Microwave Poached Egg

All you need is a mug and a microwave.

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.
Alison Bickel

Sometimes, the best option isn’t the superior method. Such is the case with microwave poached eggs, which we love for their convenience. In under 2 minutes, you can upgrade an office lunch of reheated leftovers with a freshly poached egg, and your day becomes just a bit more delightful.

Does the microwave deliver eggs that will claim top prize in a poach-off? No. That trophy goes to our Perfect Poached Egg recipe, but you need a stovetop and a pan for that. If your standards are flexible and you’re just poaching a single egg on the fly, the microwave will serve quite nicely. All you need is a mug or small glass measuring cup and some plastic wrap. Let’s get set to nuke and poach!

A Poached Egg Redeux

When we first published this recipe, reader feedback over time was mixed, in part because the power of different microwave models can vary so much. We knew it could be better. Back to the drawing board we went.

The initial method was to put 1/2 cup of room temperature water in a mug, add the egg, cover with plastic wrap or a small plate, and microwave on high for 30 seconds. After that, it could take anywhere from 10 more seconds to a full additional 60 seconds to achieve fully set whites, though a rest in the mug after microwaving for 30 seconds helped set it up. It was too fussy, with too many judgment calls.

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.
Alison Bickel

The Fix

A recipe we found in a cookbook my grandmother gave me in 1987 provided the fix: Kids Cook Microwave, a slim, spiral-bound volume by Janet Emal and Barbara Kern. By reducing the water to 1/4 cup and microwaving for 60 seconds before adding the egg, their method is not only quicker; it eliminates some of the variables that made our previous method unreliable. Thank you, Janet and Barbara, wherever you are!

Poaching eggs in the microwave can be a learning curve, but then again, so can poaching eggs using any other method. Such is the finesse of all egg cookery.

What About Exploding Yolks?

Very rarely, the yolk can explode as the egg microwaves, making a huge mess if the mug isn’t covered. It happened before when one of us spaced out and programmed in 3 minutes of cook time instead of 30 seconds. The explosion was loud and actually blew open the door of the microwave. Total user error, but we all have our off days.

We don’t want this to happen to you. As a safeguard against explosions, poke the egg yolk with a toothpick, then cover the mug with a microwave-safe saucer or small plate (or, if you don't have one, plastic wrap). Should the yolk explode, the cover keeps the mess in the mug, not all over the microwave.

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

Tips for Success

  • Use fresh eggs. The older your eggs, the runnier the whites. This can cause feathery, watery whites that poach unevenly. 
  • Embrace the learning curve. Microwave models have different wattages: your home microwave might be more powerful than the microwave at your friend’s house. Play around with the timing every time you make this recipe and make adjustments accordingly.
  • Mug or measuring cup? A small glass measuring cup (8-ounce capacity) is handy because you can measure the water and then poach the egg right in the cup. If you are using a mug, there are a few caveats. You want it to be sturdy and dense. The generic mugs you find in gift shops often work well.
  • Poach one egg at a time. The results are easier to predict that way. 
  • It’s only an egg. If your first microwave poached egg is a flop, take it in stride. It’s a few minutes of your time and one egg. Either try adjusting the cooking time on your next go or move on and decide it’s not for you.

Updated on June 2, 2023.

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.
Alison Bickel

More Great Microwave Recipes!


Learn How to Make Microwave Poached Eggs

Microwave Poached Egg

Prep Time 2 mins
Cook Time 3 mins
Total Time 5 mins
Serving 1 serving
Yield 1 egg

Microwave poached eggs or the water they’re cooked in have been known to occasionally explode during cooking or once removed from the microwave. Be sure to exactly follow the recipe and our tips below for the safest results.

Recipe adapted from Kids Cook Microwave by Janet Emal and Barbara Kern (HP Trade, 1987).
Older eggs have runny whites that do not poach well. If your carton of eggs has been sitting in your fridge for more than 1 week, try making our microwave Omelette in a Mug instead.


  • 1 large egg, straight from the refrigerator (see recipe note)

  • 1/4 cup water

  • Salt and pepper, for serving


  1. Microwave the water:

    Put 1/4 cup water in an 8-ounce glass measuring cup or sturdy, microwave-safe mug.  

    Microwave on high power for 30 seconds to 1 minute, until the water is steaming (not rapidly boiling).

  2. Add the egg, pierce the yolk, and cover:

    Crack the egg into the water. Gently slide a toothpick into the yolk, keeping it intact. Cover the measuring cup or mug with plastic wrap (if using a mug, you may use a small microwave-safe saucer instead).

    Simple Tip!

    Very occasionally, the yolk can explode in the microwave. Piercing the yolk and covering the mug keeps the process safe and neat.

    Glass mug with a raw egg and water inside to make a simple poached egg.
    Alison Bickel
  3. Microwave 35 seconds longer:

    Microwave the egg another 35 seconds on high. 

    Simple Tip!

    The cook time here will depend a lot on the wattage of your microwave. Start with 35 seconds, and keep adding time as needed in 10-second increments if needed. Egg overcooked? Next time, try cooking it for only 30 seconds after adding the egg to the water.

    Quick poached egg and water in a glass mug. The mug is on a black plate with a linen underneath.
    Alison Bickel
  4. Drain and serve: 

    Simple Tip!

    When removing the egg from the water, keep your face upright and away from the mug.

    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. Transfer to your serving plate, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and enjoy.

    Did you love the recipe? Leave us stars below!

    A black plate with simple poached egg draining on a paper towel.
    Alison Bickel
    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.
    Alison Bickel
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
72 Calories
5g Fat
1g Carbs
6g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1
Amount per serving
Calories 72
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 5g 6%
Saturated Fat 2g 8%
Cholesterol 186mg 62%
Sodium 369mg 16%
Total Carbohydrate 1g 0%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 6g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 31mg 2%
Iron 1mg 5%
Potassium 73mg 2%
*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. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.