Perfect Poached Eggs

I’ve been embroiled in a project for awhile now. Nope, not this one. One about eggs. Those tiny roundish things that I typically let spoil at the back of my refrigerator because I don’t bake enough or quiche enough or whatever else it is people do with eggs…enough. It’s a dilemma.

The thing is, I don’t really like eggs. My dad is a champion omelet maker, but I generally turn them down in favor of his even more champion hash browns. I’m from Colorado and I’ve never even had a Denver omelet, such is my disdain for omelets. Scrambled eggs make me weak in the knees (in a bad way) and do not even get me started on the atrocity that is a McMuffin. Eeewww.

But. Ohhhh but. A poached egg, soft and pliable, daintily rubbery, with an exploding yolk the color of hot sun and a woman’s sundress and that one yellow croquet ball that every set has, or the first daffodils of spring. That beautiful center, which many people call runny, but a description which I find both perplexing (eggs, not having any legs, cannot run) and disgusting (runny noses come instantly to mind), so I prefer to just think of a pleasantly liquid yolk as simply that. Liquid. That, I am all about. If only I knew how to make it.

Thus, the project: to make the perfect poached egg. Deb has a great tutorial, as does the most recent edition of Bon Apetit, which showed up in my mailbox all splashy-like a few weeks ago, parading it’s poached egg perfection in my face.

Boyfriend and I set out to master this process once and for all, and I think we’ve found the perfect solution. Now, onto quiche!



. One egg

. Boiling water

. Splash of white vinegar

. Freshly ground black pepper


1. Fill a small pot 2/3s full and set it on to boil. Add a small splash of white vinegar.

2. Once the water is just barely boiling (not a rolling boil), use your spatula to stir in into a whirlpool. As the water spins, crack the egg into the water and watch in amazement as the yolk and white do some crazy Cirque-du-Soleil business swirling and dipping in the pan.

A quick note: some people – in fact, most – recommend cracking the egg into a small bowl, then sliding it from bowl to pot. I have tried this, and I always, always break the yolk cracking it into the bowl. So, I crack straight into the pot and hope for the best.

3. Leave the temp on high and set your alarm for three minutes and 25 seconds. I have no idea why, but on a gas stove setting of 7 in my little house, 3:25 yields a perfect flowing yolk and a solidified white.

4. At 3:25, use a slotted spoon to remove the egg and either let it dry on a paper bowl or just hold it over the pan until all the water drains out.

5. I like to put mine on toast, add a little dash of black pepper and a swirl of balsamic (oddly) for a nice zing to counteract that whole mouth feeling, the fullness of the egg. If you’ve done it well, the gel-ishness will hold to the last bite.

Do it!

2 thoughts on “Perfect Poached Eggs

  1. Hanna says:

    Oooh. Trying it tomorrow! After an incident of a fellow student puking eggs up all over the bus when I was in 3rd grade, I had a physical aversion to them too, until just a couple of years ago. My fave is to make them over-easy with some sauteed garlic, asparagus and a little spinach. Yum, yum.

    They also go GREAT in cookie dough. Just sayin’ 🙂


    • Hilary says:

      Yes, Hannie – do it! I also like to incorporate spinach into my egg recipes! And parmesan cheese, to make them a la Florentine.

      A childhood mishap is the reason I still cannot stomach the smell or taste of Butterfinger candy bars. Probably for the best, actually…

      Love you!


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