Egg Boiling Times - How Do You Like Your Eggs?

How do you like your eggs? Do you prefer soft boiled eggs or hard boiled eggs? There are several things to consider when deciding how long to boil your eggs, and every minute counts. Many people like their boiled eggs at different states of doneness, the time that you boil your eggs changes the consistency and texture of the egg. Soft boiled eggs are perhaps the most popular type of boiled egg, after the hard boiled egg. The picture below shows eggs that have been boiled for various amounts of time.

These eggs were boiled in our low altitude test kitchen starting with refrigerated large eggs that were first placed into a heavy metal pot then covered with cold water and boiled at medium high heat on a gas stove for the times indicated in the picture. That sentence was a mouthful, allow us to explain some possible variations to egg boiling times that may explain why your boiled eggs don’t look the same as these pictures.

boiling times

Boiling Times For Eggs

Egg Substitutes

Note: the times start after the water has come to a boil. We boiled these eggs, actually kept them at a low boil for the indicated times, and did not turn the heat off once they began boiling which is a preferred alternate method to making hard boiled eggs. We did this because soft boiled eggs are generally done this way, for quicker and more accurate results.

Listed below are the many variations which can change and alter the boiling times for eggs. Consider all of these when you are setting the timer to cook your eggs.

Variations To Boiling Times

Lots of things affect boiling times for eggs, actually boiling times in general. The sentence at the top of this post telling exactly how we boiled our eggs for the picture gives a clue as to all the variables which will affect the actual outcome of the exact boiling times needed to produce the desired result in your soft boiled or hard boiled egg. Remember, we gently boiled these eggs and did not turn the heat off after they came to a boil. Several of the following points deal with heat retention, which only comes into play when you use the alternate method to boiling eggs – covering and turning the heat off after the water reaches a rolling boil in order to complete the cooking of your eggs.

    Variables in Making Hard Boiled Eggs:

  • Size of your eggs – eggs come in many different sizes. Bigger eggs will of course take longer to cook and smaller ones will take less time (large eggs are pictured).


  • Amount of water – the more water you use (compared to the number of eggs that you are boiling), the longer the pan will take to boil and retain the heat from boiling. The rule of thumb instruction for egg to water ratio is to space your eggs comfortably in a pan and then add enough water to the pan so that at least an inch of water sits above the eggs. More water than that and your eggs cook faster, less water and the temperature will drop quicker once the burner is turned off.


  • Choice of pot – thicker pots will retain heat better than thinner ones. So, heavy metal pans are recommended for boiling water.


  • Type of stove – electric stoves retain heat much longer after being turned off than gas ones. So, eggs cooked with the boil and then turn heat off method on electric stoves will be ready quicker than eggs boiled on a gas burner. Induction heat burners (flat surface stoves) are the most efficient and will boil water faster than electric coil plates. So, if water takes longer to boil then the eggs sit in hot water for longer beforehand and thus need less time after the water begins to boil.


  • Egg temperature – a refrigerated egg will take longer to cook than one that begins at room temperature.


  • Room temperature – if your kitchen is cold, boiled water will cool faster than if your kitchen is warm.


  • Altitude – yes, even altitude affects your eggs. The boiling temperature of water drops as your altitude rises. This lower temperature water means that you will need extended time to receive an equal result. So, if you live in the mountains it will take a little longer to make your boiled eggs.

Additional Info

Check out our egg page to find out how long eggs last past their best by date.

Check our hard boiled egg page to find out how long hard boiled eggs are good for.

Remember that older eggs are your best choice when picking eggs to boil. To further explore the process of making hard boiled eggs, see our how to boil eggs page.

To find out how long other foods are good for, please visit the Dairy, Drinks, Fruits, Grains, Proteins, Vegetables and Other sections of Eat By Date or use the search function below.

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