How to Boil Eggs:
Perfect Soft Boiled Eggs

I'm embarrassed to tell you that I didn't learn how to boil eggs until I was an adult. I guess that's because I didn't eat eggs until I was an adult!

I discovered the joy of soft-boiled eggs after the birth of my first child. Every morning for two weeks, my husband brought me breakfast in bed: a soft-boiled egg and buttered toast, with sliced fruit and sometimes even a flower! (Yes, he is a wonderful husband!!!)

Ever since then, soft-boiled eggs have had a special place in my heart. Here is how to cook eggs that are beautifully soft-boiled, with softly set whites and runny yolks.

Boiling Perfect Soft Boiled Eggs

Get out your equipment

  • an egg
  • a saucepan
  • a spoon
  • an egg timer (or the timer on your watch, or your stove, or your iPhone...)
  • a cutting board and knife

Here's what to do:

  • Fill the saucepan with just enough water to cover the egg.
  • Heat the water to a gentle boil.
  • When the water is gently simmering, gently place the egg in the water. (Don't burn yourself! You may want to lower the egg on a tablespoon.)
  • Set the timer for 6 minutes.
  • When the timer pings, pour off the water. Your egg is ready!
  • Use a knife to chop off the top end of the egg.
  • I like to put the egg in an egg cup, and eat it with a spoon. You might also want to spread the gooey warm egg on toast.


  • If the egg is runnier than you'd like, next time set the timer for 7 minutes or more. If it is too hard, next time try 5 minutes or less. By experimenting, you'll soon discover the exact time required to cook an egg exactly as you like it.

  • Soft boiled egg purists will tell you always to use eggs that are at room temperature. If that's what you do, you won't need to cook your eggs for as long as I've suggested. Try 3 minutes to begin with, and adjust your timing as needed. (I store my eggs in the fridge, and can never remember to take them out to warm up to room temperature.)

  • Do eggs need to be refrigerated? That's a very good question, and there doesn't seem to be a standard accepted answer. Some food safety experts say that eggs must be refrigerated for safety's sake. Others say that it doesn't matter. Do whatever makes sense to you.

Now that you know how to boil eggs (soft boiled), you may want to try these other methods of cooking eggs:

  • Scrambled Eggs
  • Fried Eggs

    Return from how to boil eggs to egg recipes.

    Home to healthy quick meals.

  • Thanks so much for your wonderful recipes. They've all been a hit with my family! I'm a new wife/mom who doesn't have a domestic bone in her body, so I am very grateful for what you do. Keep up the good work!

    Jess D.
    Virginia, USA

    Thank you so much for everything that you are doing Ellen. You are truly helping so many of us who can't think straight enough to put a meal together.

    Leslie R.
    Texas, USA

    I just wanted to say that you put so many awesome recipes on here, and it really does help simplify dinner time for me. My favorites are the Sweet Lemony Tomato chicken (unlike any chicken I've ever had!) and the Garlic and Balsamic Chicken. It is divine! Thank you so much for what you do! And keep 'em coming!

    Shelbi C.
    Texax, USA

    This is truly one of the best sites in the world. Since I started coming to your site, my wife thinks I am a hero in the kitchen. I used to hate cooking. Now I just check your site before doing our shopping to see what new thing I can add. Thank you so much for your generousity, you truly are a blessing to me, my wife and our marriage.

    Winston M. Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa