Perfect Poached Eggs

Total Time:
15 min
Prep:
10 min
Cook:
5 min

Level:
Easy

Directions
Watch how to make this recipe

Heat the water: Add enough water to come 1 inch up the side of a narrow, deep 2-quart saucier. Add 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 2 teaspoons white vinegar and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Meanwhile, crack 1 very fresh cold large egg into a custard cup or small ramekin. Use the handle of a spatula or spoon to quickly stir the water in one direction until it's all smoothly spinning around.

TIP: Use this whirlpool method when poaching a single serving (one or two eggs). For bigger batches, heat the water, salt and vinegar in a 12-inch nonstick skillet and do not stir.

Add the egg: Carefully drop the egg into the center of the whirlpool. The swirling water will help prevent the white from "feathering," or spreading out in the pan.

Let it poach: Turn off the heat, cover the pan and set your timer for 5 minutes. Don't peek, poke, stir or accost the egg in any way.

Lift it out: Remove the egg with a slotted spoon and serve immediately. Alternatively, move the egg to an ice bath and refrigerate up to 8 hours. Reheat in warm water just before serving.

Photograph by David Malosh


CATEGORIES:
View All

Cooking Tips
More Recipes and Ideas
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
3.9 33
My first time poaching eggs and they came out perfect. I served them atop zucchini pancakes with a drizzle of Aleppo pepper infused butter. A GREAT brunch dish item not reviewed by moderator and published
Came out very nice. I like the way the egg white Jung together item not reviewed by moderator and published
Perfect on my first try. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I'm No Scientist but,<div>I've enjoyed poached eggs when dining out for years. However, I've never attempted to make my own until today.  In Alton I trust, so I followed these directions and it came out perfect.  On par if not better than some of the best poached eggs I've had in restaurants.  </div> item not reviewed by moderator and published
interesting recipe item not reviewed by moderator and published
I took them out about 20 seconds before the 5 minute mark. They came out just right. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I did it! I've always wanted to make poached eggs, but was too chicken to try ... no pun intended. This was much simpler than I imagined. I put this over toast with crisp bacon and steamed asparagus, and made Ina Garten's easy Hollendaise to top it off. The poached egg was perfectly done at five minutes. Not underdone, not over done. I think the trick is to make sure the water is simmering, not boiling. My only problem was trying to make sure that everything was ready at the same time, but I made it happen. Hubby looked at the dish, then looked at me like I was a little off kilter... nothing new... but he loved it. Thanks for showing us how to do this, Alton. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Usless. Egg feathered and didnt even cook. I followed the recipe exactly. item not reviewed by moderator and published
That was FANTASTIC! I used champagne vinegar, and it just felt fancier : ) item not reviewed by moderator and published
Dear Alton Brown, That really was the most delicious poached egg I have ever had. Thank you. JV item not reviewed by moderator and published
Turned out perfect. I put these on top of ham and cheese quiches with a little salt/pepper and ketchup. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Calm down--cooked the recipe this AM for my wife and she thought they were the best she's ever had in her life (and we're both over 50). Perfect consistentcy of not too soft and runny and not too hard. Just one man's opinion, but I've been making eggs since life in high school as a short order cook 40+ years ago. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Hey goofballs, -yeah u too Alton. There is no mention of temperature on this whole page. Boil for 4 min, u over cook, just warm and it's runny. 'heat water' is too subjective for this recipe and these reviews. C'mon man! item not reviewed by moderator and published
Disappointed! "Poached" the eggs for 4 minutes, very overdone...good thing we had hollandaise... item not reviewed by moderator and published
Works great! I found leaving the egg in the hot water for a minute longer will cook the egg white all the way through. item not reviewed by moderator and published
It came out feathered (I must not have spun the funnel fast enough....) and hard boiled. Fail. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I was worried when I first dropped the egg into the "whirlpool". The second the egg hit the water the whites whirled out like a fan. I so badly wanted to try to use the spoon to keep the egg together, but I just put the lid on, and hoped for the best (and made a fried egg just in case). To my surprise, when the time was up I had a perfect poached egg! I accidentally left my egg in for 6 minutes instead of 5, so my egg was just a touch over done, but still runny enough to have something to sop up with my bread. I think 4 minutes would have been perfect. This was my first time ever poaching an egg and I am impressed it turned out so well! item not reviewed by moderator and published
Perfect instructions! Well, I left my egg in for a little over 3 minutes. Tasted great and it was runny, which is how I like it on my eggs benedict. Thanks for the poaching made easy! item not reviewed by moderator and published
I have never been able to poach an egg successfully. They always fall apart and turn to egg shreds. I just decided to give this method a try and it worked perfectly! So excited I have this skill now! I would say the 5 minutes of cooking time may be too well done for some people. I will probably give it 3 or 4 minutes next time. But all in all this technique is perfect! item not reviewed by moderator and published
I think I did something wrong...eggs were completely raw in the center and not cooked at all. Still like a mostly raw egg. :/ item not reviewed by moderator and published
Came back from a baseball game and was making a frisee' salad with a poached egg alongside some water buffalo steak. WB was great, frisee salad generally great, This recipe - horrible. Eggs were way overcooked. I don't make poached often so grabbed a "reliable" recipe. Wrong!!! Way overcooked. Salad still tasted great but had hard boiled egg and not a gooey poached. Could have been way better - thank you for water buffalo item not reviewed by moderator and published
this is a perfect method for those of us who are poached-egg challenged... we only left the egg in the water for about 3 minutes because we like a very runny yolk, but after losing 8 eggs to bad poaching techniques this was a godsend. item not reviewed by moderator and published
2 eggs perfectly cooked at 3 mins. Thank you! item not reviewed by moderator and published
Cooking poached eggs for five minutes as specified leaves the eggs overcooked (to my taste, at least). There was very little soft yolk; I'd call them "medium well". Technique is fine; time needs to be adjusted, depending on the degree of doneness. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Have never had trouble with one egg at a time. Just made 6 eggs with the non swirl ,cover heat off. came out perfect. item not reviewed by moderator and published
You're doing it wrong! Everyone is doing it wrong! Ditch the vinegar, ditch the pot, ditch the whirpool, ditch the boil. Vinegar gives whites an off taste, whirpool-boil just makes you lose part of the white in the water. Instead of vinegar, use 1/2 to 1 tsp. kosher salt (depends on the number of eggs, amount of water), 1/2 tsp. neutral oil like Canola; use shallow water in a shallow pan with a lid; water no higher that 1/2 the height of the egg yolk as it cooks -- width of the pan depends on how many eggs you want to poach at a time. Bring water and salt to a boil; turn down to a simmer. Slip the cracked eggs from a bowl into the simmering water. Turn flame up high enough to keep the water simmering gently. Cover with lid (preferably a glass lid so you can see how cooked the eggs are without lifting the lid and cooling the process). When the whites are opaque 1/4 to 1/2 way up the yolk, remove eggs with a slotted spoon and serve with any recipe that calls for poached eggs. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Just made my first successful attempt at poached eggs. They came out absolutly PERFECT!!!!! I have always felt a little apprehensive about poaching eggs and other previous attempts have always ended very badly.This recipe is awesome, will most definitly be using these tips in the future!!! Thank you Alton for the wonderful tips, will be poaching eggs now all the time!!!! item not reviewed by moderator and published
Just poached my first eggs with this recipe on poaching, and they turned out absolutely amazing. I followed the directions exactly, and they were perfect.I added the salt and the vinegar, and let the water come to a boil, then swirled vigorously. I poached 3 eggs at once, dropping them each into the center of the swirling water, one after the other. I then covered the pot, turned off the heat and let them sit in the water for 6 minutes instead of 5. My yolks came out just a little runny (perfect to me, cooked thoroughly with no under cooked egg whites, and tender. Delicious! Just as a note- i saute&amp;#39;d my Canadian bacon in a little butter and maple syrup, and used trader Joe&amp;#39;s hollandaise sauce, along with their cracked wheat sourdough bread, lightly toasted. It was great! item not reviewed by moderator and published
Got nothing to do with taste, it's the method! item not reviewed by moderator and published
Poached egg was perfectly cooked. The idea of swirling the water is great, however it is best to turn off the flame first, swirl the water and drop the egg in the middle and cover. Worked best with the second egg using that method. item not reviewed by moderator and published
My first time making poached eggs, and they came out perfectly! Nice and runny yokes, simply perfect. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Works ok item not reviewed by moderator and published
This is exactly the way I poach my eggs. They come out perfect everytime. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Forgot to stir the water, did you? That's the only reason the egg feathered. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Lightly SIMMER water, add salt and vinegar, swirl the water, drop egg in, cover and leave for 3 minutes covered. take eggs out with slotted spoon viola!! perfecto!!! (SIMMER IS THE KEY WORD) item not reviewed by moderator and published
I clearly states simmer. If you aren't that far into cooking you shouldn't be looking at something like this. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Just lightly simmer it, like he said, and stop whining like a mule. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Mules bray, bad cooks whine (along with crabby children). Let's be polite to our four-footed friends. But loved the comment. item not reviewed by moderator and published
It's an egg.Use your own dissection duh. item not reviewed by moderator and published
did you turn the burner off. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Me too, I like more runny, 4 was perfect. Five was good though item not reviewed by moderator and published
So . . . don't cook your eggs for five minutes. You sound like a three-minute cook. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I have to try it your way, I think you have the right recipe. Thanks! item not reviewed by moderator and published

This recipe is featured in:

Food Network Essentials