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How to Poach an Egg

Learn how to make flawless Poached Eggs on the stovetop with this easy tutorial! We’re talking runny, gooey yolks that ooze out when you pop into the soft white exteriors. So delicious!

Breakfast is one of my favorites, especially on the weekend. I love to serve these Poached Eggs with Smoky Bacon Sweet Potato Hash served along side my Iced Chai Tea Latte.

Perfect Poached Eggs

I must admit – I had actually never poached an egg until about a month ago after I tried eggs benedict for the first time in Hawaii. I know, unthinkable, right!? As soon as I cut into that jewel of an egg on top, I knew I had to learn how to make poached eggs at home.

Once I perfected the process, the rest was history. I’ve been serving poached eggs at least twice a week ever since! This is definitely my new favorite method for cooking eggs.

It took me a few failed attempts to get it just right, so don’t get discouraged if you don’t master the technique right away. If you follow these instructions, you’ll be churning out perfect poached eggs like a well-oiled machine in no time! And I have some helpful tips and tricks to give you a head start.

What You’ll Need

You don’t need much to make poached eggs happen. Just the kitchen staples below!

  • Egg: We’ll start with the obvious – the egg in question.
  • Water: The amount will vary depending on your saucepan.
  • White Vinegar: Keep in mind that substituting with another kind of vinegar will affect the flavor of the egg.

How to Poach an Egg

This method hasn’t failed me since I got the hang of it! Here’s the best way to prepare poached eggs:

Heat Water: Fill a large, shallow saucepan 1/4 of the way full with water.  Bring it to an almost boil – there will be lots of small little bubbles on the bottom of the pan.

Pan filled with water

Add Vinegar: Put 1 teaspoon of vinegar in the water.

Crack Egg: Crack one egg into a small dish.

Egg in a small dish

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

Gently Guide Whites to Yolk: Use a spoon to very gently move the whites closer to the yolk.

Cover & Let Sit: Turn the heat off and cover the pan for 4 minutes.

Uncover: Remove the cover. The egg whites should be white and solid by now.

Remove & Serve: Gently remove the poached egg from the pan with a slotted spoon and serve.

Poached egg on a white plate

Tips for Success

I found the following things useful when I was figuring out how to make poached eggs. Just take your time and you’ll do great!

  • Be Extremely Gentle: Be as gentle as possible when handling the egg throughout this process. It doesn’t take long at all, so there’s no need to rush!
  • Do Not Boil the Water: Boiling water is a bit too hot to poach eggs properly. It should be heated just up until the boiling point, which is indicated by a layer of small bubbles at the bottom of the pan.
  • Don’t Skip the Vinegar: A teaspoon of vinegar helps the egg whites stick together, so make sure you don’t omit it. As long as you use plain white vinegar, you won’t be able to taste it at all.
  • Try My Mason Jar Trick: I tried sliding the egg into the hole of a mason jar lid as a way to keep it from spreading in the water. It worked fairly well, although it stuck to the lid a little bit when I removed the egg from the water. It’s definitely worth a shot though!

Serving Suggestions

Poached eggs make a fabulous addition to sandwiches, salads and so much more. Behold these mouthwatering serving ideas!

  • Put it on Toast: Avocado toast is a popular healthy breakfast option for a reason. Add some ricotta cheese and a poached egg and now it’s a party! You seriously can’t go wrong with this recipe.
  • Add it to Salad: A a poached egg is like the cherry on top of your ice cream sundae, but for salad. It adds the ultimate finishing touch to this Roasted Vegetable Quinoa salad, in particular!
Two Servings of Eggs Benedict with Pico on Two Separate Plates
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How to Poach an Egg

  • Author: Krista
  • Prep Time: 1 minute
  • Cook Time: 4 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 1x
  • Category: Breakfast
  • Method: Stove
  • Cuisine: American


Learn how to make flawless Poached Eggs on the stovetop with this easy tutorial! We’re talking runny, gooey yolks that ooze out when you pop into the soft white exteriors. So delicious!


  • 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.

Keywords: poached eggs, how to poach an egg, how to cook poached eggs

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27 comments on “How to Poach an Egg”

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

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

  7. 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. 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. Avatar photo
    Zainab @ Blahnik Baker

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

  9. Avatar photo
    GiGi Eats Celebrities

    Man, where was this tutorial when I could eat eggs, LOL!!! I always wanted to know how to do this!

  10. Avatar photo
    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!

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

  12. 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.