How To Boil Eggs Perfectly Every Time

Cooking Lessons from The Kitchn

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One bad hard-boiled egg can ruin you for life. At least, that's what I believed until I learned how to cook soft-boiled and hard-boiled eggs precisely how I wanted to eat them. The perfect hard-boiled egg has no green ring around the yolk; the innards are creamy and mellow; and if you're in the mood, you can stop short of the hard-boil and make a gooey soft-boiled egg instead.

Do you know how to make perfect boiled eggs every single time? Let us show you — it's so easy.

Top to bottom: Hard-boiled egg, soft-boiled egg, runny soft-boiled egg.
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There are of course many options when it comes to boiled eggs. You don't have to eat hard-boiled eggs if you don't like them. I prefer mine on the soft-boiled side; a 4-minute egg is just right, especially with a sprinkle of truffle salt and black pepper.

But if you avoid any hint of goo in your yolks, or if you're making deviled eggs this Easter, then hard-boiled is what you want.

Here's how to boil your eggs perfectly every time: from soft-boiled to hard-boiled, this will get it right.

How To Boil Eggs Perfectly Every Time

Makes 6 eggs

What You Need

6 large eggs
Cold water

Slotted spoon


  1. Put the eggs in a pan of cold water. Place 6 eggs in a saucepan and fill it with cold water.
  2. Set over high heat.
  3. Bring the water to a rolling boil. The water should come to a full, rolling boil.
  4. Turn off the heat and cover the pan. If you have an electric stovetop, take the pan off the burner entirely. Don't forget to cover the pan.
  5. Set your timer for the desired time. Leave the eggs in the covered pan for the right amount of time. How long? Depends on whether you want soft-boiled or hard-boiled. Here's how long each will take:

    • For slightly runny soft-boiled eggs: 4 minutes

    • For custardy yet firmer soft-boiled eggs: 6 minutes

    • For firm yet still creamy hard-boiled eggs: 10 minutes

  6. Tap the cooked eggs gently. After your selected time is up, remove the cooked eggs from the pan with a slotted spoon and tap each gently on the countertop to crack the shell in a few places.
  7. Place the eggs in a bowl of ice water. Fill a bowl with ice water. Transfer the eggs to the bowl and leave them there for at least 1 minute.
  8. Peel and eat! When ready to eat, peel the egg and enjoy.

Recipe Notes

  • Quantity: You can of course do fewer eggs (or more!), but we like to do 6 at once.
  • Storage: Refrigerate any unused eggs, still in their shells, within 2 hours. They can be stored in the fridge for up to 1 week.
  • The black plate in these photos is a clay platter by La Chamba from Toque Blanche.
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Per serving, based on 6 servings. (% daily value)
4.8 g (7.3%)
1.6 g (7.8%)
0 g
0.4 g (0.1%)
0.2 g
6.3 g (12.6%)
186 mg (62%)
71 mg (3%)

(Image credits: Leela Cyd)