HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


What do you use to poach eggs? [Moved from Cookware]

  • j

I've tried several methods. For 1 egg sometimes I just boil the water give it a good stir and drop the egg in but I get a lot of waist that way, I have a little tray that fits in a skillet of boiling water, big enough for 3 eggs, but a large egg over flows, I used to have some rings, kinda like tuna cans missing the top and bottom bu the eggs would stick and I broke the yokes getting them out too often. Just wanted to know what woks for others.


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Use only the very freshest eggs....

    I myself prefer to deep fry (quick poach if you will) in very hot olive oil; the effect is stunning. The is what a fried egg means in Spain and other places. Way better....

    2 Replies
    1. re: Karl S

      i have to try this sometime. thanks

      1. re: Karl S

        Thanks, I might give that a try

      2. I generally get some water boiling, not a rolling boil though, add a tablespoon of vinegar, red or white works fine, and crack in the egg. The vinegar keeps the white together much better than not having vinegar.
        I learned this from an old chef at the New England Culinary Institute.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Ginsu2

          The vinagar does seem to help, thanks

          1. re: Jack_

            Yep, I do it just like Ginsu2 (see above) with a rolling boil and white vinegar.


        2. Question: I typically use Ginsu2's method, but often my eggs sink, so I'll use a non-stick pot then carefully remove them from the bottom in one piece and let them finish poaching, but I realize it's not going correctly. Does the sinking mean they're not fresh?

          1 Reply
          1. re: debkitchen

            One thing you can do is pass a slotted spoon gently over the surface of the water (water only simmering) until the egg floats. Then if you want to give it a rolling boil at that point, it will no longer stick to the bottom. Usually when vinegar is used, the egg is rinsed afterwards.

          2. I do mine one at a time in a very small sauce pan with water - bring the water just to a boil, add a little vinegar, let the water simmer down a bit, crack the fresh egg into a small ladle, then gently immerse into the water - cook for three minutes with the water barely moving (if at all). After trying a lot of different methods/tips (including placing the egg in its shell in the water for ten seconds or so before cracking/making a whirlpool), this method has consistently worked best for me. I'm usually only making one or two eggs. Once it's done, I place it on a paper towel. I guess I could branch out and trying doing two at once!

            1. In a rich pasta sauce.

              I made a ragu a few months ago and had some leftovers in my freezer. Drop an egg into a well made in the sauce, simmer at a low low heat for a few minutes and then scoop out the egg and a protion of the sauce. Great with a piece of garlic toast as a simple dinner but be sure to use a rich, thick sauce.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Ernie Diamond

                Actually, I love to poach eggs in Marcella Hazan's famous tomato sauce with butter and onion (after removing the onion)....

              2. I crack each room temperature egg in a little glass cup and gently submerge the cup of egg into simmering water...never boiling...this is what is making you lose a lot of your egg. Remove cup from water.

                To the water add a tablespoon in white vinegar.

                Remove with slotted spoon to a paper towel to drain excess water.

                Looks like MMRuth and I are on the same page! LOL

                1 Reply
                1. re: jenniebnyc

                  I poach eggs in exactly this way (for exactly 4 minutes for a nice, runny yolk) and it always produces perfectly formed, perfectly cooked eggs.

                2. while cooking in a kitchen not my own i was forced to use a nonstick pan to poach eggs for 14 people. I found that not only is a nonstick pan okay, it may work better than stainless in that the water never boils violently which can break the eggs up. red wine vinegar works, but can color the eggs around the edges. and no salt, which can cause the proteins to seperate.

                  1. Like most other posters, I use the vinegar method. I grew up with it and I must admit, I really like the added flavour.

                    As an aside, I always use the toaster as my timer and I get perfect eggs every time. Immediately after putting the eggs in the water, I push down the toast. Once it pops, I turn off the stove, put the toast on the plate and use a slotted spoon to put the eggs on a plate. They cook a little more while I butter the toast and seem to end up perfect every time. I've used this with many different toasters, and it seems to be flawless - unless you aren't having toast with your eggs. :)

                    1. I also use the vinegar method (1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar), but I have an extra tip for making the egg white stay together. And I do even more to make sure my poached-egg experience isn't vinegary or watered down.

                      I break the egg into a small bowl or shallow saucer, then swirl the water with a large spoon before gently slipping the egg into the middle. The centrifugal force keeps the egg in an attractive, compact ball. Then I turn off the heat, cover the pot, and cook the egg for 4-1/2 minutes.

                      When it's done, I scoop it out with the same large spoon, and go all Martha on that egg: I put it back on the saucer, rinse it with hot tap water (because I don't like the taste of the vinegar), and gently pat that little egg dry with a paper towel. Then I turn it over (the underside is always prettier) and place it on my piece of toast. Me & Martha, we don't like watery toast.

                      Perhaps this explains why I don't make poached eggs very often. But they're really yummy and beautiful when I do!


                      1 Reply
                      1. re: AnneInMpls

                        Oohh, that centrifugal swirl is a wicked tip!

                        I went on a poaching bender earlier this summer and found that I got the best results by (a) bringing the water to a roiling boil and THEN cooling it to a simmer, and (b) using a much deeper pot and more water than my mother had taught me to use.

                        Clearly, I must return to the poach and add the swirl method into my repertoire.


                      2. if you quick poach in oil, how do you know when the oil is the right temperature?

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: BKchompchomp

                          Technically, poaching is done at a distinctly sub-boiling point (just before a simmer, which for water starts around 180F), and proteins begin to cook at 140F. For deep-frying in oil, you can really use any temp you like; the higher the temp the faster the flash of cooking. It's really hard to go wrong.

                        2. As i said I do the swirl, crating a vortex to drop the egg into, works better with adding the vinager and I kinda like the added flavor.

                          Has anyone tried one of these?


                          Don't know why this got moved becaue the original question, althouogh it probably wasn't clear, was what kind of cookware do you use to poach an egg

                          1. In answer to the posting question, I use an old Revere (aluminum?) 10" skillet w/ lid. It's about the *only* thing that old pan is used for since all-clad came into my life.

                            1. Hi, I know this is a ridiculously late entry to this thread, but I just wanted to second the first point made right at the beginning of this thread by Karl S: "Use only the very freshest eggs....".
                              This, in my opinion, is more important than any technique or piece of equipment. The structure of eggs gradually begins to break down as they get older, and older eggs will just not hold together properly when poached. A really fresh egg (a few days old) is a joy to poach, it will hold its shape really well & very little will be lost to the water, without even adding vinegar or swirling the water or anything!
                              If the egg is not completely fresh, then adding vinegar & salt (salt is recommended by many reliable sources, so I'm not sure about it breaking down the structure - I have heard the opposite!), & ensuring that the water is on the verge of boiling (but not quite or the water is disturbed too much by the bubbles), will help the egg to hold together. I haven't ever had much luck with the whirlpool method, and if you want to cook more than one egg it wouldn't really be suitable anyway.
                              Don't even bother trying if the egg is close to its use by date - make scrambled eggs instead!