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How Long to Cook Soft-Boiled Eggs?

Boiled eggs are already a common item in most menus, especially as a breakfast or a treat. And many people prefer theirs soft-boiled. These types are prepared such that the white sets, but the yolk is still somewhat runny. But many who love these types of eggs or wish to make them for others aren’t sure of how long it to properly cook eggs.

Why Eat Soft-Boiled Eggs?

Eggs are nutritious in so many ways, and a great deal of that value is held in the yolk. Many dieticians suggest that the nutritional quality of egg yolk is reduced the longer it’s cooked. This is where soft-boiled eggs come into play. They’re richer in nutrients, and you get more of the natural vitamins and proteins from the runny yolk. Plus, some people have even described the taste as better superior to that other boiled types, though this suggestion is still a subject of personal opinion and experience.

Still, many wonder if it’s even safe to eat soft-boiled eggs. The main concern is the possible presence of salmonella, a type of bacteria that’s common in foods and can induce food poisoning. The bone of contention here is that soft-boiled eggs are ‘undercooked,’ and as such, may still contain these harmful pathogens.  Though these arguments hold water, the risk of getting food poisoning from soft-boiled eggs is extremely low. But a better way to ensure you’re eating soft-boiled eggs safely is to use unpasteurized eggs.

Cooking Time for Soft-Boiled Eggs

When making soft-boiled eggs, you need to make sure of a few things. First, consider the egg’s temperature, as those taken out of the fridge would need to cook for longer. To make it easier, keep the eggs on the countertop to lose the chill and return to room temperature before you start.

Depending on how runny you want the eggs to be, you can cook a soft-boiled egg for 3 to 4 minutes. The 4-minute mark is best for extra safety since it’s a longer cooking time, and you still end up with a semi-liquid yolk. Regardless of how long you’re making it, you need to bring the water to boil as well. And when the cooking time is done, cool off in running water while it’s in a colander.

Extra Tips

You should also note these other helpful suggestions when making soft-boiled eggs;

Always serve soft-boiled eggs warm. They taste better that way.

Keep a large spoon aside to scoop the egg out of the boiling water once it’s done. It helps when you find it draining stressful or are dealing with a large batch.

Never use a microwave to make them, but always boil over the stove. The heat buildup in the eggs will cause them to explode when you try to crack them.

After cooking, you don’t need to peel the egg. Simply slice the top off, and serve with a small spoon.

Always serve soft-boiled eggs on an egg cup. It makes eating them easier. If you don’t have one, a shot glass is an easy quick-fix.

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Easy 4-Minute Boiled Egg recipe (2 servings)

Easy 4-Minute Boiled Egg recipe (2 servings)

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  • 2 eggs, unpasteurized
  • 1 pot of water


  1. Boil the pot of water and gently place the eggs in. The water would stop boiling. Cover and allow boiling again.
  2. When it boils again, reduce the heat so it simmers. Leave for 4 minutes, then transfer the eggs with a large spoon to a colander.
  3. Place the eggs in a colander under running water to cool them down. Slice the top off and serve warm on an egg cup immediately.

If you need visual directions, check out this soft-boiled egg video recipe.

  • Author: Bobby