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How to make perfect boiled eggs and soldiers

Updated on June 12, 2015
How to cook perfect soft boiled eggs with toast soldiers.
How to cook perfect soft boiled eggs with toast soldiers. | Source

Perfect soft boiled eggs with toast soldiers

It took me many years to discover how to make the perfect soft-boiled egg. I finally found the secret in a long-out-of-print book by humourist Willie Rushton called Superpig. Since then, I have been the boiled egg diva. So can you. The perfect boiled egg is easy.

Easy to make boiled eggs and soldiers

When I was a kid, it was impossible to have boiled eggs without soldiers so I still do to this day. But I've had some really dreadful versions. There was one famous occasion in Italy when my dad explained to the waiter - in sign language - that he wanted one egg cooked for four minutes. I suppose you have gathered that he got four that were just about raw.

The way to get the yolk and the white just right

It's so easy. Trying any other method can result in perfectly cooked yolks with whites that are too runny - yuk. Alternatively, get the white right and yolks are too hard for your soldiers.What a conundrum. If you have come across this problem, read on.

Prep time: 2 min
Cook time: 6 min
Ready in: 8 min


  • Per person:
  • 1 egg
  • 1 slice buttered toast
  • Water for boiling


  1. If you keep your eggs in the fridge, bring them to room temperature.
  2. Take a pan that has a well-fitting lid and turn the hob temperature to high.
  3. Place the eggs in the pan, cover with cold water and the lid and put to boil
  4. Once the water is boiling, remove the pan from the heat, leaving the lid in place and set a timer for exactly six minutes.
  5. During this time, cut the toast into long, thin 'soldiers'.
  6. Place a proper eggcup on a small plate on which you've added the soldiers. When the six minutes are up, remove the eggs from the water with a slotted spoon, place in the eggcups and serve. To enjoy: Dip the toast soldiers into the runny yolk. Once you've run out of soldiers, eat the remainder of the egg with a teaspoon.
Fox Run 6227COM Porcelain Egg Cup, White
Fox Run 6227COM Porcelain Egg Cup, White

Because I'm a complete purist, I insist on using traditional porcelain eggcups on proper stems.

None of this modern malarkey.

The porcelain helps to keep the contents warm.

Rösle Stainless Steel Egg Topper with Silicone Handle
Rösle Stainless Steel Egg Topper with Silicone Handle

Many of us eggsperts (apologies) are adept at breaking the top of the shell with a teaspoon and then gently removing it.

But there are two problems.

The first is if the meal is for a young child - you have to be terribly careful not to allow any shell fragments to remain.

The second is that they don't look terribly pretty,especially if you're cooking breakfast for posh house-guests. Here's the answer. This works brilliantly (even on hard boiled eggs) and also makes a great gift for the gourmet.


To make excellent toast

Although I am enough of a traditionalist to insist upon proper eggcups, I do believe that the modern toaster is the best when it comes to making perfect toast for your soldiers.

Today, they have so many controls that makes them look more like the bridge of the Starship Enterprise rather than a kitchen appliance to warm bread, but they will make toast exactly how you like it.

Perfect toast, especially when you're making soldiers to dip in your egg,is crispy on the outside but still soft on the inside. You need to retain that softness so that the bread texture will soak up the lovely yellow yolk. But the toast needs to have its crispy exterior to be strong enough to dip successfully.

I bet you never knew that making toast soldiers was such a tricky culinary undertaking.

Hamilton Beach 2-Slice Toaster - Brushed Metal
Hamilton Beach 2-Slice Toaster - Brushed Metal

I have a theory that toast is one of the most popular foods in the UK.

Cheese on toast, beans, poached eggs, bananas,sardines ... you name it and the English will bung it on toast.

This is a lovely stylish little toaster that's perfect for a small kitchen or a small household.


Do you how to tell whether your eggs are fresh?

The first thing you must know about egg cookery is that they shouldn't be kept in the refrigerator. When you start to boil a refrigerated egg, it's first necessary for the water to get rid of that chill - that is going to throw your timing off completely.

To tell if your egg is fresh, full a bowl with water and gently put in the egg. If it is fresh, it will sink. An older egg will float.

This is because as time goes by, the yolk and the white gradually shrink inside the shell. This forms an air pocket, which causes the egg to float when you put it in a bowl of water.

For the very best results, when you're cooking eggs make sure that they are as fresh as possible.

If you can get eggs from a local farm, then once you taste them, you'll never go back to supermarket eggs again.

© 2013 Jackie Jackson


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    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @CherylsArt - especially on this site :)

    • CherylsArt profile image

      Cheryl Paton 

      4 years ago from West Virginia

      This is the first time that I've every heard of toast soldiers. Now I've learned something new today. : )

    • TreasuresBrenda profile image

      Treasures By Brenda 

      4 years ago from Canada

      LOVE, love, Love boiled eggs. I've never heard of using toast as soldiers before! I think I'll try that on my son (grown up) who will be home from university today.Sharing on Pinterest board Recipes For One or Two People.

    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @meggingmad: Well,they say that people either love it or hate it .... :)

    • meggingmad profile image


      4 years ago

      PS......Try your soldiers with a thin smear of "Marmite" or similar. Yum!

    • meggingmad profile image


      4 years ago

      Works perfectly. I`ve already tried this method. Heston Blumenthal did it on the telly.

    • esmonaco profile image

      Eugene Samuel Monaco 

      5 years ago from Lakewood New York

      Thanks I love soft boiled eggs, but never get them right.....

    • Joanna14 profile image

      Christine Hulme 

      5 years ago from SE Kent, England

      My husband always laughs that I can make many complicated dishes but can't boil an egg! Embarrassed to say that I needed this instruction. Thanks!

    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      5 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Erin Mellor: You can now :)

    • Erin Mellor profile image

      Erin Mellor 

      5 years ago from Europe

      The asparagus thing is good, but does turn a cheap meal into an expensive one in the time it takes to boil an egg. I constantly fail to get the exact moment when the white is firm but the yolk runny, so I am the person who "can't even boil an egg".

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I love eggs any way I can get them. But I've avoided creating soft-boiled eggs as the cooking intimidates me. I will try this. Thanks.

    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      5 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @sousababy: I'm not surprised :)

    • sousababy profile image


      5 years ago

      @BritFlorida: Yes, those eccentric English chefs . . we Canadians secretly adore them.

    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      5 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @sousababy: Thank you, Rose. I was so pleased to find this method - I hate imperfectly cooked whites. By the way, I read that Heston Blumenthal dips lightly steamed asparagus in his. That sounds so good but I prefer toast!

    • sousababy profile image


      5 years ago

      I like soft-boiled eggs (and it IS quite an art to get them so that the whites aren't runny - blah). I have also enjoyed dipping toast into the runny egg yolk (it's just tastier). Thank you for such clear instructions, Jackie.


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