Poached eggs are a brunch staple for a reason; they’re delicious and reveal a perfectly oozy yolk. The only problem with poached eggs is that they can be difficult to prepare. It’s so tempting to think that all you have to do is crack an egg into boiling water and voilà, your work is done. However, it’s a little bit more involved than that. Just ask Alton Brown. Here’s his method, which we’ve found to be foolproof, plus a few of our additional tips:

  1. To start, the best method to poach an egg is not in the oven or microwave — it’s on the stovetop. Before you do anything else, bring a saucepan with two inches of water to a simmer. (Do not boil your water, as it will make it difficult to keep your egg’s shape.) Then, add one teaspoon of kosher salt and two teaspoons white vinegar.
  2. While you’re waiting for your water to come to a delicate simmer, crack a very fresh and very cold egg into a ramekin. Next comes the tricky part. Place the egg gently into the simmering water. There are two methods to do this so that your egg keeps the right shape.

Option 1: Hold a cookie cutter in the simmering water with a pair of tongs. Add your egg to the middle of the form.

Option 2: Swirl the water in a clockwise direction until it becomes a whirlpool. While the water is still spinning gently, add the egg. The whirlpool motion will keep it from getting those feathery tendrils.

  1. Once your egg hits the water, it should begin to cook immediately. If you want a really soft poached egg, leave it in the water for about two minutes. A more firm egg will take around four minutes. The timing can vary slightly based on the size of your egg.
  2. When your egg is ready, remove it from the water with a slotted spoon and let it drip dry over the pot.
  3. Serve the egg on toast with a sprinkle of salt and cracked black pepper.

Tell us what other egg tips you want to learn about by tagging us on Twitter @BritandCo.

(Photos via Debby Lewis-Harrison / Getty Images)