Difference Between Poaching and Boiling

Poaching vs Boiling

Poaching and boiling are very similar methods of cooking food items that require providing wet heat to the item to be cooked. Mostly water is the medium of heat, but poaching and boiling can also be done in milk or wine. Despite similarities, there are subtle differences of temperature and time taken to cook that differentiates poaching and cooking. This article takes a closer look at the two cooking methods.


Poaching is a method of cooking that requires food item to be kept in hot water or another liquid till that cooks. The temperature of the hot water is kept below boiling point, and the food item is either totally submerged or partly submerged in water. The liquid is either plain or flavored such as a syrup or a soup. The liquid remains still unlike in boiling where lots of bubbles come out all the time. Once the food has been poached, the liquid is quickly cooled by immersing the pan in cold water as keeping the cooked food in warm water for a long time can make the food go stale or bad. There is both shallow poaching and deep poaching of food items. Deep poaching is when eggs are totally submerged in hot water for some time while shallow poaching is when fish or chicken is kept partly submerged in hot water for cooking. Poached eggs are perhaps the best example of healthy cooking as you do not need oil or butter to prepare eggs.


Boiling is a wet cooking method that requires the temperature of water to be brought to boiling point and let the food cook with the heat of this agitated and turbulent water. Many foods are cooked by boiling but the easiest and by far the most popular of food items that are eaten after boiling are boiled eggs. Talking about boiling in water, the temperature is required to be brought up to 212 degree Fahrenheit. Once water has been heated to this temperature, it continues to remain at this temperature no matter how long you keep on heating it. It can only become steam further, but it will not become hotter than 212 degrees Fahrenheit. Boiling is typically reserved for cooking food items that are not very delicate.

What is the difference between Poaching and Boiling?

• Boiling and poaching are two cooking methods that make use of moist heat.

• Food item is kept submerged under hot water in both poaching and boiling, and the only difference is that of temperature of water.

• Boiling takes place at 212 degrees Fahrenheit, whereas for poaching the temperature is kept at around 160 to 180 degrees Fahrenheit.

• Poaching is suitable for delicate food items such as fish, eggs, and even chicken.