The Poached Egg

I love poached eggs, but have a difficult time poaching them properly (on the stove in a pot of simmering water). I’ve gotten the technique down pretty well, but it’s awfully fussy, a bit time-consuming, I have to do one egg at a time, and I always lose a lot of the egg white.

I do have an electric egg cooker that makes perfect hard- or soft-boiled eggs, but it isn’t the kind that has cups for “poached” (actually steamed) eggs. But usually when I want a poached-type egg, I make a soft-boiled egg and then peel it. Sometimes that’s easier said than done.

While visiting my sister in Massachusetts last week, she was attempting to poach an egg in a bowl of water in the microwave oven. She used to have a microwave egg poacher, but couldn’t find it. I was a bit surprised, since I’d never thought of trying that. She didn’t really know how long to cook it, though. I Googled it, of course, and found this article.

Couldn’t be easier – put 1/2 cup water in a 1-cup bowl, plop in the egg, cover it with a plate, and cook for about 1 minute. Then remove the egg with a slotted spoon.

I tried it, and it came out pretty well, though it ended up being slightly overcooked since I left it in the hot water while I made toast. We experimented some more over the next few days, and found that for her microwave oven (which is an older model), 65 seconds was just right, as long as I took the egg out right away with a slotted spoon (I let it dry a few seconds on a paper towel).

Of course, I was excited to try it at home. I have a new microwave oven, and a minute was just a little too long – the yolk was partly hard-cooked. Then I tried it again using a 2-cup bowl with 1 cup of water and 2 eggs. With the power set to 80%, 2 1/2 minutes was just perfect. Tomorrow I’ll try again with a single egg, at 80% power instead of full. It may take a bit of experimenting to get it exactly the way I want it, but then I’ll be in poached egg heaven.

Egg to be poached
Egg ready to be poached. 7-oz ramekin with half a cup of water and 1 egg. Cover it with a plate (which you can then use for serving), and cook for about a minute.
Poached egg
Egg after poaching. It’s hard to see the white egg in the white bowl. This one was just a little overdone. I’ll either cut down the time by 5 seconds next time, or try 80% power.
Poached eggs
The same method, but putting 2 eggs in a 2-cup bowl with 1 cup water. Cooked for 2 1/2 minutes at 80% power. Perfect!

Some of the other sites suggested pricking the yoke with a toothpick to keep it from exploding. I didn’t do that, but maybe I’ll try it next time.

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10 Responses to The Poached Egg

  1. zeneedle says:

    Excellent! I just have not had success on the stove top so I’m going to try this method. Thanks for the tip.

  2. Marilyn says:

    I love a soft cooked egg and have never been able to make anything but hard. Thanks for the info! Microwave….who woulda thought…

    • Cheryl says:

      I do find that there’s been a little bit of hard-cooked yoke around the edges by the time the white is cooked through, but as long as there’s still some gooey stuff in the middle, I’m ok with it, considering how easy it is.

  3. Carole says:

    I love poached eggs but have the same issues as you do with cooking them at home. I’m going to try this!

  4. kitten says:

    Temple brought a poached egg pan with him to the relationship, so I can have them whenever I want. (I’m still more likely to make one over-easy.)

  5. Luci says:

    You need about a TBSP. of vinegar in the water to do the trick. Plus, you need to slide the egg gently into the boiling water from a cup or some container. It does make a lovely egg once you get the hang of it.

  6. Lynn in Tucson says:

    I make them like this all the time! Poached eggs on demand was a wonderful discovery.

    I do include the splash of vinegar and I also poke the yolk with a toothpick before putting it in the microwave (didn’t read to see if the article mentions this or not). Our microwave is a bit nuclear…cleaning up the exploded egg is no fun at all!

  7. Cookie says:

    You lost me at poached, but I still love you. I’m a little afraid, but I still love you…

  8. Suzy says:

    You might try brushing the dish w/a little unsalted butter…makes is extra deelish!

  9. jill says:

    Oh now I need some marinara sauce and I have my dinner all good to go! Egg-cellent, Cheryl! Thank you!

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