Fed up of poorly poached eggs? Our favourite poaching tools take the hassle out of breakfast time
The best egg poachers are designed to make cooking eggs in a healthy way as simple as possible. While we’d all love to be egg poaching experts, it’s not always that easy. Finding the perfect technique is tricky, time-consuming and doesn’t always guarantee a good result.
That doesn’t mean your dream of enjoying perfectly poached eggs is over, though. Decent egg poachers will give you consistently good results and take some of the hassle and worry out of poaching.
So whether you’re fighting with wobbly, stringy egg whites or don’t have the right tools for the job, our roundup of tried and tested egg poachers will solve your breakfast woes for good.
Unfamiliar with how egg poachers work? Have a read of our buying guide first. It will tell you everything you need to know about the different types of poachers you can buy.
Best egg poacher: At a glance
How to choose the best egg poacher for you
What types of egg poachers are there?
Egg poaching help comes in all shapes and sizes, but these are the three most common types available to buy.
Cups/dishes – Poaching cups or dishes are available in a variety of styles but are typically half spheres that cradle the egg. They can float on top of the water or hook onto the side of the pan and cook in a firm semi-circle shape.
Pans – These are usually standard non-stick saucepans with a removable egg poaching insert on top. You fill the pan with a little water, bring it to a simmer then crack your eggs into the poaching “holes” on top. Once you’ve popped the lid on, the eggs gently steam until cooked.
Bags – Poaching bags are disposable, food-safe paper or plastic pouches that allow you to fully submerge an egg while keeping it contained. You simply crack an egg into the bag then gently rest it in a pan of simmering water.
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What results can I expect?
Even with the best egg poaching aids, results can be mixed and, depending on what you’re expecting, you might be impressed or underwhelmed. Most egg poaching cups cook from the bottom up, so will always struggle to produce a fully solid white while maintaining that runny yolk. Bags are a better option for that classic shape, but can’t be reused.
In testing, we tried each poacher several times to see whether cooking at different heats or for different times altered the results. We found that most of the time, these gadgets produced a jammy joke with a solid white or a runny yolk with a creamy white. Again, the main exception to this was the poaching bag method.
Anything else I should keep in mind?
If you’re using a poacher where the egg is coming into direct contact with the water, make sure the water is hot enough – it needs to come to a full rolling boil, then be turned down to simmer before you start.
You can also use a tablespoon or so of white wine vinegar to help the egg white set more quickly when it comes into contact with the water. This won’t make the egg taste vinegary.
Thin whites are one of the main reasons eggs separate in the water. Fresh eggs will generally produce the best results, as the white of the egg thins as it ages. Sometimes, though, it’s hit or miss whether you get that perfect white.
How we test egg poachers
We test all the egg poachers on our list, naturally enough, by using them to poach multiple batches of eggs. During these tests, we look for two main things. First, we like poachers that operate simply and smoothly, with a minimum of mess or fuss. Second, we want them to produce tasty, well-textured eggs with a firm white and soft yolk, in a consistent manner.
Outside of these core factors, our tests and reviews will also consider a poacher’s value for money, whether it is reusable or single-use and how easy it is to clean and store in your kitchen.
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The best egg poachers to buy in 2024
1. Oxo Good Grips poacher: The best reusable egg poacher
Price when reviewed: £15 | Check price at Harts of SturThese unusual little poachers look like egg cups and are designed to guide and shape your egg directly in the water. This method gives you more of a classic poached shape and also means the egg can be fully submerged for the perfect firm white and runny yolk.
Overall, these poachers were simple to use and didn’t require much prep work. As long as the water was heated properly beforehand, the egg began to set instantly, with little to no white leakage out of the holes in the sides. The cups are easy to remove from the water, so you can flip your egg if need be, and also cleaned up well after cooking. The only downside is the size. Each cup is huge, so you’ll only be able to cook two eggs at a time and will need a large wok-style pan to do so.
Key details – Type of poacher: Cup; Number of eggs cooked at once: 2; Oil needed: No
2. Lakeland induction-safe egg poaching pan: The best egg poaching pan
Price when reviewed: £37 | Check price at Lakeland
This pan is a touch on the expensive side if you’re solely using it to poach eggs, but if you’re in the market for a decent frying pan it’s well worth considering. The non-stick poaching element can be removed to reveal a non-stick, high-sided frying pan that’s great for a variety of dishes.
The poaching cups are non-stick too, but in testing, we found that giving them a light wipe or spray with cooking oil made it easier to coax them out. We also found that the cups struggle to hold very large eggs and experienced some overspill. While they don’t produce that classic poached egg shape, we managed to get a firm white with a jammy yolk with relative ease.
Key details – Type of poacher: Pan; Number of eggs cooked at once: 4; Oil needed: Yes
3. Tower egg cooker: The best for firm poached eggs
Price when reviewed: £20 | Check price at Amazon
This plug-in egg cooker requires no additional pans or even a hob. The poaching tray can cook two eggs at a time: simply oil it, drop in your eggs and hit the power button. The machine automatically turns off after the allotted cooking time and you’re left with two firm poached eggs you can spoon out with ease.
Because of the shape of the tray, the eggs do come out quite flat and it’s not possible to get a runny yolk without the white still being wobbly. If that’s not a total deal-breaker, though, this produces two perfectly jammy eggs and also works as an egg boiler and omelette maker.
Key details – Type of poacher: Tray with electric base; Number of eggs cooked at once: 2; Oil needed: Yes
4. Poachies disposable poaching bags: The easiest-to-use egg poacher
Price when reviewed: £3 | Check price at Amazon
If you’re after a fuss-free and easy-to-clean poaching experience, disposable poaching bags are the way to go. Poachies are made from a paper-like fabric material, are food safe and can be recycled or composted after use. They’re designed to give you a result that’s closer in shape and texture to classic poaching methods, as the bags sit in the water during cooking.
In testing, we found them easy to use, but suggest holding on to the bag for 15-20 seconds or so before fully submerging. This ensures the white has begun to set and won’t just leak out. When cooked, the texture was slightly unusual but the results were fantastic, with a perfectly runny yolk and firm white. It’s just a shame these bags aren’t reusable.
Key details – Type of poacher: Bag (20pk); Number of eggs cooked at once: 1 per bag; Oil needed: No
5. Cuisipro stainless steel egg poachers: The best space-saving egg poaching cups
Price when reviewed: £20 | Check price at Wayfair
These plastic and metal egg cups hook onto the side of your saucepan and gently simmer away for hands-free egg cooking. Small holes near the top let water in so the egg is poached from every angle. They’re not as non-stick as some of the other options on this list, so a good spray of oil is required to ensure they release from the cup properly.
They are a little tricky to get used to, but once you’ve got the knack they work well enough. While they’re not our favourite on the list, they are a good option if you don’t have the huge saucepan needed to accommodate some of the other poachers we’ve listed.
Key details – Type of poacher: Cup; Number of eggs cooked at once: 2; Oil needed: Yes