How To Make Perfect Soft Boiled Eggs

by Beth - Budget Bytes
4.54 from 229 votes
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Soft boiled eggs are my new obsession. The whites of the eggs are firm, but the yolk stays silky, creamy, and in a liquid gold state. It’s a little like a cross between butter and melted cheese. They’re seriously divine. And they’re not just for breakfast! I enjoy soft boiled eggs with toast, as an addition to bowl meals, as a topper for salads or soup (hello, ramen!), or just as a quick snack. I pretty much add soft boiled eggs to everything I eat, no matter what time of day. Are you ready to see how easy it is?

Originally posted 2-9-14, updated 10-8-18

A soft boiled egg cut in half on a blue background

How to Boil Eggs Fast

Half of the time spent when boiling eggs is just waiting for the water to boil, so I like to use a combination of boiling water and steam. To create the steam you only need one inch of water in the pot, which comes to a boil in just a few quick minutes instead of several minutes for a full pot of water. The steam from the boiling water is then trapped under the lid, it surrounds the egg, and cooks the egg just as quickly and evenly as a full pot of water. The quick steaming method allows you to cook your soft boiled egg in just six minutes, or about the amount of time that it takes to start making your coffee or toast a piece of bread.

If you want to see how to make soft or hard boiled eggs using a full pot of water, check out my tutorial for how to make hard boiled eggs.

How Long for Soft Boiled Eggs?

The recipe below is formulated for large eggs that are still cold from the refrigerator. In the U.S. large eggs weigh approximately 56-62 grams. You can use this method for other sized eggs, just be aware that you will need to adjust the time up or down, depending on the size of your egg. Other factors that may affect the cook time include high elevation, the type of cookware used, and starting temperature of your egg. Start with six minutes for large eggs and adjust the time until you find the exact amount of time needed to achieve your perfect soft boiled egg.

Line up of eggs cooked for different amounts of time

The diagram above shows how long to cook large eggs (cold) to achieve soft or hard boiled eggs and everything in between.

  • 5 minutes: liquid yolk with soft, whites not fully set
  • 6 minutes: liquid yolk with fully set whites
  • 7 minutes: jammy yolk with outer edges set
  • 8 minutes: half set yolk
  • 9 minutes: half set yolk
  • 10 minutes: mostly set yolk

Using the steaming method, I find 12 minutes to be perfect for a hard boiled egg with a fully set yolk. If you prefer to use a full water bath instead of the steaming method, check out my tutorial for hard boiled eggs.

How Long do Soft Boiled Eggs Last?

Soft boiled eggs in the shell will last in the refrigerator for about two days. To reheat the refrigerated soft boiled eggs, just repeat the initial cooing process with half the time. Bring about an inch of water to a boil in a small saucepot, add the egg, and let steam for 3 minutes instead of six. 

What to Serve with Soft Boiled Eggs

Soft boiled eggs go well with so many different foods that I find myself adding them to almost all my meals (“put an egg on it!”). I add soft boiled eggs to everything from noodles and rice bowls to salads and toast. When you break open that liquid gold yolk is like adding a deliciously rich sauce to your meal. Here are a few recipes where a soft boiled egg can really take your meal to the next level:

Breakfast bowl with perfectly cooked soft boiled eggs, spinach, avocado, tomato, rice, and sriracha.

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How to Make Perfect Soft Boiled Eggs

4.54 from 229 votes
Perfect soft boiled eggs with firm whites and liquid gold centers are only six minutes away. Use this easy step by step guide for perfect eggs every time. 
a soft boiled egg cut in half on a blue background
Servings 1
Prep 4 mins
Cook 6 mins
Total 10 mins

Ingredients

  • 1 large egg, chilled

Instructions 

  • Add 1 inch of water to a sauce pot, cover, and bring to a boil over high heat.
  • Once boiling, add an egg (or however many you'd like as long as they are in a single layer in the bottom of the pot), straight from the refrigerator into the pot. Replace the lid and let it continue to boil for exactly six minutes.
  • After six minutes, remove the egg(s) from the pot and place them in an ice water bath or run under cool water until they are cool enough to handle. Peel, and enjoy!

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Video

Notes

If you do not plan to eat the egg immediately, cool the eggs completely in an ice water bath to stop the cooking process. Otherwise, the eggs can be peeled and eaten warm as soon as they are cool enough to handle.

Nutrition

Serving: 1ServingCalories: 74.4kcalCarbohydrates: 0.5gProtein: 6.2gFat: 4.4gSodium: 64.9mg
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How to Make Perfect Soft Boil Eggs – Step by Step Instructions

Add Eggs to Boiling Water

Add one inch of water to a sauce pot. Yes, you only need ONE INCH of water. Use the smallest pot you have that will house the number of eggs you’re making, so they’re in a single layer in the pot. I usually only do one or two eggs at a time, but this same technique can be used for any number of eggs. Place a lid on the pot and bring the water to a rolling boil over high heat. Once boiling, gently place the large egg(s) into the pot. Tongs or a slotted spoon makes this easier to do without burning your finger tips. 

Steam for Exactly 6 Minutes

After adding the egg(s) to the pot, put the lid back on top, and set a timer for six minutes. The lid holds in the steam, which surrounds the eggs with even heat, cooking them quickly and evenly.

Place Soft Boiled Eggs in Ice Bath

After exactly six minutes, turn off the burner, and use the tongs to transfer the eggs to an ice bath. Allow the eggs to cool until they’re no longer too hot to handle, or let them sit in the ice bath until you’re ready to eat. Just make sure you don’t let them sit at room temperature after steaming, otherwise they will continue to cook with their residual heat, and the yolks will continue to solidify.

Peel Soft Boiled Eggs

Carefully tap the egg on a hard surface to crack the shell, then gently peel it away. You’ll need to be gentle because the inside is still liquid and the egg will be somewhat soft and wobbly. Begin peeling on the fat end, which often has an air-bubble that separates the shell from the whites, and makes an easy spot to separate the two. Give it a quick rinse after removing the shell to get rid of any shell fragments.

Perfectly cooked soft boiled eggs cut open to reveal the silky yolk.

And now it’s time for that magic moment… OMG the runny yolk is liquid perfection! *squeal* Just so you can see a close up of the awesome results… The whites are completely solid and the yolk is ALL liquid. How perfect is that? I feel like I won the lottery.

OTHER WAYS TO COOK EGGS

Looking for other ways to cook your eggs? Check out these other recipes:

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  1. Two out of four eggs cracked immediately when I put them in the boiling water. They were still good, but it made a bigger mess and looked yucky.

    1. Try putting the egg on a soup spoon and then adding it gently into the pot. Better luck next time! XOXO -Monti

  2. Worked beautifully. Thank you so much for this. I will be looking for your instructions as to how to make the perfect poached egg too!

  3. Perfect every time!! Can’t believe it. My ramen is stepped up a notch, my pickled eggs have that perfect golden center… It is quicker, I use less water, and the peels almost fall off. Bravo!

  4. Brilliance!
    Cooked 3 together and they were perfect for my grandson’s “Castle & Soldiers”.
    I’ve ALWAYS fully covered eggs in water but that’s history now.