Tips for Making Perfect Poached Eggs

FNM_08-09-11_Eggs_Poached_017.tif

FNM_08-09-11_Eggs_Poached_017.tif

Photo by: David Malosh

David Malosh

By: Alton Brown

Always use fresh eggs. If you can't see the difference between the "thick" white and the "thin" white, the yolks will probably break in the pan.

Always deliver the eggs to the pan with a custard cup or large spoon. Avoid cracking directly into the pan.

When using a nonstick skillet, cook in no more than an inch of water. If you don't have a nonstick pan, poach in a deep saucepan containing at least 3 inches of water.

Always acidulate the poaching liquid with either vinegar or lemon juice (1 tsp per each cup of water). Bring liquid to a boil, add eggs, then remove from heat and cover. How long, you ask? It depends on how many eggs. I like my yolks barely runny, so I'll cook 4 eggs for 7 to 8 minutes, depending on their size.

Since more eggs will absorb more heat from the water, they will take longer to cook, so for large batches always include an extra "test" egg. Always remove eggs with a slotted spoon.

Poached eggs can be refrigerated in ice water for up to 8 hours, then reheated in hot water. Do not re-boil.

Next Up

Can You Freeze Eggs?

In a word: yes. But it’s important to follow a few rules.

Alton Brown's Guide to Eggs

Alton Brown shows Food Network Magazine how to scramble, poach and more.

How to Make Soft-Boiled Eggs

It’s as easy as hard-boiling (but faster).

How to Make a Cake Without an Egg

We tested all the popular egg substitutes and found the three best subs for cake, hands down, no contest.

How to Cook an Egg in the Microwave

How to make poached, scrambled and baked eggs in the microwave.

How to Make a Frittata Out of Anything

This on-the-fly meal is a great solution for any time of day. Here's how to make it with whatever you have in the fridge.

French Glossary

Navigate French menus and cookbooks with confidence and ease.

How to Cook Salmon

How to pan-sear, bake and grill salmon.

How to Cook Frozen Lobster Tails

We think broiling is the best way to do it, but we'll walk you through four other techniques too.
More from:

Cooking School

Latest Stories