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The Foolproof Trick for Making Perfect Poached Eggs

My Recipes logo My Recipes 5/14/2018 Darcy Lenz
a piece of cake on a plate © Provided by TIME Inc.

Poaching is arguably the most difficult—or at least, the most intimidating—method of cooking a gloriously oozy-yolked egg. There’s a lot to consider with this preparation… Is my bubbling pot at a simmer or a boil? To swirl the water and create a whirpool or no? What’s the vinegar for again? Is it cheating to use a one of those silicone egg poaching cups—and wait, will cooking my egg in a silicone cup kill me? 

In my experience, poached eggs aren’t most folks’ go-to for a casual weekday breakfast; I’d assume this is largely because of the intrigue and elegance factor that they carry. That said, one of our test kitchen staffers, Margaret Dickey, recently debunked the notion that poaching eggs is somehow mysterious or complex with the following trick. As is true with other breakfast staples, like bacon and pancakes, poaching multiple eggs at once is made easy by utilizing the oven. Dickey tapped this clever, hands-off hack when developing her idea of the ideal Mother’s Day meal (keeping in mind that if she were to actually expect this Ultimate Eggs Benedict to be prepared for her breakfast in bed… the recipe would need to be fairly easy). 

I should note, I’ve mentally deemed this particular stylist/recipe developer the test kitchen’s personal Ina Garten—she’s one of those people who is effortlessly classy and spreads that elegant ease to virtually everything she touches. Which is only to say, it’s not exactly shocking that she’d demystify the fanciest of egg preparations, making it highly accessible and highly conducive to easy/impressive entertaining. I’m not beating myself over never having thought to try this, and neither should you.

Anyhow, all you need in order to make the magic happen is a muffin tin. Simply spray each cup you’ll be placing an egg in with cooking spray, add 1 tablespoon of water to each, and crack an egg into each cup. Bake in a 350° oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until the eggs are just set. You’ll want to let the eggs rest in the muffin tin for a minute or so before using a slotted spoon to transfer them to a plate or to the top of whatever immaculate breakfast creation you made with your two free hands as your eggs were poaching to perfection with virtually no effort or stress investment on your end.

Whether you’re making two poached eggs or twenty-four, this oven technique remains just as easy—which makes it the perfect crowd-pleasing trick to keep in your back pocket. Whip it out when you’re hosting a brunch or when you have company in town for the holidays; all will be impressed by the aura of poise and sophistication that surrounds you as you dish out plates of eggs Benedict or bowls of potato hash, or even creamy grits, topped with pristine eggs. Before long, even you will forget that you ever stood over a pot of hot, vinegar-scented water, hesitatant—like someone without a muffin tin and a secret.

Related video: How to Crack an Egg with One Hand

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