The Basics: How to Poach an Egg

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Have you ever wondered how to poach an egg? Well wonder no more, here is a step by step guide on how to poach an egg.

Have you ever wondered how to poach an egg? Well wonder no more, here is a step by step guide on how to poach an egg.

True Confession: The first time I ever had Eggs Benedict was in Hawaii, a month ago.  I know unthinkable right!?  While we were in Maui we stayed in this cute little quant town called Pai’a.  It was awesome, such a small town local island feel.  I loved it!  What I love most about small towns is they always have an awesome local coffee shop!  Anthony’s Coffee Shop, in Pai’a, is obviously known for its local coffee, but it also has a kick butt Veggie Eggs Benedict.  Taking my brother-in-laws advice, Mike and I ventured out one morning to try this famous Benedict we had heard of and wow!  It was awesome!  The key to this delicious dish was the poached eggs on top!  As soon as you popped that yoke it just came oozing down the mountain of veggies it was laying on and soaked into the english muffin.  Absolute heaven in one bite!  I was determined to recreate this at home.

One problem!  I also have never poached an egg!  So, guess what I did this weekend?  Yup, poached eggs! Lots of eggs!

How do you Poach an Egg you ask?  Well, let me tell you.  It’s not for the faint of heart, you must have determination, a soft touch, and most of all patience.  Don’t be discouraged when you first start this process.  I think I went through at least a dozen eggs before perfecting my craft.  But now I can say with absolute confidence, I know how to poach an egg!

Tips: Use a large shallow saucepan with cover. Fill the pan up 1/4 of the way full with water. Use 1 teaspoon of vinegar, it will help the whites stick together. {you can’t taste it}

To get started, fill a large shallow saucepan 1/4 of the way full with water.  Bring to an almost boil. {there will be lots of small little bubbles on the bottom of the pan} Put 1 teaspoon of vinegar in the water.

How to Poach an Egg 1

Crack one egg into a small dish.

How to Poach an Egg 2

Bring small dish very close to the almost boiling water and gently slide egg into the “hot tub” a.k.a saucepan.

How to Poach an Egg 3

With a spoon gently move the whites closer to the yoke. {when I say gently, I mean GENTLY}

How to Poach an Egg 4

Turn heat off and cover for 4 minutes.

How to Poach an Egg 5

Remove cover. The egg white should be white and solid by now.

How to Poach an Egg 6

Optional: I also tried using the lid to a mason jar and sliding the egg into the hole of the mason jar lid as a way to keep the egg from spreading in the water. It worked fairly well, although when removing the egg from the water it stuck to the lid a little bit.  But definitely worth a try. 🙂

How to Poach an Egg 9

Gently remove poached egg from the pan with a slotted spoon and serve.

How to Poach an Egg 7

How to Poach an Egg 7

The Basics: How to Poach an Egg

  • Author: Krista



  • 1 large egg
  • 13 cups of water (you’ll be filling your saucepan 1/4 of the way full, the amount may vary based on the size of your pan)
  • 1 teaspoon plain vinegar


  1. Fill a large shallow saucepan 1/4 of the way full with water. Bring to an almost boil, add 1 teaspoon of vinegar to the  water.
  2. With a spoon, swirl the water two or three times so it looks like a whirlpool.
  3. Next, crack one egg into a small dish. Bring the small dish very close to the almost boiling water and gently slide the egg into the swirling water. The swirl will help the egg whites stick together.
  4. Immediately turn the heat off and cover for 4 minutes.
  5. Gently remove poached egg from the pan with a slotted spoon and serve.


More recipes by Joyful Healthy Eats you might enjoy:

Turkey Bacon & Spinach Frittata

Turkey Bacon & Spinach Frittata

Morning Glory Muffin


Hey There

Hi! I'm the recipe developer and food photographer behind all these easy healthy recipes! I love food, Jesus, morning lattes, and am obsessed with fantasy football!

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27 Responses
  1. Don

    My mom had a sauce pan about 8 inches around had a tray that you placed in it the tray had 4 triangular slots with lift out cups.You would put the water in place the tray and then the triangular cups in add a egg to each cup put on the lid and cook for a few minutes Kuala poached eggs lift out cup turn out egg. Don’t know if they make them still but I’m sure they do.

  2. Laura @ The Rookie Cook

    I’d never poached an egg before (or eaten one) so this was a great tutorial for me. I made poached eggs for breakfast yesterday and they turned out spot on due to your recipe. I didn’t even have to waste an egg – thanks! So glad I pinned this earlier.

    1. Krista

      WHAT!? Awesome… you must be a poaching natural. So glad to hear that you didn’t waste eggs like me.. haha. 🙂 Hope they were delicious with whatever you ate them with.

  3. Julia @ hungryandconfused

    This is a great post for me because I always struggle with poaching eggs (even when I add vinegar or milk) – I’m definitely going to give it another go!

    1. Krista

      Well, your not alone. It took me a dozen eggs before I finally felt confident of my “poaching abilities”. 🙂 So keep trying.

  4. Gloria @ Simply Gloria

    I love poached eggs…in fact, I love eggs any way shape and form! I love your tip about the putting the lid on… have never tried that one. I’ll have to do it next time. We make eggs benedict all the time. In fact, I’m going to have my hollandaise sauce on this week. We are on the same brain wave! Here’s a tip that I have learned to do with the eggs…after you put some vinegar in the pot of water, stir the water in a big circle. (Like it’s going down the drain.) And add your egg(s) to it. It will keep the whites around the yolks. The whole thing is like a science experience, don’t you think?! Pinning!

    1. Krista

      So fun! So the eggs literally are going in a whirlpool. Nice, totally makes sense, and yes I felt like I was doing a science experiment. Especially after going through 12 eggs!!! Can’t wait to see your Hollandaise sauce, maybe I could put it over some asparagus or something. 🙂

      1. Terry

        Also fresher the eggs, the tighter the whites. If eggs seems watery, use strainer to remove some of the loose whites. Then vinager, boil water and swirl gently place egg in water.

  5. Laura @ The Rookie Cook

    Thanks for the tutorial – I’m pinning for later. I too have never made (or eaten!) a poached egg before…I guess it’s about time.

    1. Krista

      No problem, I figured if I have never done it before I’m sure other people haven’t either. Might as well share the knowledge. 🙂

  6. Kumar's Kitchen

    poaching an egg seems simple but it requires some real skill to make it just perfect….ur recipe is darn good…will make any novice poach eggs with confidence 🙂

    1. Krista

      Thanks Kumar! It definitely requires some skill and patience. Your comments were so sweet and encouraging, thank you so much!

  7. Min

    Ooh..Maui…I’ve never been but I’m hoping this will change very soon. I absolutely love poached eggs! What I don’t like about eggs benedict is the hollandaise sauce..I know..I’m odd…so I always order mine without. I still haven’t mastered the art of poaching eggs…I’m going to keep trying though 😉

    1. Krista

      hahah… Min that is so funny! I wasn’t fond of the hollandaise either. The egg yolk adds enough sauce for the dish… why add more. 🙂 Keep at perfecting your poaching add craft… you’ll get it eventually.

  8. Zainab @ Blahnik Baker

    Confession: I’ve never poached an egg :(. But thanks for these tips!! Now I feel equipped to attempt it!!

  9. Heather @ Sugar Dish Me

    Wow!! Your eggs are beautiful! I have actually never done it this way but I’m gonna try it! I just bring the water to a boil, reduce it to a simmer, drop in the egg, and then use a fork to capture any runaway stringies. No fanciness with my very utilitarian poached eggs but your step by step photos are crazy gorgeous and i feel like the vinegar is probably a key component that I’m missing… Thanks Krista!

  10. marcie

    Thank you for this, Kristin! We’ve been enjoying poached eggs at a cafe and my son is asking me to make them. I was going to find something online, and voila! here is your post. Perfect timing!

    1. Krista

      🙂 Perfect timing is right. So funny how things like that happen. Hope you and your son enjoy! Thanks for stopping by Marcie.

  11. Gina

    Awesome- my son actually does this as a science experiment. Every time I only need whites or yolks- he takes the remaining parts & boils them to “see what will happen”. He’s fascinated by it.

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