There are at least a dozen ways to poach an egg, but which is the best? We tried tons of techniques to find the winner.

poached egg on toast
Photo courtesy of Getty Images
| Credit: Photo courtesy of Getty Images

1. Start with really fresh eggs.

They hold their shape better.

2. Simmer—don't boil.

Poached eggs need to be babied. Fill a deep skillet with about 2 inches of water and bring to a simmer. Adjust heat to prevent boiling.

3. Skip the salt and the vinegar. 

Adding them to the water helps speed coagulation, but it can also create those shaggy strands.

4. Get crackin'.

But not directly into the skillet! Crack each egg into a small bowl, then slowly pour it into the water. For multiple eggs, add them in a clockwise direction so you remember which to take out first.

5. Don't overcook.

Set your timer for 3 to 5 minutes, then scoop the eggs out with a slotted spoon. Pat the bottom of the spoon on a kitchen towel before adding an egg to your dish. Hosting brunch? Poach the eggs, place in ice water, and refrigerate for up to a day; when guests arrive, reheat for 1 to 2 minutes in simmering water.

6. Party of one?

The best way to poach a single egg is to microwave it. Place 1 cup of water in a microwave-safe bowl and crack in an egg. Cover with a plate and nuke on high for 1 minute. Continue microwaving in 15-second intervals until cooked to your liking.

Ready to get your poach on? Try these recipes!

Quick Polenta with Mushrooms, Asparagus & Poached Eggs   

quick polenta with mushrooms asparagus poached eggs

Ratatouille with Oven-Poached Eggs   

ratatouille with oven poached eggs
Credit: Photography by Joesph De Leo

Chorizo and Black Bean Soup with Eggs   

Chorizo and Black Bean Soup with Eggs

Bistro Steak-and-Eggs Salad

Bistro Steak-and-Egg Salad

Spicy Shrimp & Brown Rice Bowl

spicy shrimp brown rice bowl