Microwave Poached Eggs

Cooking for TwoMicrowaveEggPoached Egg

EASIEST way ever to poach eggs—all you need is a mug and a microwave! Ready in about a minute. Use this poached egg method to top a quick lunch salad, toast for an easy breakfast or roasted vegetables for dinner.

Photography Credit: Alison Bickel

Were we to collect all the writings on poaching the perfect egg from every book, magazine, and website, it would be a multi-volume encyclopedia. It’s not that big of a deal, though—especially with this low-stakes microwave method. It uses way less water and it’s faster, allowing poached eggs to be a quick weekday breakfast or a topper for a midday salad.

This may change your life! (To a small but pleasurable degree.) What are you waiting for? Let’s nuke and poach.

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HOW TO POACH EGGS IN THE MICROWAVE

You need: A mug, water, an egg—and microwave, of course!

There are a few caveats about the mug. You want it to be sturdy and dense. Have you ever microwaved a mug of water for tea and then mug itself came out nearly hotter than the water? Don’t use that mug, mainly for ease of handling.

No, you shouldn’t have to buy a mug just to nuke an egg, but I will recommend those basic gift shop mugs with hearty handles because they work quite well.

Also, eggs poached in large mugs take longer to poach, even if the volume of water is the same.

Close up of two simple poached eggs resting on top asparagus. Salt and pepper are sprinkled over both and one egg has a runny yolk visible.

ADD VINEGAR TO POACH AN EGG: YEA OR NAY?

You can skip adding vinegar to the water for this poached egg, even though many stovetop poached egg recipes call for a little vinegar because it helps the egg whites to coagulate.

Why skip it? Just to keep things simple, plus I’ve found with microwaved eggs, it doesn’t make enough of a difference to be worth it. But you can add it if you like: Use a half teaspoon per half cup water.

WATTAGE AND COOK TIMES

Not all microwaves have the same wattage. This is why your microwave at home might take only two minutes to warm leftovers, but the one in the break room at work takes nearly four minutes. (Is there an unwritten rule that break room microwaves have to be slooooow?)

  • You’ll need to experiment a little to see how long it takes to poach an egg in your microwave. You can start by looking for the wattage, if you like. Usually it’s found on the information panel on the back, though sometimes you can find it inside the microwave, or on the side of the door.
  • I poached eggs in a 700-watt microwave, and it took about 70 seconds to have one with a runny yolk and set whites. An 800-watt microwave took about the same time. No matter what the wattage, use high power when you’re poaching your egg.

If you have a few imperfect eggs (overcooked, undercooked), don’t freak out. They’re only eggs, after all. When you get your egg the way you like, stick to that timing, but also keep using the same mug, if possible.

When the difference between a perfect-to-you poached egg and a disappointing poached egg can be 10 tiny seconds, it’s best to keep your variables constant.

Glass mug with a raw egg and water inside to make a simple poached egg.

BE SURE TO…

  • Crack the egg. If you put an in-shell egg in the microwave, it can explode.
  • Add water to the mug first. It’s not a poached egg without the water.

HOW MANY EGGS CAN YOU POACH AT ONCE?

You can poach two eggs in two mugs at the same time, but I found it at least doubles the microwaving time. What’s more, one egg might cook faster than the other, even though they’re cooking side-by-side.

For the most control over doneness, just do one egg at a time. It only takes a minute and a half, tops.

TIPS AND TRICKS FOR PERFECT POACHED EGGS

Let the egg rest: With microwave eggs, letting the egg sit in the mug of hot water for a minute helps ensure properly cooked whites and ideal-to-you yolks. If the yolk is too runny, leaving it in the poaching water for one minute or longer also helps get it from being runny to being soft and creamy, yet not gooey.

Say no to soggy eggs: Soggy poached eggs are not tasty. For the optimal poached egg experience, you need to drain that excess water off before they leak water all over anything else on your plate. Drain your egg on a piece of stale bread or on a paper towel.

Two poached eggs on top of two pieces of stacked toast. One egg has a slightly runny yolk. Salt and pepper are sprinkled on the eggs, toast and black plate.

HOW TO SEASON POACHED EGGS

After letting the eggs drain, sprinkle them with salt and pepper. (This is a fun time to bust out fancy salt, if you have any.) Or whatever you like! I’m fond of furikake.

WHAT TO SERVE WITH POACHED EGGS

Ooh, this is the best question ever. What can you not serve poached eggs with?

The classic thing is to put them on toast. You probably don’t need me to explain that. Butter the toast, smear an avocado over it, etc.

Like any egg lover, I put eggs on everything. Hearty salads! Heated leftover enchiladas! Shrimp Fried Rice. Simple pasta dishes! Or floating a microwave poached egg in soup (brothy or hearty) is the best.

MORE GREAT EGG RECIPES!

Microwave Poached Eggs Recipe

  • Prep time: 1 minute
  • Cook time: 1 minute
  • Yield: 1 serving

The cook time here will depend a lot on the wattage of your microwave. Start with 30 seconds, and keep adding time as needed in 20- or 10-second increments.

Ingredients

  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup room temperature water
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Special equipment:

  • Microwave oven

Method

1 Prep the egg: Put 1/2 cup room temperature water in a microwave-safe mug. Crack the egg into the water.

Glass mug with a raw egg and water inside to make a simple poached egg.

2 Microwave the mug: Put the mug in the microwave and microwave on HIGH power for 30 seconds. Take out the mug and peek inside; you want the whites to be opaque, and the yolk to be still on the runny side. If the whites are still clear, put the mug back in the microwave for another 10 to 60 seconds.

How long it takes to cook the egg to your liking depends primarily on the wattage of your microwave. You’ll need to play around a bit. The time can vary a lot!

A glass mug inside a microwave with a cracked egg and water inside to make a poached egg for one.

3 Let the mug sit: Let the cooked egg sit in the mug of hot water for 1 minute, or longer if needed. This helps firm up any soft parts of the egg white, giving you a more evenly poached egg.

Quick poached egg and water in a glass mug. The mug is on a black plate with a linen underneath.

4 Drain the egg: Using a spoon or fork, gently lift the egg out of the mug and set it on a slice of stale bread or a paper towel. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then transfer to your serving plate and enjoy.

A black plate with simple poached egg draining on a paper towel. Two poached eggs on top of two pieces of stacked toast. One egg has a slightly runny yolk. Salt and pepper are sprinkled on the eggs, toast and black plate.

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Sara Bir

Sara Bir a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America and the author of two cookbooks: The Fruit Forager’s Companion and Tasting Ohio. Past gigs include leading chocolate factory tours, slinging street cart sausages, and writing pop music criticism. Sara skates with her local roller derby team as Carrion the Librarian.

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17 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Mandy

    My favorite dish is Eggs Benedict (and different variations). I’ve spent ridiculous money on Waitr because I was afraid to make poached eggs and Hollandaise, but these microwave recipes I can have my favorites at home, for a lot less money, without sacrificing quality! Thank you!

    xxxxxyyyyy

    Show Replies (1)
  2. Francine

    #Gamechanger!! I’ve avoided poaching eggs for years because of previous disasters- but my first try with my 1999 () microwave was a huge success! About 45 seconds cook time then sitting for a minute or so. Perfect! This is amazing!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  3. June

    First time I tried this method it worked great at 30 sec., it was store bought eggs. Than I used fresh farm eggs. Disaster. Whites would not firm up, and at a longer time, yolks got too firm. Weird, don’t you think. Will try again next week-end.

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  4. proudsaskie

    First time it was ok. Second time exploded, I thought maybe because I used hot water. Tried again today and it exploded and good thing I had glasses on! Would post photo if could. Too dangerous imo

  5. Dawn

    Wow, this is a fantastic method for poaching eggs. I love poached eggs, and have tried the traditional method, with and without salt, vinegar, swirling etc. I have even tried sous vide at a variety of temperatures. This is SO much easier.

    My equipment is a 25 year old built-in KitchenAid microwave of unknown wattage, but I would guess about 800 Watts. I used an Apilco teacup like this one
    https://www.williams-sonoma.com/products/apilco-tradition-porcelain-cup-and-saucer/?pkey=ctabletop-apilco|apilco-tradition&cm_src=Quickbuy

    I poured in 120ml (1/2 cup) water and used a grade AA large egg. I cooked for 60 seconds on full, and let it sit for 60 seconds.

    I have to say I have NEVER had such a perfect-looking poached egg at home. EVER! I couldn’t believe it! No filmy bits. No stringy bits. It was a perfect alien saucer space ship shape with rounded edges. The texture was perfect. No rubbery bits. The yolk was runny enough, but no icky/snotty egg white. The egg didn’t even stick to the tea cup! Amazing.

    I made another for my husband – equally good. No explosions, no mess. From now on, we will always cook eggs this way.

    Has to be the best poached egg that has ever come out of my kitchen, thank you Sara!

    xxxxxyyyyy

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Two poached eggs on top of two pieces of stacked toast. One egg has a slightly runny yolk. Salt and pepper are sprinkled on the eggs, toast and black plate.Microwave Poached Eggs