How to poach an egg

Sounds easy – but a perfectly poached egg with a soft white and oozing, golden yolk is the real test of a good cook. Here’s how to poach an egg, with our tips for success…plus three recipes to try.

How to poach an egg

Follow these three simple to steps to achieve a top-notch poached egg, and then check out our tip to make them for a whole crowd.

 Step one

Make sure the egg is from a free- range hen and as fresh as it can be – eggs that have been stored for a while develop runny whites. Carefully crack the egg into a small teacup or glass – this makes it easier to transfer the egg gently into the boiling water.

 Step two

Fill a saucepan nearly to the brim with water. Put over a medium heat and bring to a simmer, then add a couple of tablespoons of white wine vinegar, which will help the white solidify quickly around the yolk. Swirl the water gently to form a mini-whirlpool, then hold the glass/cup close to the water and carefully slide the egg into the centre of the water. The yolk will sink while the white swirls and sets around it.

 Step three

Cook the egg in barely simmering water for 2-3 minutes (for a soft, runny yolk – cook for longer if you like). Remove with a slotted spoon, drain well, rest on kitchen paper briefly to dry more, then serve.


If you’re cooking for a dinner party and have a few eggs to do, you might want to cook the eggs for only 2 minutes each, then lift them out and plunge into cold water to stop the cooking process. When you’re ready to eat, pop the eggs back in simmering water for another minute to heat through, then drain, dry and serve.


Poached egg recipes: 

Poached eggs with avocado, beetroot and spinach

Poached eggs with harissa chickpeas and garlic yogurt

Poached eggs, tahini and pan-fried avocado

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