Microwave poached eggs are so quick and easy! This step-by-step recipe walks you through the FOOLPROOF way to microwave a perfect poached egg.
Every now and then I happen upon a shortcut that revolutionizes the way I eat. These microwave poached eggs are one of them.
I adoooore poached eggs and they make regular appearances on my table, and they don’t care whether it is breakfast, lunch or dinner.
But the regular stovetop poaching process can be a bit finicky.
You have to haul out a pot, wait 5-10 minutes for the water to boil, and they need to be babysat at the stove so as not to overcook them.
A bit too much trouble for a weekday-morning breakfast.
One morning, I had my water boiling for tea and I had my bread in the toaster when an intense poached-egg craving struck. It was unpleasantly early in the morning, I was bleary-eyed and in a hurry, but from this rough state, the microwave poached egg idea was born.
What You Need For Microwave Egg Poaching
You don’t need any special equipment to nuke an egg. You have everything you need in your kitchen already, I guarantee it. Pull out:
– A microwave-safe dish: this can be a ramekin, a bowl, or a mug as long as it is 6-oz or larger.
– Something to cover the dish: you can use plastic wrap, a microwave-safe saucer, parchment paper or even paper towel (for the last two options, be sure to tuck it under the dish on both sides to catch any sputters.
– A microwave: note that microwaves can vary in wattage and cooking time so start with my timing and adjust if needed to make your perfectly poached egg.
– Boiled tap water: you can boil it in a kettle or in the microwave directly.
The 3 Secrets to Perfect Microwave Poached Eggs
1. The egg cooks unevenly, so you need to gently turn it over part way through. If you don’t, the visible half of the egg will overcook, while the underside remains raw.
2. Take it out of the hot water with a slotted spoon as soon as it’s done cooking, as it will rapidly go from perfect to overdone if you let it sit in the water.
3. Add a splash of vinegar to the water. This helps coagulate the outer proteins in the egg white, helping to keep it intact. I did one trial without it and the white became a stringy mess.
Do you use hot or cold water to poach an egg in the microwave?
For greatest control over doneness, it’s much better to start with hot water.
Use water from a boiled kettle if you do that task in the morning already, or boil the ramekin of water directly in the microwave before you follow the recipe.
How Long Does it Take to Poach an Egg in a Microwave?
I went through six trials and six eggs to get the timing perfectly right. If you use water that was already boiled, a poached large egg takes about 45 seconds to cook in the microwave. This yields perfectly set whites, and luscious, runny yolks.
Add another 15 seconds on to the time if you prefer a firm yolk.
Why do eggs sometimes explode in the microwave?
Eggs can burst in the microwave because the outside proteins cook and set faster than the inside, which is still liquidy.
As the liquid heats up, steam is produced. Because the steam is met with a firm surface as it tries to evaporate upwards, pressure builds inside the egg.
When the pressure reaches a tipping point, the steam bursts through the set egg and bits of yolk may fly.
How do I poach an egg in the microwave without it exploding?
If you find you have this issue, pierce the yolk gently with a sharp knife or a toothpick so that pressure doesn’t build up inside.
If you pause part-way through cooking to flip the egg over, you are turning that *set* side down under the water. Steam always rises and now it will be able to escape through the still *unset* side. Cover the egg while cooking either way, just in case.
Can You Cook Two Poached Eggs in the Microwave at the Same Time?
Because the microwave heats unevenly, I don’t recommend it. You’ll find you have parts of the egg whites that are still runny even as the yolks are fully cooked.
To poach two eggs in the microwave, do one at a time. Cook the first one using the method below. Transfer the egg to your plate and use the same water to cook the second egg. What’s 1 1/2 minutes for two beautifully-poached eggs (vs. trying to poach two at once and both being imperfect)?
How to Serve Them
For a protein-packed breakfast, serve your perfect poached eggs on an english muffin, toast with butter, in a fancy benedict on a bare plate with some salt and crusty bread to mop up the silky egg yolk.
For lunch or dinner, serve them on a bed of sauteed greens, on a salad, on pasta as a take on carbonara, on fried rice, or on burgers (if you’re feeling extra).
More About Eggs
How to Poach Eggs in the Microwave
- 1 large egg
- boiling water
- 1 tsp white vinegar
- For perfect microwave-poached eggs, pour boiling water into ramekin to 3/4 full, and add the vinegar. Crack an egg and gently slip it into the water. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave on high for 30 seconds. Use a soup spoon to gently turn the egg over. Cover again and microwave 15 seconds longer. Remove immediately from water and drain on a paper-towel lined plate.
- This produces a runny poached egg. Increase cooking time to 60 seconds total for an egg that is fully cooked.
Last Updated on January 17, 2024 by Jennifer Pallian BSc, RD