Learn to Make a Perfect Poached Egg (with Vintage A&M!)

January  7, 2016

In 2012, Amanda Hesser taught us to perfectly poach an egg using a technique she lovingly calls the "Control Freak Method." Today, we're bringing it back. Learn to poach an egg, peek at Amanda's kitchen (we haven't shot a video in Amanda's kitchen in a couple of years!), and revel in how seriously Amanda takes egg-poaching. As should we all.

Do you have any egg-poaching tips and tricks? Share them—and the name of your method—in the comments!

Join the Conversation

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • chefjeanne
  • mjtesoriero
  • Carl
  • Chris
  • penny ballantyne
    penny ballantyne
Writing and cooking in Brooklyn.


chefjeanne January 8, 2016
I work as a chef at a high end restaurant that serves brunch. I poach 30-50 eggs every Saturday for Sunday. I follow some of Amanda's suggestions. I heat the water in a low sided pan to a simmer, do not boil the water. I add some salt and white vinager, about a half cup. I break the eggs into individual small bowls and add up to 6 at a time. I take them out when they are firm enough to not break and place them into ice water. On Sunday we re-heat them in simmering water for eggs Benedict. Great way to make them ahead for a brunch at home. I think the strainer method is genius, I would do this at home for sure.
mjtesoriero January 8, 2016
Although successful, this method is impractical and simply ridiculous.. Unless of course you are a food stylist requiring a perfect picture. I'm frankly surprised Food52 would promote this "technique", at least without a disclaimer!
Carl January 8, 2016
Perfect. Simple. Microwave.
1. Pyrex ramekin
2. 1 Tbsp water
3. 1/4 tsp white vinegar
4. Pinch of salt
5. Crack egg into ramekin.
6. Pierce yolk with toothpick or cake tester 2-3 times
7. Microwave on high for 45-50 seconds
8. Allow to rest for at least 1 minute
9. Use spoon to remove and serve

Adjust time based on number of ramekins and power of your microwave.

Cheers, Carl
[email protected]

I successfully poach up to 6 eggs at a time.
Chris January 8, 2016
Why doesn't anyone just do it the way real kitchens do it? This method is absurd and a waste of time. It's so simple: pot of water at champagne simmer (make sure steel or nonstick, not a reactive aluminum pot which can stick and remind you not to own thin aluminum pots) splash of vinegar and pinch of salt. Crack the eggs directly into the pot (unless you need to dirty your sieve like a type-A and remove that watery white). Check the eggs using a slotted spoon, usually about 3 minutes in depending on how much it hurt you hens to lay your egg. To dry, set that spoon and egg on a towel for one second. To store, drop into a cold water bath and keep for up to 2 days. Reheat by plunging. In and out of water.
penny B. January 8, 2016
What a great video! Amanda made the technique clear and simple and she is a lovely, encouraging teacher.Thank you for always providing your readers/viewers with the very best - Everything!
Amanda H. January 8, 2016
Thanks, Penny!
Ph W. January 8, 2016
To complicated and to slow. What if, if you need 5 or 6 poached eggs in a row?
tota January 7, 2016
I followed a recipe over holidays for a salad topped with poached eggs that called for a muffin pan, 1T water in bottom of cups, eggs plopped on top and baked in oven. While easy for making several at once, I found the method hard to control--some eggs cooked quickly, others needed extra time to cook whites. Anyone else heard of this method?
Melissa January 8, 2016
Yes, i tried it and found the same- also, I didn't like the shape of the cooked egg.
RSVPPDQ36 January 7, 2016
There are two threads in this conversation. Don't understand how that happened. There another whole page of comments not associated with these comments but on the same Food52 page??L
Sophie H. January 7, 2016
My method is to use eggs about 2 to 3 days old, room temp. Bring heavily salted water to boil, add splash of vinegar, which has no effect on taste, but takes more air out of the water. Take pot off the heat and turn off heat source. Leave the pot for a couple of minutesuntil there is no more bubbling. Slide egg in from cup or ramekin, put lid back on, return to now-cooling heat source and leave for 3 mins. If the egg is more than 3 days old the whites mostly get whispy, ditto if cold or very fresh.
RSVPPDQ36 January 7, 2016
So the grand experiment is over. Results are in. Tried the immersed in hot tap water for 60 seconds and then poach as usual, fine results but no better than other methods and lots of 'floaters'. The sous vide was an eye opener though. I poached three eggs at 147 for 45, 60, and 75 minutes ( took one egg out of bath at each time interval.). 45 minutes, very runny whites, yolk just starting to firm up. 60 minutes, yolk firmer but whites still very runny. 75 minutes, yolk firm, whites runny but starting to firm. Since I like a runny yolk on my poached eggs, I was not impressed, until I tasted the firmed up yolk. OMG. It was creamy, almost sweet, with none of the usual dry or crumbly texture of HB eggs. It was divine. This will lead to more experiments, just not for poaching in the sous vide. I thought I could do a bunch for a crowd and time things, but this has not worked the way I'd like it to. But the sous vide yolks have sparked a whole new interest and direction to take. If anyone is interested, I will post the results.
RSVPPDQ36 January 7, 2016
I'm going to try covering them with hot tap water before breaking; thanks designingmama, and also the sous vide method. If that works, I can poach a dozen eggs at once with perfect results. Will keep you posted.
Author Comment
Caroline L. January 7, 2016
please! i'll try too, and we can compare results.
designingmama January 7, 2016
sounds like fun! please, let me know how it turns out. happy cooking!
designingmama January 7, 2016
I agree - this method works well for one egg. I always poach more than that.
A great way to ensure the eggs come out perfect is salt water well (no vinegar, yuck! who wants to taste that?), maintain a gentle simmer and - highly recommend - before breaking the eggs, cover them with very hot tap water for 60 seconds ( this ensures that your eggs are ever so slightly set before you break them, thus minimizing the egg-white "fluff" in your water), then break the egg(s) into a small shallow bowl and slide into simmering water. Repeat. Works for me every time. "Ready, set, poach" method? :)
RSVPPDQ36 January 7, 2016
My preferred method is an adaptation of Americas Test Kitchen and a few other tricks. It really does improve things to put the egg into a sieve first to get the most watery stuff gone. Then, putting the eggs into teacups with handles works too, so you can put all four in at exactly the same time, but you have to remove them one at a time, so this doesn't result in identical cooking times anyway. So I just put them in from the sieve one at a time, trying to swirl the water a bit to 'direct' the shape of the final product. Because my non stick pan has long ago given up its non-stickness, I have to slide a thin offset spatula under each egg once it has set a bit in the hot water. I remove them from the water with a spoon with holes to help drain it - I have a salad spoon that works well and pat the top of it gently with a paper towel once it's in the serving dish or on the toast. I've never had much luck transferring them from a sticky wet paper towel to the serving dish, so I skip that step.
Melissa January 8, 2016
I use this method too- And don't use the paper towel. I've used the cups though, so might try the sieve to get rid of the ragged bits
Marisa January 7, 2016
I use the same method Frank uses in the video "How to cook poached eggs the easy way". It's easy and practical.
Marisa January 7, 2016
I totally agree with the previous comment. Control Freak method that is also impractical.
Author Comment
Caroline L. January 7, 2016
i'd love to hear about your technique!
RSVPPDQ36 January 7, 2016
Pretty results for one egg. I have never poached just one egg in my life - always at least 4 so that method is never going to work for me. By the time the second one was done, the first egg would be cold.
Author Comment
Caroline L. January 7, 2016
what's your strategy? i struggle with messy poached eggs, so four seems daunting to me. teach me your ways!