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How to Poach an Egg in the Microwave

Poached egg

If you think poached eggs are tricky to cook right or are messy to prepare, you haven’t tried poaching in your microwave yet. You don’t need any special equipment – a glass custard cup or microwave-safe casserole works just fine.

Use the freshest eggs possible for poaching in the microwave, since fresh eggs set into compact rounds, while older eggs tend to spread out.

Bring water and vinegar to boil on high (100 percent power) setting before adding eggs, then reduce power to medium (50 percent power) while poaching, so eggs simmer gently. Cover during standing time to hold in steam and allow eggs to finish setting. (Vinegar helps eggs to set more quickly.) Never try to poach an egg in the shell – or you’ll be sorry you did. As steam builds up inside the shell, it’s likely to explode all over the interior of your oven.

To poach one egg in the microwave, combine 1/4 cup hot tap water and 1/4 teaspoon vinegar in a glass custard cup. Microwave on high about one minute, or until water is boiling rapidly. Break an egg into a small saucer and slide into boiling water. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave on medium 3/4 to 1 1/4 minutes. Let stand, covered, two to three minutes before serving.

Two eggs may be poached in this manner, in separate custard cups; poaching time will be one to two minutes. Poaching eggs in custard cups gives eggs a nice, round shape.

To poach three or four eggs in the microwave, combine 1 cup hot tap water and 1/2 teaspoon vinegar in a 1-quart microwave-safe casserole. Microwave on high two to three minutes, or until water boils rapidly. Break eggs, one at a time, onto a small saucer and slide into boiling water. Cover casserole with lid or plastic wrap and microwave on medium 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 minutes, or until whites are almost set. Let stand, covered, two to three minutes before serving, to complete cooking.

When eggs are done, slip into a slotted spoon to drain. If eggs are not set to your liking, return to a custard cup and microwave on medium for a few more seconds. Reheating poached eggs in the microwave is not recommended, since they tend to overcook and turn rubbery.

If you have poached more eggs than you can use, refrigerate them, submerged in cold water, for up to 24 hours. When ready to use, submerge in hot water for one minute and serve immediately. Or wrap securely in plastic wrap and refrigerate, then chop and serve the next day in a salad, sandwich, or as a garnish.

Poached eggs aren’t cooked in butter, so there is no added fat. The texture is delicate and silky, they’re quick and easy to microwave, and you can serve them in a number of delicious ways. Serve over lightly buttered toast points for a fast, simple breakfast, or over hot corned beef hash for an extra-hearty brunch. Try serving atop hot tortillas and garnish with a mild Mexican salsa for Huevos Rancheros.

Following are two poached egg classics that will brighten any breakfast table.

Micro-tip – Always slightly undorcook eggs when microwaving – standing time will complete cooking.

Eggs Benedict

1/3 cup butter or margarine
2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon each salt and dry mustard
1/3 teaspoon ground white pepper
2 tablespoons half-and-half or light cream
4 eggs
1 cup hot tap water
1/2 teaspoon vinegar
4 slices ham or Canadian bacon
2 English muffins, split and conventionally toasted
Paprika
Yields 2 or 4 servings
Preparation time: 15 to 20 minutes
Cooking time: 8 to 11 minutes
Oven setting: high (100 percent power); medium (50 percent power)

Place butter or margarine in 1-quart microwave-safe casserole. Microwave on high about 1 minute, to melt. Beat in egg yolks, lemon juice, salt, mustard and pepper, mixing well. Microwave 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 minutes on medium, beating every minute, until thickened. Stir in half-and-half. Cover and set aside.

Poach the 4 eggs in 1 cup hot water and 1/2 teaspoon vinegar, according to directions above. Set aside. Place ham or Canadian bacon slices on microwave-safe plate and microwave about 1 minute, to heat. Place 1 slice atop each of 4 toasted English muffin halves. Top with poached egg, then spoon Hollandaise sauce over all. Sprinkle with paprika and garnish with parsley sprigs, if desired.

Poached Eggs Florentine

4 slices bacon
1 pound fresh spinach
4 eggs
1 cup hot tap water
1/2 teaspoon vinegar
1/3 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
4 slices whole-wheat bread, toasted and buttered
Yields 4 servings
Preparation time: 15 to 20 minutes
Cooking time: 14 to 20 minutes
Oven setting: high (100 percent power); medium (50 percent power)

Arrange bacon slices in single layer on bacon rack or on paper plate between 2 thicknesses of paper toweling. Microwave 3 1/2 to 5 1/2 minutes, or until bacon is sizzling but still slightly underdone.

Remove from oven to drain on paper towels while preparing spinach and eggs. (Bacon will complete cooking with standing time) Rinse spinach thoroughly in cold tap water, removing stems and damaged leaves. Shake off excess water and place in 2-quart microwave-safe casserole. Cover and microwave at high 4 minutes. Stir. Cover and microwave at high 2 to 4 minutes longer, or until spinach is tender. Set aside. Poach eggs in the 1 cup-hot tap water and 1/2 teaspoon vinegar according to directions above.

Divide spinach into 4 equal portions on 4 salad-size plates. Top each with poached egg, then sprinkle each serving with shredded cheese and 1 slice bacon, crumbled. Cut toast into quarters, diagonally. Arrange toast points around edge of each plate and serve immediately.

Now that you’ve learned how to poach an egg in the microwave go ahead and make yourself a perfect breakfast.

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