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How to Poach Eggs like Julia Child

Breakfast at Brennan's

Breakfast at Brennan's

Sometimes it’s the little things that make or break a meal.  One of the many memorable things about my breakfast at Brennan’s earlier this year was how perfectly the eggs were poached, the soft whites firmly wrapped around the tender yolks.

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I became obsessed with upping my poaching game.  As luck would have it, the Web is loaded with takes on Julia Child‘s method.  Her main recommendation is to use extremely fresh eggs.  Okay, that’s great, if you’re a Beard-Awarded restaurant serving dozens of breakfasts each morning.  What if you pick up a carton from the dairy case on your semi-weekly grocery run?

The key to Julia Child’s method is to boil the egg in its shell for about 10 seconds before poaching it.  This firms up the white and prevents the dreaded watery wisps.  So I tried it, and Voila!  I’m sure Julia Child could make better poached eggs.  I know Brennan’s can make better poached eggs.  But I had never made a better poached egg.  Ten seconds makes a big difference.

As Julia Child herself observed, “You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces – just good food from fresh ingredients.”

Bon appetit!

4 from 1 vote

Poached Eggs


  • eggs If you're not sure an egg is good, give it the witch test: Place it in water. If it sinks, it's fine; if it floats, toss it.
  • water


  1. Bring water to boil in a small saucepan.  

  2. Using a small pin, gently poke a hole in one end of each egg.  (This releases any air trapped in the egg.)

  3. Using a slotted spoon, gently place each egg in boiling water for approx. 10 seconds.

  4. Remove eggs with slotted spoon.  Turn off heat.  

  5. Crack eggs into small dish or cup.  Slip gently back into water, folding white over yolk with spoon if necessary.  Cook for approx. 4 min.  

  6. Remove with slotted spoon.  Serve as desired.  

My Favorite Kitchen Tools for Poached Eggs

small saucepan


slotted spoon

small prep bowl

Looking for more kitchen techniques?  You might like:

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