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Yes, You Really CAN Make Poached Eggs!

How To Poach An Egg Without Destroying It

I’m almost embarrassed to admit this, but before I wrote this post I had never actually made a decent poached egg in my entire life! They just didn’t seem to turn out as well as my favorite Instant Pot boiled eggs, so I had only attempted to make them a handful of times over the years, because each time I tried they were a complete and utter failure.

After each attempt I would solemnly vow, “Never again!” But time has a way of taking the glare off of our most spectacular flops and we start to think, “Oh, it wasn’t THAT bad… I should try it again!” Only to be painfully reminded of just how bad it was in the first place!

And so I recently found myself trying (again) to successfully poach an egg. But THIS time I decided to do a little research first, and that made all the difference! I discovered this particular method, and finally managed to make a perfect poached egg. So you can imagine my excitement to share my secret with you today! :-) Here is how I did it!

Related: A Genius Trick for Foolproof Oven Poached Eggs

Check out another easy way to make poached eggs on the stovetop in my video at the end of the post.

How To Poach An Egg Without Destroying It

How To Poach An Egg


  • Eggs
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 teaspoons vinegar
How To Poach An Egg Without Destroying It


Step 1 – Prep

Crack each of your eggs into a small bowl or cup.

How To Poach An Egg Without Destroying It

Use a wide skillet with straight sides and fill it with hot water. Bring the water ALMOST to a simmer over medium heat, but not quite. When the bottom and sides of the pan are covered with bubbles, that’s when it’s time to poach!

Once it gets to that point, turn the temperature down a bit so it doesn’t start to boil. Then add the salt and vinegar to the water.

How To Poach An Egg Without Destroying It

Step 2 – Swirl

Gently swirl the water with a wooden spoon to get it spinning. This will help to keep the egg’s shape when you drop it in, and hopefully keep it from sticking to the bottom. (Fingers crossed!) ;-)

How To Poach An Egg Without Destroying It

Step 3 – Cook

Then gently pour each egg into the water in one fluid movement. Leave plenty of room between them. Don’t worry if the edges look a little scruffy, you can trim them off after they are cooked.

If your egg sticks to the bottom of the pan, use a rubber spatula to gently release the eggs.

How To Poach An Egg Without Destroying It

Depending on your pan, a really soft poached egg should take around 2 minutes. An egg in the less-soft to firm range will need 4 minutes. The cook time also depends on the size of the eggs and whether you’re using them straight from the fridge – larger and colder eggs will both require more time in the water.

When they’re ready, remove the eggs from the water with a slotted spoon.

How To Poach An Egg Without Destroying It

Step 4 – Test

Rest the spoon on a spoon rest or a towel, then check whether the egg is done. Then give it a gentle push with a spoon or your finger. If it feels too soft, put it back in the water and let it cook for another minute or two.

My favorite way to eat poached eggs is on Eggs Benedict, but here are a few more serving suggestions:

  • With baked beans, a cooked tomato and sausages.
  • With a salad.
  • Inside a pita bread pocket.
  • On top of cooked vegetables.
  • On top of buttered toast.
How To Poach An Egg Without Destroying It

Bonus Tips For Successful Poached Eggs

Use eggs that are as fresh as possible; a fresh egg will coagulate quicker and keep its shape better.

You can tell whether an egg is fresh by cracking it on to a plate. If the yolk is firm and round and the white isn’t watery, it’s fresh.

Store eggs in the box you buy them in. Egg shells are porous and can absorb the odors of other foods so try to keep them away from anything strong-smelling, like fish.

You can refrigerate poached eggs for up to 3 hours, on a parchment-lined plate. To serve, heat water in a skillet (like described above) and gently add the eggs. Cook just until heated through, 30 to 45 seconds.

Now that you know the “secret” to making beautifully poached eggs, feel free to pass it on! Let’s make mangled poached eggs a thing of the past! :-)

YouTube video
Another way I love to make poached eggs!

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Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.
I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee


Bright Ideas

  • Mom always made poached eggs in milk. Spoon milk over egg to help cook the yolk. A piece of buttered toast with the egg on top in a bowl. Poured the milk over it, not much, but enough to barely cover. Salt, pepper and yum!! My kids loved it and now theirs do, too.

  • This egg dish is suitable for breakfast, it provides energy for all day. Thanks for sharing the way to make it better. Each step is clearly.

  • I once tried to make poached eggs for my wife’s breakfast and it was, for sure harder than I expected… Making them without destroying was impossible for me. But then I saw this recipe last night and tried it again for my wife and she LOVED it! Thanks for the tips, Jillee. It was brilliant.

  • Love your news letters, one thing that I might add to your poached eggs. if you want the top of the egg to cook faster, get a large tablespoon and ladle the hot water from your pan gently over the eggs this will help to cook the top of the yoke.

  • Hi Jillee, I love your newsletter! I’ve learned so many things about cooking, cleaning and taking short cuts. In one of your recent tips you mentioned touching markers that have dried up to something that revived the color. I can’t remember what that something was but I’d like to try it. Can you help? Thanks, Shawna

  • I saw this trick on the Food Network and thought about giving it a try! I have messed up poached eggs in the past lol I am also intrigued by all the tips to try poached eggs in the microwave. Guess I will be doing some experimenting this weekend;)

  • The easiest poached eggs I’ve ever made are in the microwave. Put a cup of water into an appropriate sized bowl — I use a cereal bowl. Crack an egg into the water. Microwave on high for about a minute. It’s done. Pour carefully through a slotted spoon, making sure not to break the egg. (I did have to experiment with the length of time, a few seconds here or there.) Since I usually eat two eggs, I crack both eggs into the bowl of water and heat for a minute and a half. The amount of water is somewhat negotiable … just make sure the tops of the yolks are covered with the water and they will come out fine.

  • All the above are too complicated. Microwave poached eggs are simpliar and delicious. Boil a bowl of water……crack egg in small dish……pour egg in the boiled water. Cook for 1 minute at power level 4. Let set for about a minute or so and you are good to go for how ever you want to serve it.

    • I just ordered mine off amazon (BPA free) and they should arrive today! I’ve been using canning rings, which work fairly well except the egg white sticks sometimes and they’re a BEAR to clean.

  • Poached eggs are my favorite kind of eggs. I put water to boil and crack the eggs onto a saucer then slide them off into water. Spoon water over the tops.

  • I work in a busy place I found out how to poach eggs,the easy way.Turn heat up all the way get pot boiling drop egg in,when water starts to boil over remove egg with slotted spoon.

  • Hi jillee: I found a great way to poach eggs. I use the ring from a canning jar, spray it with coconut Pam. Put the ring in the pan and let the water boil. Break the egg into the canning ring Turn the heat down and cover. You can tell it’s done when the egg white is not runny. I serve mine on buttered toast. They fall out of the sprayed rings perfectly.

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