How to Soft-Boil an Egg

Whether you love a liquid center or a tender, jammy yolk, our guide will get you there.

By SAVEUR Editors

Published on September 9, 2008

You can't peek inside the shell to see whether a soft-boiled egg is done to your liking, so you have to place your faith in the clock. If you like an egg with a partly set, soft white and a runny yolk—what the French call an oeuf mollet—stop the cooking after four minutes; if you like to flirt with hard-boiled, seven minutes is your mark. We're partial to the midpoint: An egg cooked for six minutes boasts a firmly set white and a yolk that's still soft enough to spread on toast. Here's how to soft-boil an egg like a brunch pro.

1. Using a slotted spoon, gently place four room-temperature eggs in a 4-quart saucepan filled with 2 quarts boiling water and start timing. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for exactly 6 minutes.

2. Remove the eggs with a slotted spoon.

3. Transfer the soft-boiled eggs to an ice water bath and let set aside for 30 to 60 seconds to stop the cooking and make the shell easier to remove.

4. Remove the eggs from the ice water and transfer to egg cups. Snip off the narrow end with egg scissors or slice off with a knife and use a small spoon to scoop out the white and yolk. Alternatively, peel each soft-boiled egg by gently rolling and cracking the shell on a flat surface.

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