Cooking Poached Eggs

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Learn all of my tips, and what does not work, for Cooking Poached Eggs!

A poached egg on top of eggs benedict stack

Cooking perfectly poached eggs can be intimidating! There are a lot of tips and tricks out there, and I have tried so many.

I love to cook poached eggs for breakfast, like my Italian Prosciutto Eggs Benedict or Eggs Florentine Benedict.

These are my tips for Cooking Poached Eggs that I have found to work and be successful!

Getting Started

To start, use a pot with at least 4 inches of water. I also like to use wider pots that give me a lot of room to cook with.

Heat it over medium low heat (you might need to adjust your temperature depending on your stove). You want the water to be warm, but not boiling or simmering as the bubbles will interfere with cooking.

A fork cutting into an egg with the yolk running over the food and plate

Should I salt the water?


I thought this would be a great way to add some flavor to the eggs, but it does not work.

The salt interferes with the cooking process and results in eggs that start to separate and do not cook properly.

So season after!

Vinegar in the water?

Some people swear by adding 1 Tablespoon of vinegar to the water.

I found that the vinegar did not hurt, but also did not really help.

So I skip it, but if you feel your eggs come out better with vinegar, go for it.

Straining Eggs

This is probably one of the most important things to do in my experience.

Crack an egg into a small fine mesh strainer over a bowl.

Most of the egg white will stay in the strainer, but the little whisps or rogue whites will fall away.

This will give you a poached egg with clean edges.

Cooking Poached Eggs by an egg straining over a bowl

Dropping the Eggs in

Another key to beautiful poached eggs is to drop the egg into the water both quickly and close to the water.

This will keep all egg parts close together and give you the best chance of a beautiful egg.

To do this, I use small bowls or ramekins. After straining the egg, I put it into a small bowl.

Then when ready to cook, I lower the bowl partially into the water and pour it out into the water. Quickly.

If you put an egg in from a height above the water, you are encouraging the egg to be stretched out as it starts to cook when it hits the hot water.

Cooking Poached Eggs by dropping an egg in a small bowl into hot water

Should I use a water vortex?

A water vortex means that you stir the water in a circle to make a vortex, or almost like a hurricane or tornado, in the pot.

I do find that this helps give you a great egg shape as the whites are forced together and on top of each other, resulting in minimal strands coming off the egg.

The down side to this is that you can really only cook one egg at a time. So if you have a lot to make, this will take a while.

I recommend using the vortex unless you really do not have the time.

Alternatively, do not use a vortex and just drop the eggs in separate areas of the pot to cook. You can try to use a spoon to scoop any rogue white pieces back into the center of the egg.

When are the eggs done?

Poaching eggs typically takes only 3 minutes or so for a medium poached egg.

Medium poached eggs means the white is cooked but the yolk is still runny.

Gently scoop out the egg with a slotted spoon and gently poke the egg white, which should feel somewhat firm. And when you poke the egg yolk, it should feel soft and fluid.

Cook more or less as desired.

Store cooked eggs either back in small bowls or ramekins, or on a plate if you are not using them right away.

Reheating Eggs

If you are making a lot of eggs and need to slightly reheat them, such as they have been sitting out of the vortex, it is easy to do so.

Simply place the cooked eggs back in the water, gently, either by using small bowls or sliding them off of a plate.

After just a few seconds, scoop them out again. Do not leave them in there too long as they will continue cooking.

A spoon pouring hollandaise sauce over a perfectly poached egg

So in short, these are my tips for Cooking Poached Eggs:

  • No salt
  • No vinegar
  • Strain the eggs
  • Deep water (at least 4 inches)
  • Water is hot but not bubbling
  • Put eggs into small bowls for easy dropping
  • Use a vortex
  • Gently reheat if needed back in water

Eggs Benedict Recipes

Pin image for Cooking Poached Eggs of an egg on an English muffin with title at bottom

By on January 18th, 2021

About Kim

Kim has grown up with a passion for cooking good food! You can find her in the kitchen experimenting with new recipes, making dog treats, and eating Italian food!

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