Beginner Poached Eggs Are One Annoying Dishwasher Load Away

Cooking the perfect poached egg is an endeavor not for the faint of heart. It's a journey in which many things can go wrong. It can quickly become overdone, a piece of shell may get stuck in the egg white, or the yolk can break and ruin the whole attempt. Poaching eggs can be so intimidating, it may seem like the effort is better spent finding a good brunch spot instead. But learning how to poach an egg is something every aspiring home cook should at least attempt, because the end result is worth it. The way the runny, golden yolk oozes its way into the nooks and crannies of your toast or English muffin is a thing of culinary beauty, and making your own eggs Benedict will certainly save you some cash. All you need to practice perfectly poaching eggs are a set of small bowls.


The bowls only have to be large enough to hold a single egg. Crack an egg into each bowl, being careful not to break the yolk and removing any rogue pieces of shell. Meanwhile, heat about 2 inches of water in a pot until boiling and add ¼ cup of vinegar. Then, turn it down to a simmer. To transfer the eggs into the water, dip the edge of the bowl into the saucepan and let the egg slide out. Cook each egg for four to eight minutes, and you'll be left with perfectly poached eggs.

Small bowls make things go faster

Using the small bowls to gently deposit each egg into the simmering water has a few advantages, especially for people who aren't completely comfortable in the kitchen yet. For one, it discourages you from cracking the eggs high above the water, which could cause them to break apart on impact. This method also allows you to deal with any broken yolks before they end up in hot water. Most importantly for the beginner chef, putting eggs into their own bowls is a great mise en place, and will help you focus on each step of making poached eggs individually: cleanly cracking the egg, swiftly dropping it into the water, and keeping an eye on the time.


The goal of this hack is to be able to put eggs into the water and take them out quickly and efficiently, all without having to set multiple timers. For example, to make four medium-poached eggs, you would only have to set a timer for 10 minutes. Place the first egg in the water, wait one minute, then add the next egg, wait, and so on. Once the first egg has cooked for about six minutes, take it out of the water. Then, after another minute, the second one will be ready to come out. Within 10 minutes, you'll have a batch of poached eggs that are all about the same temperature and ready to be enjoyed.

Practice makes perfect

Eventually, you can shorten the intervals at which you swap out the poached eggs so you can make a batch in even less time. That's one of the nice perks to this hack; if you're cooking for a crowd, the eggs will all be ready at once and you won't have to worry about some getting cold. You can also adapt this technique to work with other recipes that require careful egg work, like egg-in-a-basket toast or shakshuka, a Mediterranean breakfast dish. With a bit of practice, you may even be ready to poach scrambled eggs!


Of course, the obvious downside to using one bowl per egg is that you'll be left with quite a few more dishes than you would ordinarily. Theoretically, you could just keep cracking eggs and pouring them out of the same small bowl, but that could cause some extra stress during the cooking process. If you're confident enough in your egg skills to only use one bowl, feel free; but at that point, you're probably skilled enough to skip the bowls altogether. At the end of the day, a few extra dishes is a small price to pay for homemade poached eggs. And if the eggs come out really tasty, your brunch guests may even take care of the dishes for you.