Boiled eggs can be surprisingly tricky to perfect, especially when you are trying to get soft- or medium-boiled eggs. Even hard-boiled eggs can be hard to pull off every time. Careful timing will help you successfully boil eggs that are easy to peel every time.
Boiling Eggs and Timing
To boil eggs correctly, turn off the heat and let the eggs rest in hot water. This might sound counterintuitive, but cooking with the residual heat from the water and pan gives you greater control over the doneness of the egg.
- Place the desired number of eggs into a saucepan large enough to comfortably hold them.
- Fill the pan with water, covering the eggs with roughly 1-inch of cold water.
- Bring the eggs to a rolling boil over high heat.
- Turn off the heat and cover the pan as soon as the water is boiling.
- Remove the pan from the burner if you are using an electric stove.
- Let your eggs sit for the required amount of time.
The resting time for the eggs, based on doneness, is:
- 4 minutes for soft-boiled eggs;
- 6 minutes for medium-boiled eggs;
- 10 minutes for hard-boiled eggs.
Types of Boiled Eggs
With soft-boiled eggs, the white is fully cooked but the yolk is not fully set, even if it has thickened a bit. You can slice the egg in half without risk of the yolk spilling everywhere. Soft-boiled eggs are great for salads and as an addition to soups, like ramen.
Medium-boiled eggs have yolks that have a custardy texture. The yolk is definitely set -- it is solid -- but it's almost spreadable in texture. Medium-boiled eggs are also used for salads or soups. In many cases, choosing between a soft- or a medium-boiled egg is a matter of personal preference.
Hard-boiled eggs are the classic boiled egg -- the yolk is fully set and not at all creamy. The yolk in the ideal hard-boiled egg should not be chalky, and -- if you can avoid it -- the outer edge of the yolk should remain yellow. Overcooking leads to a chalky-textured yolk, a rubbery white and a thin layer of green-gray discoloration between the yolk and white.
Use hard-boiled eggs to make egg salad or deviled eggs, or, as with soft- and medium-boiled eggs, in soups and salads.
To make boiled eggs easier to peel -- where the white "skin" and the shell do not stick to the white, leading to pitting -- dunk your cooked eggs in very cold water immediately after they are done. Placing them in a bowl of cold water for up to 45 minutes will make them easier to peel. However, if you want to eat your boiled eggs while they are still warm, leave them in the cold water for three to five minutes, until they are easy to handle.