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How To Make A Perfect Soft Boiled Egg

Updated on August 9, 2014

Martha Stewart Doesn't Know How to Boil An Egg.

Martha Stewart has been telling people how to cook and decorate for 45 years.

And she still doesn't know how to make a soft-boiled egg.

Don't believe me? She says to bring the eggs "just to the boil then remove immediately from the heat." But who has time to hover over the pan waiting for that perfect moment?

She says use "medium high heat" but what does that mean? I bet Medium High heat (on her $12,000 Aga stove) is different from my gas GE stove that cost less than $600. And isn't the temperature (I mean the degree of heat) the main reason your "soft boiled" egg is cooked hard all the way through?

I've tried her method many times but it was always hit-or-miss. Here's her recipe if you want to see what I mean:

So I decided to figure out how to make a perfect -- and no hassle -- soft-boiled egg.

Gorgeous (and perfect) soft boiled egg

Soft Boiled Eggs!

Let's face it -- it can be difficult finding that sweet spot so that your soft-boiled egg is "just right."

The white should be cooked through, and the yolk should be a glorious golden liquid. Perfect for dunking the corner of a perfectly toasted piece of bread.


Once you know how, you can make a perfect soft boiled egg every time.

Read on for all the details.

What You'll Need

A pan to boil water

4 or 5 eggs, room temperature (but instructions include how to use refrigerated eggs, if that's what you have)

a timer (I use the one on my microwave)

egg cups (more details provided below)

How To Soft Boil An Egg

For 4 or 5 large eggs:

Bring a pot of water to a full boil.

(Why boil the water first? So that you can always time your eggs perfectly. If I put eggs into water to boil, I lose track... and am never quite sure when they started boiling!)

Using a large spoon, carefully lower each egg into the boiling water.

Immediately set your timer, as follows:

if your eggs are REFRIGERATED, then set timer for 4 minutes;

if your eggs are ROOM TEMPERATURE, then set timer for 3 1/2 minutes.

When timer goes off, remove pot from stove and pour off boiling water but keep eggs in the pot. Run cool tap water over the eggs to slow the cooking process.

Let eggs sit in the cool tap water for 4 minutes. (This is a good time to make your toast, or pour yourself another cup of coffee.)


Pour off water, and Ta Da...

perfect soft-boiled eggs!

How To Serve A Soft-Boiled Egg

Yeah, sure, you can just crack it open... but that defeats the purpose of making one. If you're going to eat it on a plate you may as we'll cook it sunny-side up in a pan and be done with it.

Put them in an egg cup, get the salt and pepper. A teaspoon small enough to get into your egg. Remove the top by gently tapping a circle around the top end with your spoon. Season. Dig in. Serve with buttered toast, which should be dipped into the warm and perfectly soft yolk. Incredibly yummy.

Don't have egg cups?

Go, now, to a kitchen supply store and buy yourself some egg cups. If you love soft-boiled eggs, you'll use them forever. I've had mine forever and they still look good as new. (OK, I'll confess -- I actually have LOTS of egg cups because I love soft-boiled eggs. I also may have an Egg Cup Problem, but let's not discuss it.)

Get egg cups here if you don't have a kitchen store nearby


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    • Buster Bucks profile image

      Buster Bucks 6 years ago from Sonoma County, California

      Hi mkvealsh,

      Yes, I know that feeling. We love soft-boiled eggs, so I timed them, and then wrote the article.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment!

      Best regards,


    • mkvealsh profile image

      mkvealsh 6 years ago

      I can never seem to remember the exact times for hard and soft boiled eggs, so thanks for the info!!

    • Buster Bucks profile image

      Buster Bucks 6 years ago from Sonoma County, California

      Hey chabias,

      I really enjoy that sound of the lids popping after I've canned tomatoes.


      Enjoy your soft-boiled eggs... and thanks for taking the time to write to me.

      Best regards,


    • chabias profile image

      chabias 6 years ago

      YUM!! Thanks for this, Buster! Right now I'm taking a break from canning tomatoes using your method. Just finished the first batch & I hear the lids sealing as I type. Hope to try these soft-boiled eggs soon...maybe for dinner!