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.
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?
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 salad, classic 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.
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.
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.
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!
Hard Boiled Eggs Recipe (and Soft Boiled Eggs)
- 1-6 large eggs
- 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.