How to Boil Eggs Perfectly (Every Time)

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

Hard boiled and soft boiled eggs on a counter

The Cold Water Approach is Flawed

When it comes to boiling eggs there’s no shortage of tutorials online. And guess what? They’re all pretty similar (i.e. add eggs to a pot of cold water, bring it to a boil, turn off the heat and cook the eggs until they’re hard boiled).

But I find that there’s one big flaw with this method – the type of pot you use.

Aluminum, stainless steel and cast iron are well known for their different rates of bringing water to a boil and retaining heat. That means 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. No thank you! 

On the other hand, soft-boiled eggs require a more precise cook time. That’s why most tutorials have you cooking them in hot water.

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

Boiled eggs on a counter

How to Boil Eggs in Hot Water

Given the reasoning above, I see no reason to cook hard-boiled eggs differently from soft-boiled eggs. Plus, the hot water method, which 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°F (100°C).

Boiling a pot of water on the stove

Once boiling, 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, immediately turn the heat back up to a boil.

Placing eggs into a pot to boil

As soon as the eggs are in the water set a timer. And cook the eggs according to how soft or hard you’d like them.

Setting a timer to boil eggs

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 medium yolk that’s slightly soft 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.
How long to boil eggs chart timer

Place the eggs in an ice-water bath. Once the eggs have reached your desired time, immediately place them in an ice water bath to stop them from cooking and maintain your perfect texture.

Boiled eggs in an ice water bath

Peel the eggs. Tap them gently on the bottom thicker end first, as it’s easier to get under the membrane when you start peeling from the bottom. Then continue to peel the shell off.

Peeling boiled eggs

How do you make eggs easier to peel? The million-dollar question! There are many theories on how to make hard-boiled eggs easier to peel such as using eggs that are at least 10 days old, adding baking soda or vinegar to the water, and placing the eggs in an ice water bath. After trying all those methods, the only thing that works time and again for me is placing the eggs in an ice-water bath!

Tips To Prevent Cracking

Your eggs shouldn’t crack when placing them in the hot water. If they do, here’s a few extra tips to ensure that won’t happen.

  • Allow the eggs to warm up. As you’re waiting for water to boil, don’t forget to take the eggs out of the fridge to let them sit on the counter. This will allow them to come to room temperature.
  • Reduce the heat to low. This is important. Reduce the heat to low while slowly placing the eggs in the hot water. The water should not be boiling or bubbling. Otherwise, the eggs will bounce around and likely crack.
  • Don’t crowd the pot. You want to make sure your eggs have enough room in the pot, so that they’re not stacking or touching. Plus, a crowded pot can start to alter the cook time.
  • Buy a different brand. Sometimes different brands have different thickness of shells. If you’ve done all of the above, switching brands might be the clincher.
Boiled eggs with salt and pepper on top

How Long Can You Store Boiled Eggs

Whether you’re making hard-boiled eggs or soft-boiled eggs, this is how long you can store them in the fridge:

  • Hard Boiled Eggs: up to 1 week
  • Soft Boiled Eggs: up to 3 days

In the shell or peeled? You can store boiled eggs either in their shell or peeled. But if you want maximum freshness and the longest storage time possible in the fridge, store them in their shell.

Helpful Tip: 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.

Favorite Recipes With Boiled Eggs

There’s so much you can make once you’ve mastered boiling eggs. Here are a few of my favorite recipes:

Let me know in the comments below what your favorite cook time is for boiled eggs! I’m quite partial to a 6 1/2-minute jammy egg.

Hard boiled and soft boiled eggs on a counter

How to Boil Eggs Perfectly

4.93 from 193 votes
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 20 minutes
Servings: 6 eggs
Author: Lisa Bryan

Description

Learn how to boil eggs (both soft-boiled and hard-boiled) so they turn out perfectly every time. Watch the video below for a quick tutorial!

Video

Ingredients 
 

  • 1 to 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).
    Boiling a pot of water
  • Once the water is boiling, reduce the heat to low (so that there's no bubbles) and use skimmer to gently and slowly add the eggs to the water. Then, turn the heat back up to a boil.
    Placing eggs in boiling water
  • Set a timer and cook the eggs for 6 to 7 minutes for soft-boiled eggs and 12 to 14 minutes for hard-boiled eggs. See the cooking time notes above. While the eggs are cooking, prepare an ice-water bath.
    Setting kitchen timer to boil eggs
  • 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 their cooking.
    Boiled eggs in an ice water bath
  • Peel the eggs, starting with the bottom end first as it's easier to get under the membrane.
    Boiled egg peeled on a counter

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 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, How Long to Boil Eggs, How to Boil Eggs
Did you make this recipe?Mention @downshiftology or tag #downshiftology!

Recipe originally posted March 2018, but updated to include new information and photos.

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About the author

Lisa Bryan

Lisa is a bestselling cookbook author, recipe developer, and YouTuber (with over 2.5 million subscribers) living in sunny Southern California. She started Downshiftology in 2014, and is passionate about making healthy food with fresh, simple and seasonal ingredients.

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Recipe Rating




507 Comments

  1. FINALLY, something that works!!!

    I have laying hens. Our eggs are always fresh and NEVER peal easily.

    BUT, not anymore. This WORKED!!!!

  2. woo hoo- followed your directions and it was so much easier to have a perfectly boiled and easy to peel egg. Thank you!5 stars

  3. I just made these boiled eggs, exactly as directed, cooked for 12 minutes. The BEST hard boiled egg I have ever had!!! The egg white was soft and almost creamy (not runny, very much cooked through) and the yolk was soft and velvety. Never had an egg like that before. Goodbye to my old method of adding eggs in first with cold water then bringing to a boil – that gave me green-edged yolks every time, no matter how long or short I left them in the hot water.
    Have to admit I was skeptical that the eggs would not just burst open when hitting the hot water. But only one egg cracked, and turned out yummy anyway. So thank you for a fool proof method of cooking soft/hard boiled eggs!!5 stars

  4. Perfect every time using this method. I have an electric stovetop, so I just move the pot off the burner to add the eggs, then replace the pot on the burner and let them boil for the allotted time.5 stars

  5. I have a terrible memory that is only matched by my ability to boil eggs badly. I can never remember the cooking time or exact process. This time when I googled, this method came up.

    Bravo. I did the six minute option and my eggs were perfectly cooked. Whites all firm but not dry or rubbery, and the yolks soft and runny.5 stars

  6. I always “hard” boil my eggs… I prefer to put in pot first then add the water… for 2 reasons… I hardly ever have them break… and I always use my oldest eggs for the easier peeling… but it catches any that may have gone bad because they will float…

  7. One question, do you start the timer once the water begins to boil again or as soon as you put them in the pot?4 stars

  8. Fantastic !

    Years of listen to all sorts of recipes .

    I love simplicity and basic logic towards a process. X + Y = Z technology.

    No more standing on my left foot facing east and singing a mantra.

    Thank you.

    Gar5 stars

  9. Thank you for the tutorial. I will try it out. My eggs I can NEVER peel without taking chunks of the egg white. I have always done an ice bath. Very eager to try your method of boiling water first. Today I am going to try it. Thank you and have a Blessed Easter. BTW where is the subscribe button?

    1. Hi Ella – Hope this method worked out perfectly! Also, you can subscribe to my email list on my homepage.

  10. I can’t tell you how much getting eggs perfect in my house is. With fussy grandchildren coming in, the easiest thing to get them to eat is a perfect hard boiled egg. Thanks for the tips!5 stars

  11. Thank you!!! I always get great hard-boiled eggs from my Instant Pot, but pulling out an appliance to make them feels like overkill. This is the first stovetop method that worked perfectly! I used the whole 14 minutes… no green tinge and perfect peel! Appreciate you!!5 stars

    1. Hi Tina – I’m glad you found a method that works for you when it comes to boiling eggs!

  12. 1 star because I followed your instructions to the T. I took the eggs out to get to room temperature as I brought the water to a boil. Turned the heat to low, set the eggs slowly and carefully in the as soon as it stopped rumbling. As soon as I put the eggs in the pot, ALL of the eggs cracked and started leaking. I brought the heat back up to high just to get them to stop leaking. Now my deviled eggs are going to be ruined. An entire batch. I’d like to note that the shells on these eggs aren’t the strongest but, I’m willing to bet I should’ve stuck to the other method of already having them in the pot and bringing it to a boil. I’ll try this method again with stronger shelled eggs next time. Hopefully I won’t ruin expensive pasture raised eggs. If it works, I’ll gladly write another review with hopefully better results.1 star