soft-boiled egg and toast

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Soft-Boiled Eggs

By , from the Culinate Kitchen collection
Serves 1
Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 6 minutes
Total Time 8 minutes


I ate my first soft-boiled egg as a student living in Vienna, after being coached that it was the polite thing to do. We were told that the Austrians didn’t eat eggs for breakfast, but would probably provide them for us because they knew how much Americans liked them (though at the time I didn’t much like eggs). Most mornings, our host mother soft-boiled a couple of eggs and set them into pretty little egg cups, which she served with fresh bread, butter, sliced meats, and jam. Now I make soft-boiled eggs with buttered toast for a simple breakfast, as well as pick-me-up when I’m hungry but too tired to cook.


1 egg, preferably from a back-yard hen
¼ baguette loaf, sliced in half
~ Butter
~ Salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Place a small saucepan filled with water on the stove over medium-high heat. Once the water comes to a boil, carefully lower the egg into the pan. Set the timer for 6 minutes. Once the water returns to a boil, lower it to a steady simmer.
  2. Meanwhile, toast and butter the baguette slices. After 6 minutes, remove the egg from the water with a slotted spoon. Turn off the heat.
  3. Slice the top off the egg. With a spoon, scoop out the egg onto the toast. Sprinkle with salt and top with a fresh grinding of black pepper.

This content is from the Culinate Kitchen collection.

There are 20 comments on this item
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Average Rating 5
15% recommend this recipe
1. by galew on Jan 28, 2009 at 1:03 PM PST

Is the 6 minute cooking time for a room temperature egg or a cold one out of the refrigerator? Makes a bit of difference.

2. by on Jan 28, 2009 at 3:01 PM PST

I remember a Flemish family I lived with would cut the toast into strips, cut off the top of the egg and dip. Yum.

3. by teaisfun on Jan 28, 2009 at 3:47 PM PST

Do you use one of those fancy egg cutters?

4. by vesperlight on Jan 28, 2009 at 4:16 PM PST

I thought 3-minute eggs were soft and 5-minute eggs were hard?

5. by Shayne on Jan 28, 2009 at 5:15 PM PST

3 minutes...I would think that the white would be just set, maybe. 5 to 6 minutes would be a nice soft boiled egg with runny yoke. hard boiled is about 10 to 12 minutes. start egg temp and size will be a factor on time.

6. by Carrie Floyd on Jan 28, 2009 at 5:19 PM PST

How is that something so simple could have so many variables, outcomes, names?! I take a cold egg out of the fridge and plunk it in boiling water and then I turn over the 6-minute (hourglass) timer. Once the sand has run out, I remove the egg from the water and whack it with a butter knife to break off the top. On my stove, with this method, I get what I consider a perfect egg: partially set, but still a bit runny. A bigger egg will end up softer, an egg I walk away from ends up more hard-boiled. I think this is one of those things you have to experiment with to match the timing with what you consider a good egg.

7. by Lisa London on Jan 29, 2009 at 1:31 PM PST

I had my first soft-boiled egg when I was about 4. My older brother had a friend stay overnight and, in the morning, my mother asked what he’d like for breakfast. He requested a soft-boiled egg. My brother and I had never heard of this kind of egg and so we requested the same for our breakfast. Thereafter the soft-boiled egg was known in our home as a Marvin egg after my brother’s friend. I’ve been eating Marvin eggs for over 50 years now and especially love them with snipped chives stirred in. My daughter is now a fan also.

8. by Lisa London on Jan 29, 2009 at 1:34 PM PST

My foolproof method for the hard-boiled egg is (for large size eggs), put eggs in tepid water to cover. Bring to a boil, cover and remove pan from heat. Set timer for 8 minutes. Let cold water run over them to stop the cooking. Eggs will be perfect...not so hard that they turn greenish, but a deep golden color and delicious.

9. by Carrie Floyd on Jan 29, 2009 at 6:38 PM PST

Lisa, what a funny story — Marvin eggs!

10. by cafemama on Jan 30, 2009 at 12:05 AM PST
Rating: five

I too love soft-boiled eggs largely because of Vienna! though my mom made them often when we were growing up, it was a weeks’ stay in Vienna with business school friends, during which I ate a soft-boiled egg every day at our hotel, that I really fell in love. I eat mine with plenty of cultured butter, and I usually start counting when the water starts boiling.

the hardest part for me is to get the egg cool enough to peel, but still hot enough to melt the butter a bit when you spoon it on. I know what’s for breakfast tomorrow...

11. by Hillary on Jan 30, 2009 at 9:37 AM PST

I love the gooey center of soft boiled eggs!

12. by Cynthia on Jan 30, 2009 at 2:25 PM PST

Your photo makes the soft boiled egg look so rustic and warm. I’m going to have to try that on a cold day out here.

13. by Melanie on Jan 31, 2009 at 10:15 AM PST

a 3 minute egg, which works every time, works as follows: place as many eggs as you desire to soft boil in a pot filled with water, turn on heat, once water begins to boil, cook for three minutes. done. delicious. what i had for breakfast this morning!

14. by Caroline Cummins on Feb 2, 2009 at 5:27 PM PST

I love medium-boiled eggs, although I don’t time them precisely. I get them cool enough to peel by simply peeling them under cool running water.

15. by Charles on Feb 18, 2009 at 5:18 PM PST

Well, the way I do it is, take the egg(s) out of the refrigerator, cover them with water from the coldwater tap, bring to a boil, turn off the flame but leave the pot on the burner, covered, for three minutes. Egg cup, egg cozy, egg scissors. Every Sunday.

16. by anonymous on Feb 28, 2009 at 6:28 AM PST

i ran out of back yard hens, so now i buy my eggs from the store like all those other poor people that don’t have back yard hens. do you think that this recipe will still be good?

17. by Caroline Cummins on Mar 3, 2009 at 1:03 PM PST

anonymous: try a generic battery egg from the supermarket next to, say, a pastured egg from the farmers’ market (or, heck, your local hippie grocery, which might sell pastured eggs). then decide for yourself.

18. by Robyn on Mar 24, 2010 at 7:50 AM PDT

I am still not perfect on my timing yet . . . I like perfectly solid whites with liquid hot yolks. Your comments here did inspire an entire blog post:

19. by Lindsay Pinkham on Jun 27, 2010 at 7:37 AM PDT

In 1971 I was an exchange student in Goettingen, West Germany. I lived in a bedroom on the third floor of a 200-year-old house owned by an elderly widow. I remember passing through the dim parlor on the way to breakfast in the sun room, peering at the framed photos of relatives and trying to discern the Nazi uniforms. That was also my introduction to soft-boiled eggs, waiting for me on the table in egg cups with tiny little knitted caps. I still love the ritual of knocking on the top with my spoon and slowly peeling bits away to expose the dome of the egg and then dipping into it with my spoon!

20. by Shana on Feb 23, 2012 at 4:33 PM PST

This made me smile. My first introduction to soft-boiled eggs was also in Vienna. I was 5 years old, and we had just moved there from the States. We had to stay in a hotel for the first few days until our apartment opened up. We had them in the big dining room of the hotel for breakfast. I can’t say I liked the ‘hot’ milk they served though, as I was only use to cold milk.

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