This is partially due to the fact that poaching an egg is among the most intimidating of culinary techniques for many. Given the care, patience, and finesse required to nail the act, it comes at little surprise that chefs have been sharing their go-to tips and tricks for making poached eggs since the beginning of time. From adding vinegar to the pot and swirling the water before you drop the egg in to using a drawer-crowding silicone gadget thingamajig—we’ve seen it all.
Here’s the thing, though: The fussy reputation that poached eggs continue to carry is completely unwarranted. Why? Because you can do the damn thing in the microwave—entirely hands-free—and it takes just one minute.
If you’re prepared to let microwave poached eggs change your brunch (and more importantly, your weekday breakfast) game for good, read on.
How to make microwave poached eggs
The only tools you’ll need at your disposal are a microwave, a mug, and a toothpick (or something similar—a kebab skewer would work equally well).
1. Start by filling a standard mug with 8 ounces, give or take, of cold water. Be sure to leave about an inch of space at the top so that your egg doesn’t spill over.
2. Next, crack an egg into the mug, being careful not to break the yolk in the process (be super gentle).
3. Once this is done, the critical step: Using a toothpick or other sharp, thin object, poke a small hole in the yolk such that it still remains fully intact and doesn’t run or ‘bleed’ into the water. The small puncture ensures that your egg won’t explode and splatter in the microwave. Finally, place the egg-filled mug in the microwave and microwave on high for one minute.
4. At the end of the 60-second period, use a spoon to carefully fish out your egg. You can either let it dry on a paper towel or devour it instantly.
Keep in mind that this technique is especially well-suited to folks who prefer a more runny yolk, though you can always add more time to the cooking process if you like your eggs closer to soft-boiled than poached. Should you prefer a slightly more cooked-through egg, you can either let the egg rest in the hot water for some more time after removing it from the microwave, or continue to microwave the egg in 10-second increments.
You can also try different vessels to get slightly different shaped eggs. For example, if you choose a larger-rimmed mug, you’ll end up with a flatter poached egg (hello, huge slice of sourdough), whereas a smaller, more narrow mug will result in a rounder egg (ideal for topping an English muffin or bagel).
Of course, regardless of how you cook your eggs, you’ll be in for a protein-packed treat that you can get from carton to plate in just a matter of seconds (caffeine-in-system or not). A single egg contains six to seven grams of protein, says Tracy Lockwood Beckerman, MS, RD, and is a complete protein to boot. As such, starting your morning off with a couple of poached eggs as part of your breakfast is a surefire way to give your body the energy it requires to power through your morning meetings, workout, or whatever the day brings. “Eggs are cheap, satiating, and easy to find, and they’re an excellent source of high quality protein,” Beckerman told Well+Good. “Your body is able to fully absorb all the protein from the eggs to help lower blood pressure.” They’re also filled with good-for-you vitamins and minerals like choline, iron, vitamin D, vitamin A, and B vitamins.
Watch the video to find out why Beckerman calls eggs “nature’s multivitamin”:
We absolutely love this technique for adding a bit of pizzazz to your weekday morning routine—who says brunch recipes must be reserved for Sundays? The next time you feel yourself slipping into a breakfast rut but can’t deal with the effort of actually cooking something in the a.m., avoid the temptation to reach for the same old box of cereal. Instead, toast up an English muffin, get your egg in a mug of water, and have a restaurant-worthy poached egg dish instead.
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