Find the go-to cook time for every egg dish you love.

Melinda Josie

Trying to achieve perfectly boiled eggs? First thing's first: don’t start the eggs in cold water; otherwise it’s tricky to know when to start timing. Instead, lower the eggs into gently simmering water. (Some cooks believe this makes the eggs easier to peel, too.) Then start the clock right away; it takes only a minute to miss the desired outcome. The devil is definitely in the details, so use this guide to get your favorite egg every time.

3 Minutes

This is the ultimate soft-boiled egg: a warm, runny yolk with a just-set white. Slice open (a butter knife works) and eat right out of the shell with skinny toast sticks (which the Brits call soldiers) for dipping.

6 Minutes

The yolk is starting to set at the edges, and the white is firm. The shell is peel-able, but the yolk still oozes when sliced.

9 Minutes

The yolk is set but still creamy and slightly runny in the very center. Best for adding a protein boost to green salads or for hollowing out to make deviled eggs.

11 Minutes

The yolk is uniformly set and light yellow. This is the hard-boiled egg that you need for chopping into an egg or potato salad. Also makes a sturdy on-the-go snack.

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