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How to Poach Eggs

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Heat the Poaching Liquid
Water for Poaching Eggs

Water for Poaching Eggs

Photo © Molly Watson

The next step to a perfectly poached egg is to achieve the correct temperature for the poaching liquid. If it's too cool, the egg will separate apart and sort of dissolve into the poaching liquid before it cooks; if it's too hot, you'll end up with tough whites and an over-cooked yolk.

Fill a wide, shallow pan with 2 inches of water or broth and about 2 tablespoons of vinegar or lemon juice for every 1 cup of water. The acid from the vinegar or lemon will help the egg whites coagulate quickly, which in turn will help the egg keep its shape while cooking.

Cook the poaching liquid over medium-high heat until bubbles form along the bottom and sides of the pan, but don't break away or come to the surface; if you have an instant-read thermometer, use it - you're looking for it to read 180°F. Adjust the heat to maintain this temperature.

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