How to Boil Eggs


Boiled eggs are delicious, nutritious, and easy-to-make snacks. Whether you want firm, hard-boiled eggs or soft-boiled eggs with warm, runny yolks, a few simple steps will have you enjoying your savory treat in no time.

Part 1
Hard-Boiled Eggs

Hard-Boiled Eggs on How to Boil Eggs

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Take the eggs right out of the refrigerator and set them in the saucepan. Make sure to use a saucepan large and deep enough to hold all your eggs in a single layer (not stacking any on top of the others) with some room for them to move around.[1] Use eggs that have been in your fridge for 1-2 weeks. Older eggs have less moisture and a higher pH, making their shells easier to peel off when you’re ready to eat.[2] You can make more than 6 eggs at a time if your saucepan is large enough, but you’ll need to use more water and wait a little longer for them to boil.

Hard-Boiled Eggs on How to Boil Eggs

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5 cm) of water. Place the pan in the sink and fill it with room temperature water until the eggs are covered by about 1 inch (2.5 cm) of water.[3] The more eggs you boil, the more water you’ll need. If you’re using more than 6 eggs, cover them with 2 inches (5.1 cm) of water to ensure a good boil.

Hard-Boiled Eggs on How to Boil Eggs

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Add 1 teaspoon (4.9 mL) of vinegar or 1⁄2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) salt to keep the eggs from cracking in the pan. Adding salt also makes it easier to peel the eggs when you’re ready to eat![4]

Hard-Boiled Eggs on How to Boil Eggs

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Place the pan on the stove and heat it on high until the water gets to a rolling boil. You can leave the pan uncovered while you boil.[5] If you see an egg crack while you’re boiling, continue cooking it. Some of the white might slip out of the shell a bit, but it will be safe to eat as long as you cook it fully.

Hard-Boiled Eggs on How to Boil Eggs

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Once the water reaches a rolling boil, shut off the heat, cover the pan, and let it sit on the burner for 6-16 minutes, depending on how hard you like your eggs.[6] If you want your yolks a little translucent and runny in the middle, let them sit in the water for 6 minutes. If you want a classic hard-boiled egg with a firm yolk, let your eggs steep for 10-12 minutes. For hard, slightly crumbly yolks, keep your eggs in the water for 16 minutes.

Hard-Boiled Eggs on How to Boil Eggs

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Pour the water out of the pan and run the eggs under cold water for a minute or so to stop them from cooking. Touch them gently to tell when they’re cool enough to handle.[7] To test if your eggs are done, remove one with a slotted spoon, run it under cold water, and cut it open with a knife. If the yolk isn’t done to your taste, let the other eggs sit for 1-2 more minutes. If you’re worried about your eggs rolling out when you strain, tilt the pan over the sink while holding the lid over the opening, so that the water runs out through a crack. You can also cool your eggs by letting them sit in a bowl of ice water for 1-2 minutes.

Hard-Boiled Eggs on How to Boil Eggs

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If you want to store your eggs, remove them from the water as soon as they’re cool. Set them back in their original carton to prevent them from absorbing other food odors and eat within 1 week.[8] Only store hard-boiled eggs that are still in their shell. Once you peel the shell off, you should make sure to eat the egg that day. If a hard-boiled egg feels slimy after you peel it, throw the egg away. This is a sign that bacteria have started to grow and the egg isn’t good.[9]

Hard-Boiled Eggs on How to Boil Eggs

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When you’re ready to eat, tap your egg gently on the counter to crack the shell, then roll it with the palm of your hand until the cracks have spread all over the egg. Then, hold the egg under running, room temperature water and peel the shell off.[10] If you’re still having trouble peeling your eggs, crack the shells and soak them in a pot of water for 10-15 minutes. Water will work under the shell, making it easier to peel off.[11]

Hard-Boiled Eggs on How to Boil Eggs

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Hard-boiled eggs with a dash of salt and pepper are great for a quick, healthy snack. You can also cut them in half to make deviled eggs, or slice them up for a tasty salad topper.[12]

Part 2
Soft-Boiled Eggs with Runny Yolks

Soft-Boiled Eggs with Runny Yolks on How to Boil Eggs

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Fill your pan with enough water to cover the eggs by about 1 inch (2.5 cm). Set it on the stove over high heat. Once the water gets to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer.[13] Choose a saucepan that’s big enough to hold your eggs in a single layer. For a good measurement, set your eggs in the saucepan and fill it with water, then remove them before you start boiling.

Soft-Boiled Eggs with Runny Yolks on How to Boil Eggs

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Use tongs or a spoon to set your eggs in the simmering water. Set a timer for 5-7 minutes, depending on how runny you want your yolk. If you’re boiling 3-4 eggs, add 15-30 seconds onto your time.[14] For a runny yolk, let your eggs boil for 5 minutes. For slightly firmer yolk, boil your eggs for 6-7 minutes. Soft-boil in batches if you want more than 4 eggs.

Soft-Boiled Eggs with Runny Yolks on How to Boil Eggs

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Use a slotted spoon to pull out your eggs one by one. Run them under cold tap water for 30 seconds to a minute so they stop cooking and are cool enough to handle.[15]

Soft-Boiled Eggs with Runny Yolks on How to Boil Eggs

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Place your egg upright in an egg cup or a small bowl filled with an uncooked grain, like rice, to keep it standing up. Tap the egg around the pointy top with a butter knife to loosen it, then pull it off with your fingers.[16] You won’t be able to store soft-boiled eggs, so eat them right away, while they’re still warm and gooey.

Soft-Boiled Eggs with Runny Yolks on How to Boil Eggs

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To eat, simply spoon the egg right from the shell into your mouth. You can also slice toast into thin strips and dip them into the yolk.[17] If your egg is more firmly cooked, you can carefully crack it, peel the shell, and enjoy it on toast for a warm, savory breakfast treat.