How To Poach an Egg in the Microwave

Ramen and eggs go together like peanut butter and jelly. Sure, there are any number of ingredients you can use to top your noodles. But if you read a lot of ramen recipes, you’ll notice that some ingredients pop up over and over again. Along with soy sauce, an egg is one of the most common ingredients you’ll see. Ever try a poached ramen egg?

Poaching is a popular cooking method for ramen eggs, but a lot of people do it wrong. They cook the egg in the pot with their noodles, which causes the whites to get all strung out. Instead, you really want to cook your egg in a separate container.

This doesn’t mean it has to be a whole big production. In fact, you can poach a ramen egg with nothing more than a mug, a microwave, and a few ounces of water. In this guide, we’ll walk through the process of poaching an egg in your microwave. We’ll also give some general poached egg tips, and suggest some other ways to prepare your ramen egg.

poached egg in microwave

5 Steps to Poach Your Egg

A microwaved poached egg is one of the simplest foods you’ll ever make. Here’s how it’s done.

Use a Microwave-Safe Mug

To begin with, you don’t want to use just about any mug. Your mug needs to be microwave-safe. Most mugs these days are, but make sure yours isn’t embossed with any metal, and don’t use any handmade mugs. Also, make sure the mug is nice and dense. A lightweight mug can get almost as hot as the water inside it.

Along the same lines, you don’t need a huge mug. The larger the mug, the longer it will take to poach your egg, even if you’re using the same amount of water. All you really need is a standard 8-ounce mug.

Start With Warm Water

Fill your mug most of the way with warm water. In an 8-ounce mug, leave about an inch of space at the top to account for the volume of your egg. In a larger mug, you can leave more space. Six ounces of water is really the ideal amount.

A lot of poached egg recipes call for a splash of vinegar to help the egg white maintain its shape. In the small confines of a mug, vinegar won’t make a noticeable difference, so it’s not worth the effort. If you do decide to add vinegar, you only need to add about half a teaspoon.

As for why you start with warm water, it’s just so you don’t waste time heating up cold water. Shower temperature warmth is just fine to start with.

Add Your Egg

Crack your egg directly into your mug of water. If you’re doing two eggs, it might be tempting to cook both of them at once. While this is technically possible, you have to increase the cooking time, so it doesn’t save much time. Moreover, the two eggs don’t always cook evenly, leaving one underdone while the other is overcooked. For best results, just cook one egg at a time.

Poke Your Egg With a Fork – And Cover the Mug

Egg yolks have a tendency to explode when they’re microwaved, splattering yolk all over the inside of your microwave oven. To prevent this, poke the yolk with a fork or skewer before you put it into the microwave. This will allow the yolk to release pressure slowly, not catastrophically.

Just in case, it’s still wise to put a small saucer or even some cling wrap over the top of your mug. On the off chance that your yolk does explode, this will keep the mess inside the mug.

Microwave Your Egg

Now all you have to do is pop your mug in the microwave. It should take around 90 seconds to poach your egg, but that comes with a huge asterisk.

To begin with, different microwaves have vastly different power levels, and even two machines with the same wattage won’t have identical performance. Have you ever followed the directions for a frozen meal, only for it to come out burnt or half-frozen? That’s because your microwave is different from the one the recipe was written for.

Moreover, poached eggs are notoriously controversial. Some people like theirs runny. Some like them more thoroughly cooked, similar to a hard boiled egg. Depending on your preferences, you’ll need more or less cooking time.

All of this to say that finding the right cooking time is a matter of trial and error. It depends on how you like your eggs cooked, as well as on the particulars of your microwave oven. Adding or removing as little as five seconds can make a difference, so take the time to experiment and find what works for you.

Once you’ve found the perfect cooking time, remember to keep the variables the same. Use the same amount of water every time, and even the same mug if it’s practical. That way you’ll get a consistent egg every time.

Eggs in general, but especially a perfect poached egg, is a top tier ramen topping. The runny yolk and delicate egg white pairs beautifully with Mike’s Mighty Good rich ramen broths and organic noodles. Mike’s Mighty Good is for everyone, from our four vegetarian flavors to our popular fried garlic chicken and pork tonkotsu flavors.

Shop all ramen here.

Kujirai Ramen

Tips For the Perfect Poached Egg

Your eggs aren’t quite done when the microwave dings. If you want ideal results, you’ll want to do a couple of things before you put them on your noodles.

  • Let your egg rest. If you want your whites to cook all the way through, let the egg sit in the hot water for a minute. This will also make the yolk thicker and gooier instead of thinner and runnier. This step is purely optional. If you like a runnier yolk, it’s perfectly fine to scoop your egg out the moment it’s done microwaving.
  • Dry your eggs. Poached eggs are full of lines and crevices that retain water after they’re cooked. Depending on your recipe, you might not want all this extra water. Set your egg on a paper towel for a minute and gently dab it dry. This isn’t necessary if you’re making a brothy, soupy recipe. But if you’re making a drier recipe, dried eggs will tend to work better.

Other Ways to Prepare Eggs for Ramen

Poaching is just one of many ways to make delicious ramen eggs. Depending on your recipe, you may prefer to use a different type of egg instead. Here are some options to consider.

Egg Drop

Egg drop is popular for a couple of main reasons. For one thing, it’s incredibly easy. All you have to do is scramble an egg, and drip it into your water while your noodles are cooking. For another thing, egg drop soup is a popular Chinese dish, and egg drop ramen makes for a fantastic fusion recipe.

If you are trying to replicate authentic egg drop, remember that the traditional Chinese method uses roughly a 2-to-1 ratio of white to yolk. If you have an extra yolk, you can use it later to boost your next batch of scrambled eggs.

Hard Boiled Eggs

Hard boiled eggs are easy to use because they’re versatile. You can make a batch, use one in your noodles, then snack on the rest of them over the course of a week. You can use them for salads or sandwiches. You can add a whole egg to a bowl of ramen, or slice it up and spread it out like any other topping. Use your imagination.

Soft Boiled Eggs

soft boiled ramen egg

Soft boiled eggs can be used for most of the things hard boiled eggs can be used for – except for sandwiches, which would be messy. They’re also easy to prepare in a batch, and can be stored in the fridge for around a week. Some people even marinate their soft boiled eggs in soy sauce overnight before using them.

Fried Eggs

Fried eggs are less versatile, but they have a nice, runny yolk, just like a poached egg. If you prefer a thicker yolk, you can opt for eggs over easy, or leave them to cook over hard for a firm, crumbly yolk. Regardless, it’s a great topping for your ramen.

Final Thoughts

A microwaved poached egg is a great way to top your ramen bowl. Next time you’re tempted to dump an egg into your broth, reach for a mug instead. It won’t take any extra time, and you’ll get a much better result, with a round yolk and a (relatively) intact white. Throw in a few extra toppings, and you’re good to go.

Rather have a fried egg? We have a step-by-step guide for that!

Or…how about a soft-boiled egg? Learn how to make one here.

Have you heard of a Japanese Onsen egg? Discover this awesome ramen topping in our article.

"Mike's Mighty Good has permanently changed my lunch game. Never knew an 'instant soup' could be so good."

Charles W. "Chuck" Bryant of the Stuff You Should Know Podcast