How to Boil an Egg

Whether you like them hard-cooked, soft-boiled, or poached, boiling is a healthy, easy way to cook eggs. We'll show you to do it and answer some of your most pressing egg-boiling questions. How long does it take to boil an egg on the stove? We've got the answer. Want to know how to soft boil an egg? We can show you that, too! We also have a few suggestions for how to use boiled eggs, including how to add them to recipes. Get ready to take notes, because we're about to share our secrets for how long to boil an egg, how to hard boil an egg, how to make a poached egg, and any other egg boiling question you can think of.

As basic as it sounds, boiling an egg is a skill many home chefs struggle to master. With our helpful tips and tricks, you'€™ll never again slice open a hard-boiled egg to find an ugly, green-ringed yolk -- only beautiful eggs perfect for adding to salads or slicing for a high-protein snack.

Using Eggs

Use these tips for selecting and storing eggs:

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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 Soft Boil an Egg

The method for how to soft boil an egg is very similar to hard boiling—the main difference is how long to soft boil an egg. Follow this super-easy method for quick soft-boiled eggs:

  • Place eggs in shells in a single layer in a medium saucepan.
  • Add enough cold water to cover 1 inch above the eggs.
  • Bring to boiling over high heat.
  • Reduce heat so water is just below simmering.
  • Cover and cook for 4 to 6 minutes; drain.
  • Fill the saucepan with cold water and let stand just until the eggs are cool enough to handle.
  • To serve, cut off tops and serve in egg cups. Or, cut the eggs in half and use a spoon to scoop the eggs into serving dishes, or add to other recipes.

Get the recipe for our Egg and Soba Noodle Bowl

How to Poach Eggs

Step 1: Prepare the skillet

  • Lightly grease a 10-inch skillet with cooking oil or shortening.
  • Fill the skillet halfway 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

  • 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

  • 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.

Try poached eggs on top of our Breakfast Salad recipe!

How to Use Boiled Eggs

Boiled eggs can be delicious all on their own, but they're also a great way to give salads and other recipes an extra boost of protein. Here are a few different ideas for adding both poached and hard-cooked eggs to your plate:

Combine two favorite boiled egg recipes into one by making our Deviled Egg Salad!


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