There are a number of cooking techniques that seem to be the most difficult to master – from baking a soufflé, to cooking a showstopping beef wellington and poaching the perfect egg. But what’s the best way to poach eggs? We’ve all asked the question! While the perfect poached egg may only seem obtainable in a hotel or restaurant, it is possible to make your own at home.
Learning how to poach an egg can be a tricky process, but practice makes perfect, and our top tips are designed to help you achieve the perfect poached egg each time. So, what’s the best way to poach an egg exactly? We’ve pulled together a couple of methods for making poached eggs below – from using a saucepan to making poached eggs in the microwave – and a selection of top tips we’ve discovered along the way.
How to Poach an Egg in a Saucepan
All you need is an egg, a saucepan and some water:
- Fill a saucepan with around 8cm of water.
- Heat the water until it reaches a gentle simmer – if the water is boiling too harshly, the eggs are likely to break up as they cook.
- Break your egg into a shallow, small dish to make it easier to add to the pan. (Once your confidence grows, you can start to crack the egg directly into the pan!).
- Gently pour the egg into the simmering water in one swift movement.
- Cook for two minutes for a soft egg or cook for up to four minutes for a slightly firmer result. The length you cook your egg for will also depend on its size.
- Carefully remove the egg from the pan using a slotted spoon and place on some kitchen paper to dry.
How to Poach an Egg in a Microwave
For those who are looking for a faster fix to make easy poached eggs:
- Pour 75ml of water into a deep microwaveable bowl.
- Bring to boil on High.
- Gently break the eggs into the bowl of water, one at a time.
- Pierce the yolk membrane with a fork and then cover with cling film, leaving a small steam hole.
- Cook until the white is set – around 40-60 seconds.
- Let the bowl stand for one minute, still covered with cling film.
- Carefully drain and serve.
Top Tips for Making the Perfect Poached Eggs
But it’s not just about finding the best poached egg recipe. So many methods for how to poach an egg have been tried and tested throughout the years – which brings us to a long list of top tips to take note of when trying to achieve the perfect poached egg:
- Make sure your eggs are fresh. The fresher the egg, the thicker the egg whites, which will help it hold its shape as it cooks.
- Avoid using salt as this will break up the egg white.
- Test whether your egg is ready by bringing it out of the pan with a slotted spoon and gently prodding it with a teaspoon – if it feels too soft, pop it back in.
- Stir the water and create a whirlpool effect before cracking/pouring in your egg into the pan, to help the egg whites stay together. This method is ideal if you’re just cooking the one egg.
- A shallow saucepan with a large surface area is best for poaching eggs.
- If you’re looking to achieve a more compact, oval shape, use a cold, fresh egg.
Poached Egg Recipe Ideas
Wondering what to serve with your perfect poached eggs? We’ve pulled together a list of some of our favourite poached egg recipe ideas for you to try at home (other than the classic avocado and poached eggs on toast, of course):
- Eggs Benedict – a classic, delicious morning treat. For a low-carb alternative, why not try serving your eggs benedict on portobello mushrooms?
- Kedgeree – our standard recipe calls for two boiled eggs, but these can easily be switched up with two poached eggs for a tasty meal.
- Carbonara – take your carbonara to the next level with a poached egg on top, rather than mixed in with the sauce.
- Shakshuka – a delicious mix of poached eggs, rich tomato sauce and spices, perfect for dinner but traditionally served as breakfast!
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