TechniqueSeamus MullenFood

The Perfectly Poached Egg

TechniqueSeamus MullenFood
The Perfectly Poached Egg


Quick, Easy &
Delicious Poached Eggs

Prep Time: 15 minutes

September  28, 2017  •  By Seamus Mullen

egg poaching in boiling water

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of the egg. The whole damn egg, not just the white (would mama nature really create an imperfect food that we would need to improve? Por favor!) The egg is magical, but not all eggs are created equal. There is much discussion around what constitutes a healthy egg and I’m not going to get mired in that, but rather I suggest always choosing “pastured” eggs over “organic” or “cage-free” or any other option. The label that always makes me chuckle is “vegetarian feed.” I have lots of memories of chickens on the farm growing up and as I recall the worms and bugs they loved to eat didn’t make our birds vegetarians.

But I digress, let’s talk about poaching an egg, that incredibly difficult task that no one really wants to do at home because it’s too hard. Do you ever wonder how restaurants have such perfectly spherical poached eggs? Well here’s how:

PRO TIP: To help the white coagulate you can add a little white wine vinegar to the water or even some sea salt (this will effect the pH of the water and impacts how the egg cooks).


  • As many pasture raised eggs as you are making

  • White wine vinegar


  • Deep pot

  • Strainer

  • Bowl of ice water


First of all when poaching an egg, it’s important to have a deep pot of water. This will help the whites coagulate as the egg falls to the bottom of the pot. Next, we want to strain off a little of the watery white. We do this by cracking the egg into a strainer and the really liquidy part of the white, which is mostly water, will strain through, leaving the yolk and the more dense protein of the white. To help the white coagulate you can add a little white wine vinegar to the water or even some sea salt (this will effect the pH of the water and impacts how the egg cooks. There’s a whole bunch of science as to why, but that’s over my head and if you really are curious, I’m sure google will explain it all.) Lastly, I like to have a big bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process once the egg is perfectly poached. So here’s how you do it: 

1. Bring the large pot of water to a rolling boil, then reduce to a simmer. Strain the eggs one at a time and then transfer to a shallow coffee cup. Quickly and carefully slip the eggs, one by one, into the pot and set a timer for two minutes and thirty seconds. (I find that time works for small eggs- slightly larger ones may require a bit more time). 

2. Once the whites are firm, but the yolks are still soft to the touch (think like you’re poking the Pilsbury Dough boy in the belly), transfer the eggs to the ice bath. 

3. With a slotted spoon you can either briefly reheat the eggs in the warm water, or just serve them cold. They make a perfect addition to a salad, some sauteed greens or just on their own with some sliced avocado, sea salt and lemon zest.

Now go forward and poach with confidence!!!

aftermath of poached eggs and bacon from seamus mullen's cookbook, Real food heals