We could be opening a whole can of worms (or basket of eggs) here. Even amongst top chefs, the method for getting the perfect poached eggs differs. That just shows how tricky they are to get perfect.
If your poaching attempts leave the egg white trailing across your saucepan, like plane trails across the sky, don’t despair. Maybe you just haven’t found the right poaching method for you yet.
3 Golden Rules of Poached Eggs
Whilst there’s a lot (and we mean a lot) of debate about the best way to get poaching, there are a few rules that most chefs can agree on.
- Use eggs that are as fresh as possible. As eggs age, their membranes start to break down and won’t hold together as easily when cooking.
- Poaching one egg at a time will usually yield the best results if you’re less confident or have had less poaching practice.
- Simmer don’t boil the water you use for the poaching. Big bubbles will break eggs up with the result of tendrils of white flying out everywhere. The eggs will be more rubbery if they’re boiled too.
Tom Kerridge’s Three-Step Method
As a chef with two Michelin stars under his belt, it can’t be denied that Tom Kerridge knows his way around the kitchen. That being said, his method for perfect poached eggs could divide opinion for one reason alone. He adds vinegar.
To poach an egg the Tom Kerridge way you’ll need to:
1. Crack an egg into a bowl
Add a splash of that controversial ingredient, either malt or white vinegar.
2. Boil a pan of water
Gently swirl the water in a circular motion with a spoon.
3. Pop your egg in
Turn off the heat straight away. After 4-5 minutes you should have the perfect poached egg!
Delia Smith’s Myth Busting Method
Is your cookbook collection even complete if you don’t have one of Delia’s books on your shelf? Delia’s not a fan of fancy poaching gadgets but prefers her tried and tested method instead.
These are the steps to follow to try it yourself:
- Simmer a saucepan of water about 2.5cm deep until you start to see small bubbles forming.
- Now’s the time to pop your egg in. Break it into a bowl first and slip it into the water.
- Keep the egg in the simmering water for 2 minutes then take it off the heat.
- Leave the egg in the water for another 10 minutes then lift it out and it’ll be done!
If you like to do things the Delia way, see the full method here.
Jamie Oliver’s Clingfilm Poached Eggs
Jamie Oliver has not one, not two, but three different methods for poaching eggs on his Food Tube channel. The one we love the most is his Clingfilm method as it’s pretty much foolproof.
All you have to do is:
Pop some Clingfilm in a bowl.
Add a spot of oil and spread it over the Clingfilm.
Pour in the egg.
Tie a knot in the Clingfilm with the egg inside.
Pop the egg in the saucepan and poach until the white is cooked.
Cut off the Clingfilm and hey presto you have a perfectly cooked poached egg.
See the video step-by-step here on Jamie’s site and if you love egg cooking videos he also has a great one on three different ways to scramble eggs too.
If you’ve got this far and still haven’t found the right egg poaching method for you (or to be frank don’t think the hassle of preparing a poached egg is worth it) you might enjoy coddled eggs instead. They’re cooked in a similar way but are contained within a pot or jar so they don’t end up separating all over your saucepan.
Sound good? We’ve got the steps to wonderful coddled eggs here, plus a whole host of other egg recipes from top food bloggers.