How to Poach Eggs
The most foolproof method for clean, poached eggs, plus an invitation to a video course all about cooking eggs (at the bottom).
First rule of thumb is fresh eggs poach better than older ones because their whites and yolks are tighter and therefore, retain their shape better while cooking. There’s two ways to figure out freshness. First, at least in the US, is the three digit number on the side of the carton, called the Julian date. This represents the number of calendar days starting on January 1, since the egg was cleaned and packaged. The higher the number, the fresher the eggs.
Your other option for testing freshness is to gently drop the egg into a glass of water and see what it does. If it sinks to the bottom, it’s fresh. If it floats, it’s not fresh. If it stands upright, but stands on the bottom, it’s kinda fresh. (That’s what my egg is doing here.)
The next key to fool-proof poached eggs is a fine-mesh strainer. Crack your egg into the strainer and let the loose whites drain away. This is the part that makes those whispy white legs we’re hoping to avoid. It can take up to a minute for all the loose whites to drain away.
In the meantime, heat some water on the stovetop to a sub-simmer - the water should quiver, but not boil. If you have an instant read thermometer, it should read 180 degrees.
We’ll lower the egg, in the strainer, into the water and gently roll it out of the strainer. To make sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan, we’ll gently roll the egg around with a spoon. It only takes about 3-4 minutes for the whites to set and for the yolk to get hot but not cooked.
We’ll gently remove the egg with a slotted spoon, shake off the extra water and serve immediately! Time for some sexy egg porn y’all...I'll leave you two alone!
And did you know you can poach your eggs a few days in advance? Oh yeah! They are good for up to 5 days so you can do this for a brunch party or even just to prep your meals for the week!
Here’s how we poach multiple eggs at once & then save them:
Strain each egg individually and put them all in one bowl. Here are my three eggs and you can see how they separate from each other. We’ll drop them into the water one at a time so they cook separately and gently roll each one around to shape the white and to keep them from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
After 3.5 to 4 minutes later, they should be ready to go. If you’re saving them for later, transfer them to a bowl of very cold water. Straight from the faucet is fine but you can put a couple ice cubes in there to help. Let them cool down completely, then transfer the eggs to a storage container, cover them with water, and leave them in the fridge for up to 5 days.
When you want to reheat them, just use the hot water from your faucet. Let it get as hot as possible, or about 140 degrees. Heating water on the stovetop could cook them even more & we don’t want that. Set the eggs in a bowl of this steaming water and leave them for 2 minutes. That should heat them enough to make it to the table. You may need to keep adding hot water so they are thoroughly heated.
Transfer the eggs to a paper towel and gently blot them with a paper towel to remove excess water - then serve! I love mine in a small bowl with some olive oil, cracked pepper and salt. Then I break the egg and mix it all together to scoop up with a piece of toast!
(Also - if you’ve ever wondered about the difference between a medium egg and a large egg, there’s a visual in the video.)
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