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Nov 22, 2011 07:06 PM

Should I buy an egg coddler?

Has anyone ever used one of these contraptions?

I love soft boiled eggs in the morning and this seems like an easy way to make them. Or is it just going to be one more useless gadget in my kitchen?

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  1. My folks bought a set of exactly these things way back when. I can't believe they still make them. Dad did use them for a while and then they were relegated to the closet and stayed there forevermore. For all I know, they even brought the set down with them to Florida when they retired some 20+ years ago. If they still have them, they are still in a closet ...

    Assuming my folks still own these, I'm sure they'd be happy to let me send them to you, merely for the cost of shipping.

    If you really like soft boiled eggs, I'd probably recommend poaching them. First break open your eggs into a small bowl. Then get water to a full boil in a small covered saucepan or small pot. You only need about 1.5 - 2" of water - that's it. Then turn off the heat, drop the eggs in and cover. Then just remove your beautiful eggs with a hand strainer at exactly the firmness that you most enjoy.

    This is the same technique that I use for eggs benedict, although I let mine go for a bit more time, as my application needs a certain firmness.

    7 Replies
    1. re: jkling17

      How do you transfer them from the strainer to ... whatever... without messing them up?

      1. re: DPGood

        Oh no worries there - these are very shallow, not your typical bowl-type strainer. The food just slides right from them into whatever bowl or dish you want. I own 2 of these - one is very fine and the other just normal fine. For a soft boiled egg, either would probably work. They are very useful for all sorts of things in the kitchen.

        The very fine one I use for straining tea, coffee, etc - where all I really want is just the liquid and to catch all or nearly all solids. A very small amount of tea or coffee steeped directly in hot water makes a LOT of beverage. So a strainer like this is perfect to get rid of the sediment.

        The normal fine also gets regular use. I make a puled pork about once a week and this is great for removing it from the slow cooker. It gets the whole thing out in one piece, instead of falling apart before I get it into the pyrex disk that I use to shred it up, season it and then store it in the fridge.

        These strainers are commonly available in many asian markets, chinatowns and such for about $5-7. If that doesn't help you, you can buy these from Amazon.

        1. re: DPGood

          I agree. These strainers are fairly shallow and flat. In other words, you can slide the egg out.

        2. re: jkling17

          What kind of strainer is that? Your technique sounds like something I would like to try.

          I have a "non-stick" egg poacher, but it always sticks and I just find the egg poacher to be a general pain in the neck and useless piece of equipment in my kitchen taking up valuable real estate.

          As to the egg coddlers, there is one cheap brand made in China and other than that sells Wedgewood china ones that I don't think are still in production. Unfortunately, the only pattern I liked was $60 for one coddler! (The other patterns are half that price, but I hate the other patterns). $60 is a big investment for a gadget I might not use. I do like the concept though that unlike a soft-boiled egg, you don't have to deal with hacking off the top after you have cooked it. Also, apparently with coddled eggs, you can add spices and even cheese to the coddler and get a nifty cooked egg dish when done. And with a king-sized coddler, you can cook two eggs at once. (Just checked again and the only other pattern that I kind of like, is $100 for king-size egg coddler. Talk about pricey - I need to learn jkling17's technique for poaching!)

          1. re: jkling17

            A slotted spoon also works well for removing the poached egg from the water.

            1. re: jkling17

              I know this is an old thread, and maybe it's been mentioned, but if you put your eggs in that strainer (over the sink) BEFORE you poach them, the loose liquid will run off, and the eggs will poach MUCH cleaner, no strands. I think Kenji Alt champions this method on Serious Eats, and it has worked great for me.

              1. re: justbeingpolite

                Poaching is much different from coddling..

            2. In The Elements of Cooking, Michael Ruhlman writes: "As a rule, any tool that has only one use should be avoided."

              7 Replies
              1. re: GH1618

                Yes, but if we all heeded such sensible advice imagine how many interesting threads would never have come into being. I personally like a lot of single use items, like my tinned fish poacher. I have a pair of egg coddlers, likely wedding presents in 1975. I like coddled eggs, but the coddlers are hard to clean,especially the inner edge of the metal rim. Texturally they (coddled eggs) seem a little more rubbery than boiled or poached to the same degree of doneness as measured by the softness of the yolk.

                1. re: tim irvine

                  Thanks for this advice. I hate things that are hard to clean. I think I will try the pan poaching with strainer method and save myself some money and clutter. I guess there is a reason they don't really make egg coddlers anymore.

                  1. re: tim irvine

                    This "avoid tools with one usage" is a good general guideline, but one should take caution in applying it and not strictly follow it. Surely, there is a difference between a waffle iron and an egg poacher.


                    While both are designed for one single primary use, there are many alternatives to an egg poacher, but not so for a waffle iron.

                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                      Yes, it's a rule of thumb, not an absolute. Ruhlman is merely advocating simplicity. He is trying to get at "The Elements of Cooking."

                      1. re: GH1618

                        Is there a difference between a kitchen tool vs an appliance?
                        And I agree, no point cluttering up your cupboard with battery operated milk frothers, garlic skin removers, and other clearly one-task designed tools. But I'd really miss my waffle iron and my drip coffee maker (ya I know, I could make couscous in my coffee maker, but lets be serious, we totally won't do that outside of a hotel room in a pinch...).

                        1. re: GH1618


                          I wasn't trying to criticize the general advice. It is a good advice, and I follow it. I probaby have less kitchen gadgets than 90% of the people. I was more or less telling other people not to take a good advice too far. At the end, don't let the guideline overrun the common sense. A person who poaches eggs all day long, 24/7, has a very different need than another person who does it twice a year. Same argument can be made for other tools. A cherry pitter is fairly useless for me, but it may be essential for others. A pair of cut resistance gloves is another example.

                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                            Thanks. I believe we are in agreement.

                  2. I had those exact ones and maybe used them twice. They are wonderful if you like very buttery poached/boiled eggs but I never really got used to using them. I butter poach my fried egg and get about the same result right in a small non-stick pan.

                    1. On topic: They're useless. Don't bother.

                      Off topic: Another egg poaching method is to line a teacup with saran wrap, break an egg into it and gather up and twist the wrap to form a purse. Poach this in boiling water for about 1 minute for a perfect compact egg.

                      1. Sometimes you just have to try things to know if you would use them. I've just discovered that I can poach an egg (a form of coddling, no?) in the microwave. I heat the water in a small saucer, then slip the egg in the water, and cook for 3 minutes on power level 3. I read in Wikipedia that you can coddle an egg by pouring boiler water over and letting it stand for 10 minutes. If you think these methods aren't your style, by all means try the coddler. Why not?