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How to Poach Eggs Perfectly Every Time

Gabriel Wilson loves to cook, eat tasty foods and drink a glass of wine. And not wash up.

Soft, runny poached eggs oozing deliciously over buttered brown soda bread is a favorite breakfast of mine: it's healthy and low calorie too. Below is an easy and simple method to achieve perfectly poached eggs every time to ensure your eggs are just right; a soft and runny egg yolk with a firm, solid egg white.

Cook And Rate

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

3 min

3 min

6 min

serves 2

Poaching Eggs


  • 4 very fresh free range eggs at room temperature
  • a splash of one of the following: apple cider vinegar, a fruit based vinegar or a white wine vinegar
  • a pinch of salt
  • boiling water straight from the kettle


  • a deep bottomed pot
  • four espresso cups or similar sized coffee cups
  • a slotted spoon


  • Pour the boiling water into the deep bottomed pot over a medium heat, allowing the water to simmer lightly.
  • Add in the salt.
  • Add in the splash of whichever vinegar you are using.
  • Crack each egg into one of the four individual espresso cups.
  • Gently lower the cup into the simmering water (hold the cup by the handle) and tip the cup slightly, thus allowing the egg to slip gently into the simmering water.
  • Repeat with the remaining eggs.
  • Simmer the eggs for 2 minutes (use a timer, timing is crucial).
  • Turn off the heat and allow the eggs to sit in the hot water for a further minute.
  • Remove the poached eggs from the hot water with a slotted spoon.

To Serve:

  • Serve on thickly sliced homemade buttered brown soda bread.
  • Sprinkle with freshly cracked black pepper and a pinch of salt.
Perfectly poached eggs

Perfectly poached eggs

Poached eggs on buttered homemade brown soda bread, delicious and healthy.

Poached eggs on buttered homemade brown soda bread, delicious and healthy.

Cook's Tips

Using a light flavored vinegar like apple cider, a fruit based or white wine vinegar ensures you don't get that horrible vinegar taste that ordinary malt vinegar has. Malt vinegar has a very strong flavor and is best kept for your french fries.

Using the little cups helps mould the egg, hence keeping a nice round shape.

To achieve perfect poached eggs every time, you will need very fresh eggs. To test your eggs to ensure they are fresh, follow these simple guidelines:

  • Fill a deep bowl with cold water.
  • Gently place the egg into the water.
  • If the egg sinks, it's fresh.
  • A really fresh one will sit a the bottom of the bowl.
  • If it floats, it's not so fresh; the older the egg, the higher it will float.
  • A really old one will float near the top of the bowl.

The theory behind this test; the more air in the egg the older it is, hence the higher it floats.

A Few Interesting Nutrition Facts for the Average Hen Egg:

Eggs are a low fat food with only a mere 70 to 80 calories per average medium egg. Eggs are a readily available cheap and healthy food source. Eggs are full of vitamins and minerals which the body requires on a daily basis for healthy functioning. Among numerous essential vitamins and minerals eggs contain:

  • Protein: essential for healthy growth and muscle repair
  • Vitamin A: helps to maintains healthy skin tissue and eye tissue
  • Vitamin E: maintains good health and helps fights infection
  • Numerous B vitamins including folic acid; prevents birth defects and choline; promotes healthy brain development
  • Vitamin D: essential for the development of strong bones and strong teeth
  • Iodine: controls the functioning of the thyroid glands
  • Iron: maintains a healthy supply of red blood cells
  • Zinc: helps promote a healthy immune system

© 2012 Gabriel Wilson


Gabriel Wilson (author) from Madeira, Portugal on July 04, 2020:

Hey Liza, poached eggs are a favorite of mine. Happy weekend :)

Liza from USA on July 03, 2020:

Hi Gabriel, thanks for the tips and the guide. I think I'm going to try this weekend.

Gabriel Wilson (author) from Madeira, Portugal on July 17, 2019:

I replied in the comments by mistake but you will see I high lighted some tips already mentioned in the article, very fresh eggs are essential and simmering not boiling water plus slow and gentle. Well done and keep perfecting :)

Gabriel Wilson on July 17, 2019:

A few tips might help: •The eggs must be very fresh. The white is more solid in very fresh eggs. By fresh I mean days old not weeks. •The water must be bubbling slightly not a boiling bubble. •Lower the cup with the egg slowly and gentle into the water and slowly tip the egg into the water allowing the water to actually enter the cup. •Lastly if your first attempt was good no doubt your next attempt will be even better. Well done :)

Charlene Edwards on July 14, 2019:

I was obviously doing something wrong they did cook better than when I just break them into the water but still were nothing like the picture the only way I ever got a poached egg that looked really good was using a poacher, I have tried the microwave cooking device and this along with poacher and drop in water I quit poaching eggs for a few years and scrambled instead. I am going to persevere with this method its the better of others in boiling water.

Gabriel Wilson (author) from Madeira, Portugal on May 20, 2014:

You know what they say: go to work on an egg :)

Commentor91 on May 20, 2014:

Good, now I can make breakfast!

Gabriel Wilson (author) from Madeira, Portugal on May 06, 2012:

Hey Writer20,

Any mild flavor vinegar will do; it's mainly to prevent the eggs having a vinegar taste to them.

Gabriel Wilson (author) from Madeira, Portugal on May 06, 2012:

Tanx for reading and for your comments :)

creative1975 from Christchurch, NZ on May 05, 2012:

Great! Poached eggs are my favourite. I will try this out! thanks.

Milli from USA on May 05, 2012:

Thanks for the tips to make a perfect poached eggs. Useful!

Joyce Haragsim from Southern Nevada on May 05, 2012:

Good read but I used white vinegar.

Voted useful and interesting.

Gabriel Wilson (author) from Madeira, Portugal on May 05, 2012:

Hi CR Woronckuk,

So good when they're perfect :)

CR Woronckuk on May 05, 2012:

Wonerful article. You took the guesswork out of poaced eggs.

Gabriel Wilson (author) from Madeira, Portugal on May 05, 2012:

Hi Carrie,

Yes so true. I love poached soft runny eggs with hard solid whites :)

tapasrecipe from Spanish tapas land on May 05, 2012:

Hi Gabriel,

poached eggs so simple yet so perfect Fantastic close-up photos.

Carrie x

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