We Tried the Muffin-Tin Method for Poaching Eggs—Here’s What You Should Know

Updated: Jan. 24, 2024

Poaching your eggs a dozen at a time can be as simple as it looks—if you keep a few things in mind.

My family of four have a weekend tradition of making eggs Benedict at home, which was worth the trial-and-error of perfecting my poaching (and the sink full of dishes after). I mean, cut through the middle of one of these open-faced bad boys and try to tell me that drippy yolk covered in hollandaise all over some Canadian bacon isn’t worth a little cleanup. Plus, I am not about to skip out on a decidedly “adult” food that my kids actually adore.

Cue the one-minute video on Facebook showing a test kitchen pro poaching eggs a dozen at a time in a muffin tin. Genius! It looked so simple. Let’s see how it turned out.
While you’re at it, learn about microwave poached eggs too.

Try #1: Total flop

I did as the professional did, pouring a little water into the muffin cups, adding an egg to each and set them in a 350° oven for the recommended 8-10 minutes. At minute eight, they looked completely uncooked. Same at minute 10. I put them back in the oven for 2 more minutes.

When I pulled them this time, the whites (and the yolks!) were fully cooked through—totally overcooked. Major bummer. To add insult to injury, the egg whites were completely cooked on to the tin, making it super hard to clean. First I vowed to reserve my muffin tins for muffins only (OK, cupcakes, too) and stick with old-fashioned poaching, but then I thought better of backing down from the challenge of making poached eggs for a crowd. ( Find out how Gordon Ramsay makes the perfect poached egg.)

Try #2: Success!

I tried to learn from my mistakes and was a little more careful this time. I measured the water for each cup (just one tablespoon, which seems small, but is enough!). I then coated the pan with nonstick spray, to help with cleanup. You could also grease the pan with shortening before adding the water.

Again, I left them in the oven for 12 minutes which lead to a slightly harder poach. But this gave me a good baseline for replicating this another time—I’m thinking 10-11 minutes is just perfect. And the cooking spray? It worked! It looked a little greasy going in, but it made the cleanup super simple.

So what if they look a little like sea scallops? Maybe these eggs benedict aren’t as photogenic as the organic, elliptical shape of traditionally poached eggs, but they tasted every bit as amazing.

Try #3: Perfection!

I liked it so much we had eggs Benedict for dinner tonight, featuring the leftover hollandaise from this weekend. That’s a one-pan dinner, friends (check out these other one-pan dinners for more easy weeknight meals).

What I learned

  • The nonstick spray helped!
  • Don’t be fooled by the layer of water on top of the eggs—it can make them look uncooked but they’re really ready to go. Take them out before that 12-minute mark and you’ll be golden.
  • This method may not be for poaching pros, but for the rest of us, it puts homemade eggs Benedict a little more within reach. Mastering a perfect poached egg the old-fashioned way is still a worthy pursuit—and an accomplishment—but this method eliminates some hands-on time.
  • If the eggs aren’t cooked exactly the way you like them, try, try again and figure out the timing for your oven. You’ll be glad you did.

I haven’t made these for company yet, but I’m totally going to impress the pants off my family when they’re here for their annual holiday visit. I can’t wait to share one of our favorite weekend traditions with them. If you prefer your eggs boiled, learn how to make Instant Pot hard-boiled eggs or how to boil eggs the traditional way in a pot.

Love eggs Benedict? Try these variations on the classic.
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