Watch the Food Lab Video Series Perfect Boiled Eggs

[Photographs: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Perfect boiled eggs require the right technique. We cooked dozens and dozens of eggs before arriving at these methods that deliver soft boiled eggs with tender whites and liquid yolks, or hard boiled eggs that are evenly cooked throughout with a just-set yolk.

Note: For an easier, quicker, and even more fool-proof version, see our newer recipe for steamed eggs.

Perfect Boiled Eggs


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


  1. 1

    For soft boiled eggs: Bring water to a gentle simmer in a medium pot. Gently lower eggs into water with slotted spoon or strainer (do not drop eggs into water, or they might crack). Cook for exactly 6 minutes, then remove eggs with slotted spoon, and serve.

  2. 2

    For hard boiled eggs: Bring water to a boil in a large pot. Carefully lower eggs into pot and continue to boil for 30 seconds. Cover tightly, reduce heat to low (water should maintain a bare simmer), and continue cooking for 11 minutes. Serve immediately if serving hot. If serving cold, immediately place eggs in a bowl of ice water and allow to cool for at least 15 minutes before peeling under cool running water. Store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Watch the Food Lab Video Series

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