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How to Make the Perfect Soft Boiled Eggs

Updated on January 29, 2013

Cook Time

Prep time: 5 min
Cook time: 7 min
Ready in: 12 min
Yields: 2-4 eggs

When it comes to breakfast, there is nothing better than a perfectly soft boiled egg. The perfect soft boiled egg has a fully cooked white, but a runny and warm yoke making it perfect for a nice slice of toast. Served on top of a bed of organic greens such as arugula or spinach, it is heavenly and nutritious.

How does one achieve that delicate balance of cooked white and runny yoke? Here's how to make the perfect soft boiled egg.


  • 4 eggs
  • 3 qts water
  • 1 cup ice


  1. Add 1.5 quarts of water to a saucepan and bring to a boil.
  2. Add the eggs, ensuring that the eggs are fully submersed in the water, let boil for 5 minutes for a runny yolk (the egg in the front of the picture above) or 7 minutes for a gently set yoke (the egg in the back of the picture above).
  3. Meanwhile, in a bowl, add the ice to the remaining 1.5 quarts of water.
  4. After the eggs have boiled for 5 minutes, immediately place them in the iced water for 2 minutes. This stops the heat in the eggs from further cooking and is key for keeping a soft yoke.

To Serve

To serve, you have two options:

  1. Use a knife to take the cap off the tip of the egg and eat it straight from the shell. Slice your toast into strips for dipping into the yoke.
  2. Very carefully crack and peel like a hard boiled egg. If you use this method, I drop the egg onto my wood cutting board from only an inch or two letting gravity and the weight of the of egg make crack in the shell enough to peel....carefully.

To Get the Best Results: Use Pastured Eggs

Pastured eggs mean the hens were raised on open pastures where they can roam freely, graze on grass and grubs and earthworms. Hens are omnivorous, and when they are raised in large-scale egg farms, they are fed feed (even if that feed is organic). Only pasture raised hens get the ominvorous diet they would get in nature.

Aside from the humane treatment of the hens, the results are eggs that have firmer structure, darker, more flavorful yolks, and eggs that are high in Omega-3 fatty acids. The video below from vital Farms in Austin, TX explains more about pasture raised eggs.

Tried This Recipe? Rate it.

5 stars from 2 ratings of Perfect Soft-boiled Eggs


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    • Bill Yovino profile image

      Bill Yovino 3 years ago

      I used your hub today to make a soft boiled egg. Perfect. The only thing I would change is to add is about an ounce of vinegar. This way, if your egg cracks when you add it to the boiling water, the white won't seep out of the shell.

      I toasted a whole wheat English muffin, added a slice of smoked salmon, and topped it with a soft boiled egg (5 minutes). It was great! Thanks so much for this hub.

    • profile image

      kingscreek 3 years ago

      I just made these today and they turned out perfectly!!! The ice water is essential as the egg pulls in a bit from the shell which allows for easier peeling. Also Micki's peeling method is a great one - to just drop the egg onto a hard surface to crack. Do so gently and from a small distance, 1 to 2 inches. This method slightly shatters the surface of the egg which greatly improves peeling rather than the traumatic crack caused by an edge.

    • MickiS profile image

      MickiS 4 years ago from San Francisco

      Thanks, mio cid and moonlake, for the comments. Much appreciated.

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 4 years ago from America

      Enjoyed your hub. We love free range eggs and soft boiled eggs. Vote up and more. Just bought an egg cooker it doesn't work the egg gets to well done.

    • mio cid profile image

      mio cid 5 years ago from Uruguay

      love this hub,it reminds me when my daughter was small she gave us a lot of trouble to eat,thank god i discovered she loved soft boiled eggs.the way i made them was i boiled them for three minutes removed from water peeled top side enough to fit a teaspoon put a little salt and gave it to her to eat right inside the shell.

    • MickiS profile image

      MickiS 5 years ago from San Francisco

      Thanks for the comment, Bill. Hopefully this has inspired you to soft boil one or two for yourself? :-)

    • Bill Yovino profile image

      Bill Yovino 5 years ago

      Thanks for posting this. I haven't had a soft boiled egg in a long time. I loved them as a kid. Nice photo too.