Perfect poached eggs possible with two key steps

By Joe Stumpe | May 30, 2023

I poached a near-foolproof recipe for poached eggs.

After several less-than-stellar attempts at poaching eggs in the past, I found a technique online that worked on the first try and every time since.

A perfectly poached egg is like a super tender, supersized dumpling that oozes warm golden goodness when pierced. There are two keys to avoiding those wispy edges that ruin the appearance of many poached eggs: using fresh eggs and removing the thinner white fluid that’s part of an egg. To do so, after cracking an egg, put it into a wire mesh strainer and gently swirl it. The thinner white fluid will be strained out, leaving a firmer white liquid that will surround the yolk when poached. 

Place the strained yolk and firmer liquid in a ramekin if you’re preparing just one, or up to six in a bowl. In a pan, bring about 4 inches of water to a low simmer. Holding the ramekin or bowl close to the water, pour the egg(s) into the water one at a time. They are done when the egg whites are fully set while the yolks are still tender, in about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove them with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.

If you need a visual demonstration of this technique, google “serious eats poached eggs” or “downshiftology poached eggs.” 

Poached eggs are great atop steak, salads, rice, pasta, vegetables and more. They can be made ahead and refrigerated for up to 24 hours. If that’s your plan, place them in an ice bath immediately after poaching. When ready to serve, place them in a bowl of hot tap water for two minutes before draining on towels again.

Here’s a recipe I like using them in. Indonesian Fried Rice is supposed to be spicy, but you can leave out the chile if you prefer, add more or use a hotter variety.

Indonesian Fried Rice

4 cups leftover cooked rice

1 large jalapeno, chopped

4 shallots or ½ red onion, minced

4 cloves garlic, minced

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

¼ cup soy sauce

¼ cup sugar

Poached eggs

Optional garnishes: chopped scallions, diced tomatoes and cucumbers


In a small saucepan, combine soy sauce, sugar and water. Boil, stirring occasionally, until volume is reduced by two-thirds and liquid has thickened.

Heat oil in large skillet or wok over medium high heat. Saute jalapeno, shallots or onion and garlic for 1 minute. Stir in rice and cook about 1 minute or until heated through. Stir in sweetened soy sauce mixture, top with poached eggs and serve with garnishes, if desired.