Fact: You can poach an egg without acid, although adding a tiny bit helps a lot with the egg white to set easier.

Current situation: My friend (a culinary graduate) 'poached' an egg without vinegar and he called it between boiled and poached but it's neither of them because there's no acid component. I (not a culinary graduate) told him that it's still a poached egg because of the action rather than the additional ingredient, in this case. He insisted that without acid that creates the ideal texture, it can't be called poached. He also told me to read culinary book (which I tried to look up on google but apparently they gave me recipes instead).

Additional Knowledge: According to online dictionaries, 'poach' is defined as

to cook in simmering liquid. 1 2

Since my friend told me to read culinary book, I assume there is an origin or culinary-based theory/definition about poached egg, which I don't know anything about.

Question: If I boil an egg out of its shell without acid, is it still called 'poached' egg, or is it simply a shell-less boiled egg?

  • Such dispute kind of indicates both bad time management and bad choice of friendship. Jun 24, 2020 at 6:29

1 Answer 1


As far as I understand it, poaching is poaching (cooking in simmering liquid)...whether it is an egg or a portion of fish. It is the cooking process. I don't think this is debatable.

While acid in the poaching liquid helps to denature the proteins and allow the white to more readily stay together, there are other ways to achieve this, by using the "vortex method", for example. No one could logically argue that this egg is not poached...and no one uses the phrase "shell-less boiled egg"....right?

  • 2
    I live in Portland OR, and I wouldn't be surprised at all to see someone offer me a "shell-less boiled egg" at a hoity-toity brunch place these days.
    – FuzzyChef
    Jun 23, 2020 at 22:35
  • 1
    @FuzzyChef...point taken. Sounds like a Portlandia episode in the making.
    – moscafj
    Jun 23, 2020 at 23:33
  • It's probably already an episode.
    – FuzzyChef
    Jun 25, 2020 at 5:39

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