Thank you to Safest Choice Eggs for sponsoring this post

Who doesn’t love a perfect soft boiled egg? But getting the timing just right, so that the white is cooked, and the yolk still runny, is tricky. Unlike fried or poached eggs, where the firming of the white happens before your very eyes, with boiled eggs, it’s all hidden inside that shell.  You can’t be sure if you’ve  nailed it until you cap the top of the egg, and by then, it’s a little too late to fix.

A Reliable Method

I’ve got a new method for soft-boiled eggs, picked up from the smart folks at Cook’s Illustrated, that has vastly improved my “on time” results. Really, they’re not boiled eggs at all, but technically steamed. The result is a more consistently perfect egg without the tendency for cracked shells, as so often happens (at least for me) when you drop them into boiling water.

Soft Boiled Egg

In a nutshell, this method involves filling a pot with a small amount of water, bringing it to a boil, and steaming the eggs for exactly 6 1/2 minutes. Once the timer dings, run cold water over the eggs to stop the cooking process. That’s it.

Buttered Toast for Dunking

In our house, we serve soft-cooked eggs with toast “soldiers,” a practice picked up from friends in the UK.  You cut buttered toast into half-inch strips, which look a little like tall, thin soldiers, just the right size to dunk into the center of an egg. If you are concerned about serving eggs that aren’t cooked through to your kids, consider pasteurized eggs such as Safest Choice

Easy Baked Eggs

If you’re fond of eggs with a tender yolk, you might like these Easy Baked Eggs as well.

Soft Boiled Egg
5 from 2 votes

Perfect Soft-Cooked Eggs with Buttered "Soldiers"

The key here is two-fold: 1) Get your eggs quickly into the pot with the lid on 2) Immediately set a timer. It's ideal to use a digital timer or even the stopwatch on your smart phone so that timing is accurate. If you are doing a lot of eggs at once, adjust the size of the pot so the eggs fit easily and consider using a steaming basket that you can fill with eggs and drop into the pot so the eggs all cook for the same amount of time. Also, be sure to use eggs that are coming straight from the refrigerator.
Course Breakfast
Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 6 minutes
Total Time 8 minutes
Servings 2 eggs with buttered soldiers
Calories 350 kcal
Author katiemorford


  • 2 cold eggs (Safest Choice if using pasteurized eggs)
  • 2 slices bread
  • Butter
  • Salt and pepper for serving


  1. Fill a small pot with 1/2 inch of water. Turn the heat to medium-high and bring the water to a full boil. Quickly (though gently) set the eggs in the pot (using tongs if you prefer), add the lid, and set a timer for 6 1/2 minutes, continuing to cook the eggs over medium-high heat.
  2. While the eggs cook, toast and butter the bread. Cut into 1/2-inch-wide strips and put on a serving plate.
  3. As soon as the timer rings, put pot into the sink and run cold water over the eggs for 30 seconds to stop the cooking.
  4. Serve in egg cups, if you have them, with buttered soldiers.

Recipe Notes

Method adapted from Cook's Illustrated