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How to make a perfect poached egg

Chef Anne Burrell showcases how to make this surprisingly easy breakfast staple.
/ Source: TODAY

Eggs are an undeniably versatile source of protein.

While many people usually enjoy them scrambled or fried, learning how to make a perfectly poached egg is truly one of those talents that will take a home cook's skills to the next level.

The ideal poached eggs have semi-firm whites and soft, but not too runny, yolks. Once you get the hang of it, the process only takes about three minutes. Plus, liked boiled eggs, poached eggs can easily be made ahead of time and saved for another meal.

Eggs being poached in frying pan
Poaching an egg perfectly is easier than one might think. Getty Images stock

This week, chef Anne Burrell, host of Food Network’s “Vegas Chef Prizefight” and co-host of “Worst Cooks in America,” showcased how to make one of her favorite breakfasts: avocado toast with a perfectly poached egg and feta cheese.

Burrell, who, like many people in the United States, is currently self isolating, wants home cooks to know that poaching eggs might seem really difficult, but once you recognize some common mistakes, it's easy to correct them and make a stellar egg.

  1. Start with a wide, shallow pan. Fill it with water and do not salt the water. Salting the poaching liquid can actually cause holes to form in the egg whites.
  2. Bring the water to a boil. When you start to see what Burrell calls “bubble action,” turn the heat off so the water gets nice, smooth surface. Many people tend to drop their eggs into large vats of boiling water — this is wrong as the rolling motion will break the eggs apart.
  3. Add about 3 tablespoons of vinegar. Not everyone uses vinegar, but Burrell thinks it's a must. Once the egg hits the water, the vinegar will help it to coagulate, holding it together in a tighter bundle.
  4. Be gentle. Crack the egg and gently drop it in close to the surface of the water. The further your hands are from the water, the more likely that egg will splash apart when it hits the water.
  5. Wait a few minutes. Depending on the size of the eggs, it will take about three to four minutes to cook them. If you like your eggs more well-done, leave them in a bit longer.
  6. Drain the eggs and enjoy. After removing the eggs from the water, place them on a paper towel to absorb the excess liquid. No one wants soggy toast or watery eggs Benedict!

Poaching eggs to eat later?

After the eggs are cooked, place them in a shallow dish of cold water so they'll retain their texture. When you're ready to eat, put the eggs back into a pot of hot water and heat them up for about a minute.