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How to Poach Eggs in a Pan Properly

Food & Recipes, Blog, How To

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The Julia Child Method

Ms. Julia Child, the Queen Bee of cooking, had her own method for poaching eggs. Her method calls for parboiling the egg for 10 seconds in the shell before breaking it into the cooking water.

Why? The parboiling preserves the shape of the egg and prevents the wispy white strings from becoming entangled in the water. Because the egg is already warm and cooking, it sets up much faster, which means you won’t have to worry as much about it sticking to the pan’s bottom or sides.

  1. Using a safety pin or a straight pin, gently poke a small hole in one of the ends of the egg. This is to release any air that is trapped in the egg.
  2. Using a slotted spoon, lower the egg down into a medium saucepan full of boiling water. Boil for 10 seconds. Then remove with slotted spoon, and let cool until you can handle it (it should only take a minute or two).
  3. Reduce the heat of pot to where the water is just simmering, then break the egg into the water. Set an egg timer for two minutes for soft eggs or four minutes for hard.
  4. Lift the egg out of the pan using a slotted spoon, drain on a plate covered with paper towels.


  • Because your egg has already been warmed in the shell, it doesn’t take quite as long to cook. You’ll have to play with the timing to get it just right for you.
  • No need to add vinegar to the water with this method; parboiling the egg in the shell should take care of the wispy whites issues.

Poaching Eggs Cups

This is where we start talking about gadgets! Poaching eggs cups first appeared on the scene a few years ago, and they’re a fantastic invention for people who don’t have the space in their kitchen for a full poaching eggs pan but still want an easy and fuss-free way to poaching eggs.

Most poaching egss cups are silicone, and I’ve heard they can also be used to cook eggs in the microwave, though I’ve never tried it. They’re available at most kitchen supply stores. Mine are from EZE Homegoods, and they’re bright and colorful, making me happy.

Bring a medium saucepan full of water to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer, then place an egg poaching cup into the water.

Gently break an egg into the cup.

Place the lid over the pot. Set an egg timer for three minutes for a soft egg or five minutes for a hard egg.

When the timer is up, remove the lid then scoop out the egg cup using a slotted spoon or a ladle. Use a spoon to remove the egg from the cup.


  • Silicone is not a great conductor of heat, so these actually might take longer to get your egg to the right doneness. Also, because of this, you’ll need to use a pot with a lid to trap in steam and heat.
  • Poaching eggs cups are great if you want to do multiple poaching eggs at once!
  • Some silicone is more non-stick than others, so you might want to err on the side of caution and spray your cups with cooking spray before adding in the egg. I have no problem with eggs sticking in my cups.

Poaching Eggs Pan

When I was a kid, my parents had poaching eggs pan, and we had poached eggs on toast every week for breakfast! An egg poaching pan makes it simple to make a large batch of perfectly poached eggs at once. If you enjoy poached eggs (and don’t mind being a “cheater”), an egg poaching pan is a must-have.

In the kitchen, I’m not usually a fan of unitaskers, but my egg poaching pan is the best pan for me . Two for Mama, two for Daddy, and one for our adorable egg-loving toddler, the five spots are ideal for our small family. There are also smaller and larger poaching pans available.

  1. Fill the bottom of your egg poaching pan with water, then replace the cups. If using a steel pan, spray the cups liberally with cooking spray (not necessary if you have a nonstick one). Bring the pan to boil over high heat.
  2. Once the pot is boiling, break eggs into the sprayed cups.
  3. Place lid over pan, and then set a timer for three minutes for soft eggs or five minutes for hard eggs.
  4. Remove the lid, then using a spoon, lift the egg out of the cup.


  • An egg poaching pan is great for checking doneness, because just a simple shake of the pan can tell you how done your egg is. Really jiggly? Not done yet. Just the yolk looks jiggly? Perfect!
  • Once the timer is up, make sure to lift the eggs out of the poaching water immediately —they will continue to cook if left in the pan.

Last but not least, here’s my best recommendation for egg poaching pan!


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