soft eggs with buttery herb-gruyere toasts

I wish I could tell you that I had good reasons for sharing this recipe today, earnest ones. If I were a different sort of writer, I might dig deep into my past and crank out a few graphs about my late German grandfather, who ate a soft-boiled egg for breakfast every morning for as long as my mother remembers. (Also, brisket for dinner.) Maybe I’d tell you about the period of 2004 when I did the same, pining for the perfect crouton, perhaps buttered toast fingers raised to a previously unfathomable level of deliciousness, but didn’t get to it until this week.

romano and gruyere, finely grated
minced parsley

And while each story would be in some ways true, none are the actual truth, which is that we’re talking about soft-boiled eggs today because omg I found the cutest set of egg cups, egg cups with chickens! and I had to buy them. Yeah, shopping. I told you the story would be better left to more artful scribe. To buy them, however, I’d have to use them, and to use them, it was time to consider the crouton, and not just any crouton but the very most intensely delicious crouton I could dream up. There’s an ample amount of melted butter and a slip of Dijon mustard, there’s Gruyère and a tiny bit of Romano cheese, whose kicky/nutty saltiness has me fixated lately. There are herbs, too, and this whole mixture is literally caked onto fingers of sourdough bread, then roasted in the oven until bronzed, fragrant and tormenting.

sliced sourdough

slices into fingers
butter and a little dijon
tossed with butter, cheese, herbs
croutons with caked-on deliciousness
a rare glimpse of the oven, a-sizzling
buttery herb-gruyere toast soldiers

Nevertheless, I hope you can forgive this extended, obsessive breakfast kick I’m on. It’s what I do when the weather is warm and I crave lighter meals but spring produce is yet to be seen. Plus, as we all know, eggs are hardly just breakfast food and these croutons needn’t be limited to breakfast. Cut into cubes, they could turn the saddest bag of freakishly ever-fresh salad greens into something you’d eagerly anticipate (though, for this I’d probably swap smooth Dijon for coarse and add a press garlic clove as well). And when those little green spears do emerge from the earth, I’d make this ribboned salad, with a couple of these on the side. They also make excellent rewards for kitchen help, should you keep your own heap underfoot.

soft eggs with buttery herb-gruyere toasts
buttery herb-gruyere toast soldier, usage 1
buttery herb-gruyere toast soldiers, usage 2

Egg cups: I found them here.

One year ago: Oat and Maple Syrup Scones
Two years ago: Bakewell Tart and Romesco Potatoes
Three years ago: Cream Cheese Pound Cake and Strawberry Coulis and Beef Empanadas
Four years ago: Caramel Walnut Upside Down Banana Cake and Chicken with Almonds and Green Olives
Five years ago: Bulgur Salad with Chickpeas and Red Peppers and Risotto al Barolo

Soft Eggs with Buttery Herb-Gruyere Toast Soldiers

I include the basic, simple soft-boiled egg instructions that always work for me. However, if you want a very cool read on how to obsessively ensure that your eggs are perfect every single time, well, you’ve got to read this.

16 sourdough toast fingers (mine were from 1/2-inch thick slices, cut into 1/2-inch batons)
4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon smooth Dijon mustard
Freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup finely grated gruyère cheese (about 1 1/2 ounces)
2 tablespoons finely grated Romano cheese
1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme leaves (optional)
4 large eggs

Make croutons: Preheat oven to 400°F. Place bread cubes in shallow, wide bowl. Whisk together butter and Dijon, then pour over bread fingers. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, both types of cheese, parsley and thyme, if using. Toss to coat. Spray rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray. Scatter bread on sheet. Bake croutons until crisp and golden, turning, about 20 minutes. Set aside.

Meanwhile, cook eggs: Bring a medium pot of water to a steady boil. Add eggs and cook them for exactly six minutes, maintaining the heat at a simmer, then drain and rinse them briefly in cold water.

Holding the egg vertically, pointier side down, with a towel or paper towel to protect you from its heat, tap a knife around the “neck,” about half an inch below the top so that you can remove a little “lid” area. Place the egg in a small dish, opened side up, and serve with a small spoon and toast soldiers.

Don’t have adorable chicken or other tiny egg cups and spoons? With a little patience, you can peel the soft-boiled eggs as you would a hard-boiled one. It’s tricky, because they are liquid in the center, but doable. For this method, arrange four of your croutons on a small plate. Place the peeled egg over the croutons and smash it lightly, delightfully (if you don’t find this to be really fun, I am not sure we can be friends) with a fork. Season with salt and pepper and eat with a fork and knife.

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231 comments on soft eggs with buttery herb-gruyere toasts

  1. 1st: I love soft cooked eggs
    2nd: the crouton idea is way better than me pulling off bits of toast to dip
    3rd: I want to kiss those cute chicken egg cups or just fill them with everything.
    mine are plain olive wood. Beautiful, but not cute.

  2. Angie

    Oh Deb — those croutons are calling to me…I’m seriously off to the kitchen to see if I can toss together a version of them right this instant!

  3. Any time anyone calls pieces of toast cut like that soldiers, my heart smiles. Any time you cake them with cheese, butter, and herbs *and* call them soldiers is cause for celebration.

  4. Oh, those croutons! Those are everything I want. Soft boiled eggs in egg cups have always left me curious. You know, that whole lid thing? It freaked me out as a child. But this, this makes sense to me. Now I get it. (LOVE those cups! So cute!)

  5. The breakfast kick is fine with me. It’s one of my favorite meals of the day. Plus, breakfast food is acceptable any time of the day in my mind.
    Those egg cups are beautiful!

  6. Sarie

    My husband is obsessed with chickens. I think that means I can buy these without checking with him? He’s also obsessed with my cooking–much of which is from your site. I really only see wins here.

    1. deb

      Nina — That was from Whole Foods. I wasn’t terribly picky (though it was a great loaf; they are supplied by a lot of local bakeries) because it was just croutons. If I have time, I love buying bread at Balthazar; it’s surprisingly inexpensive.

  7. Yael

    Simple and divine. Do you think the Gruyere application could be used on asparagus spears? Not that I don’t LOVE bread, don’t get me wrong, I am a breadatarian, I believe in bread. But I’m just wondering.

  8. Oh Deb, you don’t need a fancy reason to cook something up for us. Extended breakfast is welcome anytime! Funny you call them soldiers, I didn’t know anyone else called them that, until I heard my Hungarian husband naming little bite-sized sandwiches that…!

  9. Confession: my salads are usually just a vehicle for croutons and cheese. I mean, greens are great, but I’d be lying if I said the best part was anything other than the buttery, crispy bread croutons :) I’ve never been a huge soft boiled egg fan, but these toast soldiers are definitely being added to my cooking arsenal!

  10. I have been obsessing over soft boiled eggs for a spell. It all started with a trip to Berlin and being served an egg in a cute little cup every morning. Sopping up yolk with a crouton….. hello!

  11. Our kids love this for breakfast with tea- my son calls it a Narnia breakfast. :) Those egg cups are sooo cute(they were the first thing I noticed in your picture!)- and the spoons! Your soldiers will definitely be lining up for our next Narnian breakfast.

  12. Kat

    Soft boiled eggs are one of my favorite things for breakfast (although my husband has an aversion to them, so we haven’t made them in a while). I fell in love with the egg cups from the first photograph, thanks for the link!

  13. Sue

    Well, I can fill in the story you need. I have a ceramic chicken egg-holder and it must be at least 50 years old. It was hand painted by my german Auntie, who made one for everyone in my family. She painted them and wrote our names on them in gold ink. They must have been Christmas presents. It’s the cutest and I always think of her when I use it!

  14. Jennifer

    The very best gift I ever bought was an egg cup for my mother-in-law from Tiffany’s. It even came in a Tiffany’s signature blue box.

  15. Mary Jo

    Here is another timing tip for perfect soft (but not runny) boiled eggs. Put large eggs straight from fridge into cold water. Turn on timer at same moment you turn on burner (if it is gas, if not, I have no clue) and set timer for 8 minutes and 15 seconds.
    The croutons are a must try!! Love your blog!!

  16. Meg

    Since we have recently acquired our own chickens in the ‘burbs, we’ve taken to having a soft boiled egg nearly every morning. I would suggest, though, that attempting to peel a soft boiled egg as you would a hard boiled one is just looking for trouble. We’ve tried using egg snippers, but they more often than not just crush the whole thing. Simply hold the egg in hand and whack briskly with a table knife — across the egg just below the narrow end, but above the yolk area. Lift away the top. Then using a spoon (we use espresso spoons) scoop along the inside of the shell and drop the yummy, nutritious contents into the egg cup. Sadly, we don’t have darling egg cups (Christmas list!), but we do have espresso cups, a multi-tasker if ever there was one. — Thanks for all you do.

  17. I have memories from when I was a child eating soft boiled eggs with strips of toast every Saturday morning. It was such a treat and it was always made by my father. Soft boiled eggs on Saturdays, pancakes on Sundays. Thanks for the trip down memory lane (even if it was inspired by shopping!). :)

  18. OMG, I’ve been craving eggs all day, and after seeing your post, I’ve decided to make them for tomorrow’s breakfast. Thanks for sharing!

  19. Amy P

    I keep meaning to make croutons, but never getting around to it. Thanks for the kick in the butt! I will make these this weekend. There. Now I have to do it.

  20. What a great idea making little crouton fingers to dip! It’s so simple but I don’t think I would have thought to do it. It makes it all look so elegant and easy to eat instead of the usual mess soft boiled eggs can be. Thank you for posting this!

  21. Soft boiled eggs as photographed by you are so tempting…glad to see I’m not the only one that covets small ceramic serving dishes (I’m currently waiting to stumble upon my next great mini creamer). Have you ever tried coddled eggs? I’ve been reminiscing about that ceramic doohickey with a screw top from when I was a kid – you drop a cracked egg in it and place the coddler in a pot of boiling water to cook.

  22. First time I ever had soft boil eggs served in an egg cup, I had no idea how to break it open. This was a brunch with my husbands relatives whom I had never met. It was awkward to say the least but since has become one of my favorite breakfasts to date. Love the toast. Such a great idea.

  23. Alice C.

    Deb, those egg cups are adorable!! Also, I totally agree, I love love love smashing eggs and seeing the egg yolk run out. No judging. :P

  24. kel

    There is only one word.


    Not sure that is a word, however I would use it in scrabble.

    I need to order those egg cups and make this. Seriously.

  25. Jeannie

    I opened up my email and you had me with the title. This sounds so YUMMY and not that hard to pull off even for me the klutz!

  26. Giovani

    I love everything about this post, that last picture looks like so much fun! Just pulled some bread out of the freezer, can’t wait to try this. Thanks for sharing.

    I almost don’t want to say in case it dissuades anyone from buying those adorable little egg cups but we use shot glasses at home. Works in a pinch.

  27. Casey

    I’m a huge fan of eggs for any and all meals, and these look both adorable and temptingly delicious. But… I have never ever had a soft boiled egg. It hardly seems possible to eat it without either leaving bits behind or else breaking the shell more, especially since I’m a bit of a messy eater. I’m curious to know whether there is a special technique to be mastered, or if it really does end up being a eggy mess.

  28. OMG. This is your most tempting, sexiest post EVER. (And I’ve been reading for years!) I die for soft boiled eggs. I love that you found the perfect egg cups. I love that you made those delicious looking toasts for dipping. My daughter and I call these “dippy eggs”. Yours look fabulous! And now for Sunday breakfast tomorrow…….

  29. Heather

    Okay, someone please explain the egg-in-cup thing to me – I’ve never done it, and, uh, don’t you leave most of the egg behind in the shell? I am all for runny egg yolk and all, but it just seems like a waste of an egg. What am I missing? Enlighten me.

  30. Andrea

    This takes me back to my childhood. I have just ordered some egg cups from Amazon and cannot wait to try this grown up version of eggs and soldiers.

  31. Any reason for a recipe can be reason enough! And these egg cups are CUTE (!) and so surely sufficient in that regard. Also, your eggs look perfectly done. I’ll be trying your method, and then the obsessive Serious East one.

    I think you’re right about breakfasts in the pre-springtime produce period. They seem only proper: light and cheery and all of that. So thanks for another good recipe!

  32. Any reason for a recipe can be reason enough! And these egg cups are CUTE (!) and so surely sufficient in that regard. Also, your eggs look perfectly done. I’ll be trying your method, and then the obsessive Serious East one.

    I think you’re right about breakfasts in the pre-springtime produce period. They seem only proper: light and cheery and all of that. So thanks for another good recipe!

  33. Danielle

    You just killed me with that last picture, aka heaven on a plate. *swoon*

    I wish I liked mustard, I understand its culinary uses since many recipes would not be the same without it, but it makes me want to throw up. If only there was a mustard that wasn’t so….mustardy? =(

  34. You’ve totally classed up the humble soft boiled egg. Love it! I often eat my soldiers with vegemite dipped into the soft runny yolk. I know you Americans can’t fathom the taste of vegemite but it’s the same concept as the gruyere and mustard, salty and bitey against the creamy yolk.

  35. grace

    Oh, I don’t know… Your writing is so descriptive that although it’s 1 am here, I’ve been turning my fridge upside down looking for a sliver of Gruyere and some Dijon, and my cupboard for some sourdough bread. Alas, don’t have any of those, the stores don’t open until noon, I’m starving and don’t think I can wait for all that deliciousness.
    The eggcups are gorgeous, too. :)

  36. The egg holders are adorable and I’m the same way – I have to justify buying certain items by having others get use out of them or bare witness to their existence. I have never made a soft boiled egg and have never been much of a yolky person, but when you dip a crunchy salty cheesy grueye crouton in it, I’m on board all the way. Great thinking, and cute egg holders ;)

  37. Beanwean

    As cute as those egg cups are, the first thing I thought of when I saw this post is how it is high time I got my egg coddlers off the shelf and put them back into service. The great thing about coddlers is that you can season the eggs before cooking (or not at all) and there’s no mess with the shell. Plus, the coddlers themselves can be used for all sorts of things besides eggs. Bonus!

  38. I’m having serious breakfast envy, but that is about to change. The people that prevent me from eating eggs for dinner every night are leaving for a week tomorrow. I was so excited for super hero eggs (your recipe, but I’m too lazy to look up the spelling right now) and now there is this. So excited. And jealous of the world’s cutest egg cups.

  39. I always feel I’m missing out by not eating dippy eggs and you’re post does nothing to change that. I was positively druelling!
    I adore those cute egg cups ~ I’d have to buy them too ;D
    And then there’s the croutons! They look so delicious…I bet they’d be wonderful in some homemade soup (sorry but we’re heading into autumn and winter here in OZ, so soups on my mind) :D

  40. Aislinn

    I can’t enjoy this recipe to the fullest extent just because I don’t like egg yolk, especially runny egg yolk. Your pictures make me feel like I’m missing out, though. However, those croutons will be happening in my kitchen as soon as I can get my hands on a good loaf of bread!

    Quick editing note: I think you meant “saltiness” instead of “saltines” in the second paragraph?

  41. It’s 6am and I’m thinking this sounds like the perfect solution to my Sunday breakfast after the Farmers’ Market. Thanks I can see lots of uses for these savory little toasts.

  42. Those ARE the cutest set of egg cups! My dad often made me soft-boiled eggs with toast strips (what we called “dippies” in our house) and now I make them for my kids. I adore the idea of dressing up the toast with herbs and Gruyere.

  43. Oh my! This looks absolutely amazing and I’m loving your breakfast kick. I’ve never made soft boiled eggs before. I’ve been on a poached egg kick over the last year, inspired by one of your posts in which you suggest that you can turn anything into breakfast by plopping a poached egg on top of it. Never had poached an egg before then either, so I suspect I’ll be OCDing on the soft boiled egg for a while…and the toasts?!? Brilliant! I Smitten Kitchen.

  44. Anyone who knows me knows that I am a breakfast fanatic. I could it breakfast three meals a day. What a delicious way to elevate a simple egg with the Gruyere toasts. You can be certain I will be trying this recipe.

  45. This dish is absolutely gorgeous. I will definitely prepare this in the very near future with some good crusty bread. You can also never go wrong with the cheeses, but I was thinking that it might also work well with parmesan cheese.

  46. Glad I am not alone in being lured into buying cute kitchen things and then having to create new recipes to use them! These toast soldiers are crying out for some poached eggs.
    Thanks for the inspiration.

  47. Anna

    I love soft boiled eggs, I remember my mother making them for my breakfast every couple of weeks. I’ve been hankering for one for months, but I’m pregnant and undercooked eggs are apparently not something I should be eating. Meh.

  48. Deborah Chapman

    Total yumminess! The Easter bunny tucked those egg cups into my children’s Easter baskets some years ago. I must say, my children were also in love with the gadget for cutting off the top of the egg — but this makes for a less pretty photo. A perfect post for a spring Sunday. But please fix “saltines” which I think was meant to be “saltiness”. Sorry to be a nit-picker.

    1. deb

      Deborah — Gah, thanks.

      Heather — You eat the whole egg with the spoon (and dipping toasts into the liquid center), leaving the shell behind. The holder holds the egg upright.

  49. Okay, now I’m thinking of “Bread and Jam for Francis,” a kid’s book (series) that I read quite a bit when I was a child. I never got into soft-boiled eggs– the idea doesn’t sound that appealing to me (same as eggs over easy), but I’ll remember the book forever when I see something like this. I suppose I’ll have to try it at least once in my life to see what the fuss is about . . . now of course might be the perfect opportunity.


  50. Debra

    I made croutons by brushing the bread with olive oil and sprinkling with romano cheese. I soft boiled eggs for the first time and carefully peeled them when they were done. Very nice, simple breakfast. I think I now prefer soft boiled to poached for my eggs.

  51. I grew up eating eggs just like this; a breakfast tradition I have passed on to my children. I love the idea that the egg cups inspired the dish. I know that that’s happened to me more than once. There is something just delightful about egg cups. My Mum found two hand painted ones that immediately prompted a week of ‘oeufs a la coque’ as we call them in our house. My son has to have his ‘soldiers’ all lined up on the plate ready to do battle with the egg. It’s wonderful that something so simple can be so satisfying.

  52. Elizabeth

    Thank you! You have just made my breakfast today all the more delicious! And thank you for the link, now I can get perfect eggs :)

  53. lindsay slobodzian

    Just made this for breakfast and it was AH-mazing!, Eggs turned out perfectly, I prefer to peel them and break over the toasts, I will definitely be making this again and again! And for the previous commenter that doesn’t like mustard, you cannot taste mustard in the finished product. Thank you so much!

  54. Amanda Glenn

    these sound heavenly! on a side note addressing those that don’t have egg cups…we collect shot glasses as souvenirs and you can use them as egg cups! and we use our old baby spoons for little spoons :)

  55. Cathy

    I don’t know how this commenting thingy works, but here it goes. Here is my gushy mushy epitaph to you. I love this blog. I eagerly await each post, and when you aren’t posting I read “old” posts. I make oodles of your recipes, and wish you would write a novel, because I LOVE your writing. Thanks for brightening my week.

  56. Marie M.C.

    I love breakfast and can eat it morning, noon and night. Those egg cups are too cute. As is your son. I know my son was the world’s cutest boy, however Jacob is a close second.

  57. shari

    Ahhh….croutons, they are my life. I prefer French or Italian bread, and my cheese of choice is parmesan. I also add some olive oil (& garlic of course) along with the butter. My croutons also need to be soft in the center. I overbake them sometimes, and they become crunchy all the way through, but they’re still edible. And thanks for the photos of the yummy soft boiled eggs. I know what i’m having for breakfast tomorrow. : )

  58. Gretchen SB

    The egg cups are adorable, the toasts look amazing, but those soft-boiled eggs are swoon worthy!! I will have to make some tomorrow!

  59. Andrea

    This brings back such great memories of my grandmother showing me how to eat a soft boiled egg. She passed away only two months ago, and I miss her so. I think I’ll make this tomorrow, and think of her! Thank you! (Also, I’ll use my egg holders…they have little yellow chicken feet!!)

  60. shuggies mom

    Those croutons look fantastic. You should photograph for a cooking mag! You do great pics. Simple and to the point. Will try the soft boiled eggs next time as per your link. Mine are always hit and miss,maybe I’ll make them more often if they turn out more consistantly. Also, thanks for the link to Joy the Baker and the Joe site!

  61. Shaili

    I took one look at this and decided to make it on the spot. And you know what? It was delicious!! I had no clue that something so simple that involves ingredients I use on a daily basis could be so much better than the other stuff I eat :)

  62. Oh, lovely! I’ve been on a soft-boiled egg kick myself recently–so simple, so satisfying and a lovely meal. Now, however, I feel that my soft egg experience is a little lacking since I don’t have any adorable egg cups to house the eggs in….but that can be easily rectified.

  63. Diane

    Oh my. Looks delish and reminds me of my childhood. I used to eat soft boiled eggs and toast points – with just plain ol’ wonder bread – daily. I must revisit that lovely meal again – mius the wonder bread of course :) Your little man is just the cutest!

    1. deb

      Della — Haha. My husband said the same thing when he read it but I did indeed mean that Jacob tends to be a “heap” on the floor beneath my feet when I’m trying to cook. Perhaps not the best word choice, nonetheless…

  64. Swati

    Deb! I have a small lump of money set aside to buy your book. as a poor college student, this is quite a feat. WHEN WILL I GET TO BUY IT?!! You’re killing me!

    (but the delicious recipes for free on the internet are certainly doing wonders to revive me!)

  65. Carry P in San Diego

    First, I’ve been a very long time reader but this is my first time commenting. I love love love this blog and it is my go to on anything food related (cannot wait for the cookbook to come out!!!) and I originally found it when my husband asked me to make him pineapple upside down cake. Not being one to bake out of a box I went to google and found Deb’s boozed up recipe. It was such a hit that he asked me to make another one for his firestation buddies (he’s an emt). They loved it. OH and the carbomb cupcakes. I’ve made them about 3 times now, twice just for this past st patty’s day because they kept disappearing. (also, this should go without saying but)DISCLAIMER: No firemen were drunk or boozed up on the job, there’s not nearly enough booze in them.
    Second, and where I get to my point, “Birdies in a Nest” (or “Eggs in a Basket” as some people argueably call it) is one of my dear husband’s favorite breakfasts. It’s the first thing he ever cooked for me. This looks like a delicious variation of it and I cannot wait to make it for him. The pictures literally made my mouth water. Thanks Deb!! (sorry this got long)

  66. Gayle S.

    I made this for lunch today with parmigiano-reggiano only and it was the best lunch I’ve had in a long time! Thanks for such inspiration with the humble and versatile egg.
    I too thought you had a typo with Jacob being a “heap” on the floor – your note above made me laugh. He is still adorable with his haircut and looks like a little man, one with nibble-able cheeks!

  67. Ladotyk

    I’m curious Deb, are you a lefty or did you turn your cutting board around so the slices match the lineup of your egg cups? I’m married to a lefty so I always notice when the bread is facing the “wrong” way! Either way, great composition.

  68. Susan

    Any chance, Deb, that you were on West Elm’s website? I saw these egg cups there, and resisted, but I bought 3 sets of the egg shaped salt and pepper sets! Just too cute (and I’ll give 2 of them as Christmas gifts!) I love that place. Happy egg eating.

  69. Ash

    I Did grow up with my beloved (and now dead) Grandmama making soft boiled eggs and toast “soldiers” for my brother and I whenever we stayed the night. This grown up version you’ve made is so perfect for my sophisticated adult palate (har har). Not to mention soothing my nostalgic side. Thanks for sharing this one. The egg cups are darling.

  70. Laura

    This sounds amazing. My mom always used to make me soft boiled eggs, cracked in half with the insides scooped out, mashed together with pieces of toast in a bowl. Simple but delicious. In fact, I think I’ll go make some now!

  71. rambant

    Always been a little scared of soft boiled eggs- are they safe to eat? Will they make me sick? What about salmonella?

    We always had hard boiled eggs, the yolk on our sunny-side-ups were stiff, and scrambled eggs were always well done. I’ve since learned to ease up on the latter two but never yet soft boiled.

    Scared :(

  72. I made these toast fingers last night with poached eggs (instead of soft ones). It was such a delicious meal! Totally comforting too. Thanks for the great recipe! I love your past couple egg recipes as well. So much flavor!

  73. YOU ARE COMING TO PENN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I’m sorry…I just want to tell you exactly HOW MUCH you made my day…to the extent that I was back at home with my family and screamed when I saw the event description and then was screamed at when they found out that “nothing” was the matter..except of course that you’re visiting… so…um ya…I’ll totally be there. Also cool egg cups :)

    1. deb

      SS — Thanks for the excitement! Yes, I’ll be at UPenn on Sunday morning. For those who have no idea what we’re talking about (because, ahem, I’ve forgotten to update this page again update: now updated!), I’ll be at the Penn Food Summit that runs this weekend, at a panel on Sunday morning about food writing. Can’t wait to check out the campus!

  74. KarenK

    Can’t wait to try making these toasts. I have soft-boiled eggs every Sunday morning. I eat them out of beautiful egg cups that I purchased in Provence. I’m still on a quest for egg spoons. Years ago, I purchased an egg cooker from Williams-Sonoma. My soft-boiled eggs are perfectly cooked every time, now. Prior to the egg-cooker I could never get the timing right. Thanks for the recipe, as always.

  75. I just ate dinner and now I am hungry again. Thanks a lot! :) Those croutons are amazing. I am currently on a no-egg diet. That was fine by me until I spied THESE eggs. Now I am rethinking my entire culinary philosophy. Thank you for sharing.

  76. soft eggs are a tradition in my family too! my husband thinks they’re disgusting (he got sick on soft eggs in mexico), but i will never, ever stop eating them. and these croutons? they look seriously unimaginably wonderful. thanks for sharing.

  77. All I did was read the title and immediately utter “Oh my effing goodness.” I wonder if you could even add egg to the cheese mixture and create individual bread puddings… Gah, there is no incarnation of gruyere + bread that I have failed to fall in love with.

  78. Marie

    I made these yesterday afternoon at my friend’s house – he didn’t have any egg cups so he made some by twisting thick electrical wire into a holder (don’t worry it was new, and we washed it!). They weren’t cute but they sure were novel! And it tasted great, of course.

  79. All of my favorite flavors in one little toast soldier…is it Saturday yet? I’m dying over the egg cups and, once again, beating myself up over having mostly beige tableware. Lovely post!

  80. annie

    Mmmm, dippy eggs and soldiers.

    The last time we visited my parents we cut the cardboard from the kitchen roll to make egg cups. (Definitely sending my parents back with a few sets of proper egg cups when they come to the UK this summer)

    We’ve found that our eggs cook differently on our gas stove than they did on my OH’s mum’s stove. Same pan, same eggs… about 30-45 seconds difference. So our egg timer, which runs for 3 minutes, is fairly useless in our new kitchen. I was taught to keep the water at a boil, rather than simmer, which I reckon accounts for the difference between my 2.5 minutes and your 6.

  81. tali

    i can’t wait to make this for dinner! my mom used to use shot glasses to hold soft boiled eggs when we were little — sounds kind of funny now but it never occurred to me that it wasn’t completely normal! in any case, they work :)

  82. Stephanie M.

    I have never before in my life tried a soft boiled egg. You always see fancy families on TV or cartoons eating them, and they’ve always looked so good to me. I’ve always wanted to make them, and perhaps this recipe is what will encourage me to finally do so. And eggs always seem to go so well with breads, so those pictures with the toast in the egg look mouthwatering. I agree with the other posters: these photos are so amazing. I’m hungry again.

  83. Lisa D

    When I was a kid my Mum used to make us dippy eggs with toast soldiers – it was, and still is, one of my favorite breakfasts. She would boil the eggs until the whites were cooked but the yoke still runny, then cut our toast up into “soldiers” for dipping. This grown-up version looks amazing, I think I’ll request Mum make it when I go home for Easter :)

  84. The best part about making soft boiled eggs is using an “egg topper” — a Mickey Mouse shaped gadget with a bunch of sharp teeth that makes a clean cut off the top of your egg. The croutons look fantastic. I think I’ll make those to accompany French onion soup!

  85. Tricia

    This looks delicious! I do not have any adorable egg cups, but I have found that kitschy shot glasses work well as a substitute.

  86. OMG – you had me at “buttery herb-gruyere toasts”. I love soft eggs but ever since I learned how to poach them, I prefer that route – same wonderful flavor, less hassle with shell and perfect for putting on top of toast. I’m already salivating just thinking about this combination – for breakfast, for dinner when it’s just hubby and I and we want something simple, for late-night when I’m slinging henna at June graduation parties until 3am. *sigh* Bless you for sharing this!

  87. Gayle

    I’m telling you girl, I love your posts. Tormented over little finger sourdough toasts, I LOVE IT!! I cannot wait for your new book. I have a shelve dedicated to you. Thank you

  88. Maggie

    Yummy! We have eggs & soldiers once a week in our house for dinner. Of course, now I’ll have to gussy them up with your take on soldiers.

  89. You had me at toast fingers :) I always prefer my eggs scrambled and my runny yolk husband has been trying to get me to see it his way for a while now. I didn’t think I’ve ever try it…until I saw this post. I may have finally caved…

  90. Frances

    When I was in Paris last June, a friend of mine and I ate this EVERY day for breakfast at Cafe Charlot, on Rue Charlot. We called them dippy eggs, and still reminisce (often) about how scrumptious they were. Helps, of course, to be eating them at a cafe in Paris. Haven’t had one since…until tonight, when the two of us just happen to be having dinner together at my house in Savannah, GA. Perfect excuse to go out and buy some cute little egg cups too.

  91. Kim in MD

    Oh my gosh…how cute are those egg cups? Thanks for sharing the link, ’cause you knew we would ask! :-) The eggs look delicious, but the gruyere toast strips that have me drooling!

    Jacob is so adorable with that pink paint spot on his nose! School already? Where has the time gone?

  92. I love buying a new kitchen gadget as an excuse to make a new recipe…or vice versa. These are so cute, and the croutons?? To die for! I am crazy about gruyere and this whole recipe is going in my recipe queue.

  93. I am new to your site and I love, love LOVE it! The recipes are so “do-able”. I particulary cannot wait to make the double coconut muffins, multigrain apple crisps and gnocchi. ~Annette

  94. Holy Hannah. You had me at “runny eggs.”

    Two questions:

    1) Would whole grain bread totally ruin the effect?
    2) May I review this recipe on my blog if I give you lots of backlink love?

    1. deb

      WordCouture — Of course you can use whole grain bread. If you can get a whole wheat sourdough (my favorite bread, miche), even better. You are welcome to review the recipe (thank you) but it should be in your own words.

  95. JadeLeigh

    Brilliant idea! And there goes my morning looking at vintage egg cups. I could totally see myself becoming a collector of interesting egg cups! I’m not a collector of things, but darling egg cups have made me reconsider.

    I might have to do this recipe for lunch today. Thanks!

  96. Meagan

    Oh wow, I can’t believe I never in my life had a soft-boiled egg! I was totally missing out!! We even had a cute egg cup waiting on the shelf: it looks like the bottom half of an Easter egg, with two chick feet out the bottom. Finally put it to use! :)
    I made my soldiers last night with grated Fontina and Parmesan, as it was all I had on hand; they still turned out absolutely delicious.
    I just want to say, I happened across your site for the first time the very day you posted the Apple Sharlotka, and I was totally hooked (made the Sharlotka that same weekend and twice since, everyone loves it) and I spent weeks thereafter reading all the way back to the beginning. So much good stuff!

  97. Candibars

    I have an assortment of about 30 antique/vintage egg cups from my Farmor (grandmother), who has been collecting them since she was a little girl in Sweden in the ’30’s. Amazingly, I have never eaten a soft boiled egg! I love dippy eggs and toast, so I think I definitely need to start testing out my egg cups! Thanks for yet another amazing recipe!!

  98. Audrey

    All these lovely peeps with egg cups! I used some when I was little and am currently making some in my ceramics class. Pray, do tell, what is the diameter and depth of the cup where the egg sits? I have no idea what the ideal size is since I do not have one. I fear I am making them too large. I am excited to make the recipe too, once my cups are finished!

  99. Born and raised in Germany, I can confirm that we indeed eat our ‘Sunday’ Eggs as we call them this way. Mostly on weekends. I keep the tradition up now living in Cali and my husband adores it, but isn’t really into the egg so much. :)

  100. The ultimate nursery comfort food becomes haute cuisine in your hands. We eat our soft boiled eggs (out of chicken egg cups) with toast soldiers. My parents were terribly British. In the future soft boiled eggs will only be served Smitten Kitchen style. Three cheers for you. Virginia

  101. Yum.
    My eggs didn’t come out just right…they were more like 8 min eggs than 6 min eggs (carry over cooking, maybe? Or maybe because I dipped them in and out of the water a bit to temper the shell/avoid cracking? Any ideas?) but it didn’t matter. We missed the runny yolks but the soldiers were enough to guarantee this recipe regular rotation.
    Also, since I don’t have egg cups or the room to store them, some ideas for supporting a dipping egg:
    Cut your cardboard egg carton and stand your egg(s) up in that on individual plates.
    Put a generous amount of salt in a small ramekin, custard cup (like fill it halfway up), etc, and stand your egg up supported by the salt (I didn’t try this one but saw it on a tv show recently and it worked for holding separated egg yolks in their shells.

  102. this has to be one of my favourite comfort foods & this looks far too good to be confined to just breakfast….can’t wait to try the buttery, herb, gruyere toasts, yum


  103. I love soft boiled eggs for breakfast. Which is not amazing, since I’m German. :-) What drew my attention to this post were the herb toasts, though. What a great idea! I’ll defenitely try those. Thanks for sharing!

  104. Merri

    You know, I have never been a big eggs person, but I am sure that if I had cute egg holders like that I could become a real aficionado!

  105. This looks incredible. Making eggs like this is so intimidating to me! But if trying it means I’ll get to eat this for breakfast, I just need to go for it.

  106. Diane

    Hi! Did you purchase these adorable egg cups at some estate sale, or are they actually available through a store or website? I have seen lots of different ones on eBay, but none are this cute! Thanks!

  107. deb

    Hi Diane — Right below the bottom photo, I have a link to where you can find the cups on Amazon. However, if you search for the same brand egg cups on Google Shopping or another comparison shopping engine, you’ll see that many other stores sell it, maybe one you can stop by locally.

  108. first off, my mom has those egg cups and they are one of the best reasons to get up and eat breakfast. how can you not smile??

    we have polka dot egg cups, which also make me smile.

    but the croutons – OH MY those croutons. time to have eggs for lunch, and dinner, too. delish! thank you!

  109. RachelB

    Thank you, Deb. My partner and I made this for dinner tonight using a wheat levain, and, with a side of peapods, it was a tasty plateful of springtime. If we use the levain again next time, we will probably not add any salt beyond what is in the cheese and the mustard, since the bread itself has some salt.

    We used poached eggs in place of the soft-boiled ones, and they also smashed delightfully.

    The other adaptation we made was to add a couple tablespoons of chopped chives in addition to the parsley and thyme. (The chives added a little generalized allium flavor– the cooking time was enough to take off all the bitey edge.)

  110. I followed this recipe yesterday morning for breakfast and turned out amazing! Although I don’t think mine looked as pretty as yours, they still were delicious. My camera is on the fritz or I would post pics, just want to say thank you for sharing. It wasn’t what I was looking for when I went searching the net, but certainly happy I found your site!

    Misty M

  111. rae

    I read this whole post twice looking for where to find the egg cups. Then I decided someone will ask in the comments, so I read all 203 comments to find out it was right there, lol, I guess I’m slow.

  112. My husband isn’t so fond of the soft boiled (runny yolked) eggs, but I’m sure that we could both eat the toasts until the cows came home.

    And given that we don’t have cows, that would be a lot of toasts!

  113. Lizzy

    I made these a few times since you posted it. LOVE the gruyere toasts! I had trouble with the eggs though. Half of them cracked as soon as they hit the hot water. How can I avoid this?

  114. My husband’s English so we do the soldiers thing a lot…but I love the guyere toasts variation! Will have to take the opportunity to spice up our breakfast cuisine and give this a try.

  115. Love the egg post. I am on a similar rip of egg posts right now (just posted on my adventures making oeufs en gelee. Eggs are so much fun to cook and I am kind of sad that behind the scenes I am already finished the cooking for the series.

    Anyway, love the blog and have been reading for a long time and hope to one day be able to chat.

  116. Soft boiled eggs is part of Singapore/Malaysia’s breakfast religion.

    Instead of croutons, we peel it, dash over some soy sauce and freshly ground white pepper, and dip in heavily buttered toasts slabbed with a sweet coconut egg custard called ‘kaya’. Wash down with a cup of coffee/tea mix aptly called ‘yin yang’.

  117. Rowena

    This made for an awesome dinner. Had never had six-minute eggs until I tried this recipe and they’re wonderful. I peeled the eggs and gently broke them open over the sourdough batons, so that the yummy yolks could spread. Delicious!

  118. Viriya

    Thanks. I love this recipe that I have to make the spread out of these ingredients so i can have it every morning in a minute.
    I love having it with porched egg and hollandaise sauce.

  119. Fantastic, really simple recipe. I adapted these ever so slightly and served them for brunch with some eggs en cocotte (eggs baked in tea cups with creme fraiche and herbs) – I’ve blogged about the results here: Keep up the awesome work with your wonderful blog – I follow you on Facebook and your recipes always brighten up my newsfeed!

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  121. Carole

    When I saw that we have exactly the same egg cups I was delighted. I am a total fool for egg cups and got these little charmers from my granddaughter, who shares my love of special serving pieces, cooking and gruyere cheese. I am looking forward to sharing both the cooking and eating of this breakfast with her. And I am glad that she is old enough to join me for a spicy Bloody Mary.
    Love your recipes. Always brightens my day.

  122. Judy

    I have little shears that are just for cutting the tops off coddled eggs. They look like a chicken with a hole that fits over the top of the cooked egg. Cute! Grand kids love them. Along with the egg cups, you really have an impressive brunch!

  123. Katrina Harvie-Watt

    No comment about the eggs, but the toasts…wow! Made them exactly as described to accompany home made butternut squash soup and they were amazing!

  124. Bina

    Hi Deb,
    I’ve been making your recipe for years but mainly to go with Caesar Salad since I’m not a soft egg fan. I just looked at the recipe again and while I agree the egg cups are super cute, what caught my eye was the lovely purple bowl you used to toss the bread. Is it too late to ask where I could find one like it? Also thanks so much for your new Flaky Pastry recipe. It’s a real game changer.