baked oats green chile chicken enchiladas chow mein bakery-style butter cookies

copyright jennifer yu © 2004-2023 all rights reserved: no photos or content may be reproduced without prior written consent

with an egg on top

Recipe: sous vide poached eggs

The blahs managed to catch up to me this past weekend (rare, but I know it happens to the best of us). If we weren’t going to get outside, we figured we should at least make the most of it and chip away at our respective mountains of work in the hopes of clearing some time for fun later. I am actually cool with delayed gratification – a concept I read about and took to heart in fourth grade when boredom drove me to reading one of Dad’s self-help management books. The nice thing about working at home together is having lunch together. When the weather is grey, cold, and lightly snowing, I crave Chinese noodle soup or ramen. Jeremy and I have a couple of subtle differences in our noodle soup bowls. Mine will almost always have something spicy like kimchi. His will not. And I love love love a runny egg yolk. He prefers his egg hard-boiled.

a proud member of team runny yolk

Boiled eggs are easy. I boil eggs in batches to keep in the refrigerator for salads, sandwiches, Jeremy’s ramen or Chinese noodle soups, or a straight up snack throughout the week. Poached eggs always seem like a lot of extra work. I usually go the lazy route and crack an egg into my noodles and let it cook in the simmering broth until the whites have just set. But a couple of years ago we were eating at a Japanese restaurant in Steamboat Springs and I noticed a dozen eggs in a tub of water at the kitchen counter. Upon closer inspection, I realized they were in a sous vide bath. Theirs were soft-boiled eggs to top their ramen bowls, but you can use the sous vide to cook a bunch of eggs to any stage you want. I wanted poached eggs.


lower the eggs into the sous vide bath

You can sous vide your eggs any way you like: from a yolk that is used in raw form (but is safe for consumption because it was brought to 130°F) to hard-boiled eggs. The temperature determines the level of doneness. Kenji recommends 40 minutes to ensure the egg is heated through to temperature.

i kept the basket over the eggs so they wouldn’t knock around

after 45 minutes

Handling the poached eggs is a slight departure from soft-boiled or hard-boiled eggs because the white isn’t cooked solid and will make a mess if you try to peel the egg. The reason for this is the presence of a tight white and a loose white. The tight white is the globby egg white that forms a gel-like casing around the egg yolk. The loose white is the runny part of the white that contains a higher ratio of water to proteins than the tight white. We want to lose the loose white.

crack open a hole at the wide end of the egg

empty the egg into a bowl

use a slotted spoon to scoop out the egg

left: scooped egg, right: loose whites left behind

Now that the loose whites have been separated, you can poach the egg. In the sous vide, the egg yolk achieves the right temperature and runny lusciousness. But the tight white is a bit on the gelatinous side. Nominally, we want the white to be firmer, which you can do by finishing it for a minute in a hot water bath that is just below a simmer.

swirl the water with a spoon as the egg white firms up

the white is more opaque (except where I accidentally scraped it off)

At this point, you can refrigerate the poached eggs in water for up to three days. To reheat, they need to sit in a water bath of 130°-140°F for ten or so minutes to warm up completely. If I’m just doing one poached egg, this might not be my method of choice, but if I’m going to poach a bunch of eggs, then I’m pulling the sous vide out of its drawer. I like how consistently perfect the poached egg is when using the sous vide method.

poached eggs make everything sexy

toast, avocado, cold smoked salmon, pickled red onions, and a poached egg

this is how i like my avocado toast

Sous Vide Poached Eggs
[print recipe]
from Serious Eats


Set your sous vide bath to 145°F. Lower the eggs into the bath and let cook for 45 minutes. Remove the eggs from the bath. Fill a small saucepan half full of water and bring the water to a simmer, then reduce the heat so that no air bubbles appear. For each egg: crack the bottom (the fat end) of the egg shell and peel away a small window, taking care to pick off any particularly pointy bits that could pierce the egg. Empty the contents of the egg shell into a small bowl (for multiple eggs, empty them into their own individual bowls). Using a slotted or perforated spoon, scoop the egg out of the bowl, leaving the loose whites behind. Lower the egg into the small pot of hot water, swirling the water with the spoon. Cook for 1 minute, then remove the egg and serve. Repeat for the remaining eggs.

more goodness from the use real butter archives

lox eggs benedict chinese tea eggs baked eggs deviled eggs

4 nibbles at “with an egg on top”

  1. Susanne says:

    Oh my lord that avocado toast shot is making me dizzy. Gorgeous!

  2. Lorelai says:

    I like poached eggs very much. After I try myself many times, I have not done it yet. Thank you so much for the tips to do it.

  3. Jill Hyde says:

    Beautiful photos! I love an egg! Such a perfect food. My sisters hard of hearing dog would come running to the crack of an egg. That’s when I figured it was selective hearing. xo, jill

  4. jenyu says:

    Susanne – Thanks!

    Lorelai – Sure thing.

    Jill – ha ha ha!!! Oh, that pup :)

leave a reply