My all-time favorite breakfast is eggs benedict, but I never, ever make it at home. The idea of poaching an egg is just too much for this perfectionist home cook to bear.
The standby method requires you to carefully monitor a mixture of boiling water and vinegar. You then create a gentle whirlpool in the water, crack an egg into a ramekin, and hover the ramekin half inside the water until the white takes on a nice round shape. Boil the egg just long enough so that the yolk is firm, but not so firm that it doesn’t run when you cut into it.
See? There’s a reason I—and many others—haven’t mastered this. It’s a lot of work, and the risk for failure is high. Per usual, the internet is here to help with three egg hacks that promise to take the hassle out of poaching, no vinegar or gentle whirlpools needed. We put them to the test and there was one clear winner.
1. Use your microwave
What you need: A microwave-safe tea cup and saucer
To achieve a poached egg in the microwave, simply crack an egg into ½ cup of water in a teacup, cover with a saucer, and nuke for a minute to 1:30.
This was the most effective method we tested: The white came out nicely contained and fully cooked, and the yolk was still runny if not slightly overdone. Be careful with your timing, as the yolk has a tendency to overcook quickly in the microwave.
2. Julia Child-approved
What you need: A pin and a timer
Julia Child swore by poking a hole at the end of an egg and boiling it for 10 seconds to set the white in a nice round shape. She’d then crack the egg into the boiling water in typical poaching fashion.
This did not work for us.
The egg white shot out of the pinhole like a rocket, and after, when we cracked the egg into the water, the white took off swirling around the yolk in a gauzy mess. The resulting egg was fine, but this felt like too much work and mess for a subpar payoff.
3. Wrap in plastic
What you need: A small bowl, heat-proof plastic wrap, cooking spray
Of all the methods we tried, this was the most disconcerting. Tying a cracked egg in a pouch of plastic wrap lined with cooking spray is supposed to result in a perfectly poached egg, but instead, we got a slew of weird bubbles in the pouch and melty plastic wrap.
The egg smelled so foul when we opened the plastic wrap pouch that no one wanted to eat it, plus the combination of melted Saran and heated Pam turned everyone off. Skip this egg hack in favor for something simpler and more effective.