5 Ingredients or Fewer

Daniel Patterson's Poached Scrambled Eggs

May  4, 2012
13 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 2
Author Notes

These are the quickest and fluffiest of scrambled eggs, made with an exceedingly forgiving technique. Though this recipe serves 2, you can scale up or down freely. Depending on how you plan to dress them up, you can also salt the water to taste without threatening the integrity of your eggs -- if you're serving them minimally, with just a ribbon of olive oil and sprinkle of flaky salt, go ahead and salt the water till it tastes like the sea, as you would for boiling pasta or blanching vegetables.

Recipe adapted very slightly from the New York Times Magazine, "The Way We Eat: Which Came First?" (January 8, 2006) —Genius Recipes

What You'll Need
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (optional)
  • Fine sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  1. Crack each egg into a medium-mesh sieve (or narrow-slotted spoon), letting the thin white drain away. Transfer the remaining yolk and white to a small bowl. (Note: If your eggs are very fresh, you can skip this step.) Beat the eggs vigorously with a fork or whisk for 20 seconds.
  2. Set a medium saucepan filled with about 4 inches of water over moderate heat. Put a strainer in the sink. When the water is at a low boil, add a few large pinches of salt, then stir in a clockwise direction to create a whirlpool. Pour the eggs into the moving water, cover the pot and count to 20.
  3. Turn off the heat and uncover the pot. The eggs should be floating on the surface in ribbons. While holding back the eggs with a spoon, pour off most of the water over the strainer. Gently slide the eggs into the strainer and press them lightly to expel any excess liquid. Tilt your strainer from side to side to release any trapped water (you can even drain them on paper towels, if you like).
  4. Scoop the eggs into bowls, drizzle with olive oil if desired and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • David DeJonghe
    David DeJonghe
  • S Alisa James
    S Alisa James
  • Tim
  • Jethro Bodien
    Jethro Bodien
  • Melinda Jones
    Melinda Jones
Genius Recipes

Recipe by: Genius Recipes

48 Reviews

David D. October 10, 2022
Why? This feels like so much extra work and more dishes to clean. Just scramble the eggs on the stovetop.
Will_h June 5, 2022
I prefer poaching eggs over frying because poaching results in tender, delicate whites. I have poaching down to science (ie Julia Child's method of boiling the egg inside the shell first, look it up).

Now, I don't personally care for scrambled eggs, but my son does. Mine are so so and there's a fair bit stuck to my Teflon pan (nevermind that I'd prefer to not use Teflon anyway).... And cleaning it, especially from around the handle bolts, is a pain. Given my success with standard poaching, when I saw scrambled eggs could also be boiled/poached, I decided to give it a go.

My son said these are the best scrambled eggs ever, better than mom's even (take that!). I'd have to agree. Just as with traditional poaching, the texture is superb.

I think some here prefer rubbery eggs or maybe they don't know better. To each his own I suppose.

There was very little waste and I did not separate the "runny white" whatever that is. Clean up was a snap as well.

Tips: Salt the water aggressively and add some vinegar for acidity. I added cheese after the fact and it melted fine. Also, use some happy eggs or other free range brand, the darker yolks taste much better than your regular store bought eggs.
AceSF October 2, 2020
nope. these are awful. just tasteless watery eggs.
S A. July 24, 2020
This is easy to do, and the result is beautiful but bland. Absolutely flavorless. I even seasoned my eggs with salt, pepper and garlic before hand- it's like the poaching just rips all the flavor out. Good thing I had Sriracha in the house, or this would have been an unpalatablely tasteless experience.
Tim August 27, 2017
Tried it - and while the eggs turned out nice and soft, I don't see any real advantage that warrants dirtying additional dishes. Plus, I like the taste of scrambled eggs cooked in butter or EVO.
Verdict: Fun experiment and it works, but I'll stick to my old ways.
Christie February 10, 2017
I tried this method a couple of times today. 20 seconds wasnt long enough in the water, I changed it to 35 seconds. I thought they were flavorless. It was like the water washed away all of the egg flavor. However, my daughter that hates eggs ate them and said they were "good for eggs". Maybe I have finally found a way for her eat an occasional egg for breakfast.
Henry May 21, 2016
Great idea, scrambled eggs and no frying, delicious and healthy.
Jethro B. June 2, 2015
It seems like way too much effort just for a couple of scrambled eggs. I can make them just as fluffy with a little more whisking and a frying pan. In fact, I can make quite fluffy scrambled eggs in the microwave on a paper plate, no less.
mdelgatty March 16, 2020
Or in a measuring cup - and the grandees get the thrill of watching them puff up...!
Melinda J. May 25, 2015
BEST EVER...! Kept it simple.... scrambled... put in vortex.. drained. DIVINE!
Debbie S. May 13, 2015
Ps... I boiled up a full kettle for first, (Saladmaster kettle with filtered water. No leeching from unsafe kettle) and by the time the first was cooked, the kettle was ready for the next. Didn't need to wait for the pot to boil. Also... important that the pot is deep enough and that the eggs are added gently or they will drop and stick to the bottom.
Debbie S. May 13, 2015
Tried this yesterday for brekkie. Absolutely great! Cooked first for hubbie but seemed a little bland so did mine with quite salty water and added more pepper to mix. Wonderful! Also, did NOT remove any of the white. My eggs were the usual supermarket free range type, so probably not too fresh, but they cooked beautifully and held together. Drained them with a deep fryer flatish sieve style scoop and rested scoop and eggs on folded paper towel to drain. perfect! Thank you so much for this recipe.
Barbara B. April 5, 2015
Yes, Yes, Yes to this wonderful recipe! I thought the best, fluffiest, tasty eggs I ever made were with the steam wand on my espresso machine but now I will follow Daniel's recipe. We have hens so our eggs were beyond perfect. This is a recipe I'll definitely pass on!
chris March 11, 2015
Really good eggs, especially with a drizzle of truffle oil. However, I made a big mess to clean-up (don't ask), and my four eggs drained down to barely enough for 2 people. I'll definitely try this method, again; I see great possibilities.
Susan H. March 8, 2015
I just made this. These were the lightest, fluffiest eggs we have ever eaten! I put a dab of butter on at the end with the salt and pepper. Perfect!
cajoto58 March 8, 2015
...I like my scrambles wet and fluffy must have spoonful of sour cream,added right after beaten barely mix in,perfection...tips from Sopranos' cast....those actors eat,cook and act like they love food!...but I will try this method and thanks for micro wave tips!
MARINNA February 11, 2015
loved this method!! yellow fluffy eggs i can FINALLY make lol
CJ January 25, 2015
I loved this technique! If I can get the timing down it pairs perfectly with a slice of perfect toast. Very custardy which is a favorite texture of mine. Thanks for sharing!
Jennifer S. December 15, 2014
Wow, kind of shocked at all the defensiveness on this thread :/ I have a scrambled egg method that I'm very happy with, but will try this out simply for the experience. Who knows? Could become my tried and true. and if not, well, the Food52 world and its followers will never know because I won't come back here and complain about it. Also, microwaved eggs? GROSS. Gah, just stop!
Alyssa May 5, 2014
These were delicious! I just made them for the first time. They were so light and fluffy and the addition of a little olive oil and salt made them crazy good. I usually scramble my eggs with butter, milk, and cheese, so this is far healthier. If you're looking for a faster way to scramble eggs, this isn't it. But it's worth the time. And the best part was that my three year-old helped me make them and then ate some! I can't remember the last time he took a bite of scrambled eggs and didn't spit them back out. This recipe is a winner, in my book.
Luvtocook May 4, 2014
I agree with poster deckercn's two year-old comment. If I'm really in a hurry for breakfast, I put a pat of butter in a big coffee cup, add one or two eggs that I've wildly mixed with a fork and "nuke" it for less than a minute. When the toast pops up, my scrambled eggs are ready, too. I'm a woman who lives by the adage: If it ain't broke, don't fix it. And I like my fluffy microwaved scrambled eggs just fine, thank you very much.