Soft-Boiled Eggs and Toast

This soft-boiled eggs and toast turns out a breakfast classic just the way you like them thanks to a perfect cooking time.

Halved soft-boiled eggs and toast on a plate with egg shells.

This soft-boiled eggs recipe is, in the words of the author, “over-the-top easy. Not quite cooked all the way, but cooked enough to smear on your toast.” Or to heck with smearing and just go ahead and dip your toast in that sorta-but-not-quite runny yolk. Just like you did as a kid. Perfect any time of day.Renee Schettler Rossi

Soft-Boiled Eggs and Toast

Halved soft-boiled eggs and toast on a plate with egg shells.
This soft-boiled eggs and toast turns out a breakfast classic just the way you like them thanks to a perfect cooking time.

Prep 4 mins
Cook 1 min
Total 5 mins
1 servings
243 kcal
5 / 4 votes
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  • 2 eggs per person
  • Unsalted butter
  • Salt and pepper
  • Toast if desired


  • Place the eggs in a saucepan and add enough cold water to cover. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. For a medium-set egg in which the yolk will be runny and the whites a bit loose, cook for 1 minute (yes, just 1 minute!). If you prefer a firmer white, leave it for another 20 to 30 seconds. Remove the pan from the heat, place it in the sink, and run the eggs under cold water until cool enough to handle.

  • To serve the eggs, using the back of a knife, gently crack the shells. Use the knife to slice each egg in half. Serve the eggs in a bowl with a small spoon, a hunk of butter, and a generous dose of salt and pepper. Serve immediately with toast, if desired.
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Show Nutrition

Serving: 2eggsCalories: 243kcal (12%)Carbohydrates: 1gProtein: 13g (26%)Fat: 21g (32%)Saturated Fat: 10g (63%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 402mg (134%)Sodium: 144mg (6%)Potassium: 141mg (4%)Sugar: 0.4gVitamin A: 890IU (18%)Calcium: 59mg (6%)Iron: 2mg (11%)

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Recipe Testers’ Reviews

This soft-boiled eggs recipe is a terrifically simple recipe—so simple that, honestly, I’m not sure how much of a recipe it actually is. If you can slice bread and boil water, you’re golden. But simplicity is often a virtue, particularly when it’s so bloody hot that you can’t be asked to do much more than butter a piece of toast. And the minimal investment yields ample returns, in the form of the elemental pleasures that come from sopping up runny yolks with thick, buttery, salty chunks of bread. This is perfect for those times when you just don’t feel like cooking but still want to eat well. It is suitable for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and all points in between. And though it calls for slicing the eggs in half, I found it just as easy to peel them and plop them whole onto a piece of toast. However you do it, you’ll come away a believer.

I’m completely biased in favor of this soft-boiled eggs recipe given that it’s a well-loved comfort food for pretty much everyone I know. The timing is spot on and delivers a runny yolk but mostly firm white, all of which mashes up with the butter, salt, and pepper to make an easy-to-digest, nourishing, and, most importantly, delicious meal. Be careful when you’re cutting into the egg, as you’ll lose all the yolk if you’re not. In Scotland we call it champit (mashed) egg in a cup. As the title suggests, it’s usually served in a cup or a wee bowl.

Soft-boiled eggs were my mom’s go-to breakfast when she was pressed for time. Back then, she cracked the top of the boiled egg off and served it in an actual, honest-to-goodness egg cup. We dipped our strips of toast into the runny yolk before scooping out the rest. I prefer the method in this recipe so I can wipe the bowl of every last drop of egg and “hunk of butter” deliciousness. Simple, easy, and wonderful. Yum!

This title of this recipe really held true–this egg dish really turned out tasting like something your mom or grandmother would make and like something you remember fondly from childhood. I grew up eating hard-boiled eggs more than soft-boiled, but this recipe may have changed my mind as to which I like more. I loved the taste of the butter on the toast, followed by the smooth soft-boiled egg smeared on top of that. We used a good whole-wheat toast, and that was a nice accompaniment. In addition to the salt and pepper, I used a couple dashes of Tabasco, which, in my opinion, is always a great addition to any egg dish. In terms of cooking time, I ended up cooking the eggs for one minute and 30 seconds, which made the egg white just smooth enough and the yolk still a bit runny. I own and love Amy Pennington’s Urban Pantry cookbook; this recipe makes me want to pull it off of my shelf again right away and see what other delicious recipes she has shared with us!

I’ve never been able to make a perfect soft-boiled egg in the past—either the eggs crack or are too raw in the center—so I was really interested in trying this version. As the recipe didn’t specify straight-from-the-fridge or room-temperature eggs, I brought my eggs to room temperature, as gelatinous whites aren’t my favorite. Brought them to a boil and cooked them for exactly 1 1/2 minutes. Perfect! The whites were firm and the yolks still runny. The hunk of butter makes a great addition as well, extra velvety in the mouth. Delicious with toast! Thank you, Amy Pennington!

Really, this soft-boiled eggs recipe isn’t a recipe as much as a timing. We love eggs any which way, and I hadn’t soft boiled in a while. My method was to simmer them a couple of minutes. I say “was,” because “Mom’s” is now my new method. Not because it’s a minute or two faster, but because it’s more accurate. My tolerance for runny whites is low, my dislike of overcooked yolks is high. Getting just the right combination—softly set white, runny yolk—took 3 tries. Then I had it. My perfect timing was one minute and 40 seconds, if I started with just-out-of-the fridge eggs and cooked two at a time. No more guessing. Maybe I just never paid close enough attention. That often happens with experienced cooks and simple techniques. So thanks for making me stop and think about just how I like that soft-cooked egg. Good for beginners, and a great reminder to the rest of us to pay attention to the basics to get them just right.

This soft-boiled eggs recipe turned out great! Much less messy than making a poached egg. The recipe’s timing is very accurate, so don’t leave your egg in the water for more than a minute and a half. I left it in for 2 minutes and the yolk was starting to set. The touch of butter you add to the cooked egg is a nice touch, and makes a perfectly cooked egg even better.

A simple egg preparation that does not require too much cooking time in the morning. I cooked the eggs for 90 seconds, as suggested by the recipe for a slightly firmer white. Served with toast points (or better yet, toast cut into long thin rectangles), this makes for a lovely breakfast.

This was a good, basic recipe. It was a great way to see how simple yet how good an egg can taste if it is cooked correctly. The timing in this recipe works as written. The only thing that may be tricky is to find a spoon small enough to scoop the egg out of the shell. At kitchen stores, you can typically find a spoon called an “egg spoon” that has a small bowl attached to a long handle. That would make it easy to scoop out the egg. Let the egg cool down before you try to crack and scoop the egg out, otherwise you might really burn your fingers. Using an egg cup, if you have one, would work well to stabilize the egg when you crack it open. If you don’t have one, a shot glass should be fine. Otherwise butter, salt, and pepper are all you need for this dish to taste delicious.

I have an electric range, so on my first attempt I set the button halfway between high and low. It took my eggs so long to come to a boil that at the one minute and 40 second mark, the yolks were almost completely done. I like my whites set but the yolks runny. Since hubby likes his eggs hard-boiled, I just added those two to his hard-boiled ones to make egg salad. My second attempt caused me to lick the bowl. I turned the setting to a couple notches past the high setting, and when the eggs started to boil, I set the timer for one minute. When I cut one open, the yolks were perfectly runny and the whites not quite completely set, but I found out I like them like that. I then placed them in my bowl and placed that small hunk of butter on top. Then I sprinkled on some kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Once I dipped my toast in that heavenly concoction, my mouth became very happy. I guess it was the butter. I’ll be making these again. Who’d have though that a pat of butter would crank up a soft-boiled egg to such delightful heights?

These were delicious. I think they’d also be good in the traditional sense, on English muffins.

Hard for this recipe not to be recommended or made over and over again as it’s quite simple to prepare. Paying attention to the boiling water is the hardest part of this recipe. I liked the addition of the butter with plenty of salt and freshly cracked black pepper. I toasted a big piece of ciabatta and sliced the piece into “soldiers” for the eggs. Served with a salad for lunch or dinner, this would make a delicious meal.

Simple recipe. I just cracked the eggs and let them fall onto the toast. Not sure I needed the butter. Toast with eggs is more than adequate.

Originally published September 04, 2017


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  1. Maybe a stupid question – but when do you start timing? Is it when the heat turns on or when the water starts boiling?

  2. Thank you all for the replies! I will definitely take this great advice into consideration for my eggs! 🙂

  3. Does the cooking time stay the same or should it vary based on the number of eggs? I need to make 6 for a brunch, but I need the whites to be set, not goopy…and the yolks a little set too…I guess I’m basically looking for hard-boiled with some run to the yolk, haha! Thanks for your help! Very handy guide in general, so thank you for that as well!

    1. I’ve tried egg timing in different ways, Natasha. The best way for me is to have a “virtual egg” that lets me know when my real eggs are ready. I use this gizmo to get perfect results every time. One of the best (and cheapest) things I’ve ever purchased for my kitchen.

      As far as using it is concerned, I keep the eggs in the fridge and the timer in the gadget drawer. Given their size, and the fact that they are supposed to act in a similar way, I don’t think it makes a lot difference as for the starting temperature. The main thing I think, is to have everything in one layer in the pot. So, I put the eggs and the “timer” into the pot and cover them with cool water. Onto the stove, uncovered, and turn on the heat to reach a low boil. When the “timer” indicates the right doneness, I drain them, remove the timer and put the eggs into an ice-water bath to stop them from cooking further.

    2. I like to steam my eggs, because it eliminates a lot of the guesswork involved in boiling. Since the eggs sit over the water, instead of in it, the water doesn’t get cooled by the eggs and remains at a boil. I use about an inch of water, with a steamer basket over it, bring it to a boil, then add eggs, cover and cook. Cooking time still varies depending upon the size of the eggs and their initial temperature. Starting with cold eggs, soft-boiled will take 8-9 minutes for a large egg. The advantage to steaming is that you start timing from the moment you put the eggs in. There is none of the squishiness around deciding when the water has reached a boil, or what the recipe means by that. And you can do as many eggs as you need to, and the timing will stay the same. I always cool my eggs quickly by putting them in an ice-water bath as soon as they come out of the pot. Makes them easier to peel and prevents overcooking. I would recommend that Natasha do some test eggs to get the timing down for the size and starting temperature of her eggs.

    3. Natasha, an excellent question. I can’t say for certain as I haven’t done side-by-side comparisons, but it would seem if you’re cooking a large number of eggs which require a large pot and a large amount of water, then the cooking time would be less, as it will take longer for the larger amount of water to come to a boil and, as a consequence, the eggs will be subjected to more time in heated water. But I can’t tell you exactly how to skew your timing. We’ve asked our recipe testers to share their egg-xperience (sorry!) and so let’s see what they have to say….

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