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Food & Recipes

How to Make the Perfect Poached Egg in a Microwave — Ready in 1 Minute

Try this mess-free method the next time you're making breakfast for one!

I take pride in making a perfect poached egg. It took several test runs to get my technique right, but it works every time: a splash of vinegar in a saucepan full of simmering water creates a fully cooked exterior and a runny yolk. But while poached eggs are a relatively easy breakfast, they aren’t quick enough when I’m short on time, which is why I’m always on the lookout for an easier way to make my favorite morning meal. Recently, I came across a poached egg hack that has dramatically improved my breakfast routine: it takes only about a minute in the microwave — and cleanup is easy. Keep reading to learn how to make a poached egg in a microwave.

The basics of poaching eggs

Typically, an egg is poached by cooking it in simmering water until the white is firm and the yolk is runny. Since the egg simmers without its shell, adding vinegar to the water and then vigorously stirring it helps the egg hold its shape. Poached eggs are best enjoyed over toast or as part of a dish including the breakfast favorite eggs Benedict.

Why poaching an egg in the microwave is easy

Unless you’re cooking several poached eggs, using the stovetop method can be time-consuming. So, for one or two eggs, your best bet is poaching them in the microwave. This method involves cracking an egg into a small dish, pouring water over it and then microwaving it for a minute or less. What you end up with is a tender egg with a buttery yolk in less time than it takes to simmer a pot of water. Plus, you don’t need to add any vinegar to the water or check to make sure the egg maintains its shape while cooking. For best results, microwave one egg at a time to ensure even cooking. (Click through for tips on preparing microwave s’mores, microwave poached salmon and microwave chips.)

How to cook a poached egg in the microwave

To cook a poached egg in the microwave, chef Erica Wides recommends using a small bowl and water — that’s it! Follow these three steps, which are detailed in full in her video below.

1. Crack the egg into a bowl or a ramekin.

A small bowl, ramekin or mug will work fine, but Wides notes that the vessel should be large enough to hold the egg and water. “You need something that is at least twice as deep as the height of the egg,” she says.

2. Pour water over the egg.

Covering the egg by at least ½ inch to 1 inch of water allows it to cook properly in the microwave. “The egg has to be submerged,” she says. “Otherwise you could risk ‘egg-splosion.'”

3. Microwave the egg for anywhere between 35 seconds to 1 minute.

Chef Wides says that 44 seconds is the perfect amount of time on her microwave. (Note: The time depends on a lot of factors: microwave power, egg size, bowl material and size and how much water you added.) Start with less time, check the egg, and add 10 to 30 seconds depending on how cooked it is.

My experience trying this hack

I couldn’t wait to give Wides’ trick a try. Since I didn’t have a small ramekin or dish, I used a small mug (the egg yolky-yellow color seemed like a good fit for the occasion). Set-up was simple: I cracked the egg into a small mug, filled it with water, and popped it in the microwave for 45 seconds.

After 45 seconds, I pulled out the mug and took a peek. The water was completely cloudy, so I used a spoon to fish around for the egg and bring it to the surface. The outside had solidified, but the whites around the yolk were still uncooked. It took about 40 more seconds for the whites to completely cook — at which point, I realized that I had poured too much water into the cup. (Wides recommended filling it until it covered the egg by a half inch to an inch; I had filled the cup to the top. Oops.) Fortunately, my mistake didn’t ruin breakfast. It looked overcooked but still good.

microwaved poached egg in a yellow cup
Jenna Cartusciello

When I cut into the yolk with a spoon, I was pleasantly surprised; half of the yolk was still runny. And it tasted delicious. I couldn’t believe that the whites had stayed together — it must have been the power of the microwave. Though this method takes a little perfecting, I love how convenient it is. I no longer have to wait for the water to simmer in a saucepan to poach my egg, and I use less water. Plus, it’s mess-free and oil-free, as opposed to making fried eggs.

There is one downside: You can cook only one egg at a time. Yet this method is also so quick that you can microwave two eggs separately and still be ahead of the game. Of course, I’ll still use the vinegar method if I’m cooking breakfast for my family. But for a quick, nutritious morning meal on the go, this trick can’t be beat!

Jenna Cartusciello

Continue read for more chef’s tips to help you make your best-ever eggs!

Chef’s Genius Trick Keeps Boiled Eggs From Cracking While Cooking + Makes Them Tasty

Chef Reveals the Surprise Secret to Fluffy Scrambled Eggs — And It’s So Easy

Chef’s Secret to Best-Ever Fried Eggs — It Takes Just 2 Minutes!

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