Whenever I poach eggs, I always get questions about how I manage to make such perfectly poach eggs! So, I’ll tell you a little secret: I almost always cheat and use an egg poaching pan. My poach eggs pan is one of my favorites, and I use it several times a week!
As a result, I frequently post pictures of my breakfast on Instagram. Because, you know, that’s what food aficionados do, right? And eggs are a common part of that breakfast.
One of the perks of being able to walk out the door and get farm fresh eggs from our hen house whenever I want is that I can have gloriously egg-tastic breakfasts whenever I want!
However, I understand that not everyone wants to spend nearly $50 on a pan that only poaches eggs (note that there are cheaper versions available, but they all have a non-stick coating – the price difference is due to having a fully stainless steel pan). So I thought I’d show you four different ways to poach an egg—two of them require “special” equipment, and the other two require items you most likely already have on hand.
Poach eggs is one of those things where everyone seems to have their own method or trick for getting it just right, so try them all and see which one works best for you. The first two methods I’ll show you below require some practice, so don’t be discouraged if the eggs don’t turn out right away.
If the appearance of your final egg is important to you, look at the image above to see what each method produces. An egg poaching pan is your friend if you want a perfect circle of poached egg, but if you prefer the organic, rustic look of a traditionally poached egg, one of the first two methods is for you!
Let’s get into the methods now. The traditional/normal/regular method of poaching an egg comes first.
The Whirlpool/Vinegar Poach Eggs Method
The success of this method is dependent on two factors: first, you must add regular white distilled vinegar to the pot, which aids in keeping the egg together in the water. Second, you swirl the water with a spoon just before dropping the egg in to create a whirlpool. And don’t forget to use the best pan for cooking eggs, so you will get the best result. As a result, the egg stays moving in the pan rather than sticking to the sides or bottom. Let me take you through the process.
- Fill a medium-sized saucepan with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Then reduce the heat to get a gentle, bubbly simmer. Add in a generous glug of white vinegar (about 2-3 tablespoons).
- Crack the egg into a small bowl, so it’s easier to gently pour into the pot. Then, just before putting the egg in the water, use a spoon to swirl the water, creating a whirlpool.
- Gently pour the egg into the swirling water. Keep gently stirring the water to make sure the egg stays moving. Put on an egg timer and cook for three minutes for a soft/runny egg or five minutes for a hard egg.
- Lift the egg out of the pan using a slotted spoon, drain on a plate covered with paper towels.
- If your egg ends up sticking to the bottom of the pan, don’t try to pry it off (you’ll end up breaking the yolk). Just vigorously stir the pot until the current of the water releases the egg from the pan.
- The fresher the egg, the fewer of the wispy white strings that come off of an egg. If you’re using an older egg, you can trim those whites off if they bug you, or just wrap them under the egg when you serve.
- You can do more than one egg at time in the same pot, but it takes practice. I recommend mastering one egg first, then try to add in another one.