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How to Boil Eggs

Eggs are incredible in a salad, excellent at breakfast and handy at turning a side dish into dinner. The best news: once you know how to make hard boiled eggs, you can always have a stash in your fridge ready to use. A bonus? Soft boiled eggs, their creamier cousin, are just as simple. Here’s how.

By Elizabeth Harris, Contributing Editor and James Schend, Food Editor

Peeled and sliced hard-boiled eggs

You know the basics, right? Water, eggs, boil. But how and how long to boil eggs takes a little more know-how. (And we do mean little.)


Expert Tips from the Taste of Home Test Kitchen

  • Be prepared. You overachiever, you. To prevent cracking, remove eggs from fridge 30 minutes before cooking.
  • Stash 'em. Unpeeled, hard-cooked eggs will keep in the fridge for up to 1 week. If peeled, store covered in cool water in the fridge for 3 to 4 days.



How to Hard Cook Eggs

What you'll need:

Ingredients

  • Eggs (as many as you can fit)
  • Water

Equipment

  • Large saucepan (Yep, that's it.)

1. Place eggs in a single layer in a large saucepan; add enough cold water to cover by 1 inch. Bring eggs to a boil over high heat.


2. Immediately remove pan from heat and cover. The residual heat in the water cooks the eggs (15 minutes for extra-large eggs, 12 for large, 9 for medium).

Removing eggs from heat in a covered saucepan


3. Drain; shake the pan gently to crack the eggshells all over.


4. Immediately submerge eggs in ice water; set aside to cool. Peel eggs from the large, rounded end under cool running water.

Submerging hard boiled eggs in cold water


5. Seeing green? If an egg cooks for too long, a green ring forms around the yolk. This one is cooked perfectly.

Cross-section of a perfectly cooked hard boiled egg




How to Make Soft Boiled Eggs

What you’ll need:

Ingredients

  • Eggs (as many as you can fit)
  • Water

Equipment

  • Large saucepan

1. Place eggs in a single layer in a large saucepan; add enough cold water to cover by 1 inch. Bring eggs to a boil over high heat.

2. Immediately remove pan from heat and cover. The residual heat in the water cooks the eggs (4-5 minutes).

3. Immediately run cold water over the eggs until they are cool enough to handle but still warm.

4. To serve, break the shell in half with a knife. With a teaspoon, scoop the egg out of the shell into a serving dish or eat out of the shell.


To review: Contrary to their name, boiled eggs aren't so much boiled as cooked in hot water just off the burner. While you can tinker with cook times to achieve the consistency you prefer, a good rule of thumb for standard large eggs is 12 minutes to hard cooked. To soft boil, just 4-5 minutes and you'll be golden (and so will those expertly cooked yolks).