How to Make Perfect Soft-Boiled Eggs
Make your own soft-boiled eggs at home using the best and easiest method I've found. This recipe works great every time!
How to Make Perfect Soft-Boiled EggsJump to Recipe
They say that the sign of a true chef is being able to cook eggs in dozens, if not hundreds, of different ways. For so long in my home cooking, I couldn’t master the soft-boiled egg. It seemed like something that I would leave to fancy brunch places. Then, years ago, I discovered this method of making perfect soft-boiled eggs.
I used to drive myself crazy (an old egg failure post from the archives) trying different ways of making soft-boiled eggs, but I don’t even bother with other methods now. I use this method and only this method and have made literally hundreds of soft-boiled eggs over the years.
The first time I tried this method, years and years ago, I remember almost crying with happiness at how easy it was and how absolutely perfect the eggs turned out.
So, for your brunch well-being (and your wallet) read on and master these awesome soft-boiled eggs!
- Want a none-egg toast option? Try this Ricotta Tomato Breakfast Toast!
Table of contents
Choosing Eggs for Soft-boiled Eggs
For this method to work, the only things you need to remember when picking out the eggs are:
1) Get large or extra-large eggs.
2) Move the eggs straight from the fridge to the hot water. You don’t want them to come to room temperature before cooking.
3) For peeling, it helps to have slightly older eggs. That said, I’ve used new eggs from the store before and it works okay if you follow the peeling instructions below, but it’s always easier to peel slightly older eggs because the shell separates some from the whites.
Okay, let’s get to the fun part!
Cooking The Eggs
There are a million variables that go into Soft Boiled Eggs. Cook’s Illustrated did a massive spread many years ago detailing all the possible variables that go into soft-boiled eggs.
In short, the main issue with reproducing good soft-boiled eggs is that when you put the eggs in water, the water decreases in temperature and takes a while to return to the right temperature. So depending on the pot you are using, how many eggs you’re cooking, and your water levels, you can get pretty drastic results.
The way to remove this variable by using a very small amount of water. While it’s a bit counter-intuitive, the less water you have in the pot, the better results you will have. You want the water to return to a rapid boil as soon as possible so don’t use more than about a 1/2 inch of water in the pan.
What this means is that you are basically steaming the eggs instead of boiling them and the little amount of water in the pan will rapidly return to a boil regardless of how many eggs you cook.
Over the years, I’ve used this method for a single egg for me for breakfast or as many as a dozen eggs for a brunch party. It just works!
The method is really very easy.
Add 1/2 inch of water to your pan and bring it to a rapid boil over medium-high heat. Once it’s boiling, add in your eggs in a single layer in the pan.
How long to cook soft-boiled eggs
Cover the lid, return the pan to the heat, and set a timer for exactly 6 minutes 30 seconds. 390 seconds. No more. No less.
The pan should almost immediately return to a simmer which is what you want.
This timing should really work unless you have ridiculously large or small eggs, in which case you could adjust by 30 seconds either direction but for most standard-sized large or extra-large eggs, six and half minutes is perfect.
When the timer goes off, it’s very important to stop the cooking as soon as possible so remove the lid and immediately run the eggs under cold water for thirty seconds.
This completely stops the cooking.
At this point the eggs are done!
You can eat them immediately or save them for later. The whites will be nicely set and the yolks still runny.
Peeling Soft Boiled Eggs
Peeling eggs is always stressful. Especially if you know you’ve cooked them perfectly, it sucks to lose eggs because you can’t peel them.
To be honest, I don’t think there’s a 100% way to make sure you can peel the eggs right every time. I even tried the blow method which works great on hard-boiled eggs but leaves you with a handful of runny yolks for these.
The best chance you have is to make sure you are using slightly older eggs and to start cracking them at the larger end of the egg.
There’s a little air bubble that is normally on that end and you can use that to get a good start peeling. Work slowly and use the membrane around the egg to help lift the shell away from the egg.
It takes a bit of patience but I can usually peel one in about a minute or less.
To be honest, not all of my eggs peeled perfectly. One had some cracks but still very edible and one was a complete loss. I would guess that if I’m cooking a dozen eggs, I’ll get one or two that turn out less than perfect, but still cooked perfectly and very edible.
What to serve with soft-boiled eggs
I serve soft-boiled eggs with SO many dishes. You can change up eggs benedict by serving them with soft-boiled eggs rather than poached. This is actually easier if you are serving a lot of eggs benedict like possibly in these Reuben benedicts or these Duff Goldman benedicts.
You can also serve them in savory breakfasts like this vegetarian congee or this savory bacon oatmeal dish. Either of those would benefit from a jammy soft-boiled egg.
I would even serve an egg like this over a hearty salad. Think of this protein salad or even this roasted cauliflower salad!
Can you make these in advance?
Of course you can! Once they are soft-boiled, store them in the fridge for up to a few days. When you are ready to serve, reheat them in a pot of simmering water for about a minute and that will reheat the eggs. Then peel and serve them as you would if they were fresh out of the pot!
My Perfect Soft-Boiled Eggs Recipe
- 6 Eggs
- Bring about 1/2 inch of water to a boil over medium high heat in a pot big enough to hold your eggs in one layer.
- When water is boiling, add eggs straight from the fridge.
- Cover pot and let cook for 6 1/2 minutes exactly.
- Uncover pot and run cold water over eggs for 30 seconds.
- Peel eggs starting with the larger end of the egg and slowly working up the egg.
- Eat eggs immediately on whatever you want or store them for later!
Did you make this?
Snap a photo and tag @macheesmo so I can see your work.
220 Responses to “How to Make Perfect Soft-Boiled Eggs” Leave a comment
When I read that the contest would include internet subscriptions, I had high hopes that the winners would not be restricted to US residents… Alas, according to the full rules, not true. :(
Cathy from Canada
Cathy, I think that’s just the standard language for punchtab. In this case though, I don’t see why international readers couldn’t be in the giveaway. You’re signed up as far as I’m concerned!
The widget doesn’t seem to work on my phone, but I’d still love to be entered in the contest. Cook’s Illustrated is such an institution, and I love the artwork.
Yes I have tried soft boils eggs but when I tired to make them they turned out more like mush.
no, i usually just eat poached, but they look so good!
Please enter me.
Have never tried a soft boiled but love poached so I think I should!
I haven’t tried soft-boiled eggs, but I have used some Cooks Illustrated recipes that were fabulous!
Love soft boiled eggs. Need to try out this method… Sounds like a good Christmas morning breakfast to me.
I haven’t tried them before- in fact, I only just started liking eggs in general a few months ago! (Scrambled mostly).
Yes I have tried soft boils eggs but when I tired to make them it looked more like eggslaughterville. Ugh.
I love soft-boiled eggs!
The perfect breakfast!
They look like the eggs my grandmother used to make for me…I will now need to make these myself!
Actually, no. I’m too intimidated to cook eggs usually but they always look awesome in magazines, lol.
Off to the store to buy some eggs, thanks Nick.
Thank you i just had the best eggs ever.
Merry Christmas!!!! Eggs look perfect aaaaaaaaannd, thank you for the contest! I’ve heard many wonderful things about Cook’s Illustrated! :)
Interesting post, will have to try this. Thanks for the giveaway.
almost forgot – yes, I have tried soft boiled eggs. Loooooong time ago!
There is a hollow membrane bubble located at the large or wide end of an egg. If you take a pin (I use a thumb tack or push pin) and punch a hole into the wide end of the egg just through the shell (about 1/16th inch) without piercing all the way through the membrane this will allow the egg to expand and keep the shell from cracking while it cooks.
If you cannot see the widget on an android phone or tab open your browser, go to settings, touch advanced or advanced settings and make sure that Java is enabled.
I love soft boiled eggs!
Thanks for the tips. I may have to try this next week.
Haven’t tried soft boiled yet, but they do look pretty darn good!
I have never tried them before but I love eggs so I’m sure they’re awesome!
MmmMmmm. Soft boiled eggs. I have several Cook’s Illustrated cookbooks. Access to their onsite library of recipes would be awesome!
Would love this give away! The eggs look perfect!
I will try this method. Would also like to participate in this giveaway. Bev
Not crazy about runny yoke so no soft boiled eggs for me.
Great Nick another job well done Merry Christmas happy healthy new year too you and Becky
I used to be able to watch America’s Test Kitchen on a local PBS station, but after moving 1000 miles, I no longer can. Would love to have a subscription to Cook’s Illustrated.
drainbamaged.gyzmo at gmail.com
Definitely going to try this. A method that provides consistent results is what I have been looking for. I LOVE Cook’s Illustrated but haven’t been able to splurge on a subscription yet. Please enter my name. Thank you!
Love soft boiled eggs! I always refer to is at the “6 minute Egg”. Cook’s Illustrated has never let me down! Would love the chance to win!
Have you ever coddled and egg?
Yep! I coddle eggs a lot when I make dressings like Caesar salad dressing.
Yes, soft boiled eggs are the absolute best!
Never tried, but I love runny yolks! Now I have to try.
never tried softboiled eggs.. sounds good.
I love poached eggs but have never tried soft-boiled eggs!
Never tried soft boiled eggs but your post made me want to.
I have not tried eggs this way… thanks.
I have never tried them but my husband loves them.
No and I don’t think they’re my bag of tea :)
I’ve tried them, but they’re hard to do right, so I can’t wait to try this method!
Haven’t tried them yet, though this method looks totally doable!
I’ve never tried to make soft boiled eggs, but I’m going to try today!
Love, love, love runny eggs. This looks great and we will be trying them over the holidays. Thanks a ton, Nick, you always have interesting recipes and wonderful ideas.
I am a good cook and I too get frustrated with eggs. Merry Christmas to you and your wife. Stay safe and warm.
Oh. My. Goodness!!! Leave it to Cook’s Illustrated to make it foolproof. Had a lovely breakfast this morning of perfectly cooked, incredible edible soft-boiled eggs. EGGSELENT!!!!!
This may convert me to soft boiled eggs – it looks so simple and fool proof.
My grandma use to make soft boiled eggs when I used to sleep over at her house as a little girl, but I haven’t had one since!
I have never had any recipe fail that’s from Cook’s Illustrated or America’s Test Kitchen. I hope I win the giveaway. My dad used to make me soft boiled eggs for breakfast. They were always perfect.
Have a very Merry Christmas
I’ve never tried soft-boiled eggs, but I think my boyfriend will love these!
I’ve only ever had soft-boiled eggs at restaurants…I thought they’d be too difficult to make at home. But mine just came out great!
Thanks for trying them Matt! Glad they worked out!
Yep, I love soft boiled eggs! :)
I love how precise you were in describing all this. Great pictures as well. I am going to try them soon. Thanks for all the dedication to detail.
I haven’t, but they look awesome. My husband would definitely not like them though.
My subscription is running out. Sure could use a renewal.
I love soft-boiled eggs and have tried many times to make them as my mother did with no luck. I simply gave up but after seeing this method I will try again and hope for the best. Thanks for all the work you do, it is really enjoyed and used. Keep up the good work!
I’ve avoided soft boiled and poached eggs for years. The Chang egg method has conquered my fear of poaching. Now I can’t wait to try this new method for sof boiled eggs.
Never tried it…if it’s this easy, I may have to, though.
Haven’t tried it – but also saw it in cooks illustrated and my mouth is watering – cant wait!
Never have tried… but now I seriously want to! That breakfast with the toast and avocado looks like a good hangover cure…
I have not tried soft boiled eggs but they look like they’d be right up my alley!
I’d love a subscription!
I don’t think I’ve ever had a soft-boiled egg, but I like poached eggs with the yolk still runny.
Love soft-boiled eggs! I use a teaspoon to peel, seems to work, even with fresher eggs!
Is it as cold up there in WY as down here on the western slope? It is frigid!
I’ve never tried soft cooked eggs but I should. Anything by Cook’s Illustrated always turns out right. Hopefully I’ll win one of the subscriptions!
I’d love a subscription.
Thank you for a chance to win and the wonderful tips on the eggs. I can not wait to try them!!!
Yes! I love soft boiled eggs! Especially with toast to mop up the creamy yolk.
“Have you ever tried soft-boiled eggs?”
I love them on toast.
I haven’t ever tried them, but my husband has often dreamed about them. He’ll be so excited to try this!
I want to try these!
So satisfying to conquer a tough technique at last – nice work!
I’ve never tried soft boiled for 2 reasons. 1. I suck at peeling eggs. 2. I get the heebs over liquidy whites. I’m convinced to try this method though because runny yolks are food of the Gods! ;-)
You don’t have to peel soft cooked eggs to eat them. That is what egg cups are for. Stand your cooked egg up in a small cup or shot glass with the narrow point up. Take a knife (dinner knife will do) and lop the top off (about 1/2″ down). Use a small spoon (coffee spoon) to scoop out the goodness or dip toast strips into the yolk or scoop the whole thing out onto your plate or better, onto toast. I have never tried to peel a soft cooked egg, we only ate them in cups and we’ve always had special small spoons in our house. /Cathy
Yes, and I love them! (Especially cracked eggs, so I don’t have to peel them.)
I have never tried to soft boil eggs…but I’ve wanted to. I think maybe after this great description “how-to”….I may give it a try.
Love, love soft boiled eggs. Hit and miss though as to how soft they will be, so I will definitely try the exact timing here.
From time to time I pick it up at the store when I see the magazine; it always has good information and recipes.
I LOVE soft boiled eggs, but every time I make them they are undercooked and then I stick them in the microwave too long to firm them up and I am very disappointed. I look forward to trying this!
Will definitely try this method when I return home after Christmas (in-laws in Chitown). You are the first to mention that little air pocket on the wide end of the egg (of any blogs or cookbooks or shows I’ve seen). A friend taught me a trick to peel a boiled egg easily; not sure if it’s too rough on a softboiled egg, but worth a try: Give the egg a sharp/quick blow to the wide end on the counter. This will force that pocket of air towards the narrow end, separating the membrane from the egg. Then gently roll the egg on its side to crack the shell (between hands gives more control over the pressure). Begin peeling on wide end as you mention. I have been able to perfectly peel eggs the majority of times. Also, the cold-water bath immediately after cooking is a must. Happy Holidays! Yes, I’d love to win a subscription!
Interesting! I worry though that with soft-boiled eggs you would end up with runny yolk all over your counter… Sounds like it would work well for hard-boiled egs though!
My mom told me a great trick for getting the shell off…I tried it and it worked great.
If you add just a half teaspoon of baking soda to the water, the shell will come right off when you try to peel it!
I have never tried to cook soft boiled eggs. Maybe now I will. I would love one of those subscriptions.
Thank-You so much for this helpful Recipe. I must try this very soon. Great giveaway. I hope that you and yours have Wonderful Holidays!!!
no, i’ve never tried one.
I’ve had the same love/hate relationship with making soft boiled eggs: exact timing? what water temperature? what volume of water? cracking issues, etc.
I’ve found that steaming the eggs works amazing – the temperature is pretty consistent, the amount of water is a non-issue, there are no bubbles so less prone to cracking.
Slowly place them in your steamer basket when it’s hot
A medium to large egg –
– 6 minutes yields a perfect soft boiled egg,
– 7.5 minutes yields a perfect egg “mollet” (not runny, but moist yolk) which is great for salads.
Drop in ice water to stop cooking.
Give it a try. Egg sizes vary from country to country, so I would experiment the first time with 3 eggs at different intervals.
I use one of those electric egg thingys and they come out perfect every time! May be cheating, but it works every time. Love those little gadgets!!!
Cooks illustrated is an amazing resource. The time and energy they put into researching their recipes is pretty much second to none. Ive messed up Softboiled (or hard boiled or poached) eggs enough times that I normally don’t even bother anymore, but this technique sounds pretty solid so I’ll give it a go
I’ve never tried soft boiling eggs myself, but I love them and always order them when I go to restaurants. Perhaps I won’t need to do that anymore after I try this method! Thanks for the advice (both this time and all the cooking advice you’ve given before).
Very nice method. We “boil” eggs like that in a steamer in hotels – so the method is right on the mark.
When I was 10, I lived with my Grandfather and great-Grandmother. She made the most awesome soft-boiled eggs ever! I still remember the egg cups and cracking into one in the morning with the toast. Priceless!
I have never tried to make a soft-boiled egg.
I have never made soft-boiled eggs before…but I am going to try!!
I’ve had them but I’m not a huge fan. It’s likely because they’ve come as a result of under-cooking hard boiled eggs.
I haven’t tried soft-boiled eggs because I always thought they were rediculously hard to get right..until I read the CI article!
My mom used to make soft-boiled eggs at least two or three times a week when I was growing up. I have tried about a gazillion times and have never really had much success. I will definitely be giving this a try…maybe tomorrow or Christmas morning. Thanks again for all your amazing information. Merry Christmas to you.
Yes, I love soft boiled eggs. Looking forward to trying this method!
Never had one but would love to try out this method!
Love Cook’s Illustrated and Macheesmo! Those eggs look delish~
I told you this would work!! So glad you have a method to feed your cravings for soft boiled eggs!! I know I’ve eaten more eggs this way since I found this article in Cooks than I ever did before…
Never tried them before, Not a huge fan of eggs to be honest
I’ve never tried to make them.
Love, Love, Love Cook’s Illustrated! This makes me feel like I could really poach an egg… WOW! :)
LOL… This is perfect! My wonderful husband of 34 years is now wanting to learn to cook! So Please, a subscription to Cooks Illustrated… would be awsome. Merry Christmas!
I haven’t tried making soft-boiled eggs but my German grandmother would make them for me all the time when I was little. I’ve just learned how to poach them, but this will be the next thing I try!
Those definately look good enough to eat! Love CI.
My grandmother used to serve soft boiled eggs and toast for breakfast. I thought they were weird when I was a kid, but your post has me seriously reconsidering because I would love them now!
These soft-boiled eggs and your English muffins where a huge hit in my house today!
When we used to eat soft-boiled eggs regularly when I was a kid, we never shelled them. We just cracked the shell, broke them in half, and used a spoon to scoop out the innerds. I think this is the less-elegant variation of what I see in British TV shows when the upper-class are eating their eggs out of egg cups.
Hi, Love your blog:) I can’t wait to try this method for soft boiled eggs. Do you turn off the burner when you cover the pan? Thanks:)
Nope! Keep it simmering!
Hi, Nick. I know this isn’t the proper place to ask, but I haven’t heard anything about the new book and the recipe testing. I wanted to make sure I somehow didn’t miss any emails you may have sent out, though. Merry Christmas!
Hey Man! No problem. I have you down for the pulled pork chapter and I’m not quite ready for that to be tested… I’m kind of doing the testing in waves so I can keep up. I think I’ll send out that chapter in the next month or so. Thanks again!
I made a few of these last night and they turned out perfect. Now I must say I do not like soft boiled eggs at all…but…I’ve seen many people saying they are hard to make or there are special tricks so I had to see if I could even do it! You never know when you will have a guest who prefers them that way! So although I don’t like them…this recipe/method is perfect for them :)
I love softboiled eggs but they are hard to make just right – I’ll definitely try the 390 second rule!! My grandmother was notorious for peeling half the egg away with the shell when I was growing up, and for a lifelong egg lover like myself it was so painful to watch!! lol
Absolutely perfect eggs! We eat soft-boiled eggs a lot and although cooking them has never been a problem, getting them perfect every time didn’t always happen. But this method, wow, that was a lovely egg! We make them to eat out of an egg cup and I purposely make them early so that I can put little hand-knit sweaters on them to keep them warm until everyone comes to the table! Thanks for the method!
What a thoughtful person you are! I would love to come for breakfast at your house!
These came out perfect! All of them peeled perfectly and the eggs I cooked were only 4-5 days old, max, since I raise my own chickens. I have never been able to get soft boiled eggs right – I was about to break down and get one of those egg cookers (the West Bend recommended in CI), but no more! Thanks for the how-to!
It’s Saturday and the first day of my spring break! I love being able to sleep in. I’m trying this recipe this morning. Last night I baked some ciabatta. I think the two will go well together!
Wow! These were PERFECT! And really, these were less trouble than using the silicone cups for poached eggs. I may make them this way all the time. Thanks for another great recipe!
I have an egg timer like this : http://www.crateandbarrel.com/egg-timer/s353892
You plunk it in the water and the edges go dark then you take it out when the dark reaches the tab.
Wow, I do a lot of home cooking and have had only limited success with soft boiled eggs as sometimes there were over cooked and other times to soft runny whites. I was skeptical when I came across the above instruction on how to cook soft boiled eggs and to only add a half inch water just seemed to easy. I used 4 large eggs I had in the refrigerator for about a week and followed the instruction exactly except maybe the 6 minute 30 seconds as I had no timer, I just took the eggs off the stove when the clock hit 6 minutes and rinsed them in cold water right away as instructed, I was amazed at first on how each egg peeled so easily and all 4 came out perfect no ruined eggs :) My wife and could only mumble between bites on how perfect the eggs came out as the egg whites were firm, but the yolk still soft!
I plan on using the same method the next time I plan on doing deviled eggs, but cook a little longer as the eggs came out perfectly shaped and the old way of boiling you get what you get lol!
Thank you so much
Great recipe. A chef friend told me that putting a little vinegar in the boiling water for hard/soft boiled eggs makes the peel easily – seems to work!
A teaspoon works very well to peel boiled eggs. Crack the egg all around, insert teaspoon at the flatter end of the egg, work it in, down the side, keeping it just under the shell. Rotate the egg til it’s free of the shell.
I love this recipe except for one thing I noticed. I’ve tried making it twice, the first time was perfectly the second time not so much. Your instructions don’t say whether to keep it boiling or turn it off during the 6 mins.
Do you keep the water boiling or turn it off completely?
Heya! I see what you mean. That is a bit confusing. After you add the eggs and cover them, put the pot back over the heat. IT should be constantly simmering. Once the 6.5 minutes are over, then turn off the heat and run it under cold water to stop the cooking.
I’m sorry, still confused as simmering is different from boiling and when you say return to the heat and keep simmering, does that mean full bubbling boiling, OR turn the heat down to a simmer. Sorry if I’m just an “egghead”
Hey Karen, there is so little water in the pan that it would be tough to regulate the difference between a simmer and a boil, but in any case, I always just crank the heat up to high. So I guess that would be a BOIL. :)
From all the comments, I wondered if I was the only one to notice this too! Good to know to keep the burner ‘on’.
This worked! Thanks for the instructions
soft boiled eggs are my comfort food. my mom makes the perfect soft boiled eggs but ive never been able to master them! now that im an adult, mom doesn’t make me eggies as much as she use to. im definitely trying this method! I have a friend that got a few chickens this spring and will have fresh eggs. maybe 2013 will be MY year of the egg!
This method worked perfectly when I tried it this morning, thanks for the tip. I’m just amazed at how many people commenting on a food site have never tried soft boiled eggs .
I’m obsessed with soft-boiled eggs. I eat them for breakfast, lunch and dinner. They are part of at least 2 meals a week in my house.
A little trick for peeling that I recently learned (thanks to Chef Wylie Dufresne of WD~50)…add a teaspoon or two of baking soda to the water, depending on how many eggs you are cooking at once. I tried this trick on eggs that I just brought back from the farmer’s market and it worked like a charm! No struggling to peel or ugly, pitted whites.
Looks so easy! If you crack the shell and put in cold water they peel easy. Try it.
I just accidentally did this without reading anything! :D
Use baking soda in the water to peel the egg shells quicker, and easier.
Yes – Science = The perfect zen of soft boiled eggs
Been using this nothing-short-of-brillient CI method for quite some time.
SBE’s on everything!
Grilled asparagus, English/Gruyere/Jamon, crab cakes, etc. etc.
So ….. I’m having my cholesterol checked again soon!
My grandma ran a small stream of cold water over the eggs as she peeled them..I like that method the best for hard boiled eggs… Don’t know if it will work for these eggs but I’m gonna try it…they look good… Thanks
These worked perfectly for me! Hard whites on the outside and the yolk is just beginning to coagulate on the edges. As good as it gets. Thanks!
As a dedicated subscriber to Cooks’ Illustrated, I also have great success with this method, however my one or two eggs are done in 3.5 to 4 minutes!
I use the swift sharp smack with the sharp end of a table knife at the fatter end. If it doesn’t go all the way thru, it’s o.k. Because deft fingers will complete the transfer to a small heated bowl. Counter intuitively, I seldom get any tiny shards in the egg.
Saw on an episode of Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmerman while at the Grand Hotel in St. Petersburg, Russia, a perfectly cooked soft-boiled egg BUT the egg shell was cut perfectly smooth! So beautiful they even used the smaller part of the shell as a decoration. Now I’d love to know how that was achieved.
Used this method several times with 100% success! I just devour them after cooking…rather primal…but SO GOOD.
Here in Brasil the most oftenly used methode for peeling eggs is to peel them under running water. At the same time it cools them down and it helps to separate the membrane from the egg….
I love my Cooks’ Illustrated and soft boiled eggs and when I saw this post I let out a great big ME TOO!! I saw the article in Cooks’ this winter and was so excited about trying it out and then I filed it away without trying it and of course forgot where I’d seen that “perfect soft-boiled eggs” article and I’ve been searching for it ever since. So THANK YOU! I just had some truly awesome eggs with butter and toast. They came out perfectly, of course, but I never would’ve found the procedure if you hadn’t put it online.
Great Rachel! Glad they worked out for you!
After I add the eggs to the pan it says to “return the pan to heat” but it doesn’t have any instructions on removing the pan from the heat before that?
When am I removing the pan from the heat? Right after water starts to boil?
I leave it over the heat the entire time so the water stays boiling. That’s the best way to make sure they cook evenly. Good luck!
For the perfect cut shell to eat from an egg cup use a “eierschalensollbruchstellenverursacher”
You can get one from a german company name CLACK.
You out the egg in the cup, set the “tool” on top of the egg, drop the weight and it make a perfect crack around the top. after you lift the hat off, you can eat the egg with your proper egg spoon.
I tried this but for some reason the yolk was solid and the shell had cracked, even though I lowered it carefully into the half inch of boiling water. Maybe just an unlucky egg…
Hey Alex, are you sure you were using large eggs? If they cooked that quickly, they might be smaller in size…
I just had a bunch for 10 friends and cooked a dozen eggs (two batches) the day before using this method. I live at 5,000 feet elevation and had to adjust the cooking time slightly, adding 20 seconds more to compensate for the lower boiling temperature. I cooled and peeled them immediately using your tip of starting with the large end, under a trickle of cold water with the help of a teaspoon under the membrane – perfect. Held them in cold water overnight in a loaf pan. Perfect fit for twelve. At the brunch, I warmed four at a time “to order” in boiling water for a little over a minute. My guests were wowed and amused by the process and how perfectly they were done. So glad I found your post!
WORKED perfectly! Thank you!
I never peel my soft boiled egg. I hit it with a knife around the egg to break in half. Now just scoop all that goodness directly from egg to mouth!
If you add a teaspoon of baking soda before you place the lid on your pan it will make the peeling process easy. Trust me, I’m clumsy. I’m grateful for the recipe, I always under cook the egg or over cook it. Thank you for sharing!
This was in fact the most perfect recipe.
Uhhh yup! This worked perfectly. Thank you :)
Add baking soda to the cooking water and your eggs will peel effortlessly every time fresh or otherwise.
I struggle with boiled eggs so I’m super excited to try these in the morning! Poached eggs don’t taste as yummy as a perfect boiled egg.
I am following the directions but sometimes the eggs crack and then I have a mess. They do not crack every time I make them….sometimes they come out perfectly. I am not doing anything different …any suggestions?
Hey Pam, the only things I can think of is A) the eggs might have a small crack in them before going in or B) they are cracking as you are putting them in. B is probably more likely since there isn’t much water in the pan. You have to be pretty gentle with putting them in. There’s nothing about the cooking process that would crack them unless they are already cracked as far as I know… good luck!
Hi Pam, I can’t believe I’m following all these threads, but want to offer what I think will be the solution if you have not already found it. Using the 1/2 in of water, add a steamer basket, and put the eggs in as soon as the heat is turned on. Cover. The only tricky part is you must watch to see when water boils, by the stream emerging. Start timing for about 3 1/2 min. This way the shells gradually hear, reducing expansion shock, which can result in cracked shells. Briefly cool in cold water to handle, hit with table knife and scoop out with spoon.
You can remove the shell of every boiled egg in two pieces by using ONE trick! As soon as the egg is done, immerse it into freezing cold water for 30 seconds or so (it separates the fine skin that attaches the egg to the shell) then peel it immediately and your egg peeling days will be great, I promise! Make sure to share this trick with your followers. (I used to get very sore fingers simply because I was picking one tiny piece of shell off at a time). Thanks to my mom, my fingers enjoy removing two big pieces of shell every time!
Nick, You can remove the shell of every boiled egg in two pieces by using ONE trick! As soon as the egg is done, immerse it into freezing cold water for 30 seconds or so (it separates the fine skin that attaches the egg to the shell) then peel it immediately and your egg peeling days will be great, I promise! Make sure to share this trick with your followers. (I used to get very sore fingers simply because I was picking one tiny piece of shell off at a time). Thanks to my mom, my fingers enjoy removing two big pieces of shell every time!
I’ve always sucked at making soft boiled eggs when it’s one of my favorite ways to eat them. Couldn’t stop drooling while looking at that golden runny yolk! 6 minutes and 30 seconds!
Can’t waitv try… I love eggs add and soft boiled with toast is sho yummy. Thanks!
THANK YOU!! Worked perfectly! Cold water after cooking is the key to easy peeling.
Love the “how to cook perfectly soft boiled eggs
Have you ever tried saving them for later? How would you reheat them without cooking the yolk? Although if they are this easy and fast, there may be no reason, except my young kids love them, but they aren’t old enough to use the stove, and when we are in a hurry, it would be so convenient to just grab them. I actually make hard and soft boiled eggs in my instant pot on the steam setting, and they always peel easily.
I subscribe to CI and know they had something later about reheating soft-bailed eggs — I was hoping this would either point me to that or contain the method. Apparently it can be done. I’ll keep looking to remind myself how.
I’ve made them in advance. If you just pop them in steaming water for about 45 seconds, they warm up but are still soft. You might have to do a trial run to make sure, but for me 45-60 seconds does the trick!
Wow these are perfect!! Thanks so much for the beyond descriptive tutorial. I made 3 and the first one I forgot to peel from the air bubble so I messed it up, but the other 2 turned out great. Thank you so much, this is going to be my daily breakfast now!
So many comments on the lowly egg!!!
It DOES make a difference whose eggs are chosen…ie, a very successful grocery chain has cheaper prices on their own eggs, but turn out a watery, thin egg when following my own method of soft boiled eggs….so pay a little extra and get your traditional result. The watery egg can absolutly ruin a sponge cake recipe…like upside down cake, and many other recipes.
My way: cold egg plus cold water to cover egg, no lid, timer set for 9 minutes, and Ready!! I remove egg from water which had just begun to boil, run egg cup or intended dish through remaining water. Hot egg, hot vessel…great. easy. I feed the dogs during that nine minutes!
I’ve always had great luck peeling my eggs with a spoon. Find a spoon that has approximately the same curve as your egg. After you crack the egg, run a bit of water over it (or the spoon) and slide the spoon between the shell and the white. It should come off like a dream!
Well mine are cooking now but the second I put them into the hot water from the fridge, one of them exploded into the water.
To peel a hard boiled or soft-boiled egg perfectly, add one half teaspoon of baking soda to the water before it starts boiling. Works for me every time. Can’t wait to try your method of soft boiling eggs.
This is the first I’ve heard that soft boils eggs were difficult. I’m really confused. I’ve been eating soft boiled eggs my whole life and I’ve never thought this to be a difficult task. The only catch is sometimes if I stop it too early there might be a very small amount of runny whites in top of the yolk but it’s easy spooned away.
All I have ever done is placed 2-3 eggs in a medium pan, barely cover the top of the egg with cold water, put the burner on high and time 10 minutes from the moment I put the pot on the burner. Boom done, seriously.
Run it under cold water immediately and eat a minute or two later.
Also, recently I got an electronic timer that I got at a dutch store, it’s shaped like an egg, you actually put it in the water. When the egg is ready for soft boiled it will play a song. When it is ready for medium, a second song, when ready for hard it plays a third song.
I think one mistake people are making is boiling the water and THEN adding the egg. I never do this.
You’re method sounds interesting, I might try it sometime, but it seems necessary.
But are you able to actually peel your eggs whole using that method? That’s what I was going for and this method is pretty successful for that.
Just tried it. This. Is. Legit.
Just tried this!! It works great! Perfect!!!!
My wife went back to work teaching & now I need to learn how to cook good fast.
My eggs must be too big or something, because I did everything exactly as written and my egg whites were runny on the inside, so my peeling had to be done quickly, and I couldn’t rinse them as they were gooing all over my fingers, leaving tiny bits of shell. It was a disaster basically, and a waste of 2 beautiful backyard eggs. I’m sticking to my tried and true poached eggs for now on lol.
I’ve been searching for the perfect recipe for soft boil eggs and alas I have found it here. Thank you so much Nick, I tried it and it worked perfectly, I thoroughly enjoyed my soft boiled eggs with an English muffin and it was AWESOME!!! I even thought to myself I just might my skip the whole poached egg process because this is easier although I got my skill down on poaching eggs, which I happen to love very much. It does bring back memories of when my mother used to serve us soft boil eggs in an egg cup. Next time I’m going to sauté a bit of shallots, garlic and spinach top it on an English muffin and dress it with the soft boiled eggs. Hollandaise Sauce or not its always good…
I will try this Nick. I love eggs!
I recently made hard boiled eggs using the Nom Nom Paleo method and they were perfect. Here is the link if you want to check it out!
When I hard boil my eggs, I find that what works for easy peeling, is first the method of fridge to boiling water…But…..before I put in the water I take a needle and pierce through the shell using the back of a wooden spoon…….peeling is easy…..works great.
I have never tried doing eggs like this before. The eggs look so good that I am going to start doing this from now on.
Thank you so much!I’ve never even tried soft boiled eggs but they were so delicious!I loved the texture :D
I love the soft boiled egg way to cook them. Am trying right now.
Made as directed and produced a perfect soft boiled egg. Thanks
This is a fantastic tutorial. Mine were perfect- some old eggs mixed with fresh. The old eggs were definitely easier to peel!
I found this article very interesting about the the soft boiled eggs! Made me laugh because I still call my mom to ask “how many minutes” is it again? 4, 5 or 6??? I cannot have my eggs too over done or too “gooky” as I like to call snotty yolks! Here is my mother’s method. Eggs in the pot before the water and the water just barely covers the eggs. Bring to a boil and then time for 4 1/2 minutes, remove from heat and run under cold water. Now here is a tip about peeling the egg – keep it under the running water and starting from the flat end begin to peel allowing the water to get under the shell and peel away. This also prevents the shells from sticking to your fingers and keeps your fingers from getting burned by the hot egg!
Oh my!!! My first attempt at soft boiled eggs were a success and its all due to this article!! I just finished eating these divine eggs and had to tell you how blissfully good it is. Day made!
They turned out PERFECT, thanks for sharing :) love from Sydney Australia x
Loved this post – Thanks for sharing. Too bad I missed the giveaway, but still so much great info about the eggs!
I just wanted to drop a note and invite you to come join us at Sunday’s Simple Homemaker Link-Up. Would really love to have you link-up!! http://www.prairiegalcookin.com/sundays-simple-homemaker-1st-weekly-link-up
Heya! Thanks for the invite! I added this post to the link up. :)
Got to try this method. I love soft boiled eggs. I remember Mum making them for me in the morning and putting them in egg cups. We would take a knife and hit the egg at the narrower end cutting through the egg and shell. Then Mum would serve them with buttered bread cut into strips which she called “soldiers” . Nothing tastes better than “soldiers” dipped in a nice warm soft yolk.
Thanks so much for linking up over at Sunday’s Simple Homemaker on Prairie Gal Cookin! Please feel free to drop in and leave a link or two on this week’s link-up, we’d love to see what you’ve been up to! http://www.prairiegalcookin.com/sundays-simple-homemaker-2nd-weekly-link-up/
OMG that is the perfect recipe! I had to come back to thank you Nick.
I’ve tried the Soft Boiled Eggs and I assure you it’s the eassiest and most accurate way of cooking them. The eggs I had in the ref were old and It took me 3 seconds to peel them. So I really want to thank you for this recipe.
Hi! I just tried the method and I worked perfectly. Thank you!
Does anyone else have an issue with their eggs cracking when you first place them into the boiling water? I usually make about 6 eggs at a time and it seems like at least 2 always crack right after touching the water.
I had high hopes for this method. I tried it with one egg. Water cooked away Just as timer went of. Egg is PERFECT. Is the water supposed to cook away ?
Hey Peg! Glad it worked! That can happen depending on your pot and how much water you use. Obviously, if you need some water to make steam so if you’re doing it and the water evaporates completely and you have a few minutes left then you’ll need to add more. Glad it worked though!
These were perfect and I felt super accomplished nailing a soft boiled egg on my first try! Thanks
So glad they worked for you Sarah!
Worked perfectly the first time and every time since. Thank you for the instructions!
How long do these keep and the yolk will stay runny?
Hey Melanie! Sorry for the delay. You can make them a few days in advance without a problem and then reheat them by dunking them back in hot water for a minute. The yolks will stay runny as long as you don’t overcook them. Good luck!
Thank you so much!!
This is how I stumbled onto your website years ago. I’ve been a constant reader (Stephen king shout out) ever since.
Thanks for reading sir!
Cooked 2 eggs a few seconds to long the yoke was almost all soft. Going to try again until its perfect, maybe 15 seconds instead of 30.
This is the first time I can think of that I managed to make perfect soft boiled eggs. Usually I end up with slimy, half cooked whites or yolks so hard they are difficult to eat and swallow (think thick soft chalk…yuck). I followed the tips exactly and they came out wonderful so thank you, thank you!
Hi Jane! Thanks for the comment. So glad they worked for you. I still use this method ALL the time as well. :)