Poached-style eggs from the water bath

Inspired by Serious Eats

After our attempt with J. Kenji López-Alt’s technique from Serious Eats, we decided to formalise our favourite version of poached-style eggs from the water bath.

The goal is to have an egg which we can take from the water bath and crack directly onto the plate. Or, if not directly onto the plate, briefly onto a slotted spoon for tidying up before service.

We played with the ChefSteps Egg Calculator to devise our perfect egg. We stumbled on a set of nice, round numbers: 72°C / 162°F for 18 minutes. It wasn’t perfect, but it was close. We wanted tighter whites. We increased the temperature by 1°C and reduced the time by 1 minute in a series of experiments until we hit 74°C / 165°F for 16 minutes. It was very nice.

Immediately we recalled ChefSteps recipe for the 75°C / 167°F ‘poached’ egg. We tried 13 minutes, 14 minutes and 15 minutes and, in each case, the outside whites—for our Australian jumbo eggs with a 1⅘" / 45 mm diameter—had solidified so much that a good deal of the white was clinging to the shell. We went back to 74°C / 165°F and this problem did not occur. Best of all, our results were consistent. We have also achieved consistent results with different grades of egg. This was unexpected, but welcomed.

For us, the 74°C / 165°F egg is close to perfect whites. We get slightly different yolk textures with 15 minutes, 15 minutes 30 seconds and 16 minutes. You can vary this single parameter to achieve your preferred yolk texture.

The best part about the 74°C / 165°F temperature is that the loose white coagulates and sticks to the shell. All that comes out is the part of the egg we want. Our results have been so good that we can almost crack the egg directly onto the plate. We are still using the slotted spoon to be sure, but most of the time there is very little loose white to be seen—it is all stuck to the inside of the egg. So freakin’ cool.

We’d like to have a recipe which works for most egg sizes, but we haven’t conducted experiments with eggs of different sizes, yet. Our current theory is that the yolk texture is likely to change with size. We’re hoping the egg whites will be the same; this will allow us to devise a set of time values based on egg diameter.

You may have noticed that we are deliberately avoiding the term ‘sous vide’. Sous vide means ‘under vacuum’—there is no vacuum packing involved. Also, technically, these eggs aren’t poached, which is why we say ‘poached-style’.

This is a work in progress. Give us your feedback if you try it.


1 hour 5 minutes total: 5 minutes attended, 1 hour unattended




100 g (servings 1 )

as needed
Prepare the water bath and set the temperature to 74°C / 165°F.
Separately, prepare a large bowl of cold tap water.
Eggs (800g per dozen)
133 g
2 jumbo
Place in netting and cook in the water bath for 16 minutes. Reduce time by 30–60 seconds for a runny yolk.
Remove immediately and place in the bowl of cold tap water for 10 seconds.
(Optionally) If doing a large batch of eggs, transfer and hold in a bowl of hot tap water (less than 60°C / 140°F).
(Optionally) Crack onto a slotted spoon and check for any loose white.

Type egg dish





Serving size 100 g


Energy (kcal)143
Energy (kJ)599
Protein (g)12.6
Fat (g)9.5
Carbs (g)0.7
Sugars (g)0.4
Fiber (g)0
Sodium (mg)142
Cholesterol (mg)372

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