How to Boil an Egg

Eggs are rich in protein, low in sodium, and high in vitamins and minerals. Boiling is a healthy, easy way to cook eggs. Learn the four steps to getting this cooking method right.

Using Eggs

Use these tips for selecting and storing eggs:

Eggs in carton

  • Select clean, fresh eggs from refrigerated display cases. Avoid dirty or cracked eggs, which may be contaminated with harmful bacteria.
  • Refrigerate eggs in their cartons so they don't absorb refrigerator odors. Be sure to store eggs with the pointed ends down, which maintains freshness by keeping the yolks centered and the air cells stable.
  • Fresh eggs can be refrigerated for up to 5 weeks after the packing date (a number stamped on the carton from 1 to 365, with 1 representing January 1 and 365 representing December 31).

How to Hard-Cook Eggs

Step 1: Place eggs and water in a saucepan

Measuring water in saucepan

  • Arrange the eggs in a single layer in a large saucepan so they cook evenly. Do not stack them.
  • Add enough cold water to cover the eggs by 1 inch.

Step 2: Bring water to boiling

Eggs in boiling water in saucepan

  • Heat saucepan over medium-high heat until the water comes to a rapid boil (water will have large, rapidly breaking bubbles).
  • Immediately remove pan from heat.

Step 3: Cover and let stand

Covering eggs in saucepan

  • After removing from heat, cover the saucepan and allow it to stand for 15 minutes.
  • Drain the eggs, then run cold water over them or place them in a large bowl filled with ice water until the eggs cool.

Step 4: Peel the eggs

Chopping hard-boiled eggs.

  • To peel an egg, gently tap it on the counter to crack the shell. Use your fingers to peel off the shell.
  • Rinse the peeled egg under cold water to remove any remaining bits of shell.
  • If desired, use a thin-bladed sharp knife to chop the eggs.

How to Poach Eggs

Step 1: Prepare the skillet

  • Lightly grease a 10-inch skillet with cooking oil or shortening.
  • Fill the skillet half-full with water. Add 1 tablespoon vinegar.
  • Bring to boiling. Reduce heat to simmering (bubbles should begin to break the surface).

Step 2: Add the eggs

Poaching eggs in skillet

  • Break one egg at a time into a small glass dish or glass measuring cup, taking care not to break the yolk.
  • Hold the lip of the dish as close to the simmering water-vinegar mixture as possible and slip the egg into the water. Be sure to space the eggs apart evenly.

Step 3: Simmer the eggs

Poaching eggs in skillet 2

  • Simmer the eggs, uncovered, for 3 to 5 minutes or until the whites are completely set and the yolks begin to thicken.
  • When the eggs are cooked, use a slotted spoon to remove them, letting the water drain away.