How Long To Hard Boil An Egg: A Visual Guide

From runny to hard yolks, here's your cheat sheet.
Damon Dahlen/Huffington Post

Boiling may be the easiest way you can deal with eggs. Poaching gets messy, frying may require the flip of a spatula, scrambled eggs risk becoming rubbery and omelets still mystify many professional chefs. But with boiled eggs, you just pop those beauties in some water, shell and all, and let time pass.

Here’s where some precision is required: Everyone likes their yolks their own particular way, whether it’s runny like liquid gold or rock hard like a golf ball. (We’re pretty sure no one likes them with the green ring around the outside, which forms when you overcook your eggs.) So we’ve made a guide for you!

This chart shows you exactly what your yolks will look like based on the times you set when using the cooking method described below. (If you prefer the “boil, cover and turn off the heat” method, this visual guide won’t apply. And cooking eggs at high altitudes yields different results, too.)

Damon Dahlen/Huffington Post

Cook your eggs using the method described here to match your results to the chart. (We pulled our eggs straight from the refrigerator, because we know most of us don’t have the time or foresight to let them sit at room temperature.)

  • First, place your eggs in a saucepan that’s large enough to hold the eggs in a single layer. (We recommend cooking no more than 6 eggs at once ― heating up any more water than that requires too much heat-up time, thus overcooking the eggs before the water even comes to a boil.)
  • Second, cover the eggs with cold water. Bring the water to a boil, then turn it down to a low simmer. Set your timer now. Don’t put a lid on the saucepan.
  • When the timer goes off, immediately run cold water over the eggs to stop them from cooking any further.

According to the 2007 handbook from the French Culinary Institute, these are the times typically used to make soft-, medium- and hard-boiled eggs with the method above:

  • Soft-boiled: 3 minutes
  • Medium-soft boiled: 4 minutes
  • Hard-boiled: 10 to 11 minutes

Check out the chart to see exactly how long you want to boil your eggs.

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