How to Poach the Perfect Egg

Easy tips to master this culinary technique.
Published December 4, 2017

With WW FreestyleTM, eggs are now 0 SmartPoints! That means you can freely incorporate this staple into many different dishes to help form your daily menu. One of the best ways to nosh on this farm favourite without adding any unwanted fats is to gently poach your eggs in simmering water; however this culinary technique can be daunting for some. Here we have rounded up some expert tips to perfectly poach this zero Points® food.


Is there anything more gorgeous than a perfectly poached egg? A plump, smooth white dome that you just barely touch to let that pure orange-gold drip down; beautiful.

Now, appreciating their beauty and enjoying their taste is one thing – making them yourself is another.

The Internet is full of advice on how to poach the perfect egg: Add vinegar, swirl the water, salt the water, small pot, big pot – and the list goes on. We have culled the best tips to ensure your poaching success.

The most important thing, before you even turn on your stovetop, is to have fresh eggs. How do you know if they’re fresh? Fill a bowl with cold water and place your eggs in it. Old eggs will float. Fresh eggs will sink. Average supermarket eggs tend to kind of hang in the middle. The older an egg, the more it will spread out when cracked onto a plate or into a pan, and poaching older eggs will give you more strings of white.

Once you’ve tested your eggs for freshness and you’re ready to start poaching, all you need is a pot of salted water – get it just below the simmering point, so that means no bubbling, and definitely no boiling – the water should be wavy or shimmering on the surface. If you have fresh eggs, you will not need vinegar. Adding vinegar is a trick that helps tighten up an old egg.

Get your fresh eggs ready – it’s best if they are room temperature, rather than straight out of the fridge. Crack them, one at a time, into a small bowl – check for bits of shell – and then gently let the egg slide into the water. About three to four minutes is more than enough for a soft poached egg, but the temperature of your stove and the temperature of your egg when you start will both affect the cooking time. So use a slotted spoon to check the egg at around the two-and-a-half-minute mark – lift it slightly out of the water and jiggle the spoon or gently touch the top of the egg to feel the yolk under the white – if it feels very jiggly, it’s not quite ready, so lower it gently back down. You want the whites to be set but tender, and the yolk to be warm, yet runny. The egg should feel slightly less firm than Jell-O when it’s done.

When your egg is cooked and you’re ready to plate, use your slotted spoon to lift the egg out of the water, touch the bottom of the spoon to paper towel to absorb any excess water, then carefully flip the egg over onto your toast or English muffin – because the pretty side will be on the bottom.

It may take some trial and error before you get it perfect, but don’t stress. Poaching eggs is a lot easier than it may look! Happy poaching!