How to Poach Eggs in the Microwave

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.

Microwave Poached Eggs Benedict

Every now and then I happen upon a shortcut that revolutionizes the way I eat. These microwave poached eggs are one of them.

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.

Crack egg into ramekin with boiling water to poach in microwave

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.

Pour Vinegar into ramekin to poach egg in microwave

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.

Pour boiling water into ramekin to poach eggs in microwave

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.

Cover egg with plastic wrap to poach in microwave

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.

 

Use a spoon to flip egg over halfway through cooking in the microwave

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.

Transfer microwave poached egg to a plate

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)?

Cutting a runny poached egg in the microwave

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 Boil, Poach, Fry and Scramble Eggs Perfectly, Every Time

How to Perfectly Soft Boil an Egg

The Best Substitutes for Eggs in Any Recipe

How to Poach Eggs in the Microwave

Breakfast
American

Ingredients
  

  • 1 large egg
  • boiling water
  • 1 tsp white vinegar

Instructions
 

  • 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.

Video

Last Updated on October 28, 2022 by Jennifer Pallian BSc, RD

3.2 17 votes
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Rick
Rick
3 months ago

5 stars
I put the water in the ramekin first then heated it in the microwave for almost a minute until boiling, then added the vinegar. The first egg I did the way described by the time it was cool enough for me to eat it, the yolk was more set then I wanted. The second one I did for only 30 seconds and didn’t flip it and it came out nice and runny the way I wanted it to. Absolutely perfect method, thank you

Jane Rininger
Jane Rininger
9 months ago

another post I saw said cook 1 min in microwave. This was too long. Tasted fine, of course but the yoke was hard as opposed to runny, and it kind of exploded (lucky I had it in a poacher with a top).

Kim
Kim
11 months ago

5 stars
Thank you for your tip / I tried it and it worked out well. Much better to clean a small ramekin than having to clean a pan!

Kevin Roberts
Kevin Roberts
1 year ago

mmmh- I need egg, boiling water, vinegar and a microwave-Why not eliminate the microwave and just poach the damn egg?

Kraby
Kraby
10 months ago
Reply to  Kevin Roberts

5 stars
For me why I’m going to the microwave for poached eggs is 3 fold. Way quicker. Don’t dirty a pan (cup can go in the dish washer). And more intact egg whites – Personally I always struggle with the stringy whites with a normal poach…

This is the first one that I’ve seen that recommends flipping the egg part way through! Such a great idea, otherwise the egg gets too firm on top an underdone on bottom (as stated and from experience…).

Louise
Louise
29 days ago
Reply to  Kraby

I always put vinegar in my cooking pan when I boil the water on the stove, then the egg stays together. You can even turn the heat off and set a timer for 2 1/2 minutes for the perfect egg. make sure there is enough water in the pan so that the top gets cooked too.

Glyn
6 months ago
Reply to  Kevin Roberts

, 👏👏👏👏🤗

Gary
Gary
2 years ago

How do you stop egg from exploding

Betty Collom
Betty Collom
2 years ago
Reply to  Gary

You need to pierce the yolk.

Nic
Nic
2 years ago

hahahahaha my egg exploded!

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