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How to Cook the Perfect Soft-Boiled Eggs

How to cook the perfect soft-boiled eggs? Use one of the three simple methods and egg cooking times, it is so easy! Learn how to get that oozy, runny yolk perfect every time… I’ve done the timing homework for you.

How to cook the perfect soft boiled eggs - three methods

What makes the perfect soft-boiled egg?

The perfect soft-boiled eggs need two things: a runny yolk and a soft, non-rubbery white, perhaps a touch soft around the edge as well. I’ve done all the soft-boiled egg cooking times homework for you, so read the notes and follow one of the methods below. The resulting eggs are amazing!

Best soft boiled eggs recipe

In fact, there are three simple methods to cook a soft-boiled egg. Inspired by the Food52 hard-boiled egg experiment I decided to find out how to cook the best soft boiled egg and here are the findings.

The resulting soft-boiled eggs are to die for: soft, runny yolks enveloped in whites that are just set. Pure Sunday morning’s breakfast indulgence. And a super healthy one at that.

Recipe for soft boiled eggs

Before you begin, read these notes

How long to cook soft boiled eggs for depends on a number of factors. Most notably, the size and temperature of the egg itself.

While the below methods are accurate for large hen eggs (700g to a dozen, so 58g per egg), results may vary slightly depending on the exact size of the eggs you have on hand.

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You can use eggs straight out of the refrigerator, but follow the third method outlined below. Cold eggs may crack if placed in boiling water. Alternatively, leave eggs out of the refrigerator for 2 hours to bring them to room temperature to use with method one or two.

Please note that for induction cooktops you may need to extend the egg cooking time by 30 seconds to a minute if you use the rapid boil function in the third method.

soft boiled eggs

You have three methods to choose from: the warm egg boil or simmer and the cold water, cold egg method. These all make the eggs easy to peel, always a bonus, especially with the more delicate soft-boiled eggs.

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Can you store soft-boiled eggs in the fridge?

Yes, you can refrigerate eggs – soft-boiled (and hard-boiled) in the fridge. In fact, you should! Don’t peel them, simply cool them down in ice-cold water and store in the fridge for up to a week.

They make for a great snack and can be easily and quickly added to salads, lunchboxes, soups and sandwiches. The yolk in the soft-boiled egg makes the perfect salad dressing. Even better, for sandwich fillings, such as curried mayo eggs, you don’t need the mayo!

How to cook soft boiled eggs

How to serve soft-boiled eggs?

I like to top my perfect oozy soft boiled eggs with a little mayo and chopped chives and consume with a handsome hunk of sourdough bread topped with a shaved slice of cheese.

Alternatively, you can serve them in an egg cup. Peel the top and sprinkle each spoonful with a little salt and pepper. Serve with seared asparagus “soldiers” wrapped in smoked salmon. You can also wrap them in prosciutto or parma ham before searing on a hot grill or in a sandwich press.

How to cook the perfect soft-boiled eggs

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How to cook the perfect soft boiled eggs
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How to Cook the Perfect Soft-Boiled Eggs

You will need 6 eggs and a kitchen timer or stopwatch for this. Precision in timing is key to runny yolks. I like to cook around 6 of these at a time and keep them in the fridge to top salads, add to laksa or simply snack on. Please note that if you want to peel and cut the eggs, you may need them to be a touch more set so stick to the higher time limits recommended for each method. For induction cooktops, in method 3, you may need to extend the cooking time by 30 seconds especially if using the rapid boil or top cooking setting to start with.
Prep Time1 minute
Cook Time6 minutes
Ice bath time5 minutes
Total Time12 minutes
Servings: 1


For the soft boiled eggs:

  • 6 large eggs (hen eggs, 58g each or 700g to a dozen)
  • Cold water

Topping suggestions:

  • mayonnaise
  • chives or spring onions
  • pepper

With asparagus "soldiers"

  • smoked salmon or prosciutto
  • asparagus spears


Boil Method

  • Use this method for room temperature eggs. Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil. Use a spoon to gently lower each at-room-temperature egg in. Bring back to the boil and cook for 5-6 minutes, uncovered, then immediately transfer to an ice bath. Leave for 5 minutes before peeling.

Simmer Method

  • Use this method for room temperature eggs. Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil. Use a spoon to gently lower each egg in. Return to a simmer, reduce heat and cook for 5-6 minutes, uncovered, then immediately transfer to an ice bath. Leave for 5 minutes before peeling.

Cold Water, Cold Eggs Method

  • Place eggs into a pot and cover with cold water. Place over high heat. Once the water starts bubbling from the bottom all the way to the top with large bubbles and the eggs start vibrating (you will hear a soft tapping sound), reduce heat to a medium simmer. Set your timer for exactly 3.5 minutes. Cook for a further 30 seconds if you prefer the yolk a little more set around the edge. Drain and transfer to an ice bath. Leave for 5 minutes before peeling.

To serve

  • Peel soft-boiled eggs and serve cut open with your choice of toppings or sides.
  • For asparagus soldiers, wrap each spear with smoked salmon or prosciutto. Sear on a hot pan or in a sandwich press. Serve egg in an egg cup, cut the top open with a knife and serve asparagus spears on the side, ready for dipping!

To store

  • Store cooled unpeeled soft-boiled eggs in the fridge for up to 1 week. Enjoy as a snack or add to salads.
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scriptorobscura December 24, 2010 at 12:49 am

This photo looks so delicious! It is making me so hungry just looking at it!
Must go make this recipe now… :)

Wholesome Cook December 24, 2010 at 2:50 am

I hope you enjoyed it :-) making me hungry now too!

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[…] You might also like to know how to cook the perfect soft-boiled egg […]

Andy King June 6, 2011 at 10:08 pm

Photograph seems yummy and delicious….

Thank you for teaching us so simple recipe.

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[…] – Perfectly cooked soft-boiled eggs are a joy to eat and can be taken to work or school, whole in their shell. As can, obviously hard boiled eggs. […]

Raymond Woytowich December 4, 2019 at 2:42 am

I have been using my instant pot to do my boiled eggs for the last couple of years. And I have found it works great and have not have a single egg crack. As a bonus, they all peel very easy and you get perfect eggs nearly all the time.
The bonus is you can adjust the cook time to get a soft yolk.

Martyna @ Wholesome Cook December 4, 2019 at 11:25 am

Oh that’s awesome! I’ve heard that’s a good way to cook them as well…. how long do you cook the eggs for?


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