This may sound silly, but I used to have a phobia around poaching eggs. However since discovering my foolproof poached eggs method, I haven’t looked back.
Growing up, I can’t ever remember my mum poaching an egg.
So I guess that’s where it all started.
As I started getting into cooking, it wasn’t long before I attempted my first poached egg.
With careful water swirling and a few teaspoons of vinegar and the freshest eggs I could get my hands on, I gave it a shot.
When I started eating eggs for breakfast every day, it was only a matter of time before I decided to put in some serious effort and master the gentle art of egg poaching.
The good news is, I’m no longer a poached egg phobic.
The Secret to Foolproof Poached Eggs?
Secret 1. The acid.
I find adding a generous slug of white vinegar to the poaching water – we’re talking a good 3-4 tablespoons, is all you need to get good looking poached eggs, every time.
Don’t believe me?
Then have a look at the video below. There’s a side-by-side comparison for you to show how the vinegar helps the egg keep their shape.
Secret 2. Egg Freshness.
The fresher your eggs, the less watery the whites.
Although I have found if your eggs are still warm from the nest they can have problems.
So I wait until they are at least 8 hours old :)
Simple Foolproof Poached Eggs
- 3 tablespoons white vinegar
- 2 eggs
Bring a small saucepan of water to the boil. Add a big splash (3-4 tablespoons) of white vinegar and reduce the heat until it is at a rapid simmer.
Break eggs into a small bowl and slide each into the water.
Simmer gently for 3 minutes or until cooked to your liking. Test by feeling with your finger, the softer the egg feels the runnier it will be.
Remove eggs from the water with a slotted spoon and pat dry with a clean tea towel.
If you are sensitive to vinegar, wash the eggs gently under warm running water then pat dry and serve.
Variations for Simple Foolproof Poached Eggs
no vinegar – If you are sensitive to vinegar, wash the eggs gently under warm running water then pat dry and serve. Citrus juice could be substituted if you want to poach eggs without vinegar.
different vinegar – any vinegar will give the acidity needed. I use white vinegar because it has a neutral flavour and is inexpensive.
multiple eggs in one pot – no problem! Don’t believe the recipes that have you swirling the water and cooking only one egg at a time. With this method you can poach as many eggs as you can fit in your pot!
savoury – sprinkle over some nutritional yeast, schichimi togarashi (japanese spice blend) or shaved parmesan cheese.
more substantial – serve with smashed avocado, a decent pat of butter or stick blender mayo and a handful of baby spinach or baby kale or other cooked veg.
Problem Solving Guide
bland – serve with salt! Next time choose eggs from a different supplier. I notice a huge difference in flavour between my home grown eggs and supermarket eggs.
egg white whispy / falling apart – I hate when this happens. It could be you didn’t use enough vinegar. Or if the eggs are very old this happens. I’ve also had it happen to with eggs still warm from the nest but not day old eggs.
hard / rubbery eggs – oh no they’re overcooked. For now serve with a nice sauce to balance out the dryness. Next time simmer more gently or for less time.
too vinegary – it’s important to be thorough when patting the eggs dry. Little pockets of cooking water can get trapped in the white. Rinsing the eggs under warm water will help if you’re very sensitive to vinegar.
Waste Avoidance Strategy
white vinegar – keep it in the pantry.
eggs – will keep in the fridge for weeks or use for another meal.
mayonnaise – unopened in pantry or once opened will keep for months in the fridge.
salad leaves – are highly perishable. My first path would be to use them for another meal (salad for breakfast!) but if that isn’t possible you can pop them in the freezer. They will wilt down but can then be used anywhere you’d use wilted greens. At least this way they won’t go slimy.
You can but I prefer my eggs freshly poached. If you do have leftovers they’ll keep in the fridge for a week or so. I haven’t thought to freeze poached eggs but they should be fine.
More on cooking eggs
- Easy Peel Boiled Eggs
- Are Poached Eggs Healthy?
- Scrambled Harissa Eggs
- Japanese Omelette with Miso Mayo
- Fried Eggs with Smashed Avo
- Lebanese Omelette with Almond ‘Hummus’
- Darya’s Egg Fried Cabbage
Have fun in the kitchen!