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Cooking The perfect Poached Egg

Cooking The perfect Poached Egg

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Poaching eggs is a much healthier option than frying but it can be tricky to master.

The perfect poached egg should be firm, creamy white and a runny yolk that is beginning to harden around the edges. So what’s the secret to getting it just right?


The term ‘poach’ means to cook in simmering liquid, in this case water. So obviously the first thing you need to do when cooking a poached egg is heat some water. Some people us a regular pan while others prefer to use a frying pan. The frying pan method is usually regarded as being easier to get right so you may want to start there. Once your water has reached boiling point you need to turn the temperature down until it simmers.


Of course the other essential you’ll need is eggs. Fresh eggs work best so try to ensure your eggs are very new. Most people agree that chilled eggs get the best results so don’t leave them to reach room temperature before cooking.


There are a number of gadgets on the market that claim to make egg poaching simple.

Poaching Pans

Poaching pans allow you to cook a few eggs at once and as long as you keep an eye on the time, they are very easy to use. However, as the eggs sit in a container above the water, they are actually being steamed rather than poached. But if you’re not too fussy about the technicalities and are just looking for a healthier option than frying then they might be the right choice for you.

Poach Pods

Working on a similar principle, poach pods sit on top of the simmering water until the egg is cooked. You just need to crack the egg into the silicon pod and insert it into the water. These do have their drawbacks though as it can be difficult to evenly cook the egg and you need to use a good amount of grease in order to easily remove the cooked egg.

Poaching ladles

A poaching ladle looks just like a regular ladle only it has holes in the bottom to let the water move around the egg. You hook them onto the side of the pan of simmering water and crack the eggs into them. They are very easy to use and keep the shape of the egg nicely. Using these also means the eggs are being truly poached as they cook inside the water.

Some of these tools can give you perfect eggs from the first attempt but once you’ve got the hang of it you really don’t need any special equipment.

Cooking The perfect Poached Egg

Poaching Eggs Without Gadgets

Of course, you’d never see a top chef using a poaching pan to cook eggs so if you’d rather save your cash and do it the traditional way there are two main methods to choose from.

Frying Pan

The first, and probably the easiest, is using a frying pan. According to Delia Smith, a small pan with around 2.5cm of gently simmering water provides the best results. Break the egg into a cup or small bowl, transfer them into the water and leave them for two minutes. Then take the pan off the heat and leave the eggs where they are for 10 minutes before lifting out and draining.

Whirlpool Method

This method may sound more exciting but it can be a little trickier to get right. Half fill a pot with simmering water and, if you like, a drop of vinegar. Crack the eggs into a cup or small bowl then use a whisk to create a whirlpool effect in the pot. When the whirlpool begins to calm slide the eggs into the centre. Cook for three minutes before draining.




About Maria Brett

About Maria Brett

Maria is a freelance writer with over 10 years' experience producing content for a variety of publications and websites. When not working or looking after her two gorgeous sons, she can usually be found playing flugelhorn in a brass band, helping out at her local hospital radio station, shouting at the television while watching Formula 1, at the cinema or plonked on the couch with a cold glass of wine.

Website: Maria Brett

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