How to Soft-Boil an Egg – a simple, step-by-step tutorial on how to master the soft-boiled egg.
I figured since I am kind of obsessed with having soft-boiled eggs or poached eggs in what seems to be the vast majority of my recipes lately, I better make sure you guys know how to make the perfect one.
So a soft-boiled egg, unlike a poached egg, retains its “egg”shape and, typically, the whites are fully cooked while the yolk is perfectly runny and just barely warm. But, you have control over what consistency you want.
The technique is amazingly simple – bring a pot of water to boil, add your eggs with a slotted spoon and gently set them down, remove from heat and cover, set a timer for the time that corresponds with your desired “doneness.” When I say – remove from heat- I mean simply take it off of the direct heat and let it sit on the next burner.
Water to Egg Ratio:
As you add your eggs, they are going to suck up the heat in the pan. Therefore, if you had 2 quarts of boiling water and you put in 6 eggs, it will take them longer to cook once you remove the pot from the direct heat than if you just added one egg. I typically do no more than 2 eggs for about 2 quarts of water.
The longer you let the egg sit in the water, the more cooked it will be (duh). Here is what you are looking at for time frames:
- 4 Minutes : You will be swearing at yourself as you try to peel this and will possibly end up with yolk on your hands – just saying. If you can get it peeled, you will see that the whites are barely cooked (if that) and the yolk is raw and may not even be warm at this point.
- 5 Minutes : Peeling may still be an issue, but hopefully you can at least get the shell all the way off. Outer part of the white should be fully cooked and firm, but the inner layers of the whites will still be runny. Yolk is still completely runny and barely warm.
- 6 Minutes: This is what I did that got me the egg in the picture. Whites should be fully cooked and yolk should be completely runny and warm. You are going to need a little bit of patience when peeling.
- 7 Minutes: Whites fully cooked. Outer part of yolk will start to firm up. Very center of yolk may be a bit runny. Easy to peel.
- 8 Minutes: Whites fully cooked. Yolk is essentially fully cooked – the very center may be a little mushy, but it most likely won’t be runny at all at this point.
For heavens sake do a practice run. Depending upon what kind of cookware you use and how it holds heat, timeframes may change by a half a minute to a minute. It may also change a bit if you use more than one egg. Simply do a practice run and then you will have a good frame of reference how much longer or shorter you need to let the eggs sit.
Once your eggs have sat for the desired amount, remove with slotted spoon and maybe give them a quick rinse under cold water before you give them a peel.
Oh my gosh…… the pain I have gone through to obtain this information. Seriously. When I was shooting the Chicken Ramen + Soft-Boiled Egg I was going insane. I mean, the egg turned out perfectly, but I went through so many to get there. In the picture – that was my last egg. If I hadn’t gotten that one right, you would have a seen a much more cooked egg and not the beautifully runny egg that is there. And then I just used them again in the recipe for Thick-Cut Noodles + Bone Broth and Soft-Boiled Egg.
Alright, go forth and cook the best damn soft-boiled egg ever. And then send me pic so I can see 🙂
I will be posting another recipe tomorrow night with a nice quick and easy lunch/dinner idea that you can practice your newly minted soft-boiled egg technique on 🙂
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