How to poach a perfect egg


Skip to the bottom if you want to get right to what is seriously the easiest and fastest way to poach an egg. 

There’s a ritual my husband and I keep to without fail, as we drive into work on a Monday. It generally follows a weekend of excess, too much wine, too much cheese, too much sitting around, resting our over laden plates on our pillowy rolls of belly fat.

Mondays, as we fly up the freeway, bound for the city, a new week and a new attitude, we plan our healthy life from now on. We plan our financial health in a series of money saving goals, we plan the exercise routine that this time we’ll stick with and we plan above all our new diet which will be both nutritious, fabulous and also involve throwing out less food, so good for our bank balance and the environment. Win!

We don’t plan to plan, it’s just a natural progression of guilt and good intentions.

Obviously, nothing much gets followed through or it wouldn’t be an ongoing ritual. We’d have something else to talk about. This keeps us bonded. The couple that fails together, stays together.

There is one small, exciting area of self improvement though where I have managed to make a dent in my complete inability to either motivate myself or follow through on a well-meaning lifestyle change.

And that is the work lunch. I don’t get a lunch hour, so I have no time to faff about and I hate spending money on it. Last week during one of my regular memory lapses, where the lunch I had carefully compiled from left overs from the night before was left sitting on the bench, I found myself yet again paying eighteen dollars for a salad and a shred of schnitzel at the cafe down the road from work.

I resent it.

I’ve added up what I think it costs me, allowing for holidays it’s about two and a half thousand dollars a year. Money I could spend on a gym membership I’ll never use.

So I have several tactics for avoiding buying lunch. One is aforementioned leftovers from home. Much cheaper, even given the cost of the multitude of expensive eco-friendly containers I buy to pack my lunch in then lose. But that involves cooking to have leftovers to begin with and sometimes I can’t be arsed. Spending too much money eating out is one of those issues that comes up most Mondays.

Another tactic is making lunch at the office.  This works pretty well. I have favourites but they’re mostly not as good as stuff I can buy, so I’m easily swayed by take away options.

But just this week, I stumbled on to an excellent and delicious option for making lunch at work. I’m so thrilled with it, I thought I’d share it. By ‘stumbled’ I mean I saw my colleague, social media editor Adam Ballard do it and copied him.

All you need is eggs, a microwave, a deep bowl, access to hot water and you have yourself the makings of microwave poached eggs.

Now if you have ever tried scrambled eggs in the microwave, you’ll rightly scoff. They’re do-able just not very nice. If you’ve ever been the victim of an exploding egg in the microwave then you’ll rightly be afraid. An egg exploding in the microwave has the force of a small grenade, can cause nasty burns and a very large mess.

I have cautionary advice on that to come.

Unlike microwave scrambled eggs which are ok but not great these poached eggs are as good if not better than you can make on the stove. And I say that not as one of the multitudes of those who can’t master poached eggs and have given up, I can make poached eggs on the stove and I still think this method is superior.

Here you go.

Microwave poached eggs. 

Fill a deep cereal bowl about two thirds full of hot water. Not boiling, not lukewarm but hot.

Crack in two eggs. They should be well covered by water. At least two inches.

Cover with loose microwave lid.

Zap for two minutes. Check. If not quite done, zap another 30 seconds. Check. Tip off most of the water when done and scoop out eggs.

Allow for a bit of trial and error around the quirks of your own microwave and the size of your bowl and suchlike. Don’t get cocky and zap for two and a half minutes because that’s the fast way to egg bomb city.

So easy, so delicious, so handy at work. No salt or vinegar or whirlpools required.

Observe in the pictures, my very first attempt at home, plus a handy pictorial indication of the size of the bowl I use, including a teaspoon for perspective. I fill this bowl two thirds full.

Having mastered the marvel of the microwave egg method, I can feel I am one step closer to a banging new hyper healthy me. And my contribution to the Monday commute conversation this week will be nothing short of electric. You’re welcome.

9 thoughts on “How to poach a perfect egg

  1. It’s a gift indeed to turn 2 minutes of radio into a beautifully told story of love, failure, and success.

    Now… is the fella following your example? SO many nice food options on campus. But, yes, it adds up!

    And people – eggs! So no need for your tuna in the office. (Basically, you’re a smoker – go outside so we don’t all suffer. 🤢) 😆

    It really is beautifully, humourously written. You shall henceforth be known by the name of Gillian Wordsmith.


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