The perfect soft-boiled egg should have firm whites and a warm, runny yolk that is just right for scooping daintily from the shell and eating with buttered toast soldiers, an experience that always feels simultaneously sophisticated and happily childlike.

Making soft-boiled eggs might feel slightly trickier than making  hard-boiled eggs, but it’s nothing that can’t be mastered. Here’s a step-by-step tutorial to teach you exactly how to do it.

Tip

Timing the Perfect Soft-Boiled Egg

  • A good soft-boiled egg is all about the timing. Bring the water to the boil, then lower it to a rapid simmer. Add the eggs to the pot, and then begin timing. If you’re just cooking one or two eggs, four minutes is perfect for a runny yolk. If you’re cooking three or four eggs, add an extra few seconds to your timing.
  • I would recommend cooking in batches of no more than 4 eggs at a time
  • Use a timer for consistent results and if you don't have one handy, use the microwave!

Serving Tips

Soft-boiled eggs are their own little breakfast. Ideally use an egg cup, and then use the edge of a knife to gently tap the egg all the way around the top, pull off the top, sprinkle some seasoning and dig in.
You can use a spoon to scoop out the insides or dip your toast soldiers right into the yolk.

Eat the egg while it’s still warm and runny!

No Egg Cup? Try This Trick!

If you don’t have an actual egg cup, here’s an idea: Fill a small bowl or cup with a few tablespoons of rice and nestle your soft-boiled egg inside. Works like a charm, and as long as you manage to avoid egg drips, you can reuse the rice again and again.

Method

  • Bring the water to a boil over high heat.
  • Reduce the water to a rapid simmer.
  • Gently lower the eggs into the water one at a time.
  • Cook the eggs for 4 minutes. For 1 to 2 eggs, cook 4 minutes for a very runny yolk or up to 6 minutes for a set yolk and a few more seconds for 4 eggs.
  • Remove the eggs from the water with a slotted spoon. Run under cold tap water to cool slightly about 30 seconds.
  • Remove the top off the egg. Set the egg upright in an egg cup
  • To remove the cap, use the edge of a knife to gently tap around the top.
  • Eat while the egg is warm!

Storage

Soft-boiled eggs can be refrigerated for up to 4 days.