How to Poach Eggs

Egg poaching can be intimidating, but it shouldn't be: With a few easy steps, you'll have a crowd-pleasing dish in your recipe box to pull out anytime you're expecting friends for breakfast or brunch.

How-To: Poach Eggs

Egg poaching takes practice. But with these easy steps, you'll get the hang of it in no time.

Step 1: Boil Water

Use a nonstick skillet and bring about 2 inches of water to a boil.

Step 2: Add Vinegar

Next, add a little vinegar. This keeps the whites from spreading too thin. It also adds a little seasoning. Then, reduce to a simmer. Tip: Choose a light-colored vinegar to avoid dyeing your eggs.

Step 3: Prep the Eggs

Get small bowls ready for your eggs. This way the eggs will keep their shape and you'll be able to cook them all at the same time. Crack them carefully into the bowls and check for bits of shell.

Step 4: Slip the Eggs Into the Water

Now, slip the eggs into the water one at a time. Work your way around the pan clockwise, so you know which eggs are done first. Tip: Fresher eggs cook faster and have firmer whites.

Step 5: Cover the Pan and Use Gentle Heat

Cover the pan and turn off the heat. The key to poaching is a gentle heat that will give your eggs a firm white and a loose yolk.

Step 6: Time to Serve

In just 4 minutes, the eggs will be delicate and delicious — ready to serve. Carefully scoop them out of the pan, drain them on paper towels and transfer them to serving plates.