How to Make Soft-Boiled Eggs

It’s as easy as hard-boiling (but faster).

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Food Stylist: Anne Disrude Prop Stylist: Lynsey Fryers,Food Stylist: Anne Disrude Prop Stylist: Lynsey Fryers

Photo by: Yunhee Kim

Yunhee Kim

By Heath Goldman for Food Network Kitchen

If you can make hard-boiled eggs, you’ve basically already mastered the art of making soft boiled eggs.

Their runny yolks make them well-suited for any recipe that calls for poached eggs. So why would you make soft-boiled eggs instead? Soft-boiled eggs are easier to whip up — especially in big batches — and look a lot cleaner.

The only tricky part of making soft-boiled eggs can be peeling them. Because they’re so delicate, it’s easy to nick the egg white when you remove the shell. Set yourself up for success by skipping the local, fresh farm eggs and opting for some slightly older ones instead. It sounds counterintuitive, but eggs halfway through their shelf life are easier to peel perfectly.

Start by bringing a medium pot of water to boil. While you’re waiting, fill a large bowl with ice water and pull out a slotted spoon.

When the water’s boiling, drop the first egg in very gently. If you’re making more than one, add the rest and start timing when the water returns to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer. In three to four minutes you’ll have the perfect consistency: tender-set egg whites with a runny yolk.

Quickly remove the eggs from the pot with a slotted spoon and transfer them to the ice water. Let them hang out in the ice water until they’re cool enough to handle, about five minutes or so.

This would be a good time to decide whether or not you’re serving them straight from the shell or peeling them. Egg cups are an adorable British mainstay — you can easily find them in most home stores, and they’re designed specifically for serving soft-boiled eggs. Slice the top off your hard-boiled eggs, stick them in egg cups and serve them with small spoons and toast points. Spoon out the egg or dip the toast directly into it to soak up the runny yolk. Delicious.

If you’d rather peel the eggs, gently crack them all over and start to peel them at the air pocket on the rounder end. It helps to find the thin delicate membrane on the egg and pull it up as you go.

If big pieces of egg white pull off with the shell, don’t panic. Slip a small spoon underneath the shell (working your way in through the air pocket at the end) and carefully slide the spoon in a circle right beneath the shell to release the egg. When you’re finished, dip the egg in the ice water to wash off any small fragments of the shell and gently pat the egg dry.

We love slicing them in half and serving them on avocado toast with some red pepper flakes, but they’re delicious in any sort of breakfast sandwich from a classic BEC to a bagel sandwich.

They’re a beautiful and classic way to crown a salad, adding a pop of vibrant yellow and creating a natural place for your eyes to focus. We love them atop Caesar salads, chef salads, simple green salads and even potato salads (the starch from the potatoes emulsifies with the runny egg yolks to create the creamiest results imaginable).

Soft-boiled eggs last for up to three days in the refrigerator — if you don’t devour them first.

If you’d like to make them ahead of time and reheat them later, leave them in their shells and steam them right before serving. Bring half an inch of water to a boil in a saucepan, add the eggs, cover and cook for about three minutes.

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