Poached eggs are a joy. A perfect eggs Benedict or a frise salad demand a well poached egg, and since poached eggs demand no oil or butter, they are about as healthy as an egg can be.
But while eating a poached egg is one of life's simple pleasures, cooking poached eggs can be a lesson in frustration…especially in a restaurant kitchen with people waiting and orders piling up and egg after egg after egg falling apart in the simmering water. AAAARGH!
It used to drive me crazy, and then I stumbled upon a little known chef's trick to perfect poached eggs every time. An easy trick that takes no skill, requires no special equipment and works every time. How great is that!
Although fresher eggs will taste much better, this method will allow you to poach even slightly older eggs nicely…and as anyone who has tried to poach an egg that has been sitting in the fridge for a couple of weeks knows, this is no small thing!
The Easy Saran Wrap Poached Egg
- Bring a pot of water to a gentle simmer. You don't want a boiling pot of water, you want water just before the boil.
- Take out a small bowl or ramekin, and lay out a piece of plastic wrap about a foot square over the bowl and spray the plastic wrap lightly with some cooking spray (or just rub on a little melted butter or oil, if you don't have any cooking spray).
- Push the wrap down into the bowl and crack an egg into the plastic wrap/bowl.
- Gently gather up the plastic wrap above the egg and tie it closed with a string or a twist tie.
- Drop your little egg package into the water for between 3 and 4 minutes (depending on how cooked you like your poached eggs) and then remove with a slotted spoon.
- Cut the tie on the plastic wrap and open up to find a perfectly compact and beautiful poached egg…every time.
This is so easy and it takes all of the stress out of poached eggs!
If you want to do it the old fashioned way…Poaching egg trick number 2!
An old Julia Child trick for poaching eggs is:
- Poke a pinhole in the top of a raw egg and lower it from within a slotted spoon into simmering water.
- Let the egg cook for 15 to 20 seconds, and then remove from the water.
- Crack the egg gently and slide the just barely cooked egg into the simmering water to continue poaching for another 3 or 4 minutes.
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Cynthia Hoover from Newton, West Virginia on May 02, 2020:
Fantastic tip for poaching eggs! I look forward to trying this out soon.
Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on July 24, 2015:
Great tips on how to make a poached egg. I would love to give it a try this late summer. Voted up for useful!
Paul Edmondson from Burlingame, CA on July 08, 2012:
I love the pin trick. I'm going to have to try that.
scsunshine from sc on November 19, 2011:
This helped so much! My eggs are always all over the place now can finally get it right.
Kingsthorpedavid from Toowoomba Queensland Australia on July 12, 2011:
Good Chef's trick!
I use a Poachet from the UK these days.
David - Queensland Australia.
JasonPLittleton on May 20, 2011:
Great idea. thanks for sharing.
John R on February 20, 2011:
Watch out for the xenoestrogens in plastic wraps - especially when the plastic is heated. The eggs may come out looking good but it may not be good for your long term health.
Carrie on August 19, 2010:
Reminds me of the sous vide style, this is totally the method I'm looking for. Looking forward to trying it.
Jamiehousehusband from Derbyshire, UK on March 26, 2010:
Hi I like the plastic wrap method - will try that. I bought a few of those silicone poach pads (the egg shell shaped ones) and they're fine, as long as you brush it first with spay oil or tiny amount of butter. Thanks.
frogyfish from Central United States of America on March 21, 2010:
Very nicely tricky here - I will have to try them both. I couldn't stand poached eggs otherwise - they never looked like real eggs! Thanks for your tips - especially the plastic wrap one, which I will share with my mom.
Vicki on June 22, 2009:
This is a really cool trick! No fuss, no mess. I like it. Little egg packages can be standing by waiting for their turn or for a tardy breakfast person. If you get more made up than you use, what the heck, cut the plastic off and use that uncooked egg for something else.
lrohner from USA on June 20, 2009:
I like Julia's method, and I will try it tomorrow morning! I have spent the last year perfecting the poached egg with no luck. I've tried the vinegar in the water thing, the stirring the water to make a whirlpool, etc. -- all with no luck. THANKS!
newsworthy on June 11, 2009:
Recently, I was introduced to a recipe and photo of omelettes made in a plastic bag. The instructions required that each person add the vegetables of their choice to the bag of scrambled eggs, then seal the bag and place it in boiling water. In a matter of minutes, perfect bagged omelettes.
However, if your method reaps eggs like the one in the photo above - I'm eating here! Those eggs look like fluffly lil pillows.
marisuewrites from USA on April 14, 2009:
Very interesting...a very smart trick!!! I'll try it!