Soft boiled eggs are fast and easy to make, and help get your morning off to the right start. Soft boiled eggs are a great way for all ages to enjoy a morning meal; adults welcome the comforting warmth of protein that will give them energy for hours, and kids enjoy the fun of dipping toast “soldiers” into the still-wet yolk. Enjoyed in British kitchens for decades, they are mentioned as the breakfast food of choice for many heroes of British literature, including Agatha Christie’s famous detective character Miss Marple, and P.G. Wodehouse’s beloved comic icon Bertie Wooster. By following these easy directions, you can join the tradition by making and enjoying your own soft boiled eggs.
Start The Water
Soft boiled eggs start with the easiest thing a cook can make: boiling water. Run lukewarm water into a saucepan until the water is deep enough that it will completely cover the eggs when you drop them into the pan. Then, cover the pan and heat it on the stovetop until it reaches a boil. Soft boiled eggs are best when cooked slowly instead of quickly, so you only want a robust simmer, not a rapid, rolling boil. If necessary, reduce the heat slightly to achieve a gentle boil.
Prep The Eggs
Before you drop them in the boiling water, get your raw eggs at room temperature. Soft boiled eggs are at their best when they don’t go through any intense temperature changes, because that tends to make the whites rubbery. If you must use eggs right out of the fridge due to time pressure, gently heat them up by running them under hot tap water. As soon as the shells are warm to the touch instead of cold, you are ready to move on to the next phase of making soft boiled eggs.
Simmer The Eggs
Using a large soup spoon or a ladle, gently lower the eggs into the boiling water one by one. The addition of the room temperature eggs will bring the overall temperature in the saucepan down, so the boiling water will cool slightly. Watch the water, and when it begins to boil once more, turn down the heat to a gentle simmer. Then, start counting down! Keep an eye on your soft boiled eggs and make sure the water doesn’t erupt into a rapid boil; this can make the eggs cook too quickly, not to mention crack the shells.
Time The Eggs
The trick of soft boiled eggs is the timing. For a small egg, let it simmer for three minutes and twenty seconds. For a medium-to-large egg, wait three and three-quarters minutes. For an extra large or jumbo soft boiled egg, let it cook for four minutes and fifteen seconds. At the end of this cooking period, the whites should be hard and firm, but the yolks should stay soft and runny. Even a few seconds difference in cooking time can have a big effect on the finished product, so watch the clock carefully! Of course, the mineral composition of your water or the size and style of your pan may change how quickly the eggs cook, so depending on your unique situation, it may take a few batches to get the hang of timing the perfect soft boiled egg.
Cool The Eggs
As soon as the time is up, scoop your soft boiled eggs out of the water with a slotted spoon and run them under very cold water to stop them from cooking further. If you’re making multiple soft boiled eggs, you may want to transfer them to a colander instead of handling them one by one. The important thing is to get the eggs out of the heat and into cool water as quickly as possible; otherwise, your yolks may get hard.
Eat The Eggs
Now, the best part of soft boiled eggs: eating them! The traditional serving method is to shell them, place each egg in a standing egg cup, then slice off the tip so that the runny yolk is visible. Add a dash of salt, a grind of fresh pepper, and serve with long strips of buttered toast, also known as “soldiers.” Dip the soldiers into the yolk of the soft boiled egg, then eat the white of the egg with a spoon. Soft boiled eggs make a great light breakfast on their own, or for a special treat can be served alongside a full English breakfast with bacon, sausage, potatoes, and a fried tomato. However you enjoy your soft boiled eggs, you are sure to do just that: enjoy them