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How to Poach an Egg

Louise | May 2
How to Poach an Egg

I seem to learn all my egg cooking skills from Gordon Ramsey’s TV shows! Although Gordon can make cooking any dish look easy, this one really is remarkably easy, although it requires a tad more work than just dumping an egg into boiling water.

How to Poach an Egg

Start by cracking the egg into a bowl – doing this step makes it much easier than just cracking and then dropping the egg directly into the water.
Paleo Poached Eggs

Heat a saucepan with water (at least 3 inches of water so that the poached egg doesn’t get stuck on the bottom of the pan).

Add a small amount of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice to the water (the egg white becomes firmer faster if you add vinegar, but it’s not essential if you’re not making runny poached eggs).

Heat the water until it boils and then turn down the heat so that the water stops bubbling (but small bubbles still form on the bottom of the saucepan). Start stirring the water with a spatula, spoon, or fork to create a whirlpool in the water (be careful not to splash yourself as the water is hot!). Trust me on the whirlpool part – it’s very necessary!
Paleo Poached Eggs

While the water is still spinning, add in the egg.
Paleo Poached Eggs

The spinning water will cause the egg whites to spin around the yolk and to wrap itself around the yolk tightly forming a perfect poached egg.
Paleo Poached Eggs

Cook the egg on a medium heat (so that the water doesn’t boil). The amount of time you’ll need to cook the eggs for depends on how runny or not runny you like your eggs. I don’t like my eggs to be too runny, but I still like the yolk to be a bit soft. I find that 5 minutes in the water is perfect for me. You might need to cook it for a few minutes extra if you’re cooking several eggs in the same saucepan. And for a runny poached egg, cook for around 3 minutes.

Professionals all seem to use a slotted spoon to remove the poached egg, but I found a spatula with some holes in the bottom worked just fine too!
Paleo Poached Eggs

So that’s how to poach an egg! How do you eat it after poaching it? I really love it in some chicken broth, which you can make yourself (slow cooker recipe here).
Paleo Poached Eggs

My Fav Poached Egg Soup Recipe

And click here for my favorite Poached Egg Soup recipe.

spring soup with poached egg

And here are some other ideas for how to enjoy your poached egg from Joyce at Starfish Warriors.

How to Poach an Egg

How to Poach an Egg

  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Cook Time: 5 mins
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 1 poached egg 1x


  • 1 egg
  • 23 teaspoons apple cider vinegar or lemon juice (optional)


  1. Crack an egg into a bowl.
  2. Heat a saucepan with at least 3 inches of water.
  3. Add the vinegar or lemon juice into the water
  4. After the water boils, turn down the heat a bit so that it stops boiling.
  5. Use a spoon to start stirring the water in the saucepan to create a whirlpool (i.e., stir in a circle).
  6. Drop the egg into the water while the water is still spinning.
  7. Leave to cook on a medium heat so that the water isn’t boiling. For a soft but not-runny poached egg, cook in the water for 5 minutes. If you prefer a runny poached egg, then remove from the water after around 3 minutes.


Megan - May 16

Well, it didn’t turn out perfect, I suspect my whirlpool was too slow. Still tasty though! I plopped ’em atop wilted spinach and leftover acorn squash. Yum! I’ll be trying this again. Question: When making two eggs, do you put them in the bowl together or do it one at a time?

    Louise - May 16

    I put them in one at a time. If your whirlpool is too slow, then you can help it along a bit by gently stirring the pot of water with a spoon in the same direction as the whirlpool.

joanna - February 5

this is exactly how i make mine, too!! i use white vinegar and always do 3 minutes. i tried 4 minutes once but the yolk cooked too much. 3 min leaves it nice and runny. i usually do 2 eggs at a time.

Joyce - April 4

I don’t do the whirlpool, I’ll have to try that, though I like the wispies, too….

3 minute cook with white vinegar is just perfect for me. I make so many poached eggs that I just keep the vinegar next to the stove 🙂 …

my favorite way to serve is over asparagus, but now that I’m on a FODMAP Whole30, I eat it on a bed of wilted spinach with red pepper flake sprinkle. On top of the egg, I sprinkle a little African spice called Peri Peri ~ yum

    Louise - April 6

    That sounds delicious 🙂

      Joyce - April 7

      It is delicious ~ 😛

      Tried it this morning and added the swirl technique. Took perfection to a whole new level.

      Thanks for the tip Louise!

      *I’d like to write about this. May I link my post back to this post? I often get asked how I manage to cook them consistently and restaurant-like… I can’t write it up any better than you already did.

        Louise - April 8

        Thanks Joyce – you can definitely link back to the recipe 🙂 Please send me your write up too – I’d love to add it to the post!

Joyce - April 8

Fabulous. Emailed the tlink to you. Thank you.

Auyon Rahman - November 23

thanks for the recipe but one thing not a single recipe mentions is that the egg does not always wrap around itself. Countless times I’ve dropped the egg into a whirlpool of simmering water and it just doesn’t happen! The yolk and whites are attached to each other but still separate. It’s really frustrating because I haven’t gotten a clue why that happen sometimes. Any clue? Anyone?

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