Sous-Vide Soft-Poached Eggs Recipe

Get foolproof eggs with liquid yolks, tender whites, and a perfect shape every time.

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Photographs: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt

While our recipe for perfect sous-vide soft-boiled eggs will get you to the point where the egg is just barely set, some people might want a bit more texture.

Perfect Sous-Vide Poached Eggs

Once we've gotten our tender-and-barely-set 145°F 45-minute eggs, the only thing we need to do to convert them into bona-fide poached eggs is to, well, poach them. This is a technique I first saw employed by Nick Anderer, chef at New York's Maialino.

Here's how you do it.

  1. Crack

    Start by cooking the egg to the desired degree of tenderness. I prefer mine at 143 to 145°F for 45 minutes. At this stage, you can let the egg rest at 130°F indefinitely until ready to serve, or even refrigerate it overnight before proceeding with the rest of the steps.

    To remove it from the shell, crack the large end of the shell on a flat surface, then carefully peel away a window with your fingertips while still holding the egg with your other hand. The watery, loose white will begin to drip out. This is ok. You won't be need that part.

    Sous vide poached egg cracked open over bowl
  2. Dump

    Gently flip the egg out into a bowl. Out should come a perfectly egg-shaped object consisting of the gelled soft white and yolk, surrounded by the watery, barely-set loose white. Our goal is to leave that loose white behind.

    Sous vide poached egg cracked in a bowl.

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  3. Separate

    To do this, I use a perforated spoon to carefully lift the eggs before dumping the loose whites out.

    Spoon holding up sous vide poached egg.

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  4. Slip

    From here, the eggs get slipped into a pot of water that is just below a simmer. They should immediately start to set up around the outside.

    Sous vide poached egg in bowl about to be placed in pot of simmering water.

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  5. Poach

    Swirl the water in the pan occasionally to make sure the eggs aren'y sticking to the bottom and becoming flat on one side. Since the eggs are already mostly set, this is not as big a problem as it is when poaching raw eggs. The eggs need only about a minute to develop a skin.

    Sous vide poached egg firming up in pot of simmering water.

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  6. Drain

    Finally, fish out the egg with the perforated spoon. What you end up with is the platonic ideal of a poached egg. Ivory white and opaque with a perfect egg shape and a tender outer skin that just barely holds in the liquid contents inside. Your eggs Benedict will never be the same.

    The best part? Once cooked, you can chill the eggs in an ice bath and store them in water in the refrigerator for up to a few days. To serve them, just submerge them in warm (130 to 140°F water) for ten minutes or so and they're as good as fresh.

    A spoon holding up a sous-vide poached egg above the pan of water it was cooked in.

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I use these eggs as the foundation for all sorts of dishes. Need a way to turn those sautéed vegetables or that salad into a meal? A perfect poached egg will do the trick. 

October 2013

Recipe Facts

3.2

(6)

Active: 5 mins
Total: 50 mins
Serves: 4 eggs

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Ingredients

  • 4 large eggs

Directions

  1. Adjust sous-vide cooker to 143°F. Alternatively, fill a large beer cooler with hot water and use a kettle of boiling water to adjust heat to 146°F. Add eggs to sous-vide cooker or to cooler (cover if using cooler) and cook for 45 minutes. Remove from cooler and allow to cool slightly.

  2. Bring a medium pot of water to a bare simmer, then lower heat until bubbles cease entirely. Working on egg at a time, carefully crack the egg near the fat end and use your fingertips to peel off an area about 1 1/2 inches square. Invert egg over a small bowl. It should slip out of the shell easily. Repeat with remaining eggs, using a separate small bowl for each.

  3. Using a perforated spoon, carefully pick up eggs one at a time and dump out excess loose whites from bowls. Return eggs to bowls. Once all eggs are drained, carefully slip the eggs into the pot, swirling the water occasionally to prevent eggs from sticking to bottom. Cook until outer whites are just set, about 1 minute. Retrieve eggs with the perforated spoon and serve immediately. Alternatively, eggs can be stored in cold water in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To reheat, place eggs in a bowl of hot water for a few minutes until warm.

Special Equipment

Sous-vide circulator

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Nutrition Facts (per serving)
72 Calories
5g Fat
0g Carbs
6g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 72
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 5g 6%
Saturated Fat 2g 8%
Cholesterol 186mg 62%
Sodium 71mg 3%
Total Carbohydrate 0g 0%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 6g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 28mg 2%
Iron 1mg 5%
Potassium 69mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)