How to Boil Eggs

5 from 105 votes

Learn how to boil an egg whether it's soft, medium or hard, including times, guidelines and tips. Use my easy no-fail step-by-step tutorial!

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Learn all about how to boil eggs. Whether you like your yolks runny, jammy, or definitely set, a boiled egg is one of the most versatile, affordable, and nutritious things you can put on a plate. But like cooking rice, mastering this basic skill takes just a little bit of practice. Hint: It’s all about the timing!

3 boiled eggs, soft, medium and hard - sliced in half to show consistency
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One large egg has 75 calories but packs about 6 grams of protein including all 9 essential amino acids, vitamins A and D, iron, phosphorus (for bones,) plus choline (brain and metabolism.) Once misaligned for high cholesterol content, doctors now say eggs are not a major cause of high cholesterol levels.

How to make boiled eggs

  • Place the eggs in a saucepan and pour enough cold water over the eggs to completely submerge them.
  • In the uncovered pan bring the water to a rolling boil. Take the pan off the heat and cover. Allow the eggs to cook in the covered pan to the desired doneness. See specific times below.
  • While the eggs are cooking, prepare a bowl with ice and water. When the eggs reach the desired cooking time, transfer the cooked eggs with a slotted spoon to the ice water to cool completely before peeling.
3 image collage to show to boil egg in a pot with water

How to peel hard boiled eggs

  1. Tap the completely cooled egg against a flat surface.
  2. Roll the egg to crack all over.
  3. Peel the shell off.
  4. Rinse the egg under cold water if any tiny pieces of shell remain.
4 image collage to show how to peel hard boiled eggs

Egg times

  • Soft-boiled eggs: For soft, runny yolks, you want to make sure to remove the eggs at 4 minutes.
  • Medium-boiled yolks: Often described as “jammy”, this is where my preference is, right around 6-7 minutes.
  • Hard-boiled eggs: The range for hard-boiled yolks is anywhere from 8 to 12 minutes.
Three egg halves cooked at 4 minutes, 6 minutes and 12 minutes

Tips for the perfect egg

  1. Begin with fresh eggs. If in doubt, do the fresh egg test with a glass of water. A fresh egg will lay on its side in a glass of water. A less fresh but still okay egg will stand up on its end. Bad eggs float.
  2. Don’t overcrowd the eggs in the pot. They should fit comfortable in the pot so they can move around freely as the water boils. I usually keep them at a single layer.
  3. Never keep the eggs at a hard boil for minutes on end. Joy of Cooking points out the phrase “boiled egg” is a misnomer. At the most eggs should be simmered on low with bubbles barely breaking the surface, but I prefer the method above.
  4. Start peeling at the large end. For an easy start to peeling, begin at the fatter end of the egg because there is an air pocket located there between the white and the shell. It should pop open easily.
  5. Add vinegar to the water. Putting a splash of vinegar in the boiling water works on the shells and make them easier to peel.
  6. Add a teaspoon of salt to the water. It may help prevent cracking and make it easier to peel the eggs.

Recipes to make with boiled eggs 

Hard boiled eggs on a piece of toast

Frequently asked questions

How long can I keep boiled eggs in the refrigerator?

Hard boiled eggs in their shells will keep for a week. Peeled hard-boiled eggs can also last for a week but store them in a tightly lidded container to try to maintain moisture. Eggs that are soft or medium boiled should be consumed within two days.

Why do my hard-boiled eggs have a green ring around the yolk?

That ring – of a million Easter eggs – means your egg was overcooked.

Can I freeze boiled eggs?

No, the freezing and defrosting process messes with the texture.

For more cooking resources, check out:

With my cold-water method and these time guidelines, you’ll never suffer from a disappointing boiled egg again.

If you’ve found this cooking resource for How to Boil an Egg helpful or if you’ve tried any recipe on FeelGoodFoodie, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave me a comment below! I would love to hear about your experience with this technique. And if you snapped some shots of it, share it with me on Instagram so I can repost on my stories!

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How to Boil Eggs

Learn how to boil an egg whether it's soft, medium or hard, including times, guidelines and tips. Use my easy no-fail step-by-step tutorial!
5 from 105 votes
Servings 1 serving
Calories 126
Prep Time 1 minute
Cook Time 4 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes


  • 2 eggs or more


  • Place the eggs in a saucepan. Pour enough cool water over the eggs until fully submerged.
  • Bring the water to a rolling boil uncovered. Turn off the heat, cover the pan and allow the eggs to cook according to the desired doneness: 4 minutes for SOFT boiled; 6 minutes for MEDIUM boiled; 12 minutes for HARD boiled.
  • Prepare a bowl with ice and water. When the eggs reach the desired cooking time, transfer the cooked eggs with a slotted spoon to the ice water to cool completely before peeling.
  • Tap the eggs against a flat surface, roll and then peel the shell. Rinse the eggs under cold water if you need to remove any leftover pieces of the shell.


Storage: Store any leftovers in an airtight container. They will last about 2 days in the fridge but best eaten right after they’re made.
Photo Credit: Erin Jensen


Calories: 126kcal, Carbohydrates: 1g, Protein: 11g, Fat: 8g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 327mg, Sodium: 125mg, Potassium: 121mg, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 475IU, Calcium: 49mg, Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.

Cuisine American
Course: Breakfast, Snack

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    1. No, you can just put them in the water long enough to stop the cooking and make them safe to handle. If you peel them after a few minutes in the water they will still be somewhat warm.

  1. So glad you wrote this post!! I’ve been cooking for over eighteen years and am ashamed to say that getting the peel off the eggs is something I still haven’t mastered!! And I’ve always been too proud to look this up lol😉 This post just popped up as I’m scrolling through your site and I will definitely give your suggestions a try!!😊😊

    1. Hi, do you begin with cold eggs, straight out of the fridge, or do you wait until they’re at room-temperature?

      1. I use cold eggs out of the fridge. The cool water helps bring the to room temperature pretty quickly.