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How do you boil eggs?

It’s been said that the true test of a chef is in their ability to cook an egg. That’s because the simpler something is, the easier it often is to mess up. (Which you likely know if you’ve ever tried to boil an egg before with not-so-great results.)

Fortunately, mastering the art of boiling eggs usually comes down to practice more than anything else. Regardless of your experience—or lack thereof—in the kitchen, we’re here to save your breakfast with simple steps for how to boil eggs correctly. So read on and let’s crack open this topic (sorry) one boiled egg variety at a time.  

How to Make Hard Boiled Eggs

Hard boiled eggs are a great protein boost for avocado toast.

A lot of the time, when someone is asking how to boil eggs, what they’re really asking is how to hard boil eggs.

A properly cooked hard boiled egg has both solid whites and a solid yolk. There are a couple of different ways to make them, including on the stovetop, in the oven, and yes, even in the microwave. How you do it is up to you, but you may notice some slight variations in texture depending on your cooking method. Consider trying out all three preparations and deciding which you like the best.

With any of these methods, you can peel and eat your eggs as soon as they’re finished or place them unpeeled in a covered container and store them in the fridge for up to seven days. You can store them peeled, too, but they won’t stay fresh for as long.

Hard Boiled Eggs on the Stove Top

What you need:

  • 6 to 12 cold eggs
  • Medium to large pot and lid
  • Slotted spoon
  • Large bowl of ice water


1. Put the cold eggs into a pot and add enough water to cover the eggs by about an inch.

2. Place the pot on the stove over high heat, put the lid on top, and bring the water to a boil.

3. Once the water has reached a rolling boil, turn off the heat completely and remove the pot from the burner with the lid still on. Leave the eggs in the water for 12 minutes.

4. Transfer the eggs to a large bowl of ice water using a slotted spoon. Let sit for five minutes, then remove.

Hard Boiled Eggs in the Oven

What you need:

  • 6 to 12 cold eggs
  • Muffin tin
  • Spoon
  • Large bowl of ice water


1. Preheat your oven to 325℉.

2. Once the oven is preheated, add the eggs to the muffin tin—one egg per cup.

3. Cook the eggs in the oven for 30 minutes.

4. Remove the eggs from the oven and use a spoon to transfer them from the muffin tin to the bowl of ice water. Let sit for five minutes, then remove.

Hard Boiled Eggs in the Microwave

What you need:

  • 4 to 6 cold eggs
  • Microwave safe bowl
  • Salt
  • Slotted spoon
  • Large bowl of ice water


1. Place the eggs in a microwave-safe bowl and add enough water to cover them by about one inch. Then add in a ½ teaspoon of salt per egg.

2. Microwave for five minutes for four eggs or six minutes for six eggs.

3. Remove from the microwave and use the slotted spoon to transfer the eggs to a bowl of ice water. Let sit for five minutes.

How to Make Soft Boiled Eggs

Soft boiled eggs are a breakfast staple that also work great in soups and salads.

The process for how to soft boil eggs doesn’t vary much from how to hard boil eggs, but there are a couple of key differences. 

Notably, you’ll start cooking the eggs with the water already hot, as opposed to placing them into cold water and then bringing it to a boil. You’ll also cook them for less time.

What you’ll need:

  • 6 to 12 cold eggs
  • Large pot
  • Slotted spoon
  • Large bowl of ice water


1. Fill a pot about halfway with water (or more, if you’re cooking an entire dozen). Bring the water to a boil and then reduce the heat until you have a steady simmer.

2. Use a slotted spoon to gently lower each egg into the simmering water. Let cook for seven minutes.

3. Turn off the heat and use the slotted spoon to transfer each egg to the bowl of ice water. Let sit for five minutes.

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How to Make Instant Pot Boiled Eggs

hard boiled eggs
Hard boiled eggs, no pot required.

Wondering how to boil eggs in an Instant Pot? If you prefer to skip the stovetop entirely, use your Instant Pot to quickly boil eggs with minimal steps and clean up.

What you need:

  • 6 cold eggs
  • Instant Pot and lid
  • Instant Pot steamer basket
  • Slotted spoon
  • Large bowl of ice water


1. Pour one cup of water into your Instant Pot, then place the steamer basket inside.

2. Put the eggs into the steamer basket and secure the Instant Pot lid with the pressure-release valve closed.

3. Cook on manual and low pressure; three minutes for soft boiled eggs or five minutes for hard boiled eggs.

4. Release the pressure and remove the lid, then use a slotted spoon to transfer the cooked eggs to the ice bath. Let sit for five minutes.

How to Make 3-Minute Eggs

A 3-minute egg is the perfect dipping vessel for buttered toast.

A “3-minute egg” is a type of soft boiled egg with a yolk that’s more runny than jammy and a slightly unset white. When you’re ready to eat it, remove the peel from just the top of the egg and dip your toast, waffles, or whatever else is on your breakfast menu into the runny yolk.

To make a 3-minute egg, you’ll follow the same steps as you do for a soft boiled egg, with two major caveats. One, only cook the eggs for three minutes in the simmering water. And two, instead of transferring to an ice bath, use a sieve to hold your eggs under cold running water until cool enough to touch, then serve immediately.

How to Make 2-Minute Eggs

A “2-minute egg” features a totally raw yolk and a white that is somewhat set but not fully. Follow the same process as you do for a 3-minute egg, just cutting the cooking time down to two minutes in the simmering water.

Egg Boiling FAQ

Quick answers to a few common questions about how to boil an egg.

How Long Do You Boil Eggs?

That depends on how cooked you want the yolk and whites to be. Cook 12 minutes for hard boiled eggs and six-and-a-half to seven for a soft boiled egg (depending on how jammy you want your yolk to be).

Do You Boil the Water First for Boiled Eggs?

Yes, if you are making soft boiled eggs. However, if you are making hard boiled eggs, put the eggs in cold water and then bring to a boil.

How Do You Know When Boiled Eggs Are Done?

Your best bet is to rely on the timer. For hard boiled eggs, though, you can test their doneness by giving them a quick spin on the counter. If they spin and stop easily, they’re good to go. 

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