I know I don’t use my microwave enough, but that’s been changing. I’ve always used it for leftovers, popcorn and melting chocolate! Now, though, I’m using it for super easy and fast, no-hassle poached eggs. Yep, Poached Eggs in the Microwave. It’s a game-changer!
I used to just poach eggs in barely simmering water, swirling the water so there was a little vortex, dropping in an egg and hoping for the best. My Mom did hers with a gadget; it had multiple parts and she could never find it when she needed it. My conclusion: there’s no doubt that poaching eggs in simmering water requires time and skill. And maybe a little luck. And a pot of simmering water and/or additional equipment.
About Poached Eggs in the Microwave:
The worst of it was, poaching eggs in simmering water is a hassle, and because of that, I didn’t make them as often. And when I didn’t make them as often, it was even more of a hassle because when I did, well, I was out of practice.
I wouldn’t get up and make one for myself and have that simple pleasure of poached egg on toast, dipping that toast right into the yolk. I really didn’t like making them for the family (or for company – how stressful would that be?) for something special like this Classic Eggs Benedict or this fabulous Salmon & Asparagus Hash, or my Grilled Asparagus and Quinoa Salad. Or even my go-to recipe when I have too much spinach that needs to be used up, Eggs Florentine.
I knew I’d make poached eggs more often (especially now, when it’s trendy to put an egg on almost anything) if it were only easier! Eggs are fab, full of protein and all kinds of nutrients most of us have never heard of – See the list on The World’s Healthiest Foods. And now they’re no longer blamed for high cholesterol; check this article from Healthline. (The egg farmers must be jumping for joy. ) And eggs are relatively cheap. Poaching eggs is a fantastic way to cook them; no oil or grease, they’re a dieter’s dream and they’re so beautiful in so many of the fancier brunch dishes.
Making Poached Eggs in the Microwave:
And it IS easier to poach eggs – in the microwave. They’re fast & simple. They take about a minute total time per egg, and only seconds to cook, so you can turn out several in less than the amount of time it takes to bring water up to a simmer and poach them the old-fashioned way.
The method couldn’t be simpler. Add cold water to a Pyrex measuring cup, a teensy bit of vinegar and the egg. The vinegar helps the whites set up faster so the egg white will stay together a bit better and cook faster. Then loosely cover the container. A small plate works especially well because it is lifted up a bit by the spout and that provides venting, and microwave it. You’ll want to use the same container every time, the same amount of water, and the same amount of vinegar and hopefully the same size egg so there aren’t a lot of variables and your eggs cook up the same way every time.
It’s worth noting that there is no standardized setting for the sizes of microwaves or the power of the microwaves and that can affect how fast or slow your egg cooks. You might just have to experiment to get your perfect timing, and of course, if you do have to experiment, use the same container, the same amount of water and vinegar and same sized egg. It makes it much easier because then the only variable is timing. So if your eggs aren’t perfectly poached, add or subtract a couple of seconds. Have extra eggs on hand, just in case.
When I first made poached eggs in the microwave, I went through a half a dozen or so…but eggs are cheap and I thought it was well worth going through a few to get the perfect poached eggs I’d be making for the rest of my life. I’m hoping yours will turn out as perfectly as mine the first time you make them, but if not, you’ve got a great starting point.
Troubleshooting: If your yolk cooks all the way through before the whites are done, double-check to make sure you have added the vinegar. If you did, you might have one of the more powerful microwave models, so try backing off and cooking at 50 to 70 percent power.
The Downside of Poached Eggs in the Microwave:
The biggest drawback is that poached eggs in the microwave have to be done one at a time. I’ve tried multiple eggs and it seems to be pretty much a crapshoot with some done before others and a lot of uneven cooking.
The solution is to hold them. Place eggs as they’re done on a plate, cover them with a shallow container, like a bowl, and they’ll stay warm for several minutes. If you need to reheat, put them in a generous sized, shallow bowl of hot water, right from your faucet. Leave for a minute or two. Use a slotted spoon to gently remove the eggs. (The shallow bowl is because it’s easier to scoop them out from a shallow rather than a deep bowl.)
If you want to make things really easy for yourself, poached eggs can be made ahead of time, up to five days ahead and stored in a shallow bowl in water, covered and refrigerated. When ready to use, just reheat as above, but leave for about two minutes.
Warning About Poached Eggs in the Microwave:
Just recently, in August 2018, I heard of a poached egg that “exploded” shortly after being removed from the microwave. It seems eggs can also explode IN the microwave, too. While normally this doesn’t happen with eggs removed from the shell, do be very careful and especially keep your face away from the egg, just in case, and be aware of the possibility of a safety risk.
Remember, too, that raw or undercooked eggs (cooked to under 160 degrees F.) may pose a safety risk.Print
Poached Eggs in the Microwave
Fast & fabulous, you’ll never want to go back to the old fashioned way to poach your eggs!
- Prep Time: 10 seconds
- Cook Time: about 50 seconds
- Total Time: about 1 minute
- Yield: 1 egg 1x
- Category: Breakfast or Brunch
- Method: Microwave
- Cuisine: American
- 1 egg cold from fridge
- 1/2 cup cold (from the tap) water
- 1 teaspoon vinegar
Place water and vinegar in a microwave-safe container, preferably a one-cup Pyrex measuring cup. Another container may be used as long as the egg is covered with water but may affect timing.
Gently crack egg and add the egg to the cup. Loosely cover with a small plate or saucer. Place in the center of the microwave tray and microwave on high for approximately 50 seconds to a minute. Remove immediately with a slotted spoon as the egg will continue to cook if left in the water. (see note)
To cook additional eggs, start with fresh water each time or the timing will be off; the water, if left in the cup and reused will vary in amount and start off hotter for each egg; that will thow off the timing.
To hold poached eggs, simply place on a plate and cover with a shallow bowl. To reheat, if needed, place in hot tap water in a shallow bowl.
Note: Small variables, the size of the egg, size of the container, amount of water or vinegar and strength of the microwave can change timing. Be precise in measuring. The first time this method is used, be prepared to experiment and have extra eggs on hand.
Using a one cup pyrex measuring cup, one-half cup of water and one teaspoon of vinegar, in my microwave:
- 1 extra-large egg takes 53 seconds
- 1 large egg takes 51 seconds
(Note: there were several reports on Pinterest that the egg took two minutes and one that the egg took a minute and a half.)
I teaspoon vinegar is the same as the cap on a standard glass vinegar bottle.
Keywords: Breakfast or Brunch Dish, Eggs, Microwave, Poached egg, Vinegar