How To Soft-Boil an Egg

Cooking Lessons from The Kitchn

The perfect soft-boiled egg should have firm, custard-like whites and a warm runny yolk. This is a slightly trickier endeavor than simply hard-boiling eggs, but nothing that can't be mastered in the space of a Saturday morning!

Here's our best recipe and step-by-step guide for soft-boiled eggs. What's yours?

What You Need


1 - 4 large eggs (if cooking more eggs, work in batches)


Slotted Spoon


1. Fill a saucepan about halfway with water and bring it to a boil.

2. Decrease the temperature so that the water reduces to a rapid simmer and gently lower the eggs into the water one at a time.

3. Cook the eggs for 5-7 minutes: 5 minutes for a yolk that is still runny and 7 minutes for a yolk that is barely set.

4. Drain the eggs and run them under cold tap water for 30-60 seconds.

5. To eat, use a knife or egg-cutter to take the cap off the tip of the egg and eat it straight from the shell, preferably with plenty of toast for dipping. More firmly-cooked eggs can be cracked (carefully!) and peeled like a hardboiled egg. All soft-boiled eggs should be cooked to order and eaten immediately.

Additional Notes:

• Another method for cooking soft-boiled eggs follows our hard-boiled egg method. For soft-boiled eggs, simply steep them in the hot water for less time. (We find this method a little less consistent that the method above, but it's handy for cooking a large batch of eggs at once.)

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(Images: Emma Christensen)