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

4.95 from 180 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




476 Comments

  1. Have you tried piercing the eggs with a egg puncher be cooking? Does it make a difference in peeling the eggs or cooki times?

  2. I made the 12 minute egg and it turned out perfect. Peeled easily and left my egg white intact. The white was so soft and the yolk perfectly yellow and not at all dry. I’m 55 and have never had good luck with boiled eggs. I’m looking forward to trying other times. Thank you.5 stars

  3. Amazing recipe for boiling eggs! I highly recommend it. Very easy and foolproof. I keep boiling the eggs in this way ever since I found this post. It does make a difference. Thank you so much for all your hard work!5 stars

  4. Best way to hard boil eggs is without placing the eggs in boiling water. STEAM cook them instead and then submerge in ice water for at least 10 min. They will be easy to peel.

  5. Made 18 hard bolied eggs with this recipe. They cooked perfectly. Every. Single. One! I used “just bought” eggs and they were room temperature when I cooked them. So happy to finally find a recipe that works. It’s added to my recipe collection now.5 stars

  6. Having recently reintroduced eggs after decades without them, I am totally an egg-novice. I have been using your method and it works great, except every few times I do this an egg shell cracks as soon as it hits the water. (This has nothing to do with dropping it in the pot, I do this very gently with a slotted spoon). Any tips on how to avoid the shell from cracking? I am letting the eggs sit out for a bit before cooking, so they aren’t so cold, but the temperature change seems to be shocking them and cracking them. Thanks for your help and awesome website!5 stars

    1. Good question. First I make a little hole in the shell on the blunt end, then let the eggs sit in warm water for several minutes. If you see bubbles coming out of the hole, then it is working properly to relieve pressure that might have cracked the shell. If you want to compensate for starting with warm eggs, then just reduce the boiling time by 30 seconds. My favorite is a 5:30 egg — almost never cracks, almost always peels easily. And I always start with “old” eggs. I got into that habit while stockpiling at the start of the pandemic, and I’ve kept it up as the virus has receded.

  7. The fact of the matter is that easy-shelled hard-boiled (or soft-boiled!) Eggs start well before shelling. It starts with the eggs I choose, how I cook them and how to treat them as soon as my timer (yes, I must set a timer) dings. I have to follow some guidelines for my choice of eggs with yellow yolk and how to make pearl, smooth, spotless, hard-boiled eggs.5 stars

  8. This, without a doubt, the best video/website for this. I love the way she explains the logic behind her method, and then demonstrates it expertly. Thank you for the information!5 stars

  9. Do we start the timer as soon as we put the eggs in or do we start it after it starts to boil again? I was thinking start it when we put them in, but then the instructions say to “turn it back up to a boil”. The next step is start the timer. So I’m confused. Lol

  10. 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. 

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. 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?

  14. 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!!

    1. 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 :)

      1. 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.

      2. 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 :)

  15. 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.

  16. 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!

    1. 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!

    2. 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.

  17. 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

  18. 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

    1. 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. :)

  19. 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

    1. 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.

  20. 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

    1. 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).

    2. 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

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

  22. 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.

    1. Hi Sumer – I usually just microwave them for 20 seconds or so (peeled). Or you can put them in a cup of boiling water for about a minute.

  23. 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!

  24. 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? 

    1. Hi Amber – did you make sure to turn down the heat (so there’s no bubbles) as you placed the eggs in the water?

    2. Honestly thank you for this, this page is the best one I’ve seen when it comes to boiling eggs. Only relevant information, nicely pedagogical, and super helpful without fluff5 stars

  25. 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?

  26. 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. 

  27. 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.

  28. 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

  29. 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).

  30. 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

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

  32. 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

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

  33. 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

      1. I’ve been doing it from cold this whole time 🤦
        This was far better, 7 mins oh yehhhhh, thanks for the tips!5 stars