The Secret to Perfectly Poached Eggs (No Strings Attached!)


Learn the secret to perfect poached eggs.

By Chef Meg Galvin, Healthy Cooking Expert at SparkPeople.com

from "The SparkPeople Cookbook: Love Your Food, Lose the Weight"

Chef Meg demonstrates how to poach an egg for a healthy, hearty breakfast.

Poaching an egg is an easy technique once you learn how to properly do it. Many people are fearful of breaking the egg or ending up with soggy, runny eggs, but I have a few tips to help you become a pro at poached eggs.

This healthy cooking technique requires no added fat, and it is fast enough for even a busy morning. (Worried about the cholesterol in this "perfect protein" food? Check out this article to see why eggs are excellent any time of day.)

U.S. F.D.A. Safe Handling Instructions: To prevent illness from bacteria: keep eggs refrigerated, cook eggs until yolks are firm, and cook foods containing eggs thoroughly.

VIDEO: How to Poach an Egg.

Some tips:

  • To keep eggs from getting too hard, the water should be about 180 degrees Fahrenheit--not boiling.

  • You'll know your water is ready when there are tiny bubbles in the bottom of the pan.

  • Add a tablespoon or so of vinegar to the pan to help keep the egg protein from disintegrating in the pan. The acid in the vinegar acts as a coagulant.

  • Give the water a few swirls with your wooden spoon to help keep the egg in the center of the pan.

  • Never crack the egg over the water bath. Instead, crack it into a shallow dish and slide it into the water just above the surface.

  • The egg will sink to the bottom, then rise as it cooks.

  • Poach eggs ahead of time and store in water. Reheat them in a water bath when ready to eat.

  • A soft poached egg takes about 3 minutes.

  • Serve on a slice of whole wheat toast with wilted spinach. Add on a cup of skim milk and two clementines, and you've got a hearty breakfast: 400 calories, 8 g fat, 26 g protein, and 9 g fiber.
While poached eggs are usually associated with eggs Benedict, a heavy dish made with Hollandaise sauce, Canadian bacon and an English muffin, there are plenty of other ways to eat them. Runny egg yolks make a great sauce or dressing in many dishes. In addition to serving the poached eggs on toast, you can also serve them:
  • atop salads for a very European twist

  • on fat-free refried beans

  • over brown rice and steamed vegetables

  • atop whole-wheat pasta and tomato sauce

  • with toast points for dipping

  • on a whole-wheat English muffin with two slices of Canadian bacon for a lighter version of eggs Benedict.

More Great Recipes:

SparkPeople Healthy Cooking Expert Meg Galvin is a World Master Chef, culinary instructor, and the author of "The SparkPeople Cookbook: Love Your Food, Lose the Weight." A farmer's daughter and marathon runner, she lives in northern Kentucky with her husband and three teenage sons.