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How To Make Soft-Boiled Eggs

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Learn how to make perfect soft-boiled eggs — plus, the best ways to enjoy them!

How To Make Soft-Boiled Eggs

Perfectly cooked soft-boiled eggs have a just-set white and a warm, jammy yolk. They are wonderful over salads (try them on my spinach salad with warm bacon dressing) and ramen, and they also make a lovely breakfast nestled in an egg cup with toast soldiers on the side. Unlike hard-boiled eggs, which are started in cold water and brought to a boil, soft-boiled eggs are dropped into boiling water and gently boiled until done. This method allows for precise timing to achieve a perfectly-set white and slightly runny yolk every time. For the most consistent results, I recommend using cold-from-the-fridge large eggs, which take exactly 6½ minutes minutes to cook. For smaller or larger eggs, the cooking time will need to be adjusted by a minute or so in either direction.

how to soft boil eggs

Step-by-Step Instructions for Soft-Boiled Eggs

Bring a saucepan (large enough to hold the eggs in a single layer) of water to a boil over medium-high heat.

bringing water to a boil for soft-boiled eggs

Using a slotted spoon, gently lower the cold eggs into the water one at a time.

lowering eggs into boiling water

Cook for exactly 6½ minutes, adjusting the heat as necessary to maintain a gentle boil.

boiling eggs

Meanwhile, fill a bowl with cold water and some ice cubes. When the eggs are done cooking, transfer them to the water and chill until just slightly warm, about 2 minutes.

soft-boiled eggs in ice bath

Use an egg shell cutter or sharp knife to remove the tops and serve in egg cups. (This egg cup and cutter set is similar to the one I have.) If you don’t egg cups but would like to serve the soft-boiled eggs this way, you can also use shot glasses. Alternatively, the eggs can be peeled and sliced in half.

soft-boiled egg in egg cup

To make toast soldiers, cut off the crust from thick-sliced bread, and toast until golden. Slather the toast with butter and use a serrated knife to cut into thin sticks (or “soldiers”).

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Soft-Boiled Eggs

Learn how to make perfect soft-boiled eggs — plus, the best ways to enjoy them!

Servings: Up to a dozen eggs
Cook Time: 10 Minutes
Total Time: 15 Minutes

Ingredients

  • Large eggs, cold from the fridge
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Bring a saucepan (large enough to hold the eggs in a single layer) of water to a boil over medium-high heat. Using a slotted spoon, gently lower cold-from-the-fridge eggs into the water one at a time (don't drop them in or they'll crack). Cook for exactly 6½ minutes, adjusting the heat as necessary to maintain a gentle boil.
  2. Meanwhile, fill a bowl large enough to hold the eggs with cold water and some ice cubes. When the eggs are done cooking, transfer them to the water and chill until just slightly warm, about 2 minutes.
  3. Use an egg shell cutter or sharp knife to remove the tops and serve in egg cups. (This egg cup and cutter set is similar to the one I have.) If you don't egg cups but would like to serve the soft-boiled eggs this way, you can also use shot glasses. Alternatively, the eggs can be peeled and sliced in half. Serve warm with salt and pepper.
  4. Tip: When peeling an egg, start at the wider end -- there's usually a small air pocket in there, which makes the egg shell easier to remove.
  5. Note: To make toast soldiers, cut off the crust from thick-sliced bread, and toast until golden. Slather the toast with butter and use a serrated knife to cut into thin sticks (or "soldiers").

Pair with

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Serving size: 1 egg
  • Calories: 61
  • Fat: 4 g
  • Saturated fat: 1 g
  • Carbohydrates: 0 g
  • Sugar: 0 g
  • Fiber: 0 g
  • Protein: 5 g
  • Sodium: 61 mg
  • Cholesterol: 160 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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Comments

  • I like my egg yolk runny, so 4 mins and 45 seconds works well following the technique laid out here. I use buttered toast soldiers (medium brown) to mix with the egg in a bowl. Salt and Pepper to taste.

    Best breakfast comfort eating.

    • — Deborah on January 8, 2023
    • Reply
  • I have used this method for many years with consistent results. The only addition I would add is that I poke a pinhole in the large end (where the air sack is) before lowering the eggs into a pot with a spoon. Since the eggs are cold, the hot water can cause the shells to crack, allowing the white to leak out. Releasing the air lowers the internal pressure and cracking is never a problem.

    • — Ray on January 8, 2023
    • Reply
  • Thanks for this idea! I’ve never had a soft boiled egg and am looking forward to it. Is there any difference in cooking time at altitude (5,000 ft)?
    Best, Lena

    • — Lena on January 8, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Lena, I don’t have experience baking at high altitudes so, unfortunately, I don’t have any wisdom to share – I’m sorry! You may find these tips helpful though.

      • — Jenn on January 9, 2023
      • Reply
  • Just made, truly amazingly easy and delicious.

    • — James Duffy on January 3, 2023
    • Reply
  • Lovely

    • — Matt on November 6, 2022
    • Reply
  • I love soft boiled eggs. My comment is about peeling. I learned the hard way that you should not peel hard boiled eggs under the tap. Broken egg shells are tenacious in your sink drain and they will cling to the side of your drain pipe. After a large plumbing bill I learned my lesson. Peel them to the side of the drain and toss the shell pieces in the garbage.

    • — Jim D on June 11, 2022
    • Reply
  • Haven’t made soft boil eggs for over 25-30 Yrs and I followed your way to a T and all 12 came out perfect. Thanks for the tip. The way I used to do it way back, could never peel an entire egg without either breaking or deformed, Still tasted the same, but presentation???

  • PERFECTION !!!

  • It’s really not necessary to keep eggs in the fridge. When you buy them at the supermarket they’re at room temperature, and they can keep perfectly well at room temperature for a few weeks, up to a month. See e.g. https://www.thehappychickencoop.com/how-to-store-your-chickens-freshly-laid-eggs/

    My other comment is that the time to boil an egg is dependent on your altitude above sea level. Many cities and towns are at for instance 1500m or more above sea level, where water boils at 95 deg C, meaning eggs will take a minute or so longer to cook.

    • Hi…the article title is about freshly laid eggs. They’re covered with a substance that is washed off with supermarket eggs…so freshly laid can be kept room temp but not store eggs. That’s also why you see freshly laid eggs at farmers markets w no fridge but all stores have in fridge.

      • — ANN SOKOLOVSKAYA
      • Reply
    • I agree about the altitude issue. I live at 9000 feet and water boils at 196 F, significantly lower than 212F. I plan to try this with 6 large, cold eggs and remove one at 30 second intervals to see what the correct cooking time for my altitude/boiling water temperature is.

      • — Jen Darnell on January 8, 2023
      • Reply
  • I’ve tried almost every method ever. I went on a hunt for quite a while looking for the best method. And this one is PERFECT!!!! Fool proof. Fallow the recipe and you can’t go wrong.

  • First, I love your recipes, Jen, and your voice is just perfect — reading them, I always feel like you are a dear friend…

    For a few years now, instead of boiling eggs, I’ve steamed them. The time for up to 6 soft-boiled eggs is the same as your recipe (6 1/2 minutes), and I feel that I get more consistent results with steaming than with boiling.

    • Hi KT, thanks for your very kind words! Also, good to know about the technique of steaming eggs – I’ve never tried that but will have to put it on my “to do“ list. Thanks for the suggestion!

      • I will say that at 6 1/2 minutes the steamed soft-boiled eggs turn out with the yolk being a bit runnier than your recipe. But that’s what my husband and son like 😉

        I like the steaming because I don’t have the issues with lowering the eggs into the boiling water, and every egg starts cooking at same time when they’re in my steamer basket. Also, my results seem more consistent, batch to batch, using steam instead of boiling.

        I also steam my hard-boiled eggs — 12 1/2 minutes for them…

    • I always make a pin prick at the wide end to allow any gas to escape – there will in bubbles – and so that gas expansion doesn’t cause cracking.

      • — gws on January 8, 2023
      • Reply
  • I’ve tried several recipes to produce the perfect soft-boiled eggs for ramen, and this was my first success! I followed it exactly as written and the eggs were delectable. Thank you so much.

  • I used extra large eggs and the time was perfect. Eggs came out beautifully to put in a salad. Also great for eating from an egg cup. If you want to dip toast strips in them, I suggest shortening the time by 1 minute so the yolk is a little runnier. Eggs that are older are better if you want to peel the eggs for salads. They will peel easier.

  • Ok, so I’m 71 years old and love to cook and have never been able to successfully make a soft boiled egg that was cooked to perfection – until now! This recipe was perfect and now I am finable able to make this lovely comfort food (like my mother used to make for me when I was a child) exactly (eggzactly?) the way I like it. Thank you!

  • 6.5 minutes is too long. I maintained a very gentle boil on a small fire and the eggs were too hard. I recommend 4-5 minutes tops for lovely soft boiled eggs 🙂

  • I boiled my eggs for 6 min uncovered and they were almost hard boiled. I would boil a min less.

    • The first time I did this the eggs were closer to over medium. The second time I did 5 minutes in the cooking water and 1 in the ice water and they were PERFECT.

  • Cooked to perfection! Thanks!

  • Came out with perfectly cooked soft boiled eggs! Thank you!

  • Used this to make a soft boiled egg for the first time ever for some ramen and it came out perfectly!!

  • I rarely write reviews, but thank you so much for this and all your recipes. We have thoroughly enjoyed every single recipe we’ve tried from your site and your book (chilis, stews, salads, cookies, our now-favorite spinach quiche, you name it!). And I just had to comment on this recipe because I’ve been trying to make soft boiled eggs and peel them for a long time, without dents and making sure they are not overcooked, and this was the smoothest technique I’ve ever tried (along with the very helpful peeling tip!!). Thank you!!

    • Thank you so much for these instructions on how to make soft boiled eggs. I’m not much of a cook, so I was thrilled to have my eggs come out perfect, and it was so easy! My husband was impressed.

  • Weve now done soft boiled eggs! These taste so delicious and divine. But of pink sea salt and perfection.

    We had tried 4 min soft boil… white was still a bit undone on the fatter end. 5 minutes is better if you want the yolk 100% runny. But yes. 6 is the sweet spot. But jammy on the outside of the yolk. And still gooey in the center.

    Thank you!

  • Hi jenn, These eggs were absolutely perfect.no runny whites, just a lovely egg. Thanks so much for figuring this out.

    • — Dagmar Vanderkuip
    • Reply
  • Great recipe. Easy to follow and the eggs came out just like the pictures.
    Many thanks.

  • Perfect! Delicious!

  • Excellent! I am a rookie and made these for my 17 yr old daughter at her request. PERFECT! She loved them! Thank you!

  • Thank you. This was my favorite lunch as a child, and I’ve never figured out how to get them just right. The size eggs I buy and the temp of my fridge required exactly one extra minute, but I love that I can set a timer and have perfect eggs every time!

  • I read a suggestion that one could cook an egg in about 1/4 inch of water, brought to a boil, covered, and cooked (steamed?) for six minutes. I do this for a breakfast soft-boiled egg. If I want hardboiled eggs for salads or sandwiches, I leave them in the hot water for about ten minutes and then chill them in cold water. They peel easily and can live in the fridge for several days before using.

  • This is what I love about this blog – helpful hints and instructions on how to perfect something as simple as a boiled egg. My husband noticed the improved taste and texture when I made boiled eggs following these instructions. Thank you!

  • Wonderfully helpful recipe as always. How long do soft-boiled eggs keep in the fridge?

    • Glad you liked it! These will last in the fridge for up to 3 days.

  • Hi, Jenn.

    I love your how-to tips as much as your recipes! Question on the soft-boiled eggs – what size eggs did you use? Does the cook time vary based on the egg size? Thanks.

    • Hi Susan, I use large eggs – and yes the size of the eggs would make a slight difference. I’ll note that in the instructions – thank you!

  • Finally – perfectly soft boiled an egg!!!
    Thank you

    • — Bernice Chesley
    • Reply

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