By Daisy Cuinn

Egg poacher pans vary, but the concept is always the same: to simplify the classic egg-cooking technique where an unshelled egg is cooked in a hot water bath. The traditional method--simply cracking an egg into a pot of boiling water--can be messy, and unless you are a true expert usually results in a sloppy-looking, if tasty, mass of cooked egg. With a poacher pan, the egg is cooked with steam, so there is no fishing the egg out of the water, and the finished product comes out in a neat shape.

how to use an egg poacher pan
how to use an egg poacher pan

Step 1

Remove the top part of the pan that houses the egg cups. Fill the pan with water so that it just touches the bottom of the cups--some egg poacher pans have fill lines to make it easier.

Step 2

Coat the inside of each egg cup with butter, margarine or cooking spray. Place on top of the pan.

Step 3

Place pan on a stove-top burner and set on high to bring water to a boil. Once boiling, cover the pan and reduce heat to medium. Cook for 2-1/2 to 3 minutes for poached eggs with a soft yolk, longer for hard-cooked poached eggs.

Step 4

Remove pan from heat and carefully remove the lid. Lift egg cups one at a time, using a potholder or kitchen tongs, and slide eggs onto a plate or slice of toast.