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Poach an egg properly and you’re gifted with an utterly cloudlike pillow of protein. But pulling off a poached egg in a pot of boiling water — the traditional method — can be tricky, so this classic prep for the breakfast staple is often reserved for a fancy brunch Benedicts and overpriced avocado toast. Not anymore. With this trick, you can nail a poached egg in under 60 seconds with no special skills, tools or even a timer required.

The best kitchen hacks happen in that liminal space between hungry and lazy or completely strapped for time. Cooking bacon in the oven nets crispier strips with a far less daunting mess to clean up after, and a quick boil of water with a dash of these two pantry ingredients will lift stubborn stains from your best cookware with minimal effort. For poached eggs cooked perfectly in under a minute with no mess to clean, we turn to the microwave

Beyond ease, speed and precision, making poached eggs in the microwave leaves almost no mess to clean up afterward. Unlike fried or scrambled eggs which require dirtying a pan or hard-boiled which takes time and energy to cook and peel, a microwave turns out perfectly cooked and pillowy protein toppers to cradle atop your morning toast, with nothing more to do in terms of cleanup than rinse a small bowl or ramekin.

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Here’s all you’ll need — plus a microwave — to make a perfect poached egg in under a minute. 

David Watsky/CNET

Convinced? Good — me too. Here’s how to make poached eggs in the microwave in five easy steps.

Step 1: Fill a ramekin with about half a cup of salted, room-temperature water. It must be enough to completely submerge the egg once it’s dropped in.

Step 2: Crack one egg carefully and drop it into the water carefully, trying not to disturb its structural integrity. 

    egg in water in ramekin

    You’ll want enough water to submerge the egg but not spill over the top of the ramekin.

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    David Watsky/CNET

Step 3: Place the ramekin in the microwave and cook on high for about 45 seconds, longer if you prefer a firmer yolk.

egg in microwave

Cook the submerged egg for 40 seconds for a runny yolk and closer to a minute for a firm one. 

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David Watsky/CNET

Step 4: Remove the egg carefully from the water with a slotted spoon or wire skimmer. 

egg in strainer

LIft your egg carefully out of the water with a slotted spoon or mesh strainer. 

David Watsky/CNET

Step 5: Serve over toast or a bed of greens with avocado, hot sauce, chili crisp and other accompaniments.

poached egg on plate.

In one or two tries, you’ll be able to fine-tune your poached egg to your perfect doneness, and then nail it every time. 

David Watsky/CNET

Note: The base temperature for any microwaves will vary and, thus, cook times may also. Try 40 to 45 seconds for your first effort, then add five-second increments for subsequent tries until you achieve the desired doneness.

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