29 Apr2012

I was surprised and amused by the comments and private emails I received regarding boiled eggs. They were a result of a recent post on batchoy that had a couple of slices of boiled egg on top of the noodles. Some emails actually asked how to properly boil an egg. Yipes, have we gone that far, that folks with their own kitchens are now wondering how to boil an egg? At any rate, here is how we do it at home, and I don’t claim any expertise whatsoever in this regard other than having bolied a significant amount of eggs over the years…

Basic Rules.

1. Get the freshest organic eggs you can afford. They have fabulous deep orange yolks that just scream natural goodness. I didn’t have any for this photo shoot. :)

2. Have your eggs at room temperature, not straight out of a cold fridge. If you must, then take eggs out of the fridge, add them to the pot of tap water, just slightly lukewarm and let them come to room temperature over the next 10 minutes or so before cooking them.

3. Use a relatively small pot, so it doesn’t take so long to bring the water up to a simmer (waste of gas or electricity), nor do the eggs have a lot of room to get groovy in, increasing the risk of cracking up, literally.

4. Have a teaspoon or so of white distilled vinegar at the ready; others say it strengthens the shell and also prevents the whites from leaking out into the water if the shell cracks. Others salt the water, but I don’t bother with the salt…

5. If you are absent minded, use a timer to “jar” you into pulling the eggs out at just the right time.

Why does all of this matter at all? I don’t know. But some folks, myself included, dislike the strangely green film that forms around a yolk of an egg that is just simply OVER-BOILED. And the yolk gets a bit too rubbery as well. Otherwise, if you don’t care what your eggs look and feel like, boil them any darned way you desire. :)


Place your eggs in the pot, add tap tap water and cover the eggs with water, surface roughly 1/2 to 1 inch above the eggs. Place over a burner turned up to medium-high and bring the water up to a simmer. Not a roiling boil. Once it starts to simmer, adjust heat source down, wait 60 seconds while water simmers, and then turn off the flames. Cover the pot and leave the eggs in the hot water for 10-12 minutes, depending on size. Rinse in cool water and peel. The eggs in the photo above were left in for 12 minutes, and that was a minute or two too long, in my opinion. I used this batch of 6 eggs for an egg salad, so the slight overcooking (in my opinion) was not discernable in the final product.


Folks have REALLY varying degrees of preferred “softness”. My dad liked his eggs nearly raw, I like mine a with the yolks a little viscous, to coat my toast. Don’t obsess — just do the same instructions as above, but once you turn off the heat, and cover, wait just 3 or 4 minutes before you rinse in cool water and peel your egg (or more likely take the top half of the shell off). For some this might be too soft, for others, not soft enough. So try it and adjust to your personal preference. Some toast points made of pan de mie and a soft balled egg with a sprinkle of flaky maldon salt… is one of the simplest pleasures from the kitchen.

P.S. For a nice, refreshing egg salad — hard boil 6 eggs and cool. Roughly chop up the eggs (whites and yolks) and place them in a small bowl. Add some 4-5 tablespoons of homemade or store bought mayonnaise, some freshly ground pepper, a touch of salt, and about 1 tablespoon or slightly more of chopped fresh dill. Let this sit in the fridge for an hour and it’s ready to eat. Use it in a sandwich, or on top of crackers for a snack, or as part of composed green salad. For some reason, I love sandwiches with egg salad and slices of ham, or egg salad and blanched asparagus. Yum.



  1. la_vick says:

    perfectly boiled eggs, thanks again MM.

    Apr 29, 2012 | 4:25 pm


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  3. la_vick says:

    akalain mo yun first commenter ako yaaay!!!

    Apr 29, 2012 | 4:27 pm

  4. Nadia says:

    Toasted whole wheat bread, a thin layer of cod roe and slices of hard boiled egg…egg on egg…absolute pleasure!!!

    Speaking of cod roe…MM, would you know where to get this in Manila?

    Apr 29, 2012 | 5:06 pm

  5. Dave B says:

    thanks for this post. i’m slowly working my way back to the kitchen, and this helps

    Apr 29, 2012 | 5:38 pm

  6. Emil says:

    I guess you don’t really Boil An Egg? Perfect for my Deviled Eggs tonight. Thanks MM!

    Apr 29, 2012 | 6:29 pm

  7. Footloose says:

    Here’s how to take them out of their shell easily. Remember how to peel garlic easily by placing them in a metal bowl with cover and shaking them around? The same way, just allow the boiled eggs to cool down completely before shelling them and shake the bowl around less violently.

    Apr 29, 2012 | 6:43 pm

  8. Mimi says:

    Here in Singapore the usual breakfast fare is kaya toast with two soft-boiled eggs drizzled with dark soy. At the hawker centres the auntie will hand you a stainless steel ‘cup’ with two small eggs which she just poured boiling water and covered with the saucer which you will be using to crack the eggs in. You have to wait five minutes before you can uncover the ‘cup’ and fish out the eggs with a teaspoon.

    For hard boiled eggs, a trick to having the yolk perfectly centred is to swirl the water while cooking.

    Apr 29, 2012 | 6:59 pm

  9. aince says:

    Apr 29, 2012 | 7:08 pm

  10. Marketman says:

    aince, thanks for that link, it’s fascinating and informative… now I know even more… :)

    Apr 29, 2012 | 8:18 pm

  11. Miguel says:

    Eggs, the perfect food. Especially since people are finding out it’s good cholesterol in there.

    I have one every morning, sometimes two in a day. If I don’t see one on the bfast table, I make my own concoction. Break a big or medium sized one on a pyrex custard cup. Poke the yolk with a knife or fork.

    Microwave for 15 seconds. Take out, give it a turn to bring the raw parts towards the sides again. Nuke for another 15 (I like em soggy and ‘slimy’). Sprinkle in some salt & pepper. Simple and delicious!

    Apr 29, 2012 | 9:21 pm

  12. betty q. says:

    Ehow.com also shows us how to center the yolk upon boiling the eggs…by taking each egg out of the spot on the carton and placing then on their SIDE the night before you boil them for it will take the yolk quite a bit of time to position themselves elsewhere for they are more dense than the whites.

    Got any more fresh eggs, MM, to try that tip above? Have to go back to Maple Ridge after Church and buy more farm fresh free range eggs …say that 10x, Lee!…farm fresh free range eggs!!!!

    Apr 29, 2012 | 11:11 pm

  13. Gerry says:

    Ukkokei Ramen Ron along Pasay Rd. makes a fantastic Aji Tamago. Creamy hard boiled eggs that have been marinated for probably a day or two. It is simply excellent.

    Apr 29, 2012 | 11:51 pm

  14. j. says:

    My family doesn’t bother boiling the eggs… we just make tamatamagohan…uber hot rice,then crack an egg on top add a little shoyu and a little mirin or sugar[omit this part if you like]…stir… and eat. This is something that my Filipino mother and my American cousins find odd…

    Apr 30, 2012 | 1:41 am

  15. Natie says:

    it’s not easy to achieve perfection in many things…very informative..will forward to kids and grandkids.never too young to learn..

    Apr 30, 2012 | 4:49 am

  16. denise says:

    I used to love hard boiled eggs… but after one to many mishaps in timing…I’ve learned to love a soft sometimes gooey yolk..much to the roommate’s chagrin upon cracking her’s open teehee

    Apr 30, 2012 | 4:59 am

  17. atbnorway says:

    When the water’s boiling, that’s when I gently put the eggs in then I start my 5-minute countdown. My son likes the white solid and the yolk soft so he has a bit of both—something to dip into and something to chew.

    Apr 30, 2012 | 5:04 am

  18. Betchay says:

    What a coincidence…..I just had egg salad for my breakfast today! I only add pickle relish and sometimes finely chopped white onion or chopped celery.I will try adding fresh dill next time since we have dill plant in the garden. My son and I love soft boiled organic eggs!Eggs are so versatile so they are a staple in our kitchen.

    Apr 30, 2012 | 7:54 am

  19. PITS, MANILA says:

    And after boiling the eggs, I drain all the water and pour cold or tap water over them. This makes it easier to peel the shell off, contraction and all … Do you have any tips for poaching eggs? There’s the egg poacher I guess, but how do you poach yours?

    Apr 30, 2012 | 8:53 am

  20. josephine says:

    Footloose, I watched that video and I just simply don’t have the wrist power to smash that head of garlic in step one, so I’ll never get to the metal bowls bit. Same with eggs, I kind of gently roll them around and the peeling is easy…

    Apr 30, 2012 | 9:06 am

  21. Papa Ethan says:

    One trick I learned from a TV show was to dunk the eggs in ice-cold water immediately after being boiled for five minutes. This prevents the formation of that unsightly dark layer that looks like molds around the yolk. It also makes peeling easier. To see for myself if this technique worked, I simply tested it by boiling four eggs. Two of the eggs were given the ice bath while the other two were simply rinsed under the faucet. The ice bath delivered the promised results, so I’ve been using that trick ever since. =)

    Apr 30, 2012 | 10:27 am

  22. ConnieC says:

    PITS: when I am in a rush or just plain lazy I nuke mine. Break egg into a small microwavable saucer or small ramekin cup, add a tablespoon or two of water and cover with plastic wrap. Make a small vent to release steam. On medium high, 50 seconds or so, watch carefully and stop the microwave when egg is poached and before the egg explodes. You may have to experiment depending on your microwave or you will have a major major clean-up. Pour off the water and enjoy your egg. Once you get the right timing and frequency, it is a breeze.

    Apr 30, 2012 | 10:47 am

  23. kate says:

    great post for newbie cook! :)

    Apr 30, 2012 | 12:56 pm

  24. joey says:

    Thank you for sharing your guidelines for lovely hard boiled eggs! :)

    Apr 30, 2012 | 1:18 pm

  25. bitoy says:

    if you cover the pot while boiling the eggs = cracked eggs.

    Apr 30, 2012 | 1:31 pm

  26. Marketman says:

    bitoy, not really, as long as you never reach a boil, just a simmer and adjust flame. :)

    Apr 30, 2012 | 3:03 pm

  27. millet says:

    i like those hardboiled eggs in which the whites are firm enough to be shelled while the yolk is still soft and a bit runny towards the center. mollet, i think the process is called. it’s always a hit or miss thing with me, though, even with the strictest timing.

    Apr 30, 2012 | 4:32 pm

  28. Risa says:

    MM, Betty Q equest please: homemade pancakes!

    I cook and I bake, but I’ve never made this from scratch to rival Bisquick.

    Apr 30, 2012 | 5:46 pm

  29. Footloose says:

    @Josephine, Don’t have that problem. I have this pair of mirror polished chrome plated dumbbells that I can no longer lift for exercise (due to creeping decrepitude no doubt). I use them now for crushing garlic heads and ice for my martini, my fountain of youth which is a mixture of gin and vermouth (h/t to Cole Porter).

    Apr 30, 2012 | 7:13 pm

  30. millet says:

    footloose, you are hopelessly funny! lifting the barbell to the garlic and ice still will still count for bicep action. same thing with my perpetually idle nordic track – my husband suggested that i place potted plants on the “track” so that there’d be some function to the contraption.

    Apr 30, 2012 | 8:27 pm

  31. psychomom says:

    hubby surprised me with 16 chicks and 1 hen about 1 month ago. since then we have 1 fresh greenish colored egg c/o Harriet daily (that is what we named the hen). she is free range and is allowed to roam the yard. we have lost 4 chicks since then to “weird” circumstances!!! am so looking forward to having more fresh eggs daily once the chicks grow. also have a pair of pheasants, still contemplating what to do with them. nothing beats fresh eggs!!

    Apr 30, 2012 | 10:44 pm

  32. betty q. says:

    Risa…please go back to MM’s Pancake with Guava honey post. I already posted it there for Alilay. Naku, Risa…make a double batch for I can guarantee you that if you have kids or even grown-ups, they will ask you to make Pancakes even at night! I make them the night before now and let it sit in the cooler. Next morning, do not swirl or mix the batter. JUST SCOOP it as is with a sandok for 4 inch pancakes cooked in a non stick skillet. Smear the bottom with just 1 tiny kurot of butter I like my panckaes with that typical big browned hole-y stencil on the surace. If I don’t smear that butter on the skillet, it will just be plainly brown albeit it still tastes excellent. My son’s friends sleeps over 2 a week just to have pancakes at our house!!!! The recipe calls for very, very soft cream cheese thinned out with cream or Creamo and buttermilk as well. I you do not have buttermilk, whole milk with lemon juice added will do.

    Apr 30, 2012 | 11:41 pm

  33. Doddie from Korea says:

    One tip I have learned is to use old eggs and not fresh eggs. It doesn’t matter if they come straight from the fridge. Just put in a pan of water, heat until you see it boil. Turn off the fire, cover:

    4-5 minutes for soft boiled eggs
    10-12 minutes for hard-boiled eggs.

    Have trouble peeling the eggs? Use a spoon to go between the shell and the egg. You will be amazed how easy it is to peel the egg. This I learned from Korean school girls who would peel eggs this way.

    May 1, 2012 | 10:34 pm

  34. Lia says:

    if only i would have discovered your blog when I was a newlywed! haha =) thank you for your recipes, you’ve made the past week an amazing culinary journey for a woman oh so ignorant in the kitchen

    May 2, 2012 | 4:00 pm

  35. Lia says:

    looking forward to more of you amazing recipes! =)

    May 2, 2012 | 4:01 pm

  36. Tin says:

    Timely post! I was just wondering about it the other day.. it’s always a hit & miss to me…

    May 3, 2012 | 12:26 pm

  37. Jim says:

    On a related note, and because its nearly the weekend, I present for your amusement and delectation … scrambled eggs in the shell!

    May 4, 2012 | 1:35 pm

  38. Kasseopeia says:

    J. – oho! I like what you call “tamatamagohan” too. Just as the rice cooker switches to “keep warm”, I scoop out a bowl of rice, over which I crack a large (better with double-yolked ones) egg, sprinkle some non-iodized sea salt, and mix like there’s no tomorrow. My mom hates it when I do this – for disturbing the rice’s “in-in” process or the threat of salmonella, I am not sure which. =P

    PITS – here’s how I poach an egg: using a relatively small but deep pot, fill up to half and bring up to a simmer (never a rolling boil). Using a spoon, create a whirlpool and crack an egg into the vortex. I like my eggs barely cooked (so the yolk is like lava when I poke it), so I fish it out of the water with a slotted spoon after 2-3 mins. Repeat as necessary =)

    May 6, 2012 | 1:28 am

  39. Connie C says:

    May 10, 2012 | 9:49 am

  40. Prime says:

    I usually boil eggs by putting them together with the rice i’m cooking. wait for the rice to boil over and put the eggs in right before covering them.

    May 21, 2012 | 1:11 pm


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