Perfect Soft Boiled and Hard Boiled Eggs (Every Time)

Learn how to make hard boiled eggs (and soft boiled eggs) so they turn out perfectly every time. My hard boiled eggs recipe is super easy and allows you to cook a variety of eggs for the entire family – all in one pot.

Learn how to make hard boiled eggs (and soft boiled eggs) so they turn out perfectly every time. My hard boiled eggs recipe is super easy and allows you to cook a variety of eggs for the entire family - all in one pot.

When it comes to cooking hard boiled eggs there’s no shortage of tutorials online. And not surprisingly, they’re all pretty similar. Add eggs to a pot of cold water, bring it to a boil, turn off the heat and cook the eggs until hard boiled.

But I find that there’s one big flaw with this method that may be the culprit for folks accidentally overcooking their eggs (and I mention it on the video below). So what’s the flaw? The type of pot you use.

Watch this quick video of my hard boiled eggs recipe:

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Aluminum, stainless steel and cast iron are well known for their different rates of bringing water to a boil and retaining heat. So if your eggs are sitting in a pot of cold water in a cast iron pot and it takes two minutes longer to reach a boil than an aluminum pot (not to mention the water will cool at a much slower rate once removed from the heat), you’ve now inadvertently cooked your eggs a few minutes longer.

That may not be the end of the world for hard boiled eggs, but it does increase the likelihood of a green tinge around your yolk and a more rubbery white. In other words, less than perfect hard boiled eggs.

The other drawback of cooking eggs in cold water first is the difficulty in making soft boiled eggs. Soft boiled eggs are far more of an exact science when it comes to time, which is why most tutorials have you cooking them in hot water.

So that begs the question – why cook them two different ways?

Learn how to make hard boiled eggs (and soft boiled eggs) so they turn out perfectly every time. My hard boiled eggs recipe is super easy and allows you to cook a variety of eggs for the entire family - all in one pot.

How to Cook Soft Boiled and Hard Boiled Eggs – Together In One Pot

I see no reason to cook soft boiled and hard boiled eggs any different. And the method I’ve used my entire life (thanks mom) is pretty darn foolproof.

Just bring a pot of water to a boil with enough water to cover the eggs by about an inch. By boiling the water first, it also doesn’t matter which type of pot you use as the eggs only hit the water once it’s boiling (212 degrees fahrenheit).

Reduce the heat to low and use a skimmer to gently place the eggs in the water. By reducing the heat to low, you’ll prevent the eggs from bouncing around and cracking. Then, turn the heat back up to a boil.

Immediately set a timer and cook the eggs according to how soft or hard you’d like them. Here’s my general description of how long to boil eggs:

  • 6 minutes: A liquidy yolk and soft white. This is perfect for eggs served in an egg cup.
  • 6 1/2 minutes: A soft, jammy yolk. This is my favorite for eggs on toast or soft boiled eggs on a salad.
  • 8 minutes: A soft yolk but firm enough to hold its own.
  • 10 minutes: The early stages of a hard boiled egg, with just a smidge of softness in the middle.
  • 12 minutes: A hard boiled egg with a lighter yolk.
  • 14 minutes: Your traditional hard boiled egg with the lightest yolk and a firm white, but not overcooked.

Once the eggs have cooked, immediately place them in a ice water bath to stop them from cooking and maintain your perfect texture.

Eggs cooked between 12-14 minutes are perfect for all hard boiled eggs recipes, such as my egg salad, avocado egg saladclassic potato salad and deviled eggs. For soft boiled eggs, I love a good 6 1/2 minute egg, but my parents prefer 7 minute eggs. It’s all just personal preference, so find the time that works best for you.

Learn how to make hard boiled eggs (and soft boiled eggs) so they turn out perfectly every time. My hard boiled eggs recipe is super easy and allows you to cook a variety of eggs for the entire family - all in one pot.

How Long Can You Store Hard Boiled Eggs

According to Foodsafety.gov, you can store hard boiled eggs in the fridge for up to a week in their shell. Most say that if you peel the eggs, you should eat them within a few days. But if you’ve watched my meal prep video where I make soft boiled eggs ahead of time, you’ll see I frequently store peeled eggs for up to three days no problem. Do what you feel comfortable with.

It should also be noted that eggs should never be stored in the refrigerator door, due to frequent temperature changes. Always store your eggs in the main part of the fridge.

Learn how to make hard boiled eggs (and soft boiled eggs) so they turn out perfectly every time. My hard boiled eggs recipe is super easy and allows you to cook a variety of eggs for the entire family - all in one pot.

How to Make Hard Boiled Eggs Easier to Peel

Ahh, the million dollar question. There are many theories on how to make hard boiled eggs easier to peel, such as:

  • Use eggs that are at least 10 days old
  • Add a teaspoon of baking soda to the boiling water
  • Add a tablespoon of vinegar to the boiling water
  • Immediately place the eggs in an ice water bath

I’ve tried all of these over the years and found that none of these tactics created repeatable, easy to peel eggs except for the last one – the ice water bath. Many times, it’s just the luck of the draw with the eggs you’ve purchased.

Learn how to make hard boiled eggs (and soft boiled eggs) so they turn out perfectly every time. My hard boiled eggs recipe is super easy and allows you to cook a variety of eggs for the entire family - all in one pot.

And since I know I’ll receive this question in the comments, I’ll address it here. The number one question I receive on placing eggs into boiling water is “won’t that crack the egg open?” So here’s two things I do to ensure that doesn’t happen:

  • I remove the eggs from the fridge just as I start to boil the water. This allows them to warm up for a few minutes.
  • I reduce the heat to low while “slowly” placing the eggs in the hot water.  Never place the eggs straight into boiling water as you don’t want them bouncing around until they’re fully submerged and settled.

If you do those two things, you should be good. But of course, nothing’s perfect. I may have one egg for every 30 or so I make crack. Not bad odds if you ask me, especially when all the eggs that don’t crack come out perfect every time. And if you really don’t want to worry about cracked eggs, there’s always my poached eggs. *wink* Enjoy!

Learn how to make hard boiled eggs (and soft boiled eggs) so they turn out perfectly every time. My hard boiled eggs recipe is super easy and allows you to cook a variety of eggs for the entire family - all in one pot.

Learn how to make hard boiled eggs (and soft boiled eggs) so they turn out perfectly every time. My hard boiled eggs recipe is super easy and allows you to cook a variety of eggs for the entire family - all in one pot.

Hard Boiled Eggs Recipe (and Soft Boiled Eggs)

4.95 from 114 votes
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 14 mins
Total Time: 21 mins
Servings: 6 eggs
Author: Lisa Bryan
My foolproof method for cooking both hard boiled eggs and soft boiled eggs (perfectly) is placing them gently in a pot of boiling water. Watch the video above to see my easy, step-by-step process.

Ingredients

  • 1-6 large eggs

Instructions 

  • Bring a medium-sized pot of water to a boil. Ensure there's enough water in the pot to cover the eggs by about an inch.
  • While you're waiting for the water to boil, remove the eggs from the fridge (set them on the counter) and prepare ice water bath in a large bowl.
  • Once the water is boiling, reduce the heat to low and use skimmer to gently and slowly add the eggs to the water. Then, turn the heat back up to a boil.
  • Set a timer and cook the eggs for 6-7 minutes for soft boiled eggs and 12-14 minutes for hard boiled eggs. See the cook time notes above.
  • Once the eggs have cooked to your preferred time, use the skimmer to remove the eggs and immediately submerge them in the ice water bath to stop them from cooking.
  • Peel the eggs and enjoy.

Lisa's Tips

  • I love this skimmer as it can easily add and remove multiple eggs at the same time.
  • If you're looking for new egg cups to serve soft boiled eggs, these terra cotta egg cups are cute!
  • I recommend not cooking more than 6 eggs at a time, as a crowded pot can start to alter the cook time.

Nutrition

Calories: 77.5kcal, Carbohydrates: 0.6g, Protein: 6.3g, Fat: 5.3g, Saturated Fat: 1.6g, Cholesterol: 186.5mg, Sodium: 62mg, Sugar: 0.6g
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Boiled Eggs, Hard Boiled Eggs, How Long to Boil Eggs, How to Boil Eggs, Soft Boiled Eggs
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355 comments on “Perfect Soft Boiled and Hard Boiled Eggs (Every Time)”

  1. My mother taught me to poke a tiny hole (use the point of a hot corn cob holder) in the wider end of the egg.  This end has an air sac; making a tiny hole allows the water to replace the air, helping to cook the egg a bit faster, and also preventing the air sac from expanding and cracking the egg.  I NEVER get a cracked hard-boiled egg shell. 

  2. I love boiled eggs but rarely eat them because they’re a PITA to peel. Until I tried your method five minutes ago. I’m entirely convinced this is the only way to properly boil and peel eggs and I’m so excited to eat boiled eggs until I start laying them myself!!! thank you!!!5 stars

  3. I was skeptical of putting the eggs in AFTER the water starts boiling but I tried it out and I have to admit, these eggs came out PERFECTLY! I made several batches over the last few weeks and they’ve been perfect every time. Complete life changer.5 stars

  4. How long do you leave eggs in the ice bath? Long enough to cool them to room temperature, or do we want the eggs to get cold?

  5. Love this method. But, I add one, simple step. Since we use a LOT of boiled eggs in an variety of ways, I use a 4-qt pot with steamer basket to cook them. Water is not steamer level, but submersion level for the eggs. All the eggs are placed in the steamer basket while the water is coming to a boil. When it is time to submerse, all eggs are placed in the water at the same time–no handling them one by one. Want less cracked eggs from the hot water? I find the harder the shell, the less cracking. The free range chickens, no antibiotics, etc., tend to lay a firmer shelled egg.

    Sidenote, Lisa, I am very active sharing your website with friends and strangers. Just had someone whose teen-age son is cooking for another family. (The mother HATES to cook.) A daughter in the family was recently diagnosed with Celiac disease. He was at a loss on how to cook for her. I steered him to your website. Overall, I personally feel better using so many of your recipes–especially with the low carb ones. The recipes have even expanded my own repertoire of recipe development. Keep up the good work!!

    • Great idea on using the steamer basket to cook up a larger batch of eggs Mendi! Also, thank so much for sharing my recipes with your friends and family – that means a lot :)

      • Just shared your website again today. Met a woman on an elevator who I complemented on her beautiful hair. We chatted as we left the building and she brought up she had just been diagnosed with Celiac disease. She was writing down your website before we parted.

      • Thanks so much for sharing Downshiftology with others who are experiencing Celiac for the first time! I hope to help them in any way I can :)

  6. The particular boiling time depends somewhat upon the altitude – higher altitude (such as 5000ft) will need noticeably longer as water boils at a lower temperature.

  7. I was pretty excited about this as it sounded very logical. I followed the directions, left the eggs on the counter while I boiled the water (and even a few minutes longer to be safe), but 2 out of the 4 I put in cracked instantly. (I turned the water down, put them in slowly and gently and everything.

    These are amazing farm-fresh eggs from a friend, so I didn’t want to waste anymore and I left them on the counter for about 20 minutes before attempting again. I put in the next 4, two cracked open immediately. They also have very thick, sturdy shells, so it’s not like they’re sensitive and frail.

    Definitely sticking with cold water here!

    • Hi Christina – I don’t know why, but sometimes certain eggs seem to crack more easily than others. I never have any cracks. Sorry this didn’t work for you!

    • I put the eggs in with plastic tongs, and give them a few seconds each held in the boiling water to equalise pressure before I put them on the bottom of the saucepan. Roiling water can bounce them around and sometimes crack them if they’re prone. I’ve also left them in a cup of hot tap water for a couple minutes first though I’m not sure how much if any they cook like that.

  8. I turn to this Pinterest page every week now when I am ready to make my supply of HBE’s! I remove 2 at 6 minutes and enjoy nice warm SBE’s for breakfast, then nosh on the rest throughout the week so I am not tempted to snack on less healthy options. Thank you so much for this guide! I finally feel confident to boil my own eggs that peel well and are done just to my liking at last! 5 stars

  9. Finally. Awesome eggs each and every time5 stars

  10. Hey Lisa: Great recipe with a question. Without fail, every carton of eggs has an egg with a hairline crack. Do you leave them in to boil with the rest if the eggs, or do you toss it? And if you leave it to cook, how does it turn out?

    Thanks.5 stars

    • Hi Pamela – if eggs have hairline cracks in the carton, they are likelier to break when boiled. I’ll usually reserve those for scrambled eggs or other recipes. :)

  11. Hey u never say how long to keep them in the ice bath5 stars

  12. I overall like this method. But there is one thing that is not going as planned in the directions.

    I bring the water to a boil, lower to simmer, quickly add the eggs, then turn the heat back up. The directions say to bring back up to a boil and cook specified time depending how you want the eggs to look.

    My problem is, the water never returns to a boil until the 10 to 12 minute mark. I leave the eggs out a little bit before cooking but not to room temp. I have a gas stove And turn it up to high on the appropriate size burner for the pot. And I usually cook a dozen eggs.

    I wound up adding a few minutes of cook time to what the recipe says to compensate. But was wondering if my problem with promptly returning back to a boil was unique to me?4 stars

    • Hi Rick – if you’re boiling a dozen eggs at a time that could definitely slow down the time to reach a boil again, especially if the eggs are cool going in the water. Just keep doing what you’re doing and add a few minutes of extra cook time.

  13. Thank you! Perfect eggs!5 stars

  14. Eggs crack, even after following the directions about turning down the heat prior to addition and using a spider to gently add them and letting them pre-warm shortly on the counter. 3 out of 18 (two separate batches) cracked going into the water.1 star

    • Hi Jared – sorry to hear that! Sometimes it seems the brand of eggs can make a difference as well (in terms of how sturdy the shells are).

    • Just add some salt to the water.

      No need to bring the water to a simmer first and you can, gently, toss your eggs in straight from the fridge.

      Don’t worry, you won’t get salty eggs.

      (No, I don’t think you’re stupid… but you are looking up how to boil eggs… So I assumed you’re new to cooking and might like this info)

      You can also perforate the bottom of the egg with a thumbtac or a certain kitchen appliance which name I don’t remember.

      … I don’t advice trying the thumbtac unless you have very steady hands, hahaha

  15. I love all the explanations to why the eggs cook differently.
    It is explained and the directions so easy to follow.5 stars

  16. Your times are based on eggs coming out of the fridge. I keep my eggs in the cupboard as they are not sanitized before being put on the shelves in the supermarket. In other words they still have their protective coating.
    So, my question is: how would you adjust the timing for room temperature eggs.

  17. Do you start timing once eggs are in the water or after they return to boil?

  18. When you meal prep jammy eggs how do you reheat them? Or do you eat them cold?

  19. Excellent 5 stars

  20. Thank you brilliant

  21. I make hard-boiled eggs on a regular basis. Always add the eggs to cold water with vinegar then boil. I have seen instructions for an ice water bath in other recipes but I never have ice!! I suppose just cold water after boiling will not work as well as the ice water bath? I will have to make some ice to give this a try. Thanks for the recipe!

  22. 7 minutes was bang on, perfect eggs 5 stars

  23. At least 3 of my eggs immediately cracked once placed gently in the water. Was the pressure of the heat too much for it to handle? 

  24. I’m going to use my hard boiled eggs for deviled eggs. Is it easier to remove the shell immediately after boiling or can I wait until they are completely cool?

  25. How does the size of the egg affect the cooking time?  Medium versus large versus extra-large, etc.?

    Thank you – this is the best set of instructions for cooking soft/hard boiled eggs I’ve found. 

  26. A great tip I learned from my grandmother, that prevents ALL eggs from cracking – take a needle and make a small shallow hole in the shall on its more round end (the less pointed one).
    Every egg has a pocket of air inside. While heating, the expanding air escapes through the little hole instead of building pressure that cracks the eggs.

  27. Thank you so very much for this video! I’m making deviled eggs so I did them for 14 min and they peeled so perfectly, I’m absolutely amazed! I did 18 eggs, one of them was cracked when I put it in the water, and another I hit a snag while peeling but the other 16 are 100% flawless!!!!5 stars

  28. A tip for easy to peel eggs, tap the rounded end (as opposed to the sharp end) with a spoon hard enough to produce a hairline crack (usually looks like a fine web) then cook as normal.  Once cooled in ice bath, tap all the way round So the shell isn’t in big pieces and start peeling from the sharp end.  From what I can gather, the starting crack is enough to allow the egg to expand and contract with the heat and cold making the peeling easier.  No, they don’t explode or leak into the water (unless you were a little too heavy handed with the rounded end tap at the start).

  29. I’ve made this many times and it always turns out perfectly! I am so grateful for your different cooking times per egg softness.5 stars

  30. I’ve made hard boiled eggs several times using this recipe and they always turn out perfectly and are easy to peel!5 stars

  31. Perfect every time. Sometimes I’m a bit of a chicken and add the eggs when the water is only just starting to boil because I’m scared of them cracking, so I leave for an extra half minute. But this recipe is pretty much failsafe and so easy. I used to just watch the video because the egg opening part at the end is so satisfying to watch. I’ve been using this method for a long time but leaving a review now because since bringing home our new baby (i.e. the Vitamix a3500i, fondly named ‘THE BEAST’) I’m constantly haunting this site for recipes. 5 stars

    • Glad this method works for you Belle! And congrats on your new Vitamix :) Can’t wait to see all the blended recipes you make.

  32. I often just settle for hard boiled eggs when what I usually want is the soft yolk….tried this morning using your tips & worked like a charm (I set my timer for 7 mins). thank you!!5 stars

  33. How do I show I like your video?

  34. Straight forward easy to cook for soft to hard york in one pot!5 stars

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