How to Boil Eggs Like a Pro

2014 Feb 25 |  Written by:  | Tags: , , , ,


Boiled eggs are great on their own, with vegetables or salads, or as side dishes. These are some of the most basic and oldest essentials when it comes to kitchen know-how. 

When you talk about boiling eggs, it seems like the easiest and least complicated thing to do in the kitchen. But the truth is, many cooks – both amateur and experienced – have a lot of trouble getting the right kind of doneness with their boiled eggs. Many consider boiling eggs as more of a science and less of a recipe. Here, we will teach you how to soft- and hard-boil eggs in a matter of minutes using tricks you probably never even thought of doing.

General Pointers

81173346There is more than just one way to acquire perfect boiled eggs. But before we dig into the specifics, keep these in mind:

  • The rule of thumb: the shorter the cooking time, the runnier the yolk and the more softly set the white is.
  • Even for hard-boiled eggs, you should never cook beyond 15 minutes. Some cooks want to be extra sure that their eggs are cooked all the way through, but 15 minutes is more than enough. Exceeding beyond this time can result to rubbery whites and crumbly yolks.
  • Even though the procedure calls for “boiling”, it is important to begin by simmering and working the way up. Rapid boiling at really high temperatures can make the eggs tougher than you’d like them to be. Slow cooking at low temperatures is best.
  • Ever wonder how restaurants cook eggs with the yolks perfectly centered? You can achieve this, too. Simply use cold water in the beginning, bringing eventually to a boil, instead of using hot water at once. Also, stir using a wooden spoon every now and then.
  • Keeping eggs in the fridge is debated by many, since it can increase the likelihood of cracking. However, refrigerated eggs are a lot easier to peel. Experts suggest to keep eggs in the fridge, but before using them, it can help to lightly pricking the rounded bottom end of the egg. This aids in the escape of air, preventing cracking or bursting during cooking. When using room temperature eggs, though, this step is not necessary.

Hard Boiled Eggs

  1. 470643941

    If you can, pick eggs which are already a few days old. The fresher the egg, the more difficult it’ll be to peel off the shell.

  2. In an empty pot, place the eggs and add either salt (just enough to make the water taste salty) or vinegar to the water. These substances have enzymes which plug any cracks in the shell so that the egg won’t burst. The water should be around 2-3 cm over the eggs. Again, use cold water to begin with. Even if this increases cooking time, this also prevents overcooking.
  3. Put the lid of the pot on. If the eggs were stored in the fridge, turn off the heat as soon as the water boils. But keep the pot on the stove and do not remove the lid. Keep the eggs in this position for 10-15 minutes. Only start the timer once the water has begun to boil and the heat has been turned off. If using room temperature eggs, however, you can cook them for 10-12 minutes, then immediately plunge them in cold water for 8 minutes.

Alternative Method:

In a small saucepan, pour in water to about three quarters through. Let boil, then place the eggs in. From this point, begin your timer. At a steady simmer, cook the eggs for: 8 minutes (lightly hard boiled egg) / 10 minutes (dark yellow, moist but dry yolk and a set white) / 15 minutes (light yellow and dry yolk). Once done cooking, plunge the eggs into cold water.

Soft Boiled Eggs

  1. 469948885Pick room temperature eggs and lay in a pot.
  2. Pour room temperature water to about 2-3 cm over the eggs.
  3. Add a tablespoon of vinegar or salt to the water.
  4. Cover the pot and bring to a boil. It is easy enough to tell if the water is boiling – you can hear the bubbles distinctly. Never attempt to remove the lid to check.
  5. As soon as the water comes to a boil, remove the pot from the heat, keeping the lid on.
  6. Cook for 3-6 minutes, depending on how soft and runny you want your yolk to be.

Other Things to Consider When Boiling Eggs

  • If you boil: several eggs at once / large eggs / cold eggs / at a high altitude / with cold water, you will require longer cook time
  • Do not peel soft boiled eggs – you should only crack open one side, then spoon out the contents while keeping the shell intact
  • Eggs can also be steamed by laying them in a pan that has a tight-fitting lid with 1 cm of water
  • Going over 15 minutes of boiling eggs will result to the release of sulfur – an unpleasant smell with discoloured yolks
  • Don’t go over a tablespoon of vinegar, if using, because the eggs may taste sour and unpleasant


There are plenty of kitchen tools and accessories today that can make cooking – even boiling eggs – a lot easier. For instance, you can rely on automatic egg timers and egg cookers to help you track your eggs’ doneness more accurately with less effort!

What are you waiting for? Have a go at boiling eggs and be sure to let us know how it went!

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