Perfect Soft-Cooked Eggs

soft boiled eggThe last time I ate a soft-boiled egg was over 25 years ago when a particularly gooey drop of yolk decided to befriend my $150 Hermes tie.  Thanks to a botched job at the dry-cleaner, they have become inseparable friends and, as such, I decided then to give up both expensive ties and soft-boiled eggs.

Nevertheless, “Drama Queen” Abigail has insisted that I share a recent recipe that appeared on Cook’s Illustrated that explains how you “steam” rather than “cook” an egg to achieve a soft-cooked egg “that delivered a set white and a fluid yolk every time.” Before caving into Abigail’s request, I have decided to share the highlights of Cook’s Illustrated “science” required to achieve the perfect soft-cooked egg.

Science Class: According to America’s Test Kitchen, the traditional way of cooking soft-cooked eggs is to add eggs to boiling water. Sadly, this lowers the temperature of the water and makes for uneven cooking results depending on when eggs are added and how quickly the water reaches the boiling temperature again after each immersion. The folks at America’s test kitchen have found that “steaming” eggs in a small amount of water achieves consistently perfect results.  (Note to Langston: They probably don’t teach this in Texas as evolution is still not part of the school curriculum.  Langston, I too am still trying to figure out which came first:  The chicken or the egg?)

How to Cook Perfect Soft-Cooked Eggs

Note:  This recipe works for any number of eggs.  Use large eggs that have no cracks and are cold from the refrigerator.


  1. Bring 1/2 inch of water to a boil in a medium sauce pan over medium heat.  Using tongs (or better yet a steamer basket), gently place the refrigerated eggs into the boiling water.  The eggs will not be submerged.  Cover the saucepan and cook the eggs for 6 1/2 minutes.
  2. Remove cover, transfer saucepan to sink and place under cold running water for 30 seconds.  Remove eggs from pan and serve, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.


Note from International Travel Correspondent:    Sadly, I will be writing more frequently for our sister commercial website Gourmet Living which will soon be introducing its own line of balsamic vinegar from Modena, Italy to be followed by Mediterranean salts and olive oil.    For those more interested in food than theatrics, you may find something useful on the new site.  Cheers.

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