Did someone tell you poaching eggs was tricky? Pah! The lies people tell. Here's how to do it right every time ...

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OK we get it, you want yours runny

From poaching pans to wrapping eggs in clingfilm, creating a whirlpool to saying a prayer, we've tried it all when it comes to poaching eggs. But it's time to consign these strange methods to history because there's really no need

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Poaching eggs

The critical moment...


Getting it right

You will need:

Eggs. You definitely can't do this without eggs

1 tbsp white wine vinegar (any vinegar will do but white wine is best)

Pan of water

Ramekin or cup

Slotted spoon

Kitchen paper


1. Bring your pan of water to a simmer and add the vinegar – there's no need to stir.


2. Crack your egg into a ramekin and drop into the water as close to the surface as possible.


3. Add more eggs. Leave for two to two and a half minutes if you like them runny or four minutes for firm. 


4. Remove with a slotted spoon, drain on kitchen paper and serve on a hot buttered crumpets. Delish.


Egg on your face

Avoid these all-too-easy poaching pitfalls:


Old eggs: the fresher the egg, the more tightly the whites stay together – so get them fresh from the shop.


A rolling boil: don't let your water get too hot. Simmering is just a few small bubbles rising gently to the surface. Nothing too lively.


Falling from grace: if you drop your eggs from a great height they're going to be harmed in the process.


Over-egged: nothing's sadder than a hard egg if you like yours runny. Test an egg for doneness by bringing it out of the water with a slotted spoon and giving it a poke. If it's soft it's ready.

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You know when you've been Tamagoed


Egging you on ...

Want to take poaching to the next level? Who doesn't.


  • Impress everyone with a big batch of poached eggs! Poach your eggs in advance for two minutes then dump in ice-cold water, cover and keep in the fridge for up to 24 hours. When the crowd decends at brunch-time, put them back into a pan of simmering water for 30 seconds to a minute. It's how they do it in hotels. 
  • Try the Onsen Tamago method (aka poaching eggs in their shells). Apparently if you do it at 65°C exactly you'll get perfectly formed poached eggs. We know. We want one too.

Poached, scrambled, boiled or fried ... how'd you like your eggs in the morning? Tell us in the comments box below