soft boil

Boiled egg

Boiled eggs are eggs (typically chicken's eggs) cooked by immersion in boiling water with their shells unbroken. Eggs cooked in water without their shells are known as poached eggs. Hard-boiled eggs are boiled long enough for both the egg yolk and the egg white to solidify, while a soft-boiled egg's yolk, and sometimes even the white, remains at least partially liquid. The egg timer was so-named due to its common usage in timing the boiling of eggs.

Soft-boiled eggs

Soft-boiled eggs are typically cooked by placing the eggs in a pan of boiling water and then simmering.

Soft-boiled eggs are not recommended for people who may be susceptible to salmonella, such as very young children, the elderly, and those with weakened immune systems.


Soft boiled eggs are commonly served in egg cups, where the top of the egg is cut off with a knife or egg scissors, using a teaspoon to scoop the egg out. Other methods include breaking the eggshell by tapping gently around the top of the shell with a spoon, and even cutting the egg lengthwise as to produce two halves making it easier to scoop the egg from its shell. This method requires a horizontal egg cup to keep the egg from rolling around on the plate. Soft-boiled eggs can be eaten with buttered toast cut into strips, which are then dipped into the runny yolk. In the United Kingdom, these strips of toast are known as soldiers.

Hard-boiled eggs

Hard-boiled eggs are boiled for longer than soft-boiled eggs, long enough for the yolk to solidify. They can be eaten warm or cold. Cold hard-boiled eggs are chopped up as the basis for egg salad. Hard-boiled eggs can also be eaten warm in an egg cup.

There are several theories as to the proper technique of hard-boiling an egg. One method is to bring the water to a boil, but then remove the pan from the heat and allow eggs to cook in the gradually cooling water. Others prescribe cooking in continually boiling water over heat for a shorter period of time.

Over-cooking eggs will typically result in a thin green sulfur coating on the yolk. Immersing the egg in cold water after boiling is a common method of halting the cooking process to prevent this effect. It also causes a slight shrinking of the contents of the egg, easing the removal of the shell.

Hard-boiled eggs in their shells can be stored in the refrigerator for days to weeks. Hard-boiled eggs are also a popular addition to many Japanese soup dishes, such as udon and ramen.

In fiction

  • Hardboiled is a type of crime fiction.
  • A notable fictional controversy involving boiled eggs is the "endian" dispute over which end of a boiled egg should be eaten first, which is the cause of the war between Lilliput and Blefuscu in Johnathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels (1726). This is also the source of the term endianness in computing, which describes the way numbers are stored in a system: with the "big" or the "little" end coming first.
  • In the film Cool Hand Luke (1967) Luke Jackson wagers that he can eat fifty hard-boiled eggs in one hour.
  • In The Marx Brothers' A Night at the Opera, Driftwood (Groucho) orders dinner from the steward, including "two fried eggs, two poached eggs, two scrambled eggs, and two medium-boiled eggs" and repeated requests for hard-boiled eggs ("two hard-boiled eggs" and "make that three hard-boiled eggs").

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