How to boil a perfect egg

How to boil a perfect egg

There’s nothing quite like a perfectly boiled egg. Whether it’s for a leisurely Sunday breakfast or for a quick out-of-the-door snack, a boiled egg can do no wrong. Boiling an egg is pretty easy, but the trick to getting the yolk right all lies in the timing. We’re here to help you reach boiled egg perfection with our tried-and-trusted method. By Jess Spiro

There are two common ways to boil an egg. One way is to place them in cold water and bring the pan to a boil, and the other is to gently lower the eggs into already boiling water. You’ll find our step-by-step to the boiling water method at the bottom of the page.

To cook from cold water

Once the water is boiling, time them according to how you like your eggs cooked.

  • For soft-boiled eggs, boil the eggs for 1–2 minutes.
  • For medium eggs, boil the eggs for 2–3 minutes.
  • For hard-boiled eggs, boil the eggs for 7 minutes.


Tips for boiling the perfect egg

  •  Use room-temperature eggs to best predict the cooking time and to prevent the eggs from cracking.
  • If you’re concerned about the eggs cracking, add a splash of vinegar to the water to help keep the white from seeping out as much.
  • Make sure you’re only using fresh eggs, as older eggs are harder to peel. Check how fresh the eggs are by placing them in a small bowl of water. If they sink, they’re fresh. If they float, they’re not. This happens as the air pocket inside the egg grows and makes the egg more buoyant.

Ready to boil an egg? These are our favourite boiled egg recipes.

The perfect jammy eggs

Get the recipe for the perfect jammy eggs here.

Devilled eggs

devilled eggs
Get the recipe for devilled eggs here.

Almond French toast with boiled eggs and biltong powder

boiled egg recipes
Get the recipe for almond French toast with boiled eggs and biltong powder here.



  1. Fill a saucepan large enough to fit the number of eggs with water (you want to make sure the water fully covers the eggs) and place on a high heat to bring the water to the boil.

    Step 1

  2. Once the water is boiling, gently lower room-temperature eggs into the water and set a timer. For soft eggs: 3–4 minutes. For medium eggs: 6–8 minutes. For hard eggs: 10 minutes.

    Step 2

  3. Remove the eggs from the water using a slotted spoon and place in a bowl of iced water to prevent the yolks from discolouring.

    Step 3

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    Shelley Moseley
    October 12, 2015

    I good trick when boiling eggs is to pop two wooden toothpicks into the water. If a shell is cracked it stops the pot boiling over and the egg coming out the shell making it still a useable boiled egg.

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    Judy Louw
    September 29, 2015

    Is the time based the number of eggs boiled or would it be the same time irrespective of the number of eggs boiled