How to Poach an Egg Perfectly Every Time

Find out how to poach an egg perfectly every time. The trick is a special but very simple tool: A sieve!

How to poach an egg perfectly every time

Last week, I shared my super-easy Blender Hollandaise Sauce recipe. It’s made in a blender and ready in minutes. If you guessed that an Eggs Benedict recipe was in the future you’re right. But first we’re tackling the centerpiece of the dish — the poached egg.

The Perfectly Poached Egg

This is not something I’ve ever been good at. I’ve tried adding vinegar to the water, I’ve continually swirled the water, I’ve kept it at a bare simmer. But it never really worked. I ended up with bits of filmy egg white in the pot. Every time.

During a recent visit home though, my mom taught me a new trick (don’t moms know everything?). A fine mesh sieve is is the key to how to poach an egg perfectly every time.

I’ll walk you through the process.

How To Poach Eggs Perfectly

Here’s a video showing the technique for poaching eggs:

Crack the eggs into individual bowls.

Crack the eggs into individual bowls

Place the fine mesh sieve over a bowl. Unlike in the picture below, it is best to place the sieve in such a way so that it is not centered over the bowl but rather one edge is aligned with the bowl’s lip. This is so that the egg will end up closer to the edge of the sieve and will thus be easier to tilt out into the water. Gently pour in one egg.

Put the raw egg into a fine mesh sieve

The loose egg whites, which would usually cause such a ruckus in the pot, are sifted into the bowl. The egg yolk and the more tightly attached whites are all that’s left.

Egg in a sieve

Then lower the sieve into gently simmering water.

Poaching an egg using a sieve

Shake it lightly to transfer the egg into the pot. (You’ll see here that if the egg had been at the lip of the sieve rather than in the middle, it would have been easier for it to get out and into the water).

How to poach eggs using a sieve

Simmer for about 4-5 minutes to achieve set whites with a runny yolk.

You can poach several eggs at a time. Crack the eggs into individual bowls. Then add them to the sieve then into the water one at a time. I do 3-5 at a time.

The eggs are poaching in the simmering water

Use a slotted spoon or slotted spatula to lift the eggs out of the water.

Scoop out poached eggs with a slotted spoon or slotted spatula

Serve immediately or transfer to a bowl of ice water to cool.

Poached eggs chilling in ice water

Find out how and why to chill poached eggs and then reheat them later next week when we talk about assembling the perfect Eggs Benedict.

If you’re not entirely confidant that you understand this method for poaching eggs, check out this video from The thing I found most helpful about it was learning how to get the egg off of the sieve and into the water. Even after watching the video it took me a few tries to get it right. But from then on, all my poached eggs have been perfect.

Topmost Photo and video are by Leigh Olson.

How to Poach an Egg Perfectly Every Time

15 responses to “How to Poach an Egg Perfectly Every Time”

  1. Kirk says:

    Why can’t I get a simple recipe without all those pictures?

    • Christine Pittman says:

      When we go over a technique like this, we like to do step by step pictures to help those unfamiliar with the process. Most of our recipes only have a picture or two, however. Thanks for your feedback, Kirk.

  2. Christa Soares says:

    Foolproof method for poached eggs . Pour boiling water into a small bowl add 2 tbs of vinegar , drop in the egg and microwave for 1 or 2 minutes .

  3. Larry says:

    Just swirl the water and drop one or two eggs in. Comes out perfect every time with no need for a sieve. I never make a blended hollandaise sauce, just stir vigorously over a double boiler. Never have any problems with it.

    • Christine Pittman says:

      Larry, A lot of people have issues with poaching eggs. You’re one of the lucky ones. As to the hollandaise, the classic way is fine but the blender way is much quicker and easier and it makes a delectably thick sauce in seconds.

  4. George Palmer says:


    Great story would you please publish or send me your Andouille gravy recipe, I had dinner at Commanders 80-100 times over a 4 year period but never brunch. The best Andouille gravy I ever had was at the Monteleone Hotel, I stayed there for months on end and became addicted to their gravy. Have tried making @#%# times the past 15 years and NEVER come even close. 
    Thanks for the poached egg tip, just tried it and OMG is it easier. 

  5. Tedi says:

    Where can I get a set of those cute, colorful bowls you put each egg in before poaching?

    • Christine Pittman says:

      Tedy, I think I got them at Publix (grocery store) a couple of years ago. They’re really great. Some kind of rubbery material.

  6. Aly says:

    I worked in New Orleasn at Commanders Palace in the 1970’s as a saucier. My job was to poach eggs for brunch and we served 450+ invividuals and most of them ate poached eggs. I used to come in at 7AM and poach 800-900 eggs in a couple of hours.We would set up two large rondues on the flat top, fill with 5-6″ of water and 1/2 gallon of vinegar per pot. I would then two handed put an entire flat of eggs in each rondue and by the time the last egg was in the first one was coming out. I found the biggest secret for a great poached egg is a super fresh egg and acid in the water. You will end up with a beautiful egg every time. The harder eggs (it happens) went into the turtle (yes snapping turtle) soup that evening. Fun times! We also made hollandaise in a mixer making 8 gallons at a time, lotsa eggs there too! They also served and interesting ‘benedict: Calais, rice pancakes, spicy andouille gravy oover poached eggs, yummy!

  7. […] #5: How To Poach an Egg Perfectly Every Time […]

  8. […] week, I showed you how to make perfect Poached Eggs. Here’s how. So go ahead and do that (or you can try this non-stick egg poacher if you want to make it even […]

  9. Sunday mornings just got WAY easier!! Thank YOU! :-)

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