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. thank you Lisa–very logical and simple-timing wise. Now I know what how long to boil eggs. It was outstanding and you explain why somethings work or don’t. cool. The cool bath is wonderful to know and why.

  2. Oh my goodness! I’m 44 years old and for as long as I’ve been allowed near a heat source, I’ve never been able to make a hard boiled egg that doesn’t have that ugly green/grey tinge around the yolk…until today. This method of boiling eggs is spot on 👌🏾. I might have spent a good 5 mins standing there admiring how awesome my eggs looked before I ate them 🫣Well done!👏🏾5 stars

      1. I did 10 min eggs exactly as directed. They came out perfect and Easy to peel. I learned the other way starting in cold water and never got them just right. Thank you- this will be my go to! Next time gonna try 6 min jammy style.5 stars

  3. I am so thankful I have found recipe after trying so many different methods for hard boiled eggs over the years! Have been doing it this way for over a year. Quite often I have one break from hitting the pot, but I usually peel them right away and it’s fine.5 stars

  4. Lisa’s directions for perfectly boiled eggs has worked for me every single time without fail for the last year or two, when I found her website. I have even made jammy centers and hard boiled in one batch using her instructions. Perfect every single time including easy shelling. Every previous method I’ve tried that’s isn’t Lisa’s has led to ripping off the whites with the shells- annoying when making deviled eggs!! Lisa’s is hands down my go to for boiling eggs any style I want. I always use my timer, always follow directions to a T.5 stars

  5. Don’t even try it. Eggs weren’t even close to being done and I followed this recipe twice because the first time I thought I did it wrong. I should’ve listened to the other reviews1 star

  6. I put eggs from fridge in pan n then add purified water. I bring all to a boil with a lid then turn off n set timer for 14 min for hardboiled and 7 for soft. The residual heat cooks them.
    I hate peeling eggs from these tho. So I use my IP. 4 minutes using Manual button for hardboiled with a 4 minutes sit after it beeps then I vent it and put eggs in cold water. Shells slip off!
    If I’m using unwashed eggs (not from the store), I wash them before boiling..

    1. Nope. 10-11 minutes for 6 eggs in a stainless steel pan for me, every time without fail, so long as I place them immediately in icy water and keep them there for 10 minutes. I take my eggs out of the refrigerator. If you are in the UK or Ireland like me and keep your eggs on the shelf, 9 minutes is probably minimum. The important thing for an easy-to-peel egg is the boiling water shock to begin with and the cold shock at the end.

  7. I forgot to take my eggs out and get them to room temperature. So, I took them directly from the fridge and used cold eggs. Not one of them cracked or bubbled.
    Otherwise I followed your instructions exactly and it was great. Peeling the eggs was the easiest it’s ever been and they look beautiful.

    I do have a question. I made a couple extra eggs just for snacking over the next few days. Do you recommend refrigerating hard boiled eggs in the shell or removed from the shell?5 stars

    1. Wonderful! So happy you ended up with perfect hard boiled eggs, Linda! And I prefer to refrigerate them in the shell as they’ll last a little bit longer. Enjoy!

  8. Thank you fòr this fabulous video for making hard boiled eggs!!! Your video was so helpful and when you boiled the eggs at different times to show what the yolk looked like so we can then decide which would be best for my liking. I have tried many different ways and your way is THE VERY BEST way to get the perfect egg every time!5 stars

  9. I’ve been using this recipe for a few months now and the boil water first then place eggs in method is the best thing since sliced bread, microwave bacon and tv dinners! Every time I do it this way the eggs peel as if they are trying to shed the shell on their own. Like I barely have to do anything to get the shell off and I sometimes just run them under cold water and don’t even place them in an ice bath. Plus they come out perfectly cooked, never over cooked, where I even wonder if I’ve ever had perfectly cooked eggs in my life. Like seriously thank you cause this method has been a game changer for me!5 stars

  10. The most sensible method, the majority of methods including letting rest in hot water are ridiculous. However you must warm the eggs first, straight from a fridge they will instantly crack in the hot water.5 stars

    1. I always use eggs straight from the fridge and my crack rate is about 1 in every two dozen, or one egg in one boil out of four (I heard you should cook only 6 eggs in a batch this way and I think it is true).

  11. I’ve used the cold water method for as long as I can remember and have never had a problem. The only times I’ve ever gotten green yokes is when I’ve forgotten about them and left them boiling too long.5 stars

  12. Hello. Thank you for sharing your egg cooking recipe. Worked like a charm! May I ask where your white pot with the wooden handle is from? I’m in love with it 😍5 stars

  13. Years ago I found my perfect way to cook hard-boiled eggs (I don’t do soft-boiled). Simply put the eggs in a pan, put on the stove, turn the heat to high and set the timer for 19 minutes. Turn the heat to medium when the water boils, but if you forget or don’t see it boiling, it doesn’t seem to make a lot of difference. When time is up, drain the water, run water from the faucet on the eggs for a couple of minutes, then drain. Shake the eggs from side to side in the pan, then place your hand over the top of the pan to hold the eggs in and shake up and down. This ensures the eggs are thoroughly cracked. Cover with faucet water and peel when ready. This method works whether you have 4 eggs in the pan or a dozen. I think the secret is to crack them when warm and cover with water to ease under the shell and make peeling easier. Of course, start with “old” eggs (a week is good), never fresh.5 stars

  14. Best of both worlds. Boil with lid off for 8 minutes, then cover and remove from heat for 2 more minutes. Best boiled eggs ever

  15. I like bringing the water to a boil with the eggs already in there in my iron clad ss pot.
    The hard part is if you miss it coming to a boil which I often do so next time boil first, add eggs after. The ice water is imperative for easy peeling.
    9 minutes for egg salad, 6.5 minutes for soft jammy eggs on toast. With bacon. Yum.5 stars

  16. Thank you! I’ve tried various ways to make hard boiled eggs and easily peel them. Your way is the best of all I’ve tried.5 stars

  17. I went in skeptical because everyone thinks they have the “perfect way” to boil eggs…but THIS IS IT!!!! I absolutely love how the 8 minute soft boil turned out and this is my new way to boil eggs forever! I am telling of my girlfriends to check it out! THANK YOU!5 stars

  18. Thanks for the perfect recipe! I love to make deviled eggs and always struggle with getting the shells off. Had to make a large batch today and they all turned out perfect !5 stars

  19. After 60 years of trying to cook hard boiled eggs that alwats come out easy to peel with no divets and with yokes in the middle, I’ve succeded 3 times. Thanks, my life is complete. 8-)5 stars

  20. A dozen eggs peeled in no time! I am so pleased to learn how to remove the shell while keeping the egg intact. Dunking the eggs in ice water really makes a difference!5 stars

  21. I’ve tried them all. This recipe works the first time and every time thereafter. 14 minutes is my standard but this recipe has convinced me to try a jammy 6 minute. Btw, I just used cold water and they’re still very easy to peel.5 stars

  22. Have tried this several times. Placing the eggs on the counter while waiting for water to boil is not long enough for uncooked eggs to reach room temp. That takes hours. As a result, the still very cold eggs crack when hitting the very hot water…. Even when gently lowered with a soft spoon. Much like pouring a cold drink into a glass still hot from the dishwasher……Thermal shock cracks the raw egg’s shell. So, interesting recipe, but it isn’t working.

    1. Hi Fleur – sorry to hear that! I’ve found that sometimes the brand can really make a difference as well. Perhaps try again with a different brand. :)

    2. Thank you! This is exactly why the ‘boil then add eggs’ method doesn’t work. I lose about 1/3 of the eggs which crack and leach into the water. I don’t understand how this isn’t a problem for most other people (supposedly).

      1. It must be the eggs. I buy fresh farm eggs in Ireland and get only one hairline crack out of every two dozen eggs – the hairline crack closes up once the eggs are chilled. I never have an “egg drop soup” situation and I use eggs straight out of the refrigerator. I think eggs that are roughly handled or badly shipped or packed in shopping bags improperly likely develop weaknesses – mine are handled by the farmer and sold at their roadside stand. But this method also works for supermarket eggs here, which are also locally farmed. When I lived in America my eggs, from factory farms located who knows where, cracked all the time.5 stars

  23. *Perfect* results!!
    Why did i even bother trying fancy other methods? None of them worked right,and they never made sense anyway!5 stars

  24. This is the method I learned from the Amish community and it works perfect every time. The eggs peel wonderfully5 stars

  25. This is the best deviled egg recipe!!  Thank you for sharing!!  My son found this recipe and made them first and shared it – now the whole family enjoys these deviled eggs!5 stars

  26. This the ONLY egg guide I have EVER seen ANYWHERE that has been EXACT!!! YOU RAWK!!!! THANK YOU! I wish I could rank 100 stars. I NEVER do reviews.5 stars

    1. Thanks so much for taking the time to review, Amy! I really appreciate it, and I’m so glad you loved the recipe. :)

  27. I’ve tried so many recipes for hard boiled eggs but THIS IS THE ONE I’ve been searching for. I have used this recipe at least 5 times and each time the eggs are fully cooked, and easy to peel. Thank you for taking the time to figure this out and post!5 stars

  28. The BEST tutorial on cooking eggs. my egg salad went from dried green egg ball salad  to creamy perfect orange egg eggsalad. This time chart is on point. Thank you for posting 5 stars

  29. I keep coming back to this method of boiling eggs bc my eggs reliably turn out so good with all your tips. There is so much helpful information in this post. I love that there are pictures included for each amt of cooking time. My favorite is the 9 minute egg.5 stars

  30. Great way to boil eggs, best I’ve seen. I like around 7 minutes for jammy soft eggs and 12 – 13 for hard boiled. So easy. Thanks5 stars

  31. Did everything you said…all of my eggs came out soft boiled…ughhh.  What a waste of eggs.  I wanted Hard boiled.  This has never happened to me before.  Going to try again.  Can the eggs be too old?  I just Bought them but thinking maybe the store had them for awhile? 

    1. Hi Shannon – I’m not quite sure what went wrong, but 12 to 14 minutes should definitely be hard-boiled eggs. The age of the eggs shouldn’t matter.

  32. I have been using this method for the past year and the eggs are perfect every time! I am so grateful for the guidance to master this basic but so important skill!5 stars

  33. Absolutely perfect! Wish I could post a picture, they’re so pretty! I did just as you advised, with a 14 minute boil and then an ice bath for 3 minutes. I’m ready to devil them! 
    Thank you! 5 stars

  34. Just followed this and omg I wish I could send you a pic They are perfect Totally gorgeous yolk and I can’t wait to taste tgem!5 stars

  35. Favorite cook time is 8.5 mins, and sometimes 6, depending on what it’s for. It’s extremely common in Sweden to put hard boiled eggs on a piece of bread with caviar on top, which makes me do 8.5 mins most often. It’s hard to slice them in the egg slicer if they’re too soft. If I have bread that will catch and soak up the yolk I can do 6 or 6.5 mins and just cut it in a few pieces with a knife while it’s on the bread 😊 
    I’d say 10.5 mins is almost over cooked, 12 definitely over cooked and 14!! 🫢 no wonder Americans don’t like egg yolks cus they’re so often over cooked 😅5 stars

  36. After you cook them and put into the cold water – crack the shell and also rupture the membrane between shell and egg.

    As the eggs cool they will draw in water between themselves and membrane = easy peel eggs.5 stars

    1. The eggs I usually buy have membranes like nylon stockings, lol. I’d break the eggs in half if I tried this, though for eggs produced from different chickens it probably works great. I have no issue using Lisa’s method. One trick I use if I’m holding boiled eggs for a few days is to store them in the fridge in a bowl of water. They seem to stay easier to peel than if they are stored dry.