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Perfect Soft Boiled Eggs

Perfect Soft Boiled Eggs

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We have talked about making the perfect scrambled eggs the other day, and now we want to guide you into making the perfect soft-boiled eggs.  This style of cooking an egg feels like the ultimate comfort food;  warm, yolky and flavorful.  Denise had a doctor, growing up, that said if you ate soft-boiled eggs and chicken soup every day when suffering from a cold, you would be healed. There are antibodies in the eggs that help mend you when sick.  She swears by it to this day, and when under the weather will enjoy these delicious little soft boiled eggs.


I love soft boiled eggs, cooked just right, with a sprinkle of sea salt and fresh cracked pepper, served alongside  a chunk of warm crusty baguette.  It is a simple breakfast that is so satisfying.  I overdosed as a kid on soft boiled eggs when I got sick once and the doctor instructed me to eat them along with chicken soup, every day and it would cure me.  It did work, but I never looked at a soft boiled egg, until my first trip to Germany.   Every inn I stayed at offered perfect soft boiled eggs, bread, cheese, yogurt, and ultra creamy coffee – very fond memories.

The key to the perfectly soft-boiled egg, you ask?  Is the amount of time it is bubbling away in a saucepan.  As well a tablespoon of white vinegar added to the water seems to help the egg hold up better.  

We tried this recipe with and without vinegar.  As well we tried it at 2, 3, 4 and 5 minutes.  At all times without vinegar, the egg white and yolk would break removing from the shell.  With vinegar, at all the times, the egg held up nicely.  

Two minutes produced a watery egg, the white was the consistency of, well, how do you say this, snot.  

Four minutes, the white of the egg was a bit firmer but the yolk was getting a bit too dense for our liking.  

Five minutes, the white was pretty firm, and the yolk was getting very firm.  

Three minutes was perfect soft boiled egg.  The white was still soft but not snotty.  The yolk was warmed throughout and still runny.  The perfect soft boiled egg.  

Recipe:  Perfect Soft Boiled Egg

** serves one


1 egg
1 tablespoon white or cider vinegar

How To:

Take the egg out of the refrigerator 5 minutes before beginning to cook.

Bring water to boil in a saucepan.

Lower heat to a simmer, slowly and carefully add the egg;  I use a ladle.

Let the egg gently simmer for 3 – 5 minutes, depending on how soft you like your soft cooked egg.

I like it on the runny side for dipping the bread, so I cook it for 3 minutes.

Remove from the water, and run it under cold water, just long enough so you can hold it.

Crack the egg in half.

Serve in a shallow bowl.

Sprinkle with salt and cracked pepper.



More Perfectly Cooked Egg Recipes

Perfect Scrambled Eggs

Perfect Fried Eggs

Perfect Poached Eggs

For a brief history on the glorious egg, check out this great podcast from As We Eat!

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Wednesday 17th of October 2012

Are you using room temperature eggs or right out of the fridge?

Denise Woodward

Wednesday 17th of October 2012

Very good question and I am going to add that to the recipe. I take the eggs out before I start boiling the water. So they are at medium room temp.


Thursday 8th of March 2012

am looking forward to trying the soft boiled egg and noodles....looks delicious and I love the simple-ness of it.

Steve Moore

Wednesday 28th of December 2011

I a the owner of a large restaurant and had a customer order a soft boiled egg. I have never had an order for one so once I went to your website, PROBLEM SOLVED


Janice B

Monday 7th of March 2011

Good tips on this web site. I love poached eggs, but they never turn out. Just started to surf the web for egg cups. I too will try this recipe, it looks delicious.

Thank You!

Charles Binns

Tuesday 17th of November 2009

That pasta dish looks delicious. I will treat my self to it this week end.

Many thanks!!