How to boil eggs – Bring water to a boil first, add eggs, start the timer. 6 minutes for runny yolks, 8 minutes for soft boiled (my go-to!), 10 minutes for hard boiled. Peel under water to make life easier.
After cramming directions for how to boil eggs in the notes of more recipes than I can count, I figured it was high time to share a proper recipe. So here is how I boil eggs!
How to boil eggs
This method will produce consistent results to the level of doneness you desire no matter what pot you use and how weak or strong your stove is.
Boil water first.
Gently lower in fridge-cold eggs.
Lower the heat slightly – so the eggs don’t crack due to being bashed around but water is still at a gentle boil.
Start the timer – 6 minutes for runny yolks, 8 minutes for soft boiled, 10 minutes for classic hard boiled, 15 minutes for unpleasant rubbery whites and powdery dry yolks.
Transfer into a large bowl or sink of cold water.
Peel under water starting from the base (it’s easier).
And that’s all you need to know. But if you’re wondering about the why, read on!
How long to boil eggs
Dippy eggs and soldiers – 3 minutes (can’t peel)
Runny yolks – 6 minutes
Soft boiled – 8 minutes
Hard boiled – 10 minutes
Remember, lower fridge-cold eggs into boiling water then start the timer!
My egg boiling rules & the why
Boil water before adding eggs – Your water boils faster than mine, because you have a better pot and stronger stove. So if we both start with eggs in cold water then bring it to a boil, our egg cook times will be different.
Plus, at what point really do you consider the water to be boiling so at what point do you start the timer? And who wants to stand over a pot, waiting for that exact moment it comes to a boil so you can start the timer? Remove that variable! Always start your eggs in boiling water.
Lower heat slightly once eggs are added – So the eggs aren’t bashed around so they crack. But keep the water at a gentle boil / rapid simmer else you will lose heat. Goal: maximum water bubbling without eggs cracking.
Fridge-cold eggs – Insurance policy for creamy / runny yolks, eggs are consistently easier to peel, pls there’s a consistent baseline for everyone boiling eggs. 8 minutes for a room temperature egg = hard boiled, fridge cold egg = soft boiled!
Egg size – The egg cook times provided above are for “large eggs” which are sold in cartons labelled as such. “Large eggs” are ~50 – 55g / 2 oz each, a size prescribed by industry regulations. For other egg sizes:
– Extra-large eggs (60g/2.2 oz): add 30 seconds
– Jumbo eggs (65g /2.5 oz): add an extra 1 minute
– Emu eggs: separate recipe coming one day….. (maybe!😂)
Don’t crowd the pan – Small saucepan and too many eggs = not enough heat in the water per egg = slower cook time.
Saucepan size – A 18 cm / 7″ saucepan is suitable for 6 eggs, a 16cm / 6″ pan for 4 eggs.
Save ice for cocktails – Ice is precious around these parts. There’s no need to waste them on your morning eggs! A bowl of cold tap water is enough to stop the cooking process.
Peel from the base – It’s easier. Try it.
Peel under water – Also easier. Try it!
What type of boiled eggs I use for what
Dippy eggs for soldiers (3 minutes) – Made for dipping in toast sticks (pictured above), these cannot be peeled as only the outer rim of the whites are set. The yolks are runny as is the inner layer of egg whites, so you can mix it up and dip the bread sticks in.
Runny yolks (6 minutes) – I don’t use these very often because they are a bit of a pain to peel because the egg whites are just barely set so they are rather delicate! Usually if I’m after a runny yolk I’ll do poached eggs (such as for Eggs Benedict) or fried eggs sunny-side up (for burgers). Just easier to handle and cook, I find.
Soft boiled eggs ⭐️ (8 minutes) – My favourite and default boiled egg because it is at its best! Cooked so the yolk is just set which means it is at its optimal creaminess. But the yolk is cooked enough so it doesn’t run when you cut it.
Hard boiled eggs (10 minutes) – The other alternative level of doneness for the above listed salads. I prefer soft boiled rather than hard boiled simply because the yolks are creamier and the whites are softer.
Overcooked eggs (12 minutes+) – Powdery yolks and rubbery whites are not to my taste, but do your eggs as you wish! I just hope nobody is aiming for the dreaded grey ring around the yolk. That’s as overcooked as you can get!
Egg cracking problems?
To prevent eggs cracking:
Lower the eggs in gently using a slotted spoon or similar – don’t drop them in from a height!
Reduce the heat slightly as soon as the eggs are added so the water isn’t bubbling so furiously that the eggs are thrown around so violently that they crack.
The other thing that can cause egg cracking is thin shells. The thickness of shells varies which can come down to the chicken breed and the quality of the chickens – and therefore the eggs. Do you use free range eggs?
As for the burning question about why some eggs peel neatly and others end up cratered like the moon? Ahh, so much information out there! The only thing I know for sure is that older eggs peel more neatly than fresh eggs. This is simply because the membrane of freshly laid eggs is adhered more firmly to the shell so it’s harder to peel off. The older the egg, the more that membrane degrades = easier to peel.
I find eggs purchased from the store that I’ve had for a week+ in the fridge almost always peel neatly.
And that, my friends, is all the pertinent information I have to impart on the matter of boiling eggs. Go forth and enjoy your new egg boiling life, with guaranteed perfectly boiled eggs every single time!
And for egg boiling experts – share your tips. I love learning new things! – Nagi x
Watch how to make it
How to boil eggs
- Large eggs , fridge cold (55g/2oz each, Note 2)
- Water level 3cm/1" – Fill the saucepan with enough water so it will cover the eggs by 3cm / 1" or more.
- Boil first then add eggs – Bring to a rapid boil over high heat. Using a slotted spoon, gently lower fridge-cold eggs into the water.
- Lower heat – Reduce the heat slightly to medium high – water should still be bubbling but not so much the eggs are being bashed around so roughly they crack. (Note 3)
- Start the timer once all the eggs are in. – Dippy solders: 3 minutes (can't peel)– Runny yolks: 6 minutes– Soft boiled: 8 minutes– Hard boiled: 10 minutes
- Cool 10 minutes – Remove eggs using a slotted spoon into a large bowl or sink filled with plenty of cold tap water to cool the eggs. (Ice – Note 4) Cool 10 minutes.
- Peel from base in water – Crack the base of the shell by tapping it on the counter, then peel under water from the base (it's easier).
- Storing – Hard boiled eggs can be stored in the fridge for up to 7 days (peeled or unpeeled). Freezing not recommended (whites go weird).
Egg donenessStart timer once eggs put into boiling water:
- Dippy soldiers (3 min) – Made for dipping toast stick in (see photo in post). Only outer rim of whites set. Can’t be peeled.
- Runny yolks (6 min) – Barely set whites, runny yolk. Delicate to peel. For runny yolks I usually do poached eggs or sunny-side up.
- Soft boiled (8 min) my favourite – Soft set but fully cooked whites, fully set yolks but a bit jammy. My favourite / most used.
- Hard boiled (10 min) – Firmer whites and fully cooked yolks but not dried out.
- Overcooked (15 min) – No! Unpleasantly firm rubbery whites and powdery dry yolks.
1. Don’t crowd the eggs, they will take longer to cook! Saucepan size for number of eggs: 16cm/6″ – up to 4 eggs 18cm/7″ – 6 eggs More eggs = larger pot 2. Egg size – Eggs are sold in different sizes. The cook times provided in the recipe are for large eggs (55g/2oz each in the shell), sold in cartons labelled as such. For extra-large eggs (60g/2.2oz) add 30 seconds, for jumbo eggs (65g/2.5oz) add 1 minute. 3. Egg cracking – Lower heat as needed to prevent eggs from cracking but goal is to keep it at a gentle boil / rapid simmer. If the water is still, there is not enough heat and your eggs are not cooking fast enough! Still got cracking issues? Thin shells is a problem (are you using free range?) and sometimes eggs already have a hairline fracture (can be invisible). 4. Ice water – there’s no need to waste precious ice for the water though if you have an abundance of ice, feel free to go ahead as it will speed up the cooling time. Just be sure to use enough tap water to cool the eggs. Nutrition per egg.
Life of Dozer
Size context: large eggs and jumbo paws.