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The Food Lab

Perfect Boiled Eggs

Perfect Boiled Eggs

If you have a particularly strong burner, a very thin-walled pot, or live at high altitudes or in a very cold or hot environment, initial volume of water may need to be adjusted. Once you figure out the specific volume for your location, use that same volume every time.

Perfect Boiled Eggs

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About This Recipe

This recipe appears in: The Food Lab: Perfect Boiled Eggs


  • For Soft Boiled Eggs
  • 3 quarts water
  • 1 to 6 large eggs
  • For Hard Boiled Eggs
  • 1.5 quarts cool water
  • 1 to 6 large eggs


  1. 1

    For soft boiled eggs: Bring water to a simmer in a medium pot. Reduce heat until water is barely quivering. Gently lower eggs into water with slotted spoon or strainer (do not drop eggs into water, or they might crack).

  2. 2

    Cook for exactly 6 minutes, then remove eggs with slotted spoon, and serve.

  3. 3

    For best results, heat water to 180 degrees as measured on an instant-read thermometer. After adding eggs, adjust heat to maintain temperature at 180 degrees for duration of cooking time. If you do not have a thermometer, keep the water at the early simmer stage when tiny bubbles are just beginning to break the surface (at high altitudes, the water may be bubbling more vigorously).

  4. 4

    For hard boiled eggs: Place eggs and water in saucepot. Place over high heat and bring to a bare simmer*. Immediately turn heat to lowest setting, cover and wait at least ten minutes. Peel eggs under cool running water, and serve.

    * For clarification, a "bare simmer" should be 180-190 degrees at sea level. For best results, use an instant-read thermometer. If you do not have a thermometer, bring the water to the stage when tiny bubbles are breaking the surface steadily before shutting it off.


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