How To Make Perfect Poached Eggs In A Saucepan

Achieving the perfect poached egg involves a few key techniques. Start with fresh eggs as they hold their shape better in hot water. The simmering water should not be boiling, as too much movement can break the delicate egg whites. 

My breakthrough moment when mastering perfect poached eggs was to skip the 'whirlpool' that you often read about. I found that trying to create a whirlpool always lead to my white breaking up. So in this method, I use simmering water that keeps the egg in tact - and is cooked slightly more slowly.

I also often leave out the vinegar, as I don't like being able to taste it on the egg.

Timing is crucial; too long in the water will harden the yolk, while too short a time will leave the egg runny and undercooked. The ideal poached egg has a firm white and a warm, runny yolk, making it a delightful addition to many dishes.

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How to poached an egg in a saucepan


  • Eggs (quantity as desired)
  • 1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar


  1. Begin by filling a sizable saucepan with water. Once the water reaches a boil, reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. You want to see many 'threads' of smallish bubbles rising rapidly to the surface - but the water's surface should not be turning over.
  2. Crack your egg into a separate small bowl or ramekin. For pristine poached eggs without wispy whites, consider cracking them through a fine strainer, allowing any excess runny egg white to drain away.
  3. With utmost care, slide your egg into the water. It should slip into the water, stay together. After 3-4 seconds the outer edge will cook enough to seal the egg.
  4. Allow the eggs to cook for 4 minutes until the egg white sets completely.
  5. Using a slotted spoon, delicately retrieve the poached eggs from the water, gently dabbing any excess moisture on kitchen paper. If preparing multiple eggs simultaneously, ensure each one has ample space in the pan for best results.

How long to poach eggs in a saucepan

The cooking time for poached eggs depends largely on your preference for yolk consistency. Typically, 3-4 minutes in gently simmering water will yield an egg with a soft, runny yolk and set whites. If you prefer a firmer yolk, allow the egg to poach for an additional minute or two.

Keep a close watch during cooking to ensure that the egg reaches your desired level of doneness. Adjusting the cooking time by a minute can make a significant difference in the texture of both the yolk and the whites.

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