How to Make Perfect Poached Eggs without Vinegar
How to Make Perfect Poached Eggs without using Vinegar
by Jacqueline Samaroo
If you are new to egg poaching, the most depressing sight is the wispy whites that float around once your egg hits the water. You just can’t help thinking that you must be doing something wrong. You’re left scratching your head wondering what you can do.
A little vinegar in the poaching water helps the egg to coalesce and minimizes those “egg wings”. There are those among us, however, who would rather not use the vinegar as even a small amount can taint that perfect egg taste.
So, how do you poach the perfect egg without the assistance of vinegar? There are actually quite a few ways to do it and we’ll look at the most popular ones here.
1. The Microwave Method
This method takes away all the worries about finding the right sized pot or using the right amount of water. All you need are a 1-cup microwaveable bowl and a saucer to cover it. Half fill the bowl with water and gently crack the egg into it, checking to make sure the egg is completely covered. Place the saucer on top and microwave for about 1 minute on high.
Of course, microwave cooking times vary, so your first attempt might not be exactly as you like it. Try turning the power down to 80% or 50% and see how it goes. Some persons like to flip the egg over when the top appears done and give it a few more seconds to get it perfect.
It might take a bit of experimenting to find the setting which gives you an egg just the way you like it. Once you do, however, you’ll be enjoying wonderfully poached eggs (every time!) without vinegar, measuring cup, pot or stove to fuss over.
2. The Julia Child Method
The late Julia Child had an amazing trick for getting perfectly poached eggs – use a pin and give the egg a 10-second boil! In this method you set your water to boil and use a pin to make a hole in the large end of the egg to let the air out. You then set the egg in the boiling water for 10 seconds to firm up the whites inside a bit.
After 10 seconds remove the egg and reduce the heat under the pot so that it just simmers. Allow the egg to cool for a few seconds then crack it into the gently simmering water and let it poach. Your result will be an egg that holds together very well without the feather whites that tend to hang off. Give it a try!
3. The Plastic Wrap Method
If you don’t mind using plastic wrap or you aren’t completely frustrated with how it sticks to itself, then it’s a great way to poach an egg. Get your water to simmer in preparation for the egg. Lay the plastic wrap - be sure it's food safe wrap first of course - in a teacup and give it a light rub of olive oil or butter.
Ensure the plastic wrap is pushed down into the cup and crack your egg into it. Add spices if you wish then pick up the ends of the plastic wrap and tie it in a tight knot above the egg. Drop the egg into the simmering water to poach for a few minutes.
Remove the egg from the pot and use a pair of scissors to cut away the plastic wrap. Your poached egg will not have the classic poached egg shape but it also won’t have those wispy whites hanging off!
4. The Vortex Method
This method requires a little skill but once you get the hang of it, it’s super easy to do! You’ll have just a small amount of whites hanging off and you can easily cut them away to serve.
Select a wide pot and set some water to boil then simmer. Crack the egg into a small cup (a 1/3-cup measuring cup works well). Use a spoon to swirl the water around for about 15 seconds as you try to create a hole or vortex in the center. The swirling current will help to wrap those fly-away whites around the yolk.
As you remove the spoon with one hand, gently pour the egg into the vortex with the other hand. Poach for a few minutes and remove. Mastering this method will take trial-and-error but you’ll be so proud of yourself once you get it down pat!
You could combine Method 5 with Method 4 to get rid of the watery part of the egg white first before adding to the vortex as it's the watery part of the egg white that creates much of the wispy white mess.
5. The Fine Mesh Metal Strainer Method
While running your egg through a metal strainer does not immediately come to mind when you think of poaching eggs, this method definitely works!
Bring the water to a boil then let it simmer. Crack one egg into a small cup and gently pour it into a strainer set over a bowl. A good tip is to have the strainer set at an angle so that the egg will end up close to the strainer’s rim when you pour it in.
Once the looser whites have strained through, gently pour the egg out into the simmering water. You’ll notice immediately that there is much less of those annoying white tendrils floating around in your pot.
As we mentioned in Method 4, you could combine 5 and 4 to create a super method!
Remove the egg after a few minutes once it’s cooked to your liking.
Final TipsThe number one advice for poaching eggs is to ensure you use the freshest eggs you can find (be clever in supermarkets and reach for the ones at the back!). These are the ones that will have less of those loose whites that drive you crazy.
Another good piece of advice is to use just boiled but not boiling water. The bouncing boiling water will break up the poaching egg just as you try to bring it together - so be sure to simmer.
10 Perfect Poached Egg Breakfast Recipe Ideas
Want some delicious poached egg recipes?
Check out our post with 10 different recipes...
Ten Perfect Poached Egg Breakfast Recipe Ideas
- Darren Clunie