Making Poached Eggs – It’s Easier Than You Think

I used to think that making poached eggs was difficult.

How to Make Poached EggsI first published this post back in 2011. However, with the popularity of avocado toast, I’ve had a lot of folks asking about how to poach eggs recently. So I decided now was a good time to update it and re-publish. Please excuse the older photos – I think you can tell which ones they are!!

Click here to pin this recipe.

When my late Mom and I made poached eggs, we used one of those saucepans with the plastic cups in them. We both thought that making poached eggs by putting the eggs directly in boiling water was a hard thing to do. We couldn’t have been more wrong.


Still, it took me years to stop using the plastic cups. It wasn’t until I started ordering poached eggs in restaurants a few years ago and they came out looking like this –


that I decided it was time to abandon my plastic cup filled saucepan and do things the old fashioned way. It was also about the same time I began to read articles that suggested cooking in plastic might not be a good idea.

Finally, one afternoon I took the plunge. It only took one attempt and I had the hang of poaching eggs in boiling water. I could not believe how easy it was, or how quick.

How to make poached eggs - it's much easier than you think!

How to make poached eggs?

Use fresh eggs

You need the eggs to be as fresh as possible, and please, please buy pasture raised , free range or organic eggs. Bring them to room temperature before cooking if you can, but when I’ve been in a hurry I haven’t bothered, and they still turn out fine.

Bring the water to a boil in a shallow pan

You really only need a few inches of water to poach eggs.

Don’t poach too many eggs at a time

I rarely poach more than four eggs at a time. If you are poaching more be sure to use a larger (but not deeper) pan.

Add salt instead of vinegar

Although traditionally people have added a droplet of vinegar to the water, I prefer to add a pinch of salt. I can’t stand eggs that taste even faintly of vinegar. Feel free to add a droplet of vinegar if you prefer.

Swirl the water as you add the eggs

Use a spoon to swirl the water gently just before you slip the eggs into the water. This helps the eggs to form a nice shape. If the eggs start to get too close together, just gently coax them apart with a spoon.

Don’t over-cook

Cook for three minutes with the lid off for soft, runny yolks. For a harder yolk, increase the time by up to 5 minutes (by which time the yolk will be nearly solid).

How to Use Poached Eggs

Poached eggs are lovely on toast, with avocado or not. I also like to serve them on a bed of steamed asparagus or on top of fried potatoes and veggies. They also taste delicious alongside mac and cheese. For a beautiful starter or light lunch, try my  Salade Frisée aux Lardons.

Printable Poached Eggs Recipe

5.0 from 2 reviews
How to Make Poached Eggs
  • raw eggs
  • pinch of salt
  1. Bring some water to a boil in a small saucepan - mine is about five inches deep. If you are poaching more than 2 or 3 eggs, you can use a large frying pan. Again don't add too much water.
  2. Break the eggs, one at a time, into small ramekins. If you have enough ramekins, it is a good idea to do this first, so that the eggs all go into the water at virtually the same moment.
  3. Add a pinch of salt.
  4. Swirl the water with a spoon and gently slide the eggs into the boiling water.
  5. Cook for three minutes for soft, but cooked, egg yolks.
  6. Carefully remove the eggs from the water using a slotted spoon. Drain well before serving.

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Salade Frisee aux Lardons

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Article by April Harris

April has written 1281 great articles for us.

April is a writer, recipe developer, frequent traveller and blogger sharing travel, food, and style. Based in the south of England, April is a British Canadian who is passionate about family, hearth and home, healthy living (with treats!) and the transformative power of travel.

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  1. Ooooh April! I am so excited to see your tutorial about making perfect poached eggs…a skill I haven’t mastered yet! Will be sharing everywhere my sweet friend!

  2. April,
    I used to make “real” poached eggs all the time and then I inherited a pan from my mom with little metal cups to make poached eggs, just seems easier but not quite as good as a real poached egg. Thank you for the reminder! Going to try your method soon!
    -Nancy ( Nancy On The Home Front )

    • Thank you so much, Nancy. Actually, you’ve reminded me of my late Mom’s original poaching pan. I think it was tin. Those little metal cups were really hard to clean! It’s nice that you’ve got your Mom’s pan though. I think kitchen heirlooms are the best!

  3. OK, pinned it and I promise to try!
    I think perhaps the old “cups” method appeals to those of us who like control in our lives, and find the idea of free-form eggs swirling in a pan a little scary 😉

  4. I’ve never got the hang of swirled poached eggs although that’s how my mum-in-law always does them. I’ve started using silicone ‘pods’ recently but maybe I shouldn’t!

    • It’s cool if the silicon pods work for you, Hilary, but I do encourage you to give the old fashioned method a try. I promise it is easier than you might think! Let me know how you get on if you try it!

  5. You got me in the mood for poached eggs! Might give this a go this morning. Thanks April!

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