How to Make Perfect Soft-Boiled Eggs

Cooking the perfect soft-boiled egg can be a bit tricky. If the egg is slightly undercooked, the whites will be runny. If the egg is left on the stove too long, the yolk will be firm. Sadly, there isn’t a built-in timer on the eggshell to let you know when you’ve reached perfection.

Wouldn’t that be a cool invention though?

How to Make Perfect Soft-Boiled Eggs

A while back, I bought a Norpro Egg Timer. It changes color to indicate when the egg has reached soft, medium, and hard stages. Even with the egg timer, I still found the eggs slightly hard to peel. Eggs shouldn’t look like they have cellulite when you are done peeling them.

I use a teaspoon to peel my soft-boiled eggs easily. By slipping the spoon under the shell and sliding it around, I can remove the shell without damaging the egg.

However, I find that this cooking method makes soft-boiled eggs easy enough to peel that a spoon isn’t needed.

How to Make Perfect Soft-Boiled Eggs

This recipe essentially uses steam to cook the eggs, rather than water. Usually, I find that dropping a few cold eggs into the pot of boiling water reduces the temperature enough to stop the water from boiling. This means that adding 4 cold eggs will take longer to reach a soft-boiled egg consistency than just adding 1 egg. If this happens, you end up guessing and starting the timer once the water has returned to a boil. It’s almost impossible to get consistent results.

This problem is solved by using a much smaller amount of water and cooking the eggs in the steam. I still use my egg timer to make sure I get perfect results or as a safety net for those times I forget to set the kitchen timer.

I always forget to set timers.

How to Make Perfect Soft-Boiled Eggs

For extra-large eggs, you will need to increase the cooking time by 30 seconds to one minute. For medium-sized eggs, cook the eggs for about 6 minutes. If cooking lots of eggs, I usually prepare a test egg first. Then, I will crack open the egg and make sure my timing is perfect.

How to Make Perfect Soft-Boiled Eggs
Cook time
Total time
  • large eggs, cold from the refigerator
  • ½ inch of water
  • saucepan with lid
  1. Add ½ inch of water to a saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil.
  2. Once the water is boiling, add the eggs. Cover and set a timer for 6 to 6½ minutes.
  3. After the eggs are done cooking, place them under cold running water for a minute. This will stop the cooking process.
  4. Serve immediately.

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Anna @ One Prickly Pear
Anna @ One Prickly Pear

A built-in timer on the eggshell would be amazing, indeed! For now, though, I'll give this a try. Thanks for the great tip :)