How Long Do Soft Boiled Eggs Boil?

In order to properly prepare a soft-boiled egg, you must carefully time the cooking process. Techniques are shared for producing the perfect soft-boiled egg.


Though the name indicates that the egg should be boiled, soft-boiled eggs are really only simmered. Simmering means heating the water to just below the boiling point (85.1 to 93.3 degrees C), or where larger bubbles begin to burst on the surface.


How long the egg should be cooked depends on how the consumer prefers the consistency of the yolk. Generally, with soft-boiled eggs, the yolk is runny.

Time Frame

In general, the guideline given for soft-boiled eggs is three minutes, though it depends on the type of element being used to heat the water.


Many cooks emphasise that the temperature of the egg before it goes into the simmering water is just as important as the cooking time. They suggest letting the egg reach room temperature (let it sit out for about 30 mins) in order to avoid cracking of the shell from the extreme change from refrigerator cold to almost boiling.


The size of the egg will also affect the overall cooking time. Medium-sized eggs need about three minutes; add a minute for each increase of egg size (Large, XL, XXL).

Fun Fact

There are actually colour-changing egg meters that can be put in the pot with your eggs in order to perfectly cook the egg to your satisfaction. They cost around £3 and can be purchased at most kitchen stores.

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About the Author

E.E. Hubbard has been writing professionally since 2002. She writes, edits and consults for the Northern Virginia Writing Project, and has been published in "Library Media Connection." Hubbard holds a Bachelor of Science in both English education and Spanish education from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania, as well as a Master of Science in secondary education from Old Dominion University.