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How To Make Perfect Poached Eggs (Easy Recipe)

Fancy but not complicated, our poached egg recipe is the perfect, simple, fast, and elegant breakfast when you want a beautiful egg that’s full of flavor. Look at how gorgeous these turn out!

A beautifully poached egg on a plate in front of a split and toasted English Muffin - Hostess At Heart
The perfect poached egg every time!

Follow our simple instructions to get perfect results just the way you want it every single time.

Why You’ll Love Our Poached Egg Recipe

  • Surprise! It’s easy. Everyone thinks poaching eggs is so difficult, but in fact it’s really not. If you can boil water and be gentle with your tools, you can poach an egg. And you only need three ingredients already in your pantry!
  • It’s fast. Within just a few minutes, you can have one or more hot eggs ready to enjoy for a quick, easy breakfast.
  • No added oils. Since the eggs are cooked in hot water, you don’t have the added fat brought in from frying.

What is a Poached Egg?

A poached egg is one that has been gently cooked in swirling hot water. The water is brought to a light boil and then the heat source is removed so that the egg cooks off the heat for a light, delicate finish. The cooking time determines how much the egg yolk and white are set, unlike a fried egg that has a runny egg yolk with a crispier firmer white.

Ingredients you’ll need for this recipe

Ingredients for poached eggs including eggs, vinegar, and salt and pepper - Hostess At Heart
Poached Egg Ingredients
  • Eggs. We use Grade A Large eggs. Find the freshest eggs possible. I’ll explain how to do that in a bit.
  • Vinegar. You can use red or white wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or white vinegar. It’s a necessary ingredient but you use such a small amount of vinegar that it doesn’t change the taste or make a huge difference in what variety you use.
  • Salt and Pepper. This is optional for seasoning.

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How To Make The Perfect Poached Egg

Please note, that the printable recipe card has ingredient quantities, complete instructions, and nutritional information. The following is a quick overview of the recipe.

Equipment used to make poached eggs including fine mesh seive and a ramekin next to some uncooked eggs.
Equipment needed

Fine Mesh Strainer – We find that draining the watery whites from our eggs is easier with a Fine Mesh Strainer. We use them for rinsing fruit or rice, beans, and quinoa too.

Ramekin – Adding each egg to it’s own individual bowl makes cooking of the eggs more organized and less harried.

Spider Strainer – We remove the cooked egg from the water using this strainer. It’s also great for removing cooked pasta or blanching veggies too. A slotted spoon will also work.

Step One. Prepare everything you need for the Poached Eggs Recipe.

Get your water boiling and add the vinegar. Then, crack each egg over a fine mesh sieve so that you remove the watery egg whites commonly found in older eggs. Move each egg to its own ramekin or small bowl.

When the water is bubbling on the bottom but not boiling hard with bubbles breaking on the surface, start stirring the water in a circular motion with your spoon to get it spiraling and creating a vortex.

Step Two. Poach the Eggs.

Turn off the heat when you have a good swirl and add your egg to the center of the Vortex. Cover it for three to five minutes depending on your desired finish. Remove the egg gently with a spider strainer or slotted spoon and blot off the excess water on a paper towel before plating the poached egg.

How to Serve Poached Eggs

One of the simplest and most tasty ways to serve our recipe for poached eggs is with a homemade English Muffin, a slice of our  English Muffin Bread, or our Sourdough English Muffin recipe is amazing! Make up a batch on the weekend to use all week long.

Three poached eggs on a plate - Hostess At Heart

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do you add vinegar when poaching an egg?

Vinegar increases the acidity which helps the poached egg to maintain its shape. You can still poach an egg without it.

How long to cook a perfectly poached egg?

  • Three minutes to get beautiful runny yolks.
  • Four minutes if you want the yolk a little more set, like a thin layer on the yolk. Perfect if you want to dip bread into your egg.
  • Five minutes when you want a firmer yolk, only slightly runny, and, firm whites.

What is a good pan to poach eggs?

Use the right pan. The key to making poached eggs is to use the correct pan. I use a simple 2-quart saucepan. It’s deep enough to work with the egg and you can get the water to spiral in just a few turns of a spoon. You want enough water so the egg yolk doesn’t touch the bottom of the pot, and you still have room to get a spider strainer in to lift the egg out gently.

How many eggs can I poach at a time?

Don’t cook too many at a time. I prefer to cook a single egg or no more than two at a time. Make sure that you have plenty of room in the pan and extend the cooking time by about 30 seconds for each additional egg. If you need to poach several eggs, bring the water up to a gentle boil between batches. To rewarm eggs, just dip them into a bowl of hot water for 30 seconds, drain and pat dry, and serve.

A poached egg on a plate that's been cut and has the yolk drizzling out in front of a split and toasted English Muffin

How To Reheat & Store Poached Eggs

What is the best way to store or make Poached Eggs ahead of time?

Poached eggs are better when served immediately, however, they can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 days in an airtight container. Once they are cooked, dip them into an ice water bath and pat dry with a paper towel before refrigerating.

This is also a great way to make them ahead of time so they can all be warmed and served at the same time.

Can I freeze poached eggs?

Yes. Freeze poached eggs in an airtight container for up to two months. The texture of the egg will change and the whites will be more rubbery but they will still be very edible. It’s a convenient way to have make ahead and fast breakfasts for busy weekdays.

How to reheat poached eggs?

Re-warming your poached egg is easy! From the fridge, place the poached eggs into a hot water bowl for 30-45 seconds.

A drippy poached egg sitting on a toasted English Muffin - Hostess At Heart

How to pick the freshest eggs

As an egg becomes older, the yolk flattens out and breaks more easily with thin watery whites. Fresh eggs have a yolk that sits high and the white is thick and closely surrounds the yolk. If you have older eggs, make sure you strain off the whites as described in our recipe.

Side of an egg carton showing the julian date.

To find the freshest eggs in the grocery store look for three numbers on the side of the package. 001 represents January 1 and 365 is December 31st (except in a leap year). This number represents the date the eggs were packaged. I don’t use the “best by” date. To get more information on eggs and safety, here’s a good article.

If you enjoyed learning how to make poached eggs, I think you’ll enjoy these variations!

Once I realized how easy it is to make a good poached egg, I wanted to make them all the time! It feels so elegant and fancy! Plus, the eggs are light, fluffy and delicious without any added ingredients so its fun to dress them up! Try our Southwestern Chorizo Hash with Poached Eggs or Sausage and Potatoes for a delicious breakfast. You can also make Poached Eggs on this delicious Avocado Toast.

I hope you enjoyed this delicious recipe as much as we do. Drop me a comment below, and don’t forget to give it a star rating. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐. Your comments and ratings help others decide if this recipe is for them too.

A plate holding a poached egg that has been cut and yolk is draining from the egg white next to a toasted English Muffin - Hostess At Heart
Front view of a perfectly poached egg on a plate in front of a toasted English Muffin - Hostess At Heart

Perfect Poached Eggs Recipe

Author: Julie Menghini
Our poached egg recipe is the perfect, simple, fast, and elegant breakfast when you want a beautiful egg that's full of flavor.
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 1 minute
Cook Time 3 minutes
Total Time 4 minutes
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Keyword: Egg recipe, Poached Egg
Servings: 2


  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar apple cider vinegar works well
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Bring a pot of water to a boil and add the vinegar. (Use a saucepan deep enough for 3 to 4 inches of water. You can use a skillet, however, I have noticed the egg will be flatter)
  • Crack one egg in a small fine mesh sieve. If the egg is older, cracking over the sieve allows the white which is more liquid to leak out.
  • Pour the egg into a ramekin or a glass. I egg per container.
  • When the water is boiling, small bubbles from the bottom of the pan, but not big bubbles breaking the surface.
  • Use a spoon and create a swirl.
  • Turn off the heat.
  • Once you have a good swirl, add the egg. 1 or 2 at a time depending on the size of your saucepan.
  • Cook covered for 3 to 5 minutes. 3 minutes for a runny yolk and 5 minutes for a set yolk and white.
  • Use a serving slotted spoon or spider strainer to take the eggs out of the water.
  • Dot with a paper towel to remove extra water.


Cooking time:
  • 3 minutes (runny yolk).
  • 4 minutes (yolk more set, like a thin layer on the yolk. Perfect if you want to dip bread in)
  • 5 minutes (yolk is set, slightly runny and the white is set)


Calories: 64kcalCarbohydrates: 0.3gProtein: 6gFat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0.01gCholesterol: 164mgSodium: 63mgPotassium: 64mgSugar: 0.2gVitamin A: 238IUVitamin C: 0.04mgCalcium: 25mgIron: 1mg

Nutritional Disclaimer

This recipe was calculated using the exact brands and measurements I used to make this recipe. If you are following a strict diet please note changing anything will cause the nutritional info to change. My calculations are intended as a guide only.

Tried this recipe?Let me know how it was!

With a few simple steps and a little practice, you’ll soon become a professional egg poacher.

Did you enjoy this recipe? Don’t forget to pin it for later and follow me on Pinterest for more delicious recipes like this one!

Image for Pinterest of a cut drippy poached egg sitting on a plate in front of a toasted English Muffin
How to Make the Perfect Poached Egg
5 from 4 votes (1 rating without comment)
Recipe Rating

Laura Ashley Johnson

Monday 18th of December 2023

These eggs come out perfect EVERY time!! Thank you!

Julie Menghini

Monday 18th of December 2023

They sound scary to make but so easy. Glad you enjoy them.


Wednesday 13th of December 2023

Clear and easy to follow directions. Made poached eggs for breakfast and served with bacon. YUM.

Julie Menghini

Thursday 14th of December 2023

I'm with you! We make so many poached eggs now. They're so healthy cooked this way (minus the bacon not....) Thank you!


Wednesday 13th of December 2023

Recipe worked perfect! I loved a good poached egg and now I can make them at home!

Julie Menghini

Wednesday 13th of December 2023

I used to think they were so mysterious but they're not hard at all once you see how they're made.


Wednesday 13th of December 2023

Your poached eggs are beautiful! I've never used a sieve, but am doing that next time. Thank you for that tip!

Julie Menghini

Wednesday 13th of December 2023

I think that you'll find that's a game-changer! Thanks, Susan.


Wednesday 13th of December 2023

I cook a lot of eggs as the boys love them, but never mastered this technique until now! Thanks for all the tips. Brooks wants eggs benedict all the time now.

Julie Menghini

Wednesday 13th of December 2023

John loves eggs benedict too and now it's pretty easy (not telling him that lol). Thank you Jennifer!

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