5 Important Tips for Making Better Poached Eggs

published Aug 8, 2015
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(Image credit: Kelli Foster)

Even if you’ve made them a hundred times, poached eggs can be fickle. From getting the water temperature just right, to pulling the egg out of the pot at just the right time, there are specific factors that help achieve perfectly poached eggs. When done correctly, though, the payoff is something truly delicious.

Whether you’re a first-timer or a seasoned pro, these five tips are your ticket to better poached eggs every time.

1. The most foolproof method involves a pin, 10 seconds, and timer.

This method from Julia Child calls for making a pin-sized hole in the shell, then boiling the egg for 10 seconds before proceeding with the actual poaching. It sounds a little crazy, but trust me, it makes the most amazing and consistent poached eggs.

2. The fresher the egg, the better the poach.

Check the date on the carton. Or better yet, whip up some poached eggs right after purchasing a new carton. The best poached eggs are made using the freshest eggs. As eggs get older, the whites start to become looser and don’t tighten up as much during cooking.

Read more → 3 Tips for Making Better Poached Eggs

3. The oven is your ticket to making a lot of poached eggs at once.

For a quick and easy way to make poached eggs for a crowd, grab a muffin tin and some water, and turn on the oven. The taste and texture are the same as using the traditional stovetop method.

4. Still need a helping hand? Use a splash of vinegar.

Adding a splash of vinegar to the boiling water helps the loose, billowy whites cohere and cook into a more compact shape. And don’t worry — the taste of vinegar isn’t noticeable in the finished egg.

5. Consider a more flavorful liquid than water for poaching.

Sure, you can use water to poach eggs, or you can use another flavorful liquid instead. The cooking liquid from beans is a great option, as it’s particularly flavorful — especially if you cooked your beans with aromatics, like bay leaf and garlic or smoked meats. Plus it’s a nice way to make the most of an ingredient you might be tempted to just dump down the drain otherwise.