How to Boil Eggs to Perfection: Hard, Medium or Soft

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If you want to boil eggs and make them perfectly hard, medium, or soft, you have to pay attention to a few things. Among them, the amount of water you use, the intensity of the flame, and, most importantly – the boiling time! 

Every beginner claims to know how to boil eggs and make French fries! At least that’s what I was thinking a few years ago. I was sure that anybody can boil an egg! But all I did was to boil my eggs for too long, in order to be sure that the yolks were set. What I got when trying to eat the eggs, was that unpleasant green ring around the yolks, which meant I had completely overcooked them. But having that finesse to make them perfectly soft, medium or hard is something you need to learn.

The first lesson: timing is important! Don’t just glance at the clock to time your eggs — set a timer! It’s the best way to get consistent results. After the time is up, scoop them out and put them in cold water! Otherwise, they may continue to cook even if you remove them from the hot water!

3 different ways to boil eggs

Hard-boiled eggs

Making hard boiled eggs is way easier than making medium or soft boiled eggs! But still, you must be careful how much you boil them, because if you let them linger for too long in hot water, the yolks may turn green on the edges. This doesn’t mean that they’re unhealthy, only not so good looking.

Put the eggs in a pan and cover them with cold water. The water level must be about 1 inch/2.5 cm over the eggs. Bring the water to a boil over high heat. From the moment the water begins to form bubbles, boil the eggs for 8 more minutes.

When the eggs are boiled, pour out the hot water, leaving the eggs in the pan. Set the pan under cool running water for a few minutes, until the eggs cool. Peel them carefully. The fresher the egg, the more attached the shell. So for boiling, older eggs are preferable.

The perfect hard-boiled egg has no green ring around the yolk, which is solid, light yellow, mellow, and crumbly. Hard-boiled eggs are usually used in salads or for deviled eggs.

If you let the eggs linger for too long in hot water, the yolks may turn green on the edges.

Medium boiled eggs

When you want to boil eggs the problem is that you use the same instructions – put eggs in cold water, bring it to a boil, and boil for X minutes – without considering the size of the eggs, the amount of water you use, or the number of eggs. That’s why it’s tricky.

To boil eggs with a medium cooked yolk, put them in a pot and cover them with cold water by about 1 inch/2.5 cm. Bring the water to a boil (212 degrees F/100 degrees C) on high heat. After the water riches the boiling point, cook the eggs for 5 more minutes.

Remember to transfer your eggs to cold water as soon as you take them out of the pot to stop the cooking immediately.

When the eggs are ready, the whites are fully set, and the dark orange-yellow yolks are mostly set, but still a little runny in the middle.

Medium boiled eggs are used in ramen soups or salads.

Transfer your eggs to cold water as soon as you take them out of the hot water.

Soft boiled eggs

If you’ve been keeping the eggs in the refrigerator, remove them and let them get to room temperature for at least 30 minutes. If you put cold eggs in hot water, they will crack.

So, to boil eggs with firm but jelly-like whites and soft, creamy yolks, put some water in a saucepan and bring it to a boil, on high heat. When the water starts boiling, reduce the heat and put the eggs in the water. Be careful, though, you must have enough water to cover the eggs by about 1 inch/2.5 cm.

If you have medium-sized chicken eggs, boil them for 3 minutes. If you have smaller or larger eggs, decrease or increase the time by 1 minute.

Scoop out the eggs and put them in cold water. Serve them in egg cups. Using the edge of a knife, gently tap the egg all the way around the top and peel the shell. If you have an egg-cutter, you can use that, too. Then pull off the top off.

The white should be solid, but the yolk is still runny. Sprinkle some salt and pepper! You can eat the egg with a teaspoon, or you can dip small pieces of toast right into the yellow yolk. Either way, eat the egg while it’s still warm and runny!

Serve soft-boiled eggs in egg cups, while they’re still warm and runny.

Maybe you also want to find out how to make poached eggs:


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