Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Perfect Poached Eggs by Cooks Illustrated

Recipe from my favorite food magazine Cooksillustrated.com

Published May 1, 1997.


When developing a poached egg recipe that would address the difficulty of getting the eggs in and out of the water intact, our first thought was to trade in the usual saucepan for a skillet, which, being shallow, gives the cook much easier access to the eggs. The addition of vinegar to the cooking water helped to set the eggs quickly in our poached egg recipe. Contrary to the usual interpretation of poaching, we also thought we'd try to limit the eggs’ exposure to rapidly boiling water, which can cause the eggs to disintegrate. We brought the water up to a full boil before adding the eggs, then turned off the heat once the eggs were in the pan, letting the residual heat in the water cook them.


Poached eggs take well to any number of accompaniments. Try serving them on a bed of grated mild cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese or creamed spinach; in a pool of salsa; on a thick slice of tomato topped with a slice of Bermuda onion; on a potato pancake; or simply with plain buttered toast.


  • 1teaspoon table salt plus more to taste
  • 2tablespoons white vinegar
  • 4large eggs , each cracked into a small handled cup
  • Ground black pepper


  1. 1. Fill 8- to 10-inch nonstick skillet nearly to rim with water, add 1 teaspoon salt and the vinegar, and bring mixture to boil over high heat.

  2. 2. Lower the lips of each cup just into water at once; tip eggs into boiling water, cover, and remove from heat. Poach until yolks are medium-firm, exactly 4 minutes. For firmer yolks (or for extra large or jumbo eggs), poach 4 1/2 minutes; for looser yolks (or for medium eggs), poach 3 minutes.

  3. 3. With slotted spoon, carefully lift and drain each egg over skillet. (Can be dropped into ice water and refrigerated up to 3 days; see related Quick Tip: “Storing Poached Eggs.”) Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

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