Soft-Boiled Eggs

Breakfast is one of my favourite meals of the day. As the ‘morning person’ in our house, I am the one who will often be found making omelettes on weekdays. Soft-boiled eggs are something that I think is achievable for both the morning people, and those who are less inclined to raise themselves from their slumber. They are quick, wholesome and delicious. Although there is no one agreed upon way to cook them, pick one and make it your own by tweaking and experimentation.

Serves: As many as you want it to. I normally allow for 2 per person.
Cooking Time: Around 10 minutes


+ fresh, preferably free-range, eggs
+ bread for toasting
+ butter for your toast
+ freshly ground salt and pepper


That there is no consensus on how to perfect the soft-boiled egg comes down to a number of variables including size of egg, temperature of egg, size of pot you are cooking the egg in, and different definitions of what counts as simmering water. 

However, there are a few points that all the experts seem to agree on:

  • Always cook a fresh egg and one that is at room temperature – not straight out of the fridge;
  • Use a small pan, so that the eggs do not have room to move;
  • Always use a kitchen timer not your watch or clock, and
  • Never boil eggs longer than necessary as the yolks turn dark and rubbery.

My method, is to place eggs into a small saucepan and cover with one centimetre of cold water. Bring to the boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer for:

  • Really soft runny eggs ~ 2 minutes.
  • White just set and yolk that is creamy ~ 3 minutes.
  • White and yolk perfectly set with yolk that is creamy ~ 4 minutes.

Of course, this is no guarantee of success first time but after a little bit of practice you are sure to get it right! For instance, I know that in my set up at home that two and a half minutes is best!

Remove the eggs with a slotted spoon and transfer to egg cups. Slice the tops off and serve with buttered fingers/soldiers of freshly toasted bread, seasoning your egg as you go. Personally, I like my soldiers a little fatter than my eggs often are so I seem to always end up scoping the egg out with a spoon onto my soldiers instead. It still works fine, and is just as delicious!

Original recipe sourced from the Family Archives.

2 thoughts on “Soft-Boiled Eggs

  1. Hi K. Just wondering, is there a reason behind needing to start with cold water? I only ask because I’ve seen this prescription edited in other contexts but don’t understand the science of it.

Any thoughts?

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