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The perfect poached egg

Poached eggs pacman

There can be no doubt that when it comes to cooking eggs, the Champions League winners are poached, every time. They’re the Real Madrid of eggs. With that in mind, we asked Army chef Sergeant Mark Hollingworth to tell us how to make the best poached eggs, even good enough for Marcelo, Luka Modric and Sergio Ramos. Actually, not him.


When buying eggs ensure the product is clean and free of cracks. Always check the use by date. To check an egg’s freshness, place the egg in a bowl of water. If the egg lays flat on its side this denotes that its fresher, however if the egg stands or floats this shows that the egg is older and the quality is reduced.


  • Bring a small pan of water to the boil and then reduce to a simmer. Add two tablespoons of distilled white vinegar.
  • With a whisk or slotted spoon, stir the water vigorously in a circular motion, to create a whirlpool.
  • While the water is still moving add the cracked egg into the centre – the whirlpool motion will help the white wrap around the yolk creating a nice looking poached egg.
  • Cook the egg for three minutes (for soft poached eggs).
  • Using a slotted spoon, remove the egg from the water, ensuring all the white is cooked and place on kitchen paper to remove any excess water.
  • Enjoy your nicely poached eggs as part of a meal of snack.


Times can vary depending on how hard or soft you prefer the yolk cooked.

Vinegar is important as this will help keep the egg shaped and reduce the chance of it spreading.

To cook multiple eggs at the same time, do not make a whirlpool but crack multiple eggs in a larger pan taking care to place the eggs in the pan with space between the eggs in case they spread.


Name: Mark Hollingworth
Job: Chef
Unit: Royal Logistics Corps
Rank: Sergeant
Biog: Joined as a Royal Green Jacket and after four years transferred to become an RLC chef. After multiple tours, Mark was promoted and became an instructor at the Food Services Training Wing where he helps to train Phase two recruits.

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