How To

How To Boil An Egg

Boiling an egg is a seemingly simple task, but it can also be a daunting one for some people.
There are a few key points to remember when boiling an egg, but really it all comes down to timing. The time you spend boiling (or resting) the egg will determine how hard or soft the egg is. Check out our handy boiled egg time chart below.

A longer cooking time will give you a hard boiled egg that is suitable to eat on it’s own or in a sandwich. A shorter cooking time will give you a firm white and a runny yolk that is perfect for dipping your toast in to.

Boiled Egg

Methods for boiling an egg

There are basically 2 different methods for boiling eggs.

Method 1 involves bringing the water to a boil and then letting the eggs rest in the hot water. This method takes a little longer but is a bit more forgiving. If you let the eggs sit for an extra 30 seconds using this method, it will not be as dramatic a change as going for 30 seconds longer on method 2.

Method 2 involves simply boiling the water for a set time. This is the quickest and simplest but you run the risk of overboiling the eggs.

Method 1 – Rest Method

  1. Add your eggs to a small saucepan
  2. Fill the saucepan with enough water to cover the eggs entirely
  3. Bring the water up to a boil
  4. As soon as the water starts to boil, remove the pan from the heat and cover
  5. Start the timer
  6. Let the eggs rest for as long as required using the Boiled Eggs Time Chart below
  7. Once the time has elapsed, empty the saucepan’s water and then run cold water into the pan for 1 minute to rapidly cool the eggs and stop the cooking process.

Method 2 – Boil Method

  1. Add your eggs to a small saucepan
  2. Fill the saucepan with enough water to cover the eggs entirely
  3. Bring the water up to a boil
  4. As soon as the water starts to boil, lower to a gentle simmer and start your timer
  5. Boil your eggs for as long as required using the Boiled Eggs Time Chart below
  6. Once the time has elapsed, empty the saucepan’s water and then run cold water into the pan for 1 minute to rapidly cool the eggs and stop the cooking process.

Boiled Eggs Time Chart

The chart below will tell you exactly how long to boil an egg for hard boiled eggs and how long to boil an egg for soft boil eggs.

Firmness Type Rest Method Boil Method
Barely set whites, runny yolks Soft Boiled 3 minutes 2 minutes
Well set whites, creamier yolks Soft Boiled 4 minutes 3 minutes
Firm whites, custardy yolks Soft Boiled 6 minutes 4 minutes
Creamy yet firm yolk Hard Boiled 10 minutes 6 minutes
Very firm yolks Hard Boiled 15 minutes 7 minutes

How to boil an egg without it cracking

It can be pretty annoying when your egg shell breaks open when you are boiling your eggs. Not only does water get into the egg, often your egg will spill out of it’s shell as well.

First, let’s look at why an egg cracks when you boil it.

As we all know, the egg is encased in a firm outer shell that has an egg white and an egg yolk inside. But there is also a pocket of air within the shell that can expand to crack the egg.
Another reason the shell can crack is simply due to being too rough with the egg. Bumping or knocking the egg can easily cause the shell to crack.
And finally, temperature shock can cause the shell to crack. So taking an egg from the cold refrigerator and plonking itstraight into boiling water is a big no-no.

Now let’s look at ways to avoid cracking the shell when boiling eggs.

  • Use fresh eggs – air inside the egg will increase as the egg gets older. The more air that is in there, the more it can expand, causing the cracks.
  • Use room temperature eggs – this avoids any shock to the eggs when they land in the water
  • Handle eggs carefully – don’t drop them!
  • Gently simmer – don’t use a full rolling boil. A gentle simmer will avoid the eggs being crashed around in the pan

How to peel a hard boiled egg

You’ve learnt how to cook the perfect hard boiled egg, now all you need to do is take the shell off and enjoy! But if you don’t know how, this part can be a little tricky.

We’ll show you how to master the art of peeling a hard boiled egg, but first a little insight into why it is so difficult.

Why are hard boiled eggs so hard to peel

Egg whites are made up of basically just water and proteins. It is these proteins that make a hard boiled egg so hard to peel.

When the egg is cooked it coagulates the proteins, turning them from a liquid into a solid. When they turn into a solid they can become sticky and basically stick themselves onto the membrane and the shell inside the egg.

Also a factor is the pH of the egg white. A low pH makes the eggs more difficult to peel and fresh eggs will have a lower pH than older eggs.

How long will a hard boiled egg last?

A hard boiled egg will last up to 1 week if kept in it’s shell and in the refrigerator.
If you have peeled the egg, then it should be used as soon as possible and shouldn’t be kept for mor than a day or two in the refrigerator.

Hard boiled eggs shouldn’t be frozen and they shouldn’t be left out unrefrigerated.

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