How to poach eggs

Here's how to get perfectly poached eggs every time.
Published 3 July 2017 | Updated 6 June 2024

Poached eggs are a healthy, elegant and protein-packed addition to any meal, making them a favourite choice for breakfast, brunch, or even dinner. Mastering the art of cooking poached eggs can elevate your culinary repertoire, offering a delicious and nutritious option that pairs well with a variety of dishes. Whether you prefer them atop avocado toast, nestled in a salad, or as a classic eggs Benedict, poached eggs are both versatile and satisfying. This guide will provide you with step-by-step instructions to achieve perfectly poached eggs every time.

Poached eggs

Prep time: 5 min | Cook time: 5 min
Serves: 4


4 medium eggs (at room temperature)
4 slices wholemeal bread, toasted
2 tsp fresh chives, chopped
2 x 3 second oil spray

Step 1

Bring a large saucepan of water to a simmer. Line a small bowl with a large sheet of plastic wrap, overhanging the sides. Lightly spray with oil. Break an egg into the plastic.

How to cook poached eggs step 1

Step 2

Gather ends of plastic to enclose egg, being sure to expel all the air. Twist firmly just above the egg, then tie securely. Repeat with remaining eggs.

How to cook poached eggs step 2

Step 3

Place plastic-wrapped eggs into pan, and simmer over low heat for 4½ minutes or until white has set but yolk is still soft. Lift out of pan onto a plate.

How to cook poached eggs step 3

Step 4

Use scissors to snip plastic between egg and knot. Carefully peel away plastic. Turn eggs onto toast and sprinkle with chives. Season.

How to cook poached eggs step 4

SERVING SUGGESTION: Baby vine-ripened tomatoes

Poached eggs

Whirlpool method

1. Bring a large saucepan of water to a simmer. Break an egg into a cup.

2. Stir the water to create a whirlpool, and slide the egg gently into the water. The white should begin to set immediately and the movement of the water will help it to wrap around the yolk and keep a nice shape. Cook for 3 minutes.

Tip: If using the whirlpool method, add 2 tsp white vinegar to the simmering water. This helps the white to set and gives it a bright white colour.

How to serve poached eggs

  • Top veggie noodles with poached egg and shaved parmesan.
  • Add egg to Asian noodle soup or a French onion soup.
  • Sprinkle egg with dukkah and serve on couscous and roasted veggies.
  • Fill a barbecued flat mushroom with wilted spinach and top with egg.
  • Serve egg with steamed broccolini and smoked salmon.