Thursday, February 12, 2015

Easy Microwave Poached Eggs

The first month of the new year has wrapped up. Maybe you set the goal to eat healthier in 2015 and after a month, the idea is getting a bit stale or hard to maintain. Maybe you just finished the Whole 30 and are thinking about how to make some of those healthy eating changes stick. Maybe you're trying to figure out how to keep your new morning routine of working out and still get to work on time.  I'll show you how easy it is to poach eggs - so easy you can do it at work.

I'm excited to be working with NestFresh, a producer of cage free eggs. On top of having plenty of room for their egg layers, NestFresh uses a network of smaller, family run farms across the US, getting you the freshest eggs. Since eggs are such a great food, I'll be writing a few posts over the next few months about how to cook eggs - there are so many ways to go beyond scrambled and fried!

A photo posted by Beau (@beauraines) on
And if you looked carefully at that picture above, you'll notice it is on a paper plate. I made that egg at the office!

Eggs are a healthy ingredient, loaded with vitamins and nutrients and a great source of protein. If you eat Paleo, they're a low-cost, clean, nutrient dense food, as opposed to other clean, protein sources.

Over the years, I've always viewed poached eggs as special, sort of a rarity. You have to be at a certain class of restaurant to see them on the menu, often as Eggs Benedict. Your local greasy spoon probably doesn't serve them, and if it does, your local diner probably isn't very greasy.

A photo posted by Beau (@beauraines) on
I will often make poached eggs on those special brunch holidays, like Easter or Mother's Day, and it is almost always for Eggs Benedict or replacing the Canadian Bacon with smoked salmon (rapidly becoming my preference). I've got inserts to cook them in a sauce pan, a special pan with poaching cups and have learned the great method to cook them just in a pot of water. Like making eggs any style, it is pretty easy, but it takes either some preparation or attention or some gadget to poach them.

But I've learned to make poached eggs in the microwave.

Ingredients and Equipment

  • 1 or 2 eggs
  • Small, microwaveable container 2 - 3 cups in size
  • Water


Fill the container approximately 2/3 full with body temperature water. I use my finger to assess the temperature and want it feeling neither hot nor cold. Poaching in the microwave is very sensitive to the initial water temperature - beware if one of your office mates was washing their coffee cup right before you fill your container.

I've also found that the shape of the container is important, the transition between the sides should be curved, not a 90 degree angle (like in many take away soup containers).

Crack your eggs into the water and cover with a paper towel. While I've never had a yolk explode on me, I've had pockets in the white pop which makes quite a mess on the inside of the microwave. The curved corned in the container help prevent those pockets.  Just cover it - you don't want to be the person who makes a mess in the office microwave. 

Put the covered container in the microwave and cook on high. This step will take some experimentation, depending upon the size of your container, the number of eggs and the power of your microwave.  In the picture below, I'm cooking two eggs in a 1000 watt microwave - it takes about 3 minutes.  When I'm using a 1200 watt microwave and only cooking one egg, it takes about 65 seconds.

As you try this with your microwave, remember, its far easier to add more time and cook it longer, rather than to un-cook the egg. And once the egg nears being done, 5 to 10 seconds can make the difference between runny yolks and solid yolks.

Take the eggs out of the microwave and test for doneness. They white should be firm and the yolk should still be soft to the touch. I've never found that the water is too hot for me to use my finger to make this check. If they're not done, put them in for a little more time.


Carefully drain the water from the container. You'll want to do this promptly, because the egg continues to cook in the hot water. The egg will barely stick to the container, so I often use a fork as the filter to hold my egg back and let the water flow out. You're so close, you don't want to lose the egg down the drain at this point!

Transfer the egg to your breakfast plate, with some clean sausage or bacon and my favorite, mashed sweet potatoes. Season as you see fit (I've not yet brought a salt and pepper shaker or Sriracha to work yet) and enjoy.

Once you work out the specifics for your microwave and bowl you are using, this is very simple to do. I take my eggs with me to work in the morning and a container of pre-cooked sausage and smashed sweet potatoes and make breakfast at work. Invariably, I'll get comments about what a great breakfast or on the days I bring a few slices of bacon to microwave there, how great it smells.  It beats out everybody else's instant oatmeal or cinnamon roll that they are warming up.

There is a slight downside that I must warn you about. Poaching eggs in the microwave, or in a pot for that matter, is really easy and you might just start doing it every day. The cachet of a poached egg might wear off a bit, but you'll be getting a healthy, delicious breakfast.

Note: I was compensated this post, but this is the way I make my breakfast almost everyday. All opinions are my own.