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We're going back to breakfast basics with our tips on how to serve up the perfect poached egg. Once you've mastered this trick, you'll never look back. Let's get cracking... 

1. Bring a small pan of water to the boil; turn down to a low simmer. Crack an egg into a teacup. Add 1 tsp white wine vinegar to the pan and create a whirlpool by stirring the water.

2. While the water spins, carefully tip the egg into the centre of the pan.

3. Simmer for 2½-3 minutes, scoop out with a slotted spoon and rest on kitchen paper briefly, then serve.


  • Use very fresh eggs or the white and yolk may separate.
  • Put vinegar in the water – it helps set the egg white quicker, but don’t add too much or your egg will taste vinegary.
  • Trim off white straggles before serving. 
  • Cook for a crowd – you should still cook the eggs one at a time, but for 30 seconds less, then transfer to a bowl of ice-cold water. Reheat all the eggs in a large pan of gently simmering water for 2 minutes; scoop out and serve.


  • Add salt to the water – this breaks down the white.
  • Crack the egg straight into the water: the yolk might separate from the white.
  • Put more than one egg in the pan – the whites can stick together, and your cooking times won’t be as accurate.

About the author

Anna Glover
Anna is our former Creative Food Editor and a former cookery writer and food stylist