Poached eggs sure do cause a lot of anxiety. Ostensibly, this is a quick and easy breakfast to go with a side of toast. But when confronted with a pot of boiling water and a raw egg, things can start to feel a little...squirrely. Don't be intimidated! Poaching eggs is easier than you think.
First off, I just want to state for the record that there is nothing wrong with some wispy bits of egg whites in your pot after poaching eggs. They are inevitable. You didn't do anything wrong, and in fact, there's very little you can do to prevent them.
Egg yolks have two layers of egg whites around them: a thick inner white and a thinner outer white. The thin outer white will wisp away in the water, but the thick inner white will stay tight around the yolk. Those wisps look like you're losing a lot of white, but in reality, it's just a little bit. Don't sweat it. If the wisps really bother you, try straining the loose outer whites with a perforated spoon before poaching.
Focus on the parts of the egg that you want to make it to your plate:
3 Tips for Better Poached Eggs
- Use the freshest eggs possible: As eggs get older, the whites start to become looser and the amount of thick inner white starts to decrease. Check the date on your eggs — the fresher the better.
- Poach in a few inches of water: You don't need much water to poach an egg. An inch or two will do the trick nicely and will also keep the egg from bobbing around in the water, thus keeping it in a tidy package.
- Heat the water to a rapid simmer: Heat the water to a rapid simmer, add the cracked eggs, and then immediately turn down the heat to low. You want the water hot enough to start setting the proteins in the egg whites immediately, but not so hot that the boiling water tears the delicate whites before they can set. Once the eggs have been added, a low heat is all you need to maintain a good poaching temperature.
Some people like to add a splash of vinegar to their poaching water to encourage the proteins to coagulate more quickly. This does help and can provide some extra insurance if you're feeling nervous about your poaching skills.
What are your best tips for perfectly poached eggs?
Related: How to Poach an Egg in the Microwave
(Image: Emma Christensen)