How do you soft boil eggs



Hard-Boiled Eggs

  1. 1

    Place up to 6 eggs in a large saucepan. Make sure to use a saucepan large and deep enough to hold all your eggs in a single layer (not stacking any on top of the others) with some room for them to move around.[1][2]

    Use eggs that have been in your fridge for 1-2 weeks. Older eggs have less moisture and a higher pH, making their shells easier to peel off when you’re ready to eat.

  2. 2

    Cover the eggs with 1 inch (2.5 cm) of water. Place the pan in the sink and fill it with room temperature water until the eggs are covered by about 1 inch (2.5 cm) of water.[3]
    • The more eggs you boil, the more water you’ll need. If you’re using more than 6 eggs, cover them with 2 inches (5.1 cm) of water to ensure a good boil.
  3. 3

    Add vinegar or salt to prevent the eggs from cracking. Add 1 teaspoon (4.9 mL) of vinegar or 12 teaspoon (2.5 mL) salt to keep the eggs from cracking in the pan. Adding salt also makes it easier to peel the eggs when you’re ready to eat![4]

  4. 4

    Bring the pan to a rolling boil on the stove. Place the pan on the stove and heat it on high until the water gets to a rolling boil. You can leave the pan uncovered while you boil.[5]
    • If you see an egg crack while you’re boiling, continue cooking it. Some of the white might slip out of the shell a bit, but it will be safe to eat as long as you cook it fully.
  5. 5

    Turn off the heat and let the eggs sit for 6-16 minutes. Once the water reaches a rolling boil, shut off the heat, cover the pan, and let it sit on the burner for 6-16 minutes, depending on how hard you like your eggs.[6]
    • If you want your yolks a little translucent and runny in the middle, let them sit in the water for 6 minutes.
    • If you want a classic hard-boiled egg with a firm yolk, let your eggs steep for 10-12 minutes.
    • For hard, slightly crumbly yolks, keep your eggs in the water for 16 minutes.
  6. 6

    Strain the water and run the eggs under cold water. Pour the water out of the pan and run the eggs under cold water for a minute or so to stop them from cooking. Touch them gently to tell when they’re cool enough to handle.[7]
    • To test if your eggs are done, remove one with a slotted spoon, run it under cold water, and cut it open with a knife. If the yolk isn’t done to your taste, let the other eggs sit for 1-2 more minutes.
    • If you’re worried about your eggs rolling out when you strain, tilt the pan over the sink while holding the lid over the opening, so that the water runs out through a crack.
    • You can also cool your eggs by letting them sit in a bowl of ice water for 1-2 minutes.
  7. 7

    Store hard-boiled eggs in their shells in the refrigerator for up to a week. If you want to store your eggs, remove them from the water as soon as they’re cool. Set them back in their original carton to prevent them from absorbing other food odors and eat within 1 week.[8]
    • Only store hard-boiled eggs that are still in their shell. Once you peel the shell off, you should make sure to eat the egg that day.
    • If a hard-boiled egg feels slimy after you peel it, throw the egg away. This is a sign that bacteria have started to grow and the egg isn’t good.[9]
  8. 8

    Tap the egg on the counter and peel the shell under cold water. When you’re ready to eat, tap your egg gently on the counter to crack the shell, then roll it with the palm of your hand until the cracks have spread all over the egg. Then, hold the egg under running, room temperature water and peel the shell off.[10]
    • If you’re still having trouble peeling your eggs, crack the shells and soak them in a pot of water for 10-15 minutes. Water will work under the shell, making it easier to peel off.[11]
  9. 9

    Eat hard-boiled eggs plain, as an appetizer, or on a salad. Hard-boiled eggs with a dash of salt and pepper are great for a quick, healthy snack. You can also cut them in half to make deviled eggs, or slice them up for a tasty salad topper.[12]


Soft-Boiled Eggs with Runny Yolks

  1. 1

    Pour water into a large saucepan and heat to a boil, then simmer. Fill your pan with enough water to cover the eggs by about 1 inch (2.5 cm). Set it on the stove over high heat. Once the water gets to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer.[13]
    • Choose a saucepan that’s big enough to hold your eggs in a single layer. For a good measurement, set your eggs in the saucepan and fill it with water, then remove them before you start boiling.
  2. 2

    Add up to 4 eggs and let sit for 5-7 minutes. Use tongs or a spoon to set your eggs in the simmering water. Set a timer for 5-7 minutes, depending on how runny you want your yolk. If you’re boiling 3-4 eggs, add 15-30 seconds onto your time.[14]
    • For a runny yolk, let your eggs boil for 5 minutes.
    • For slightly firmer yolk, boil your eggs for 6-7 minutes.
    • Soft-boil in batches if you want more than 4 eggs.
  3. 3

    Remove the eggs and run them under cold water for 1 minute. Use a slotted spoon to pull out your eggs one by one. Run them under cold tap water for 30 seconds to a minute so they stop cooking and are cool enough to handle.[15]

  4. 4

    Set the egg in a cup or small bowl and tap around the top to remove. Place your egg upright in an egg cup or a small bowl filled with an uncooked grain, like rice, to keep it standing up. Tap the egg around the pointy top with a butter knife to loosen it, then pull it off with your fingers.[16]
    • You won’t be able to store soft-boiled eggs, so eat them right away, while they’re still warm and gooey.
  5. 5

    Eat the egg right from the shell or with toast. To eat, simply spoon the egg right from the shell into your mouth. You can also slice toast into thin strips and dip them into the yolk.[17]
    • If your egg is more firmly cooked, you can carefully crack it, peel the shell, and enjoy it on toast for a warm, savory breakfast treat.

Community Q&A

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  • Question

    I just want to know if the eggs float when you put them in the water, are they still good eggs?

    No. Fresh eggs sink in water. If it floats to the surface, it's bad.

  • Question

    How does boiling help the egg?

    It's just a way to prepare the egg for eating. You should always cook eggs somehow before eating to kill the bacteria in them. Boiling is the simplest and healthiest method.

  • Question

    Why don't microwaves boil things?

    Microwaves will boil liquids, but every type of heat is not appropriate for every kind of cooking.

  • Question

    What if the egg broke in the boiling water?

    The egg will be fine to eat. The white may leak out a little and it might be a little misshapen, but it doesn't affect the quality.

  • Question

    Can I boil eggs in a microwave?

    No. Microwaves do not boil things. Use a pot on the stove top.

  • Question

    Is boiling carrots the same as boiling eggs?

  • Question

    Do I need to wash my eggs before boiling them?

    No, you don't need to wash your eggs (unless they are farm-fresh, in which case it would be a good idea).

  • Question

    Can I boil an egg in an aluminum pan in an oven at 400 degrees for 15 minutes?

    It is not recommended to do this. You should try one of the other methods for best results.

  • Question

    Can I boil an egg inside of a kettle?

    Sure, though cleanup could be a mess if the egg breaks.

  • Question

    How long should the water stay boiling for before I turn off the heat?

    To soft boil an egg, place in 1” covered pot of boiling water for 6 minutes (US Grade Large). Yoke will be soft and thickened. To hard boil an egg, the time needed is 15 minutes in boiling water covering eggs 1 - 2”. Any time after this, the heat can be removed.

    Jeannie L

    Community Answer

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  • If you’re making hard-boiled eggs at a high altitude, let the eggs sit in the hot water for longer. You can also lower the heat and let them simmer for 10-12 minutes.[18]
  • If you’re using fresh eggs, try steaming them to make them easier to peel. Pour 12 inch (1.3 cm) of water into a pot and bring it to a boil. Place the eggs in the basket and steam for 15 minutes, then peel and eat.[19]


  • Don’t microwave an egg in its shell. The steam will build up inside the shell and make the egg explode.
  • Don’t pierce the shell before cooking. Though some recipes recommend this, using a non-sterile piercer can introduce bacteria into the egg. It also creates tiny cracks in the shell, which allow bacteria to enter after cooking.

Things You’ll Need

Hard-Boiled Eggs

Soft-Boiled Eggs