perfect boiled eggs

A simple delight and a classic food find, the boiled egg is to the culinary world as the little black dress is to the world of fashion: it’s one of those things that never seem to go out of style and for good reason! The incredible, edible egg is one of nature’s most finest foods, packed with protein and loaded with vitamins, minerals, unsaturated fats and antioxidants. And even with all that, a large egg only has about 70 calories… incredible, indeed!

Boiling an egg is definitely a no-brainer… if you can boil water, you can boil an egg. The trick is, though, boiling an egg to absolute perfection. It’s one of those basic techniques that can be found in almost every beginner’s cookbook, and you’d think they all say the same thing– but, no. Some require starting the egg in cold water, others boiling water; some add vinegar, others baking soda; some require covering the pot, other don’t; some ask for fresh, new eggs, others say to use older eggs… all a bunch of hocus pocus, if you ask me. It seems like there is as much debate on how to boil an egg as there is on who makes the best pizza (New York, hands-down for their thin-crust pies) or the best burgers (In-N-Out, no doubt).

The truth is, when it comes down to it, all you really need to boil an egg to perfection, besides boiling water, is… perfect timing. That’s all. Really! I have to admit, I usually boil eggs to eat only when I’m too lazy to cook anything else or I’m starving and there’s not much else to eat. When I’m in this state, I’m in no mood to be measuring out vinegar or baking soda or bothering to cover the pot, and who cares how old the eggs are?? All my mind is capable of thinking when I’m seriously hungry is that I have eggs in the fridge and they’re still good… SCORE!

Now, the perfect boiled egg really is all a matter of personal taste, just like the perfect pizza or burger, but less complex since we can “boil” it down to three stages: soft-boiled, medium-boiled, and hard-boiled. The ideal soft-boiled egg has a fully cooked egg white but the egg yolk is still completely liquid and runny. The ideal hard-boiled egg has a fully cooked egg white and egg yolk (with none of that green stuff around the yolk, which happens when the yolk is overcooked). Perfection for me, though, is a little bit in-between: when the yolk is no longer runny, but not completely set either; i.e., medium-boiled. Peeled, halved and sprinkled with just a pinch of Maldon salt, the perfect boiled egg can be the simplest form of heaven in your mouth… it’s just that good.


2 eggs, plus more to share perhaps?
pinch Maldon sea salt (See the Guide)



Medium saucepan
Ladle or slotted spoon
Paring knife



  • In a medium saucepan, measure enough water to cover the eggs by at least 1 inch. Set the eggs aside and bring the saucepan of water to a boil over medium-high heat. Once boiling, gently lower in the eggs with a ladle or slotted spoon. Set the timer for 6 minutes for soft-boiled, 9 minutes for medium-boiled, 12 minutes for hard-boiled. Maintain a low boil over medium heat.
  • Once the timer goes off, remove the eggs immediately with a ladle or slotted spoon and run under cold water. If you are cooking several eggs, drain the eggs in a colander and place in a bowl of ice water. This will stop the eggs from cooking any further.
  • Peel the eggs under running water or in a bowl of ice water if you have several eggs to peel. Slice in half, sprinkle with a pinch of Maldon salt and enjoy immediately.

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11 comments to perfect boiled eggs

  • I love your photos for this post. My husband eats boiled eggs nearly every morning for breakfast, so we now have the perfect timing down, but it took time to get them just the way he likes them, so I know what you mean about balancing it out :) Have a great Sunday!

  • Lilia

    Thanks, Kori! I love your idea of canning your own peach and blueberry jams… seems like a great way to end a bountiful season ;) I normally only make one jar a time, playing with random flavor combinations, and so far my favorite has been strawberry preserves with cinnamon. If I get around to it this long weekend, I’ll post up the recipe to share!

  • I adore soft boiled eggs, just seeing your photos has me craving their warmth and creamy texture… mmmm… ;)

  • I love my soft boil at 4 mins. A alittle underdone but love love it!

  • Like your post. A soft boiled egg is the ultimate comfort food.

  • I need to learn this right!! Thanks!!! love soft boiled eggs

  • I love this post. I love eggs, and I’m lucky to have a next-door neighbor who has chickens. But, tell me, have you ever experienced difficulty with peeling farm fresh eggs?

  • I love the photo of the three eggs – love them all ways.

  • Lilia

    I’m so glad to hear everybody loves a good boiled egg every once in a while =)

    Rosemary: I usually just get my eggs at the grocery store and seldom at farmers’ markets so unfortunately, I haven’t really had the pleasure of tasting farm fresh eggs =/ If you find the eggs hard to peel even under cold running water, I would let the eggs age for about 3-5 days. You’re so lucky to have such a sweet neighbor!

  • WOW! So different from how I’ve cooked them in the past. I would place the eggs into cold water, bring to a boil, boil for 2 minutes exactly and then remove. It’s interesting, because although I cooked them the same every time, they sometimes come out too well done or not done enough. I always thought it was b/c of the freshness or size of the eggs? I will try your method and see what happens! Thank you!
    Rosemary – I too sometimes find it difficult. For me, if you refrigerate the eggs before peeling them is what makes it nearly impossible to peel! Peel them while still warm.

  • It seems to be so obvious but many people don’t know how to do it….

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