As its name suggests, a soft-boiled egg is similar to its hard-boiled cousin, but with a soft, runny yolk inside the firm white. The name is misleading, however, in its use of the term "boiled," as you should not actually boil eggs for the full cooking time. Instead, you should put the eggs in cold water, bring the water to a boil, and immediately remove the pot from the heat. Soft-boiled eggs take only three to five minutes of soaking in this hot water, while hard-boiled eggs must soak for 12 to 19 minutes. Peel your soft-boiled eggs properly to avoid accidentally ending up with a bite of shell.
Soft-boil eggs that are at least a week old or are approaching their expiration date rather than extremely fresh eggs. Fresher eggs have less air inside, making them significantly harder to peel successfully.
Place the soft-boiled eggs into a bowl of very cold water as soon as you are done cooking them. The shock of the abrupt temperature change will help make the eggs easier to peel. Leave the eggs in the cold water for 10 minutes.
Crack one of the soft-boiled eggs gently on the bottom of the bowl of cold water, keeping the egg underwater. Turn the egg in circles, cracking all sides of it gently. Remove the egg from the bowl of cold water and hold it under a stream of cool, running water.
Peel the egg gently and carefully while keeping it under the stream of water. Start peeling at the fat end of the egg and work your way around from there. Try to direct the gentle stream of water to flow beneath the membrane, as this will help separate the membrane and peel from the egg itself.
Set aside the peeled egg when you are done, and crack another egg underwater in the bowl of cold water, then peel it under running water. Repeat this process until you have peeled all of your soft-boiled eggs.
Be careful when peeling soft-boiled eggs, as they are not as strong and sturdy as hard-boiled eggs. If you apply too much force, you may crack the white and allow the runny yolk to leak out.