Perfect Boiled Eggs

The Food Lab

Unraveling the mysteries of home cooking through science.

Perfect Boiled Eggs

[Photograph: J. Kenji López-Alt]

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

  • Yield:Makes 1 to 6 eggs
  • Active time: 5 minutes
  • Total time:12 to 20 minutes
  • Rated:


  • 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 a slotted spoon or strainer (do not drop eggs into water, as 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.