected basic techniques like frying an egg and cooking rice, it's time to move on to those things that may have initially scared you off. Every other Monday, chef Camille Becerra is going beyond the basics to help us tackle even the scariest cooking techniques.

Today: Put on a pot of water, and watch Camille demonstrate the technique behind a perfect poached egg. Then start putting them on everything in sight.

In the world of eggs, the poached egg is certainly king, the way it sits atop other food all regal. As cooks, we all know that presenting a perfectly poached egg puts us a notch up over others.

As the hashtag goes, #putaneggonit applies to many a meal: It’s a breakfast staple, it goes great atop a salad at lunch, and for dinner, the runny yolk becomes a sauce that finishes dishes like a carbonara, roasted vegetables, grains, and my favorite, pesto pasta.

If you haven’t quite mastered the art of a proper poach, it’s probably because of one of these reasons:

  • Water is under- or over-acidulated (in other words, you've added too much or too little acid).
  • Water is not hot enough, or it's boiling too vigorously.
  • The egg sticks to the bottom of the pan.
  • The egg is removed from the water before it's ready.

Here's how to do it right:

Fill a tall pot with water, salt it well, and add 3 tablespoons of vinegar per 1 gallon of water. (The vinegar helps to coagulate the egg.) I prefer a deep pot because I love how the egg develops a teardrop shape as its plunges into water and sinks to the bottom.

When the water begins to boil, lower the temperature just a bit so it simmers too aggressive of a boil can potentially break the yolk.

Crack an egg into a small cup or bowl this ensures the egg dives into the water in one shot, and no unwanted shells slip in.

Using a slotted spoon, begin to stir water to develop a tornado effect, then quickly drop the egg into the eye of the tornado. As the egg drops down, the movement of the water will prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pot. If you find that the movement of the water stops before the egg develops a strong outer layer, stir the water gently so that the egg stays afloat.

After about 2 to 3 minutes, use the slotted spoon to lift the egg just slightly above the surface of the water and check its doneness. When the white has completely coagulated, your egg is ready! If you still see parts of uncooked whites begin to slightly seep out of the egg, put it back into the water and let it cook for another 30 seconds. Then check it again, being careful not to leave it in water too long lest you overcook it. When you are confident that the egg is ready, remove it and allow any excess water to drain out of the slotted spoon. Plate your egg and season it with salt and pepper before serving -- a bit of olive oil will also lend a fruity richness.

More good news: Poached eggs can be made ahead of time and held in an ice bath until they are ready to be served, and then reheated in simmering water for 1 to 2 minutes.

More: Serve your perfectly poached egg atop toast with kale and sweet potatoes.


The Right Way To Poach An Egg

Once you've perfected basic techniques like frying an egg and cooking rice, it's time to move on to those things that may have initially scared you off. Every other Monday, chef Camille Becerra is going beyond the basics to help us tackle even the scariest cooking techniques.

Today: Put on a pot of water, and watch Camille demonstrate the technique behind a perfect poached egg. Then start putting them on everything in sight.

In the world of eggs, the poached egg is certainly king, the way it sits atop other food all regal. As cooks, we all know that presenting a perfectly poached egg puts us a notch up over others.

As the hashtag goes, #putaneggonit applies to many a meal: It’s a breakfast staple, it goes great atop a salad at lunch, and for dinner, the runny yolk becomes a sauce that finishes dishes like a carbonara, roasted vegetables, grains, and my favorite, pesto pasta.

If you haven’t quite mastered the art of a proper poach, it’s probably because of one of these reasons:

  • Water is under- or over-acidulated (in other words, you've added too much or too little acid).
  • Water is not hot enough, or it's boiling too vigorously.
  • The egg sticks to the bottom of the pan.
  • The egg is removed from the water before it's ready.

Here's how to do it right:

Fill a tall pot with water, salt it well, and add 3 tablespoons of vinegar per 1 gallon of water. (The vinegar helps to coagulate the egg.) I prefer a deep pot because I love how the egg develops a teardrop shape as its plunges into water and sinks to the bottom.

When the water begins to boil, lower the temperature just a bit so it simmers too aggressive of a boil can potentially break the yolk.

Crack an egg into a small cup or bowl this ensures the egg dives into the water in one shot, and no unwanted shells slip in.

Using a slotted spoon, begin to stir water to develop a tornado effect, then quickly drop the egg into the eye of the tornado. As the egg drops down, the movement of the water will prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pot. If you find that the movement of the water stops before the egg develops a strong outer layer, stir the water gently so that the egg stays afloat.

After about 2 to 3 minutes, use the slotted spoon to lift the egg just slightly above the surface of the water and check its doneness. When the white has completely coagulated, your egg is ready! If you still see parts of uncooked whites begin to slightly seep out of the egg, put it back into the water and let it cook for another 30 seconds. Then check it again, being careful not to leave it in water too long lest you overcook it. When you are confident that the egg is ready, remove it and allow any excess water to drain out of the slotted spoon. Plate your egg and season it with salt and pepper before serving -- a bit of olive oil will also lend a fruity richness.

More good news: Poached eggs can be made ahead of time and held in an ice bath until they are ready to be served, and then reheated in simmering water for 1 to 2 minutes.

More: Serve your perfectly poached egg atop toast with kale and sweet potatoes.


The Right Way To Poach An Egg

Once you've perfected basic techniques like frying an egg and cooking rice, it's time to move on to those things that may have initially scared you off. Every other Monday, chef Camille Becerra is going beyond the basics to help us tackle even the scariest cooking techniques.

Today: Put on a pot of water, and watch Camille demonstrate the technique behind a perfect poached egg. Then start putting them on everything in sight.

In the world of eggs, the poached egg is certainly king, the way it sits atop other food all regal. As cooks, we all know that presenting a perfectly poached egg puts us a notch up over others.

As the hashtag goes, #putaneggonit applies to many a meal: It’s a breakfast staple, it goes great atop a salad at lunch, and for dinner, the runny yolk becomes a sauce that finishes dishes like a carbonara, roasted vegetables, grains, and my favorite, pesto pasta.

If you haven’t quite mastered the art of a proper poach, it’s probably because of one of these reasons:

  • Water is under- or over-acidulated (in other words, you've added too much or too little acid).
  • Water is not hot enough, or it's boiling too vigorously.
  • The egg sticks to the bottom of the pan.
  • The egg is removed from the water before it's ready.

Here's how to do it right:

Fill a tall pot with water, salt it well, and add 3 tablespoons of vinegar per 1 gallon of water. (The vinegar helps to coagulate the egg.) I prefer a deep pot because I love how the egg develops a teardrop shape as its plunges into water and sinks to the bottom.

When the water begins to boil, lower the temperature just a bit so it simmers too aggressive of a boil can potentially break the yolk.

Crack an egg into a small cup or bowl this ensures the egg dives into the water in one shot, and no unwanted shells slip in.

Using a slotted spoon, begin to stir water to develop a tornado effect, then quickly drop the egg into the eye of the tornado. As the egg drops down, the movement of the water will prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pot. If you find that the movement of the water stops before the egg develops a strong outer layer, stir the water gently so that the egg stays afloat.

After about 2 to 3 minutes, use the slotted spoon to lift the egg just slightly above the surface of the water and check its doneness. When the white has completely coagulated, your egg is ready! If you still see parts of uncooked whites begin to slightly seep out of the egg, put it back into the water and let it cook for another 30 seconds. Then check it again, being careful not to leave it in water too long lest you overcook it. When you are confident that the egg is ready, remove it and allow any excess water to drain out of the slotted spoon. Plate your egg and season it with salt and pepper before serving -- a bit of olive oil will also lend a fruity richness.

More good news: Poached eggs can be made ahead of time and held in an ice bath until they are ready to be served, and then reheated in simmering water for 1 to 2 minutes.

More: Serve your perfectly poached egg atop toast with kale and sweet potatoes.


The Right Way To Poach An Egg

Once you've perfected basic techniques like frying an egg and cooking rice, it's time to move on to those things that may have initially scared you off. Every other Monday, chef Camille Becerra is going beyond the basics to help us tackle even the scariest cooking techniques.

Today: Put on a pot of water, and watch Camille demonstrate the technique behind a perfect poached egg. Then start putting them on everything in sight.

In the world of eggs, the poached egg is certainly king, the way it sits atop other food all regal. As cooks, we all know that presenting a perfectly poached egg puts us a notch up over others.

As the hashtag goes, #putaneggonit applies to many a meal: It’s a breakfast staple, it goes great atop a salad at lunch, and for dinner, the runny yolk becomes a sauce that finishes dishes like a carbonara, roasted vegetables, grains, and my favorite, pesto pasta.

If you haven’t quite mastered the art of a proper poach, it’s probably because of one of these reasons:

  • Water is under- or over-acidulated (in other words, you've added too much or too little acid).
  • Water is not hot enough, or it's boiling too vigorously.
  • The egg sticks to the bottom of the pan.
  • The egg is removed from the water before it's ready.

Here's how to do it right:

Fill a tall pot with water, salt it well, and add 3 tablespoons of vinegar per 1 gallon of water. (The vinegar helps to coagulate the egg.) I prefer a deep pot because I love how the egg develops a teardrop shape as its plunges into water and sinks to the bottom.

When the water begins to boil, lower the temperature just a bit so it simmers too aggressive of a boil can potentially break the yolk.

Crack an egg into a small cup or bowl this ensures the egg dives into the water in one shot, and no unwanted shells slip in.

Using a slotted spoon, begin to stir water to develop a tornado effect, then quickly drop the egg into the eye of the tornado. As the egg drops down, the movement of the water will prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pot. If you find that the movement of the water stops before the egg develops a strong outer layer, stir the water gently so that the egg stays afloat.

After about 2 to 3 minutes, use the slotted spoon to lift the egg just slightly above the surface of the water and check its doneness. When the white has completely coagulated, your egg is ready! If you still see parts of uncooked whites begin to slightly seep out of the egg, put it back into the water and let it cook for another 30 seconds. Then check it again, being careful not to leave it in water too long lest you overcook it. When you are confident that the egg is ready, remove it and allow any excess water to drain out of the slotted spoon. Plate your egg and season it with salt and pepper before serving -- a bit of olive oil will also lend a fruity richness.

More good news: Poached eggs can be made ahead of time and held in an ice bath until they are ready to be served, and then reheated in simmering water for 1 to 2 minutes.

More: Serve your perfectly poached egg atop toast with kale and sweet potatoes.