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How to boil an egg

How to boil an egg

Knowing how to boil an egg isn’t exactly a culinary art, but it’s as much a skill for top chefs as it is for anyone else. There’s more to it that than meets the eye – for instance, how long should you cook it for to get a firmer yolk, and how can you stop the shell from cracking?

Whether you like your boiled eggs soft, hard or somewhere in between, we're here to set the record straight on how to boil an egg. Try out our handy egg timer in our new Egg Recipes app or follow the steps below and get it perfect every time.

For more tips on boiling check out our video guide featuring top chef Paul Merrett.




0 mins


5 mins

Average: 3.3 (70 votes)
Per serving


  • 2 large British Lion eggs
  • Water for boiling
  • Pinch of salt
  • Buttered toast cut into soldiers to serve (optional)


  1. Place egg in a small pan. Cover with at least 2.5cm (1") of cold water, add a pinch of salt and place the pan on a high heat.
  2. When the water is almost boiling, gently stir the egg and set a kitchen timer for one of the timings below:
    • 3 minutes for really soft boiled yolk and set white
    • 4 minutes for slightly set yolk and set white
    • 5 minutes for firmer yolk and white
    • 6 minutes for hard boiled with lightly soft yolk
    • 7 minutes for firmly hard boiled
  3. Reduce heat slightly to keep water bubbling but not fast boiling and stir the egg once more.
  4. Once cooking time is complete, remove the egg from the pan with slotted spoon, place into egg cup and serve immediately with hot buttered toast soldiers.

    Cook's Tip: To prevent egg cracking, make a small pin prick in the shell at the rounded end to allow the steam to escape.

    Boiling is just the beginning! Try out one of our many fantastic boiled egg recipes and create some dynamic and delicious dishes.