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For Prettier, Restaurant-Worthy Poached Eggs, Use a Colander

Say goodbye to shaggy edges and messy loose whites with this simple hack.

For a long time, I thought the only way I’d ever get a perfect poached egg was in a restaurant. As simple as it seemed, I could just never get it right.

Poaching eggs can be tricky. It requires good timing and delicate hands. You have to get the egg whites and yolk to cook at the same time. 

But my biggest problem? The second I would place it in the hot water, the whites would go in every direction, producing a poached egg with ragged edges, not the plump, pretty ones you get when you go out for brunch.

Former Cook’s Illustrated test cook Andrew Janjigian set out to solve this problem. And he did with his Perfect Poached Eggs recipe. The key to achieving a restaurant-quality poached egg? A piece of kitchen equipment you already have: a colander.

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Why a Colander?

It all starts with the freshness of your eggs. Raw egg whites can have both thick and thin consistencies. A fresher egg will have mostly thick egg white, but as the egg ages, the amount of thin whites increase.

That thin egg white is what floats off and causes all those loose white strands during cooking. But unless you’re on a farm, or taking multiple trips to the grocery store a week, you can’t have fresh eggs all the time. This is where the colander comes in.

By cracking your eggs into a colander, the thin whites are loose enough that they will drain through the holes. But the thick white, which clings nicely to the yolk, will stay put. Once you place the egg in your hot water, the white will cook neatly around the yolk, and will completely eliminate those frustrating loose tendrils, creating a beautiful, restaurant-worthy poached egg every time.

To learn more about the other ingenious tips Andrew came up with for poached eggs, check out the full recipe

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JC
JOHN C.
16 days

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too. I've done this using a rimmed sheet pan instead of a skillet and put veggies and potatoes around the chicken for a one-pan meal. Broccoli gets nicely browned and yummy!

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too.

MD
MILES D.
JOHN C.
9 days

Amazed this recipe works out as well as it does. Would not have thought that the amount of time under the broiler would have produced a very juicy and favorable chicken with a very crispy crust. Used my 12" Lodge Cast Iron skillet (which can withstand 1000 degree temps to respond to those who wondered if it would work) and it turned out great. A "make again" as my family rates things. This is a great recipe, and I will definitely make it again. My butcher gladly butterflied the chicken for me, therefore I found it to be a fast and easy prep. I used my cast iron skillet- marvellous!

CM
CHARLES M.
11 days

John, wasn't it just amazing chicken? So much better than your typical oven baked chicken and on par if not better than gas or even charcoal grilled. It gets that smokey charcoal tasted and overnight koshering definitely helps, something I do when time permits. First-time I've pierced a whole chicken minus the times I make jerk chicken on the grill. Yup, the cast iron was not an issue.