how to soft boil an egg

After years of struggling to perfectly poach an egg, I discovered I could get much of what I liked about them from soft-boiled eggs, with a zero percent failure rate to boot. My technique is just like that of my hard-boiled eggs, except I drop the boiling time down to 6 minutes. This assures a solid white and soft yolk, and the pinnacle of deliciousness spread over buttered toast and topped with a pinch of salt.

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10 comments on how to soft boil an egg

  1. KSK

    Since I eat soft-boiled eggs at least 1-2 times a week, I purchased an egg-cooker from Williams Sonoma. The best one-task kitchen gadget I’ve ever purchased! I now get perfect soft-boiled, medium-boiled, hard-boiled and poached eggs every time.

  2. Yesterday, while I was at work, my cousin stole my apple ipad and tested to see if it can survive a 40 foot drop, just so she can be a youtube sensation. My iPad is now broken and she has 83 views. I know this is totally off topic but I had to share it with someone!

  3. 6 minutes is wrong. Have done it Twice both times hard as a rock. 3.30 soft. 4 min medium for 700 gram egg. 6 minutes hard as a Rock

  4. kat

    I just had my eggs done with above method (with time extended to 6.5 minutes) and they were perfect! The one variable that needs to be added here is the amount of water you are boiling. If you use a big pot with 1 liter of water and then drop 3 eggs into it, the eggs will not cool the water, which will maintain the boiling temperature. I used a tiny pot which sits 3 eggs snugly and 1 cup of water. When I dropped the eggs in at the boiling point, the water did not resume the rolling boil until 3 minutes in. My eggs ended up almost boiling for 3 minutes and boiling properly for 3.5 minutes.

  5. Corynne

    I’ve been using your hard-boiled egg method for a whole and they always come out perfect. This morning I was craving soft boiled eggs so gave this a try. The timing was perfect and I let them cool in the ice bath for probably 8 min before having them over my toast. My only complaint is that they were a bit cooler than I would like… should shorten the cooling time or would it be better to warm them again somehow after (which seems a bit redundant to me). Thanks in advance!

    1. Madison

      I like to eat my soft boiled eggs warm, too, so I only leave them in the ice bath 2-3 minutes or so. Basically you want to cool them *just* enough so you can peel them without burning your fingertips.

  6. Madison

    For the many, many people here who seem to be ending up with overdone eggs, here are three things that really help me out:

    1) I think the important thing to note here is that, if you read closely, Deb never says, “wait until water comes back to a boil and then start your timer.” In her boiled egg recipe (which she references here), after the direction to lower eggs into the boiling water, it just says “cook 10 minutes.” I don’t think she means for you to wait until water comes back to a boil—though I can understand why you would wait, if you’re thinking it’s like pasta—but instead, I think she means, essentially, “start your timer when you lower the eggs into the water.” This is much more consistent across the board. I do it this way every time, and 6 minutes is perfect, with a fully liquid yolk. I just start my timer once I lower my eggs into the water, as, I think, Deb intended all along. And if you have enough water (explained below), your water won’t really stop boiling when you add your eggs anyway.

    2) The only other thing to keep in mind is you want to have enough hot, boiling water that when you add your cold eggs, the water temp doesn’t get so low and take forever to get back to a boil (which would then tempt you to cook them even longer). So, just make sure you have lots of water/a big pot, and don’t crowd your eggs in the pot/saucepan. A large saucepan is what I use for anywhere between 2-4 eggs. I’d do a full-sized, large pot for 5 or more eggs and I wouldn’t do more than 9 at once, since by the time I’d carefully lowered the ninth egg in, a full minute of cooking time would have already passed.

    3) I don’t do an ice bath for regular hard boiled eggs, when it’s not as vital that the yolk stay completely uncooked, but I definitely recommend the ice bath method here to keep your yolks at the optimum liquid level.