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How to poach an egg runny

How To Poach An Egg

My step-by-step guide to getting a perfect poached egg every time.


  • Eggs - obviously - fresh eggs are best
  • Salt
  • Ice water - if poaching multiple eggs at once


  • Saucepan
  • Cup
  • Whisk - or similar to get the water in the pan moving in a circular motion
  • Slotted spoon
  • Kitchen paper
  • Bowl - if poaching multiple eggs at once


To poach a single egg

  • Bring a pan of salted water to the boil and then turn down to a gentle simmer
  • Put the egg (in it's shell) into the simmering water and cook for 20-30 seconds - by slightly cooking the egg in it's shell it helps the egg to keep it's shape when poaching
  • Remove the egg from the water and carefully crack into a cup
  • Gently stir the simmering water in one direction - The stirring motion is the key here. You need to ensure that you use a tight stirring motion so that the water is moving fastest in the centre of the pan, a bit like a whirlpool. This will ensure that the moving water helps the white to wrap around the yolk for an attractive egg. If the water is moving faster on the outside of the pan than the centre, it will pull the white away from the yolk and you'll end up with an ugly poached egg. You also don't want the water to be moving too quickly, as again it will pull the white away from the yolk. This is especially important if you're using slightly older eggs.
  • Once the water is moving quickly, gently tip the egg from the cup into the centre of the pan.
  • Cook for a further 2-2½ minutes, until the white is just cooked.
  • Once cooked, remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and place onto kitchen paper to soak up any excess water, then serve.

To poach several eggs at once

  • To poach several eggs at once, you will need to poach them each individually and then heat them through when ready to serve. Don't be tempted to try and poach multiple eggs in the same pan, they'll end up looking a mess and it'll be difficult to cook them all consistently.
  • Follow the instructions for cooking a single egg to the end of step 6.
  • Once the egg is cooked, rather than placing onto kitchen paper, place in a bowl of ice cold water to stop the egg cooking further.
  • Repeat this process until all of the eggs are cooked.
  • Once all the eggs are cooked, remove them from the ice water and return to the pan and cook for a further 20-30 seconds until heated through.
  • Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and place onto kitchen paper to soak up any excess water, then serve.


If this all sounds a bit fiddly, then you can always try my healthy fried egg or scrambled egg instead.
Have you tried this recipe? Please leave a comment and rating at the bottom of the page to let others know what you thought.

Any nutritional information provided is the estimated nutritional information per serving. Please refer to my guide to Charlotte’s Lively Kitchen nutritional information if you would like to learn more about how this is calculated.