Cooking for One: The Perfect Soft-Boiled Egg

how to make a soft boiled egg

When I was a little girl, I used to throw fits if the eggs served to me were not “juicy” enough! As an adult, I’ve become obsessed with eggs. The first time I tasted a farm fresh egg, straight from the chicken pen, I was hooked. I think an egg cooked properly is as decadent as a chocolate cake. I’ve been known to eat them for dessert!

It may seem simple to some, but I’ve never been good at cooking a soft-boiled egg! When I was on the farm in France and we were up to our eyebrows in eggs everyday, I perfected it! It’s all in the timing.

– Bring a pot of water to a boil.

– Drop the egg in gently with a spoon (so it doesn’t crack!).

– Let it boil for exactly 5 minutes! (update: I’ve found this works great on all the gas stoves I’ve used, but electric stoves can take longer. I’ve found around 7 minutes is the prime time for electric!)

The perfect egg has all the whites cooked and the yolk juicy. I like eating mine with sauteed greens, onions, garlic, a bit of cream. Bread, of course, to dip in the yolk. And, I am always a fan of hot sauce! Portland’s Secret Aardvark is my favorite.

How do you eat your soft-boiled eggs?

More about Cooking for One on Frolic!:

Baked Eggs in France

Cooking for One: 6 Simple Ideas

Behind the Scenes with My Life in Sourdough

Cooking for One: Chickpeas for Lunch

Photos: Chelsea Fuss. Taken in the Alentejo Region of Portugal. Bowl by José Mestre, Rua de Jesus N 19, Beringel, Portugal.


  1. I will give your five minute egg a try. Because I could never get the soft-boiled egg just the way it should be (solid whites but runny yolk), I deferred to poached eggs, which I also love. A soft-boiled or poached egg with sautéed greens and garlic, with bread, of course, the perfect dinner.

  2. While I love soft-boiled eggs, I find it very difficult to cook mine, because my hens are “mini hens” and their eggs are smaller than usual… So the cooking time is tricky!

  3. I’m pinning this to try later. I also love gooey eggs, and have probably tried to make them once every couple of months, with zero luck (though I should probably say zero skill). It always comes out hard except for a tiny gooey speck right in the middle. That’s just weird 🙂

  4. Until very, very recently I wouldn’t eat eggs with a runny yolk. After getting a fried egg with runny yolk on a plate of thai food last year, I mixed the yolk into my rice to try and make it less “icky” and happily realized it was delish. Now as far as I’m concerned, the runnier the yolk, the better!

    I have been soft boiling eggs for my breakfast lately and follow your method, especially the exactly 5 minutes part. I put my egg in a bowl of hot water for a few minutes first though. Perfect eggs every time!

  5. Sauté crushed garlic n Thai pepper mixed with some fish sauce.

    Have soft cooked, long grain, white rice in bowl. Topped with the soft boiled egg with really runny yolk.

    Pour garlic/pepper/fish sauce on top. Lightly mixed yolk, rice and sauces.

    Yummy… My go-to for any day.

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