A perfectly cooked poached egg is a hard thing to beat. Served on hot toast with a crack of black pepper, it’s the best breakfast going. But while it can be a little tricky to get right, just a couple of fail-safe rules will get you making perfect, super-silky eggs in no time at all.

Before you start, make sure you buy the freshest eggs possible. You can tell whether an egg is fresh by cracking it on to a saucer. If the yolk stands up and the white isn’t watery, it’s fresh as a daisy. It’s also important you bring the water to a gentle simmer, but not boiling – if the water’s too lively, your eggs won’t cook properly.

For an unbeatable breakfast or brunch, serve your poached egg on grilled asparagus with shavings of Parmesan cheese and fresh mint sprinkled on top, or keep it simple on a buttery, toasted muffin.


1. Fill a wide casserole-type pan with boiling water from the kettle.

2. Bring to a light simmer over a medium heat and season with a pinch of sea salt.

3. Crack a large free-range or organic egg into a cup.

4. Gently pour the egg into the simmering water in one fluid movement.

5. You’ll see your egg begin to cook immediately – don’t worry if the edges look a little scruffy. A really soft poached egg should take around 2 minutes and a soft-to-firm one will need 4 minutes (it depends on the size of the egg and whether you’re using it straight from the fridge).

6. To check if it’s done, carefully remove your egg from the pan with a slotted spoon and give it a gentle prod with a teaspoon. If it feels too soft (use your instincts), put it back in the pan and give it a minute or so more to firm up.

7. When your egg is ready, remove it with the slotted spoon and place it on some kitchen paper to dry off.

9. Serve with hot toast and a sprinkling of sea salt and black pepper.

Follow these steps and you’ll get spot-on poached eggs, every time. For more egg poaching tips and tricks, including how to get the perfect round shape, watch Jamie in action in this video.

For more information on free-range eggs and welfare standards, check out the British Hen Welfare Trust.

Adapted from Jamie’s Ministry of Food.




  • Jim

    I find a true egg poaching pan works the best. They will come out perfect every time……


    Top tip, before putting the egg in stir the water and make a vortex and it keeps the egg together so it doesn’t separate 🙂

  • chingwa

    My yolks don’t look anything like that. Like, not even close!

  • Yuss

    came on to the site, never had made poached egg before, went to the kitchen and it came out perfectly after following these steps… all within 5 minutes( the searching the reading, the poaching )