Use An Aluminium Can For Perfectly Poached Eggs

Use An Aluminium Can For Perfectly Poached Eggs

Poaching an egg isn’t terribly difficult on its own, but if you have trouble keeping your eggs in a neat little pouch when you crack them into your water, the secret may be twofold: first, make sure to swirl the water a bit before you crack the egg into your saucepan; second, grab an old aluminium can. Here’s how it works.Photo by Danielle Scott.

Swirling water with a spoon is an old trick when it comes to poaching an egg — the swirling motion will help keep the egg together in the centre as it cooks. Reader Mary writes in to point out that if you poach eggs often, or poach a lot of eggs in one sitting, save the next aluminium can you empty, rinse it out and cut off both ends. Then, when you’re ready to poach an egg, rub the inside with a little oil (just to make sure nothing sticks) and lower it into your hot water, right over the swirling centre of the pan. Crack the egg into the can, and when the egg solidifies, pull the can up. Set a timer, let the egg cook, and pull it out with a mesh ladle when it’s finished.

There are a lot of ways to poach a perfect egg, but this sounds like a helpful crutch for people just getting started or who want to make sure every egg is perfect every time. It may not be necessary, but it’s useful. Do you have any egg-poaching tips? Have you tried this method before? Let us know in the comments below. Thanks Mary!


  • Don’t do this please.

    Aluminium in itself is toxic and bad for your body. Some preventative steps are taken to make sure aluminium doesn’t contaminate your drinks, but when you cut the can, you essentially break this safety.

    My tips for poaching eggs is to use deep soup laddle. Never fail.

  • If you want the eggs to hold their shape, the ONLY way I have found that works EVERY time without fail is to first partially set the whites buy putting the eggs into a bowl of just boiled (from the kettle) water for 60seconds (if eggs at room temp) and then crack them into the pan of just barely simmering water.

    Don’t just plop them in, us one half of the shell do gently despoit them into the water.

    • heating the eggs up first is definitely a good idea – although I dont use boiling water, just a bucket of hot water from the tap. leave the eggs in for as long as you can wait, so the temperature rises all the way through.
      Put a little vinegar in the water, it seems to help stop the eggs spreading.
      Make sure the water is only just deep enough to cover the egg, if it is too deep, they spread as they are sinking.
      And yes, place the eggs in gently, instead of cracking them in from a height.

  • I get some microwaveable clingfilm / gladwrap poke it into a cup, break the egg into it and tie. You are left with a parcel that looks like a goldfish from the fairground. Drop it into the water and cook.

  • As a chef who poaches alot of eggs I get asked this question all the time.
    Forget the can and remember these pointers when poaching
    1- ONLY use fresh eggs like you would get from a market or fruit and veg shop. Supermarket eggs are very often quiet old. This is important. The eggs I use are only 48hrs old when I poach them.
    2- Yes room temp eggs does help but not too warm.
    3- the water temperature is important. It should be just off boiling. And as you add more eggs to the pot you may need to increase the heat to cope.
    4- don’t go over board on the vinegar as it makes the eggs taste, well like vinegar. a tablespoon should be enough in most cases.
    5- swirling the water will help you create teardrop poached eggs but only if they are FRESH. Other wise I wouldn’t do it. And if your trying to do six or more eggs at once I wouldn’t swirl the water to much.
    6- smaller eggs are easier to poach. I would not bother with anything larger then 70gm
    Finally lift them out after about two and half minutes with a slotted spoon and drain on some paper towel.

    Hope this helps

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