How To Make Soft-Boiled Eggs

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With a just-set white and warm, almost-runny and jammy yolk, soft-boiled eggs are wonderful for breakfast, or served over salads or ramen.

how to soft boil eggs

Soft-boiled eggs — those with a just-set white and a warm, almost-runny, and jammy yolk — are wonderful over salads and ramen. They also make a lovely breakfast nestled in an egg cup with some toast on the side. Surprisingly, soft-boiled eggs are made differently than hard-boiled eggs.

While hard-boiled eggs are started in cold water, brought to a boil, and then removed from the heat to finish cooking, soft-boiled eggs are lowered into boiling water and gently boiled until done. The reason for this is that there’s less room for error with soft-boiled eggs — with the drop-into-boiling-water method, you can time the eggs precisely because you know the exact moment they begin cooking. Keep in mind that I use standard large eggs — for smaller or larger eggs, the cook time would need to be adjusted by a minute or so in either direction.

How To Make Soft-Boiled Eggs

eggs in pot

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

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.

eggs in ice bath

Gently crack the eggs all over and peel under running water.

peeling eggs

Serve warm and enjoy!

halved eggs

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Soft Boiled Eggs

With a just-set white and warm, almost-runny and jammy yolk, soft-boiled eggs are wonderful for breakfast, or served over salads or ramen.

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

Ingredients

  • Eggs

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. Gently crack the eggs all over and peel under running water.
  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.

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Reviews & Comments

  • 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.

    • — Vernon on May 7, 2021
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  • 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.

    • — Helena on March 12, 2021
    • Reply
  • 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.

    • — KT on February 23, 2021
    • Reply
    • 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!

      • — Jenn on February 23, 2021
      • Reply
      • 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…

        • — KT on February 24, 2021
        • 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.

    • — Keeley on February 1, 2021
    • Reply
  • 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.

    • — Linda Roswell on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • 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!

    • — Leslie White on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • 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 🙂

    • — Jacky on December 2, 2020
    • Reply
  • I boiled my eggs for 6 min uncovered and they were almost hard boiled. I would boil a min less.

    • — Judy Peverada on November 4, 2020
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    • 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.

      • — Grace on December 9, 2020
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  • Cooked to perfection! Thanks!

    • — Margie A. on October 23, 2020
    • Reply
  • Came out with perfectly cooked soft boiled eggs! Thank you!

    • — Kara Lyn on October 22, 2020
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  • Used this to make a soft boiled egg for the first time ever for some ramen and it came out perfectly!!

    • — Skarlett on September 10, 2020
    • Reply
  • 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!!

    • — Sonia on February 5, 2020
    • Reply
    • 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.

      • — Maureen on September 1, 2020
      • Reply
  • 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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