The Simple Test To Check If Poached Eggs Are Done

Poached eggs seem simple enough to make. After all, they require little more than cracked eggs, boiling water, and the addition of some vinegar. However, that convenience comes at a cost. You want your yolks to be slightly runny — perfect for scooping onto toast — but your whites to be well-cooked. Because your eggs are cooked in a pot — and the yolks within them — it can be tricky to detect when, exactly, those eggs are ready.

There's an easy trick to help home cooks gauge when a poached egg is ready for your plate. All you have to do is remove the poached egg from the boiling water with a spoon and give it a feel. Touching the egg with your finger will clue you into its consistency and show you just how much longer it needs. The poke test will likewise let you know whether it's had too long in the pot. It's difficult to detect the doneness of a poached egg with just your eyes, so you'll want to employ your other senses to know for certain. As for what, exactly, you should be feeling for? This is a trick that relies on texture.

Feel your egg for the proper firmness

There is more than one way to poach an egg, but there's one key textural clue for knowing when that egg is ready. You're looking to strike the balance between a cooked white and a looser, runnier yolk. So, once you've pulled your poached egg from the pot, feel it for the right balance of softness. If the egg feels too wiggly and wispy, it's likely undercooked, and you'll want to give it more time to harden. If the egg doesn't move quite as much and the white feels firm, then your egg is done. With this trick you'll also be able to tell when you're overcooked your egg. If the yolk feels too hard, for instance, you've poached it past the point of a runny center.

Of course, if you'd rather not use your hands, you can instead try tapping your poached egg with a teaspoon. Regardless of what you use to poke the egg, you should be able to feel its consistency. Granted, this trick isn't an exact science, but something you'll have to feel for yourself. With enough practice — and enough eggs — your intuition should be able to guide you. You'll be a poaching pro in no time.