Why you’ve been cooking poached eggs wrong – expert reveals the perfect method

Getting that egg white/runny yolk balance of a perfect poached egg can be near impossible - so an expert has revealed the perfect method.

cook poached eggs expert reveals perfect method
(Image credit: Getty)

If there’s one love the brunch generation all have in common, it’s poached eggs.

Yes bacon is salaciously indulgent and avocado has been crowned the king of many a breakfast table, but brunch just isn’t brunch without poached eggs. Whether it’s a benedict, Florentine or royale dish, a full breakfast or even just on toast, poached eggs are a must.

But while most of us have mastered how to get bacon perfectly crisp and the best way to slice an avocado, getting that egg white/runny yolk balance of a perfect poached egg can be near impossible.

cook poached eggs expert reveals perfect method

Poached eggs have become a breakfast and brunch staple (Credit: Getty)

Well it turns out there might be a reason behind that.

An expert has revealed that you could be poaching your eggs all wrong.

Using eggs nearing their use-by date, cracking the egg straight into the pan or going for a full vigorous boil?

Check out these tips from Gousto’s senior recipe developer Jordan Moore, who revealed to the Daily Star how to nix the bad poaching habits and get the perfect poached egg every time.

  • Use fresh eggs - “To avoid the egg-white spreading through the water, always opt for the freshest eggs possible,” says Jordan, explaining, “as eggs get older, the whites get more liquid, meaning you run the risk of the whites spreading around your pan. If you do have older eggs spare don’t let them go to waste,” he advises, “they are perfect for making soft boiled and hard-boiled eggs”
  • Opt for a deep pan - Jordan advises to use a deep pan for a classic tear-drop poached egg shape. “As the depth of the pan is so great, the egg white will wrap around the yolk before it hits the bottom,” he explained, “leaving you with a gorgeous shape”.
  • Aim for simmering water - While you might be tempted to heat your water to a fast boil, Jordan advises that a gentle simmer will work better as boiling water can cause the egg to break. “To achieve the perfect poaching temperature bring the water to the boil and then reduce to simmer,” he advised. "Not only do the small bubbles mean you’ve got the heat right, they can also stop your egg from hitting the bottom of the pan and sticking”.
  • Add something acidic - Add a drop of vinegar or lemon juice into the simmering water to help the egg whites set properly. “The acid reacts with the egg-white, allowing it to firm up more quickly, rather than spreading through the water,” said Jordan. Be careful not to use more than a teaspoon’s worth though, otherwise you might be left with an acidic taste.
  • Make a whirlpool - Using a fork or spoon, swirl the water fast to make a whirlpool in the water before dropping your egg in, continuing to swirl a little afterwards. “This movement will help form a spherical shape,” said Jordan, “as the egg white wraps around itself”.
  • Pour eggs into water- Jordan advises that for better control over getting the egg in the pan, crack it into a teacup or ramekin first and then pour into the water from there.
Aleesha Badkar
Lifestyle Writer

Aleesha Badkar is a lifestyle writer who specialises in health, beauty - and the royals. After completing her MA in Magazine Journalism at the City, the University of London in 2017, she interned at Women’s Health, Stylist, and Harper’s Bazaar, creating features and news pieces on health, beauty, and fitness, wellbeing, and food. She loves to practice what she preaches in her everyday life with copious amounts of herbal tea, Pilates, and hyaluronic acid.