How To Poach an Egg in the Microwave

published Aug 25, 2010
How To Poach an Egg
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(Image credit: Faith Durand)

I don’t usually use the microwave to poach my breakfast egg, but it can come in very handy for a lunch egg. Lentils, brown rice, or a salad can be elevated from a side dish to a main dish with a tender, gooey poached egg on top. Here’s how to make a quick, freshly poached egg in the office microwave.

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(Image credit: Faith Durand)

Huge caveat, before you try this: Remember that microwaves come in lots of different configurations. This is a basic set of instructions but you will probably need to tweak it a bit to adjust to your microwave.

My microwave oven is a 700 watt oven so I usually microwave my eggs at 80% power. However, if using a higher-powered microwave I would recommend starting at 50% power.

How To Poach an Egg

Nutritional Info


  • 1 or more eggs
  • White vinegar
  • Water


  • Small saucepan

  • Measuring cup with a handle, or a teacup

  • Slotted spoon

  • Timer

  • Plate lined with a paper towel or clean rag


  1. Bring a small saucepan 3/4-full of water to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat to low and bring the water back down to a low simmer. There should just be a few bubbles hitting the surface.

  2. Add about a tablespoon of white vinegar to the water.

  3. Crack the egg into a measuring cup or a small teacup.

  4. Slowly lower the cup into the barely simmering water, and tip the egg out into the water.

  5. Set the timer for 4 minutes. The egg white should be immediately coagulating in the water.

  6. Use the slotted spoon to carefully arrange the egg white into a more compact shape, if you desire.

  7. Keep an eye on the water's heat; make sure it doesn't come back up to a rolling boil.

  8. After 4 minutes, turn off the heat and remove the egg with the slotted spoon. Place it on the plate lined with a paper towel and gently blot it dry.

Recipe Notes

• The 4-minute time will give you a gently cooked poached egg, with a gooey yolk that still has a liquid center. Adjust the time if you want it more cooked.
• We find that the vinegar is really essential in helping cook the egg reliably and neatly; it helps coagulate the egg white quickly, so everything stay in place! If you have no vinegar, then the juice of about half a lemon will also do the trick, but it isn't quite as reliable as vinegar.

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(Images: Faith Durand)