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Closeup of a poached egg broken to expose the soft-cooked yolk, on a bed of steamed spinach with red pimiento peppers and a sprig of basil, on a white and blue willow patterned plate.

The Best Poached Eggs

  • Author: Nan Schiller
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 1 serving 1x


Do you know how to poach eggs?It’s easy to prepare them on the stovetop with these easy instructions.



  • 3 cups water, or more as needed
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar (optional)
  • Pinch of salt (optional)
  • 2 large eggs


  1. Combine the water, vinegar, and salt in a small pan with shallow sides, using enough water to fill the pan do a depth of 1-1.5 inches.
  2. Bring to a boil.
  3. While the water is heating, break each egg into a custard cup.
  4. As soon as the water reaches a boil, turn off the heat but keep the pan on the hot burner.
  5. When boiling stops, swirl the water. As you do so, ease the custard cup into the center of the swirl, and let the egg slip out. Repeat this for the second one, leaving space between them.
  6. Cover immediately, and poach 3 minutes for soft yolks, and up to 5 for firm.
  7. Remove eggs with the slotted spoon immediately when they’re done how you like them, and drip briefly drip dry. Serve warm.