Soft boiled eggs are one of those breakfast foods that I just assume that everyone knows about. In my mind clearly everyone must have eaten these for breakfast presented in little egg cups. Recently, however, I’m finding out that this isn’t the case. So, I thought it might be a good idea to make a quick post on this very simple breakfast addition.
There are three main types of boiled egg:
- Soft, which to me means when the yolk is cooked but still runny enough so that you can dip in a corner of toast for some extra goodness.
- Medium, which is when the yolk just set and is still pretty moist.
- Hard is when the yolk is solid enough so that you can crumble it up with your fingers.
Hard boiled eggs are rather difficult to get wrong, unless, of course, you overcook them and the yolk has the greenish-grayish hue around the edges. Don’t do that to your poor yummy yolks. It’s not very nice.
Getting medium and soft boiled eggs just takes a little more paying attention to your timing. It’s even better when you get can that sweet spot between soft and medium where the yolk is just starting to solidify around the edges. That’s my personal favourite but a little harder to manage.
So, let’s get started making a soft one!
Soft Boiled Eggs
- Enough water to cover the eggs
- As many eggs as you’ll want to eat
Any old saucepan will work for this. I always use a small once since I’m only making two to three eggs at a time. Try to put enough water in to cover the eggs but it’s not that important if part of them is still sticking out. They will still cook through. Promise.
Once we have the water in the pan and the pan on the stove, the next thing is to put about a teaspoon of vinegar into the water. I never really measure, so you don’t need to be exact. The type of vinegar also doesn’t matter but I use apple cider since it just happens to be the easiest to reach in my kitchen.
The reason for the vinegar is that it helps keep the egg contained if the shell ends up cracking during the cooking process. It does happen once in awhile.
Put the temperature to medium high and bring the water to a boil.
When the water is boiling, gently place the eggs into the water with a spoon.
Unless you have a deft hand or don’t mind touching boiling water, don’t just drop them into the pan. You’d end up cracking the shells more often than not.
Set the timer for 6 minutes.
Now, heat on all stoves is not equal, so you might need to tweak the timing a little but it should be right around 5 – 6 minutes.
Next, pour cold water over the eggs to stop the cooking process.
I generally just leave the eggs in the cold water while I finish setting the table or whatever else I need to do to get breakfast ready. This usually won’t cool down the eggs that much and makes them a little easier to handle when you’re ready to eat.
Now, to eat the soft boiled eggs!
The next part you can do several ways. A lot of people just like to peel the shells off the eggs and break them over a piece of toast. I feel like this takes out a lot of fun out of eating the eggs, so I’m going to quickly show you my European egg cup method.
First, place the egg in the egg cup with the smaller side up. Okay, yes, you can do it big side up too, if you prefer, but I find this easier.
Give the top third of the egg a few solid whacks with a sharp knife until the shell breaks a little. It helps if you hold the egg, which is why it’s nice if it’s cooler so you’re not burning your finger tips.
Start to cut through the egg so the whole top comes off. Season with salt, or whatever like you best. Eat with a teaspoon or the smallest spoon you have. They do make egg spoons, which are a little smaller than teaspoons or dessert spoons.
I’m sure there are “prettier” ways to do this as it does take a little practice and daring but I find this the quickest without having to buy any extra gadgets (different type of egg toppers).
Ooh, and be sure to serve it with some toast!
Fun little prank:
When I was young, I used to like to turn over my empty egg shell in my egg cup to make it look like it hadn’t been eaten it. I would then offer it to someone (usually my Mother), saying that I didn’t want it. They would end up plucking an empty egg from my cup. I thought it was so much fun to fool someone with this little prank. Though, looking back at it now, I’m pretty sure those adults were just playing along with the silly kid!
So, do you already know all about soft boiled eggs? If so, tell me about how you like to crack into them!
Soft Boiled Eggs
- As many eggs as you'll be serving.
- A teaspoon of vinegar
Put enough water into a saucepan to mostly cover the eggs.
Pour in a teaspoon of vinegar but it doesn't need to be exact.
Bring to a boil on medium high heat.
Gently place eggs into the boiling water with a spoon.
Boil for 6 minutes.
Pour cold water over the eggs to stop the cooking process.
Serve in eggs cups.
Heat varies from stove to stove, so you may have to tweak the timing. However, it should be around 5 - 6 minutes.
Alexis Pehrson says
Thanks for this. I have done eggs all these years and it’s always hit and miss as to how easy it is to peel. I always thought you couldn’t put eggs into boiling water as it would crack the cold shells, but as it turns out, I’ve had more success with placing them in the boiling water and then the ice water immediately after. Such a simple tweak.
The Kitchen Maus says
You’re welcome. Putting the eggs in ice water instead of just cold water is indeed a simple tweak to soft boiling eggs. You’re right in that it should make them easier to peel that way. Thanks for mentioning that and thanks for stopping by to comment!
I love your blog!
The coolest way of opening a soft-boiled egg is using this device: http://www.amazon.de/Take-2-Clack-Eierschalen-Sollbruchstellen-Verursacher-Keramik/dp/B003G5YCSC. Not sure if you can get it in North America, or how you would translate the “tongue-in-cheek” name for that matter.
BTW, if you poke a tiny hole into the thick end of the egg, it won’t break in the boiling water. The reason for the breakage is a small air-bubble on the thick end, which will expand in the boiling water. The hole will allow the expanding air to escape. Search for “egg piercer” on the internet to find devices that help with this.
The Kitchen Maus says
Danke, Joachim! Always awesome when someone stops by and gives us some extra information. After a little more research, seems like we can only get the device you listed via eBay and the like. Sad!
Greg Alan says
You can also use a thumb-tack or straight/safety pin. It does not need to be a large whole for the air to escape.