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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:

And subscribe to my YouTube Channel for weekly cooking videos!

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.
4.99 from 56 votes

Hard Boiled Eggs Recipe (and Soft Boiled Eggs)

Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 14 mins
Total Time: 21 mins
Servings: 6 eggs
Author: Lisa Bryan
Print Recipe Pin Recipe
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
©Downshiftology. Content and photographs are copyright protected. Sharing of this recipe is both encouraged and appreciated. Copying and/or pasting full recipes to any social media is strictly prohibited.
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193 comments on “Perfect Soft Boiled and Hard Boiled Eggs (Every Time)”

  1. Much appreciated! I eat eggs a LOT. Please if you can, remove the ‘ (apostrophe) from 8 minute egg description. It’s a possessive not a contraction of it + is. You know that  I’m sure but we can blame autocorrect!

  2.  I believe that this Recipe is a perfect and professional Way for boiling eggs  with no mistakes .

  3. Oh No! I think I forgot the five stars! I don’t see my reply so you must vet them first. If you shoot me a quick email I’ll happily amend my quirky comments and praise, then repost it, if you like, unless you can fix it! I’m sorry. I just think that those of you who put so much detail and effort into these fabulous recipes that teach and illustrate with photographs that add to and enhance my life deserve to at least be thanked properly at minimum. Btw, I used a conduction cooktop and an easy-medium boil because my water was near the top of the rim. Everything turns out so even with conduction but I don’t know if that applies to boiled eggs, but my eggs came out perfect.

  4. Perfect! Thank you for the wisdom of how not to start with cold water! I thought the breaking problem was due to the egg meeting the hot water. Now I’m enlightened that the cracks were due to the egg placement and jostling around in the hard pan.

    I used a wire basket from a tossed small deep fryer that was inherited with the house six years ago. Yay, it’s the first time I found a purpose for it. The basket suspended the eggs above the bottom of the pan guaranteeing more even cooking and also made their removal fast and gentle, although it only held six in a single layer. I didn’t have ice but used cold water by running the tap continuously over the eggs and dumping the cumulated warmer water each time it reached about one-half inch above them. My goal was your 6.5-minute egg so I guessed 6 minutes to allow for them to cook longer without the ice bath than you had worked out in hopes to get your perfect 6.5-minute results. Good guess! Perfecto! Yummy! Eggs are one of my favorite foods. I can eat them any time of day or night. Also, I’m very picky about their finished texture and doneness, with poached runny being my favorite and fluffy hardboiled for egg salad, snacking, deviled eggs, and salads. Although, I had forgotten how much I love a soft boiled egg in the shell and I think your 6.5 egg is going to give my whites-done-yellow-runny-perfectly-poached-egg a good run for my heart. The cinch cleanup and freedom from babysitting them are additional virtues too!

    My plan was to hardboil to your recommended doneness for egg salad and just test one for soft boiled timing but I got so excited while enjoying a perfectly done soft boiled egg in the shell that cracked in half cleanly with one wack from my chef’s knife that I forgot to immediately return them to the boiling water. I noticed that you cook soft boiled eggs ahead of time so I will need to learn your strategy for reheating. I am not a great daily food-ahead-of-time planner but driven to forage without a set schedule as my body directs me with hunger urges so a few hours prepping for the week works much better and gets around my shortcomings for consistent food management, such as defrosting the chicken, starting the crockpot before my first pot of coffee..JK!..not really kidding. Also, I trusted your insight about why eggs crack when adding to the boiling water and didn’t turn down the heat with confidence because they were nestled tightly together in the basket.

    I think several layers would work by using a basket but I had set up a pan that didn’t allow for any water to be above a 2nd layer. I most likely won’t use the basket often because I like to make at least a dozen hardboiled eggs for myself to have over the week. Now it occurs to me that I don’t remember your advice about only making a single layer or not. Funny, “single layer” is the way mom did it according to her cooking authority: The Betty Crocker Cookbook. I only deviated from that after too many green edges and the wonderful internet with other methods. However, yours is the first fool-proof method that is also very quick with perfectly timed results. I am thrilled to now have the confidence that the timer will net the perfect results each time I make these. If I get a crack now and again it’s minor in comparison to all the eggs I had to sacrifice while cooking them in order to test doneness along the way.

    Also, thank you for the fabulous visual chart with corresponding cook time that you made! It’s handy and very beautifully photographed. I plan to order photocopies of this and several visual charts of our pyramid, bean varieties with prep and cook times, herbs that I grow, and various others that highlight foods high in probiotics and other nutrition targeted goals. I think these will look fab in a grouping on the kitchen wall in a frameless pre-mounted picture. What do you think? Wow, we could market these and offer royalties to everyone who has put together these fabulous visual graphs like yours!

    Kindest Regards, Pammie

    • Wow, I’m so thrilled you loved this tutorial Pammie and your egg basket method sounds brilliant. I’m glad you were able to put it to use as well. You definitely sound like you’ve got this boiled egg method down now so no more green tinged eggs – whether soft boiled or hard boiled. Though the 6.5 minute eggs are the best. ;) Well done!

  5. I was very excited to try out this recipe, but it ended up in my undercooking six eggs! I got the water boiling, reduced it to “lo”, put the eggs in for exactly 8 minutes, then removed them and put them into the ice bath immediately. Upon breaking two of the open, the whites were very wet (once breaking through the membrane), and I’m now trying to re-boil the rest. It seems as though most people had no problems, so I wonder where I went wrong. Thanks!

  6. I was making a Roman soup & wanted soft boiled/jammy egg halves to put on top like I’ve had it served to me in restaurants. I didn’t realize how easy they were to make. This recipe worked perfectly for me at 6 1/2 minutes. Looking forward to making some with toast to have for breakfast. Thanks!

  7. Your presentation was perfect…it included something (I though) for everyone. It was the perfect speed with explanations, perfect pictures and it included ALL levels of boiled eggs. This is something I have always wondered about. The placing of the eggs in a lower temperature and then returning the temp back up; explaining the how and why of the bowl of ice along with which end to open first. I don’t remember anyone telling me these things. Thank you so much. I look forward to seeing and hearing more of your videos! :)

    • Thanks so much for your kind words! I’m glad you found the video helpful. :) Boiled eggs are something that’s easy to master once you have a tried and true method. I wish you much success with all your future soft and hard boiled eggs!

  8. Can you  refrigerate any of the boiled eggs at different stages of softness to hardness. Or do you have to use the eggs immediately if they’re not completely hard boiled.

    • Hi Steve – You can refrigerate the eggs at any stage. I often refrigerate my 6 min eggs to have later or the next day.

  9. I normally use a steamer basket and still once in a great while an egg will crack. I think they may have already had a hairline crack before cooking.
    Currently without my steamer basket so I will try the full immersion method. Thanks!

    • Thanks for the comment, Lori. I know sometimes my eggs crack if I take them straight from the fridge to the boiling water. I try to remember to take them out earlier to come to room temperature. :)

  10. Thanks so much for this tutorial!  I had a craving a few weeks ago for soft cooked eggs (first time in 25 years) and had to google to figure out how.  This method makes Perfect eggs every time and I especially like that I can make soft and hard eggs together. 

    • You’re so welcome! Thank you so much for the kind comment, Susanna! I’m so glad you are loving the way your eggs are turning out. :)

  11. Thank you…I finally have perfectly boiled eggs and can repeat it…. no more hit or miss.

    • Thank you for the kind words, Tonia! I’m so glad you’re eggs came out perfectly! :)

  12. 6 mins.perfect eggs.
    Thanks a lot

  13. Thank you
    I’m trying it right now

  14. My eggs were in my cart for probably an hour and then an additional hour on the counter at home before following your method. Upon entering the water, every single one gave a pop and egg white oozed out. 

    • Ah, that’s a bummer. Did you make sure you turned the heat down on the water? There should be no bubbles or boiling on the water when you introduce the eggs, it should be very still. Sometimes if your egg shells are thinner (the brand can definitely impact this) I’ve found that if you gently introduce the egg with a quick dip into the water while on the skimmer, then back up, and dip again before fully submerging this can help. Hope your next batch turns out better!

  15. I just used your method to hard boil eggs to dye for Easter- 12 minutes and they turned out perfectly! As simple as it seems it would be to make hard boiled eggs, this is the first recipe I’ve ever tried that actually turned out so well!! Thanks so much for the great tips, and I love your pics showing the various levels of “hard-boiledness”!

    • That’s wonderful Carla! I’m so happy your hard boiled eggs turned out perfect. I’m such a visual person myself so I’m glad you found the egg chart photo helpful. Happy Easter! :)

  16. Perfect eggs every time!

    Thank you

  17. Thank You. My very very soft boiled eggs were perfect, little piggy I had four of them with butter.
    Wayne
    Nakusp, British Columbia

    • I always had soft boiled eggs with a little bit of butter in my egg cup as a kid. And it’s still a favorite of mine! Hope you enjoyed yours as well Wayne. :)

  18. The perfect hard boiled egg! One caveat–I found the eggs need to be completely at room temperature before submersing into boiling water, but that is not an issue. I lost two to cracking; not a problem–the puppy didn’t care! Just take them out of the fridge earlier. The best thing is that following the timing according to the recipe removes any fear of under- or over-cooking. Just set the timer and relax!

    • Yes, making sure the eggs are at room temperature definitely helps. As does making sure there are no bubbles breaking the surface when submerging. :) Glad you’ve got it down now Libby!

  19. When I make soft-boiled I poke a hole in the bottom and no cracking happens. I tried your method without the holes and had a few crack. I will return to poking a hole in them along with your heat method recommendation. 

  20. Six minutes is too long for soft boiled eggs. Over cooked!

  21. I have seen several videos preparing soft boiled eggs. Some cooks prefer adding a vinegar to the boiling water. Can you explain why you do not recommend this?

    • Hi Fred, I personally haven’t found any benefit to putting vinegar in the water when cooking a hard boiled egg. But this could be a personal preference when cooking a poached egg (with the shell off). Thanks!

  22. Great tutorial! I’ve been boiling eggs wrong for years!

  23. So the take home from this is 7 minutes is the optimal boiling time!

  24. Followed your directions exactly and three out of six eggs cracked as soon as they entered the boiling water. Help?

    • Hi Heidi – Make sure the water isn’t actively boiling when you insert the eggs. Turn the stove temperature down, and then back up again. Also, make sure the eggs are at room temperature. Hopefully that helps! :)

  25. Thank you so much for all that detail. I can’t leave a thumbs up bc I’m on my phone, don’t see one anywhere, but I’ll be sure to visit from a computer.
    I often wondered if different pots made a difference so thanks for that also!

  26. Great video … I like using a steamer rack in my pan of water. Depending on the burner and pan used the temperature of the pan bottom can vary and is always greater than 212 F. 

  27. Made them today, and really happy with my soft boiled egg yolk texture! Also loved that you gave general yolk guidelines and minute ranges for varying textures. Very helpful and great info/directions!

  28. OMG!! So easy!!! Just tried this! Thank you!!!

  29. I love reading this. I cook eggs the same way: water boiling FIRST, cook to desired texture, ice bath right after. 

  30. Wow is all I can say!  Perfect eggs! What a great way to start my day!  I can’t wait to share them. 

    Thank you 

  31. Good website with heads up direct to point on how to boil eggs. Easy to read and apply in the kitchen.

  32. We have been doing this the last few mornings and it works!! Well done babe only website that it has worked!!

  33. Why is it that sometimes there is a “film” around the egg after either cracking a raw one or boiling it. That has happened repeated times when I purchased eggs at one place… A chain store, so it’s not local.

  34. Hallelujah! This is the first time I’ve been able to make perfect soft boiled eggs. I won’t use any other method from now on!

  35. I find the best way to peel boiled eggs is with a teaspoon. When you start please make sure you have the teaspoon under the membrane of the egg.

  36. Workrd pergectlyb

  37. What size eggs did you use and does the egg size affect cooking times?

  38. So very helpful. I cannot wait to cook my eggs. Always have used cold water. Never have been consistent.

    Rating: 5
  39. The 7-minute egg came out perfect! I used soda and vinegar in the boiling water. But, I had to guess the ice water time, maybe 15 seconds seemed right.

    Rating: 5
  40. Eggcellent video! Easy to follow directions and well spoken. I wil use Lisa Bryant’s website again!

  41. I’m currently 5 and half months pregnant and this baby has me craving semi soft boiled eggs. This is always my go to recipe to remind me how long to cook them. 9 mins is perfect for me and my Husband is a 12 min egg man. :) Now if only I could get my 2 and 3 year old to like them. Cravings of poached eggs have hit me a few times and just checked out your recipe. Will definitely be attempting them in a few days, so wish me luck!! 5 stars for sure

  42. Thanks so much for this single method for soft and hard boiled eggs. I cooked four 6-minute eggs along with four 12-minute eggs. Both came out perfectly. All my adult life I’ve used the cold water method I learned from my mother, and it always worked perfectly for hard boiled eggs.  Lately, I’ve tried several methods for soft boiled eggs — some worked okay; some were a disaster.  I love that I’ve learned something new that works just as well for hard boiled eggs as it does for the soft boiled eggs that I love. A big 5 stars!

    Rating: 5
  43. Excellent. Perfect results after following this easy to understand guide. Thank you for your thoroughness!

  44. One of my 10-year-old son’s New Years resolutions was to try eggs prepared in a new way. We settled on soft boiled in egg cups. I haven’t had them in (*ahem*) over three decades so I was a bit nervous. I followed your video recipe exactly. The six minute eggs turned out perfectly (thank you) and were so delicious with sourdough toast soldiers. Success. Hooray!

    Rating: 5
  45. Perfect explanation! 

    Rating: 5
  46. Very similar to what I’ve always done. There’s just too many variables with starting the eggs out in cold water. Besides the obvious factor of the type of material the pot is made from, the water could take longer to boil depending on the type of heating element (electric, induction, wood flame or gas flame), the size of the flame under the pot, and even the altitude of your kitchen or campsite. Boiling the water first eliminates these variables. The variable that wasn’t mentioned is the size of the egg. A perfect medium sized egg will take maybe 5 1/2 minutes while a jumbo egg will need close to 7 minutes for the same effect.
    But I like my boiled eggs hot, especially soft boiled eggs, and I’ve never seen the need for ice water regardless. I just drain the water from the pot and give the eggs a cold-water rinse just so that they’re cool enough to handle. Then for soft-boiled I just crack them, scoop a few of them into a bowl, add my salt and/or seasoning, and eat them nice and hot. Can’t be beat. To keep a stash of hard-boiled eggs on hand I just cool them down in the pot with tap water and toss them in the fridge. Easy as hell to peel. No ice water, baking soda or vinegar is ever needed.