Making Boiled Eggs from Cold Water: Everything You Need to Know

Everyone is looking for the perfect way to make boiled eggs, and some say the secret is to start with cold water.

Do you get better boiled eggs from cold water, or is boiling water best? How do you make a perfect boiled egg with a delicate yolk and an easy-peel shell?

Here’s everything you need to know to boil eggs to perfection.

boiled eggs from cold water

Is It Better to Boil Eggs From Cold Water?

No, it’s not better to boil eggs from cold water.

Adding eggs to water that is already boiling makes cooking times more accurate to achieve consistent results and makes boiled eggs easier to peel (without having to use vinegar or baking soda).

It’s always best to boil eggs from boiling water.

The reason people give for boiling eggs from cold water is that cold water heats eggs more gently, which can prevent the egg whites from getting stiff and rubbery.

However, immersing eggs in boiling water and cooking them with a timer to prevent overcooking usually gives better, more consistent results than boiling eggs from cold water.

If the eggs float once added to the water, don’t be so quick to throw them away immediately, as they may still be good to eat – click here to learn more.

How Long Does It Take to Boil an Egg from Cold Water?

How long it takes to boil eggs from cold water depends on:

  • How long it takes your pot of water to reach a full boil
  • How cooked you want your eggs to be
  • Whether you will eat soft-boiled eggs immediately, while they are warm, or whether you will chill hard-boiled eggs for use in salads or deviled eggs

Depending on these factors, it may take just 12 minutes to make perfect soft-boiled eggs from cold water or 30 minutes or more to make perfect hard-boiled eggs from cold water.

How Do You Boil Eggs in Cold Water?

To boil eggs from cold water, simply add eggs to a pot of water, with enough water to cover the eggs by 1 inch.

Place the pot with water and eggs on the stove, and turn the heat to high.

Bring the water to a full boil. Specific instructions and cooking times are:

Soft Boiled Eggs from Cold Water

Follow these steps to make perfect soft-boiled eggs with creamy yolks from cold water.

  1. Place eggs in a pot or saucepan.
  2. Add enough water to cover the eggs by 1 inch.
  3. Cover pot with a lid, and turn heat to high.
  4. Bring water to a rapid boil.
  5. Remove the pot from the heat, leaving the lid on and the pot covered.
  6. Let eggs sit in the hot, covered pot for 3 minutes (4 minutes for large eggs).
  7. Briefly rinse eggs under cold water.
  8. Serve immediately in egg cups.

Hard Boiled Eggs from Cold Water

Follow these steps to make perfect hard-boiled eggs from cold water with yellow yolks and no green or grey discoloring.

  1. Place eggs in a medium-sized pot.
  2. Add enough water to cover the eggs by 1 inch.
  3. Bring the pot of water to a boil over high heat.
  4. Cover the pot with a lid and turn off the heat.
  5. Allow the eggs to cook in hot water for 12 minutes.
  6. Transfer eggs to a bowl of ice water.
  7. Chill eggs in ice water for 15 minutes.
  8. Peel and enjoy.

Medium Boiled Eggs from Cold Water

Follow these steps to make perfect medium-boiled eggs with thick, pudding-like yolks from cold water.

  1. Add eggs to a saucepan.
  2. Add enough water to cover the eggs by 2 inches.
  3. Turn the stove on to medium heat.
  4. When the water reaches a light simmer, start a timer.
  5. Simmer the eggs for 5 minutes.
  6. Use a slotted spoon to remove eggs from the water.
  7. Run eggs under cold water for 1-2 minutes.

Can You Boil Eggs in Already Boiling Water?

Yes, you can boil eggs in already-boiling water.

In fact, this method is often easier because you can start a timer from the moment you add the eggs, getting more precise and consistent results.

Specific cooking times and instructions are:

Soft Boiled Eggs from Boiling Water

To make silky soft-boiled eggs from boiling water, follow these steps.

  1. Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil over high heat.
  2. Gently lower room-temperature eggs into the boiling water.
  3. Boil eggs for 5 minutes for runny yolks suitable for dipping or ramen.
  4. Remove eggs from boiling water and immerse them in ice water.
  5. Keep the eggs in ice water until they are cool enough to handle but still warm to the touch.
  6. Serve warm.

Hard Boiled Eggs from Boiling Water

To make golden hard-boiled eggs from boiling water, follow these steps.

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil.
  2. Gently lower room-temperature eggs into the boiling water.
  3. Cook eggs for 11 minutes (13 minutes for extra-large eggs).
  4. Transfer eggs into a bowl of ice water.
  5. Keep eggs immersed in ice water until they are cool to the touch.

Medium Boiled Eggs from Boiling Water

To make jammy, medium-boiled eggs from boiling water, follow these steps.

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over medium-high heat.
  2. Gently lower eggs into the water once at a time.
  3. Reduce heat to maintain a slow boil.
  4. Cook eggs for 6-7 minutes.
  5. Transfer eggs to a bowl of ice water.
  6. Keep eggs in ice water until they are just warm to the touch.

Tips for Boiling Perfect Eggs

Here are some tips to get the best result from boiling eggs, no matter which method you choose.

Use Old Eggs For Boiling

Older eggs have dried out slightly and become less acidic, and the inner membrane has pulled away from the shell, making it easier to peel after boiling.

Eggs that are 7-10 days old are best for boiling

Use Room Temperature Eggs For Boiling

Starting with room-temperature eggs instead of eggs cold from the refrigerator when cooking eggs in boiling water is essential.

Dropping very cold eggs into very hot water causes a shock that may crack the eggs.

Always Boil Eggs In a Single Layer

Whether you are boiling 2 eggs or 12, make sure they lay on the bottom of the pot in a single layer.

Stacking eggs on top of each other creates inconsistent results.

Add Eggs Gently to the Pot

When adding eggs to a pot of water, whether the water is cold or hot, use a spoon to gently lower each egg into the pot.

Dropping eggs into the pot may crack the shells, causing egg white to leak out.

Use a Timer

When boiling eggs, the size of the pot, the amount of water, the number and size of eggs, and specific variations in your stove make a difference.

Just 30 seconds can make the difference between perfect eggs and over- or under-cooked boiled eggs.

Always use a timer, and adjust cooking times for your specific preferences. 

Stir Eggs Gently During Boiling

Stirring eggs gently in a circular direction helps the yolk remain in the egg’s center, ensuring even cooking and perfect results.

Don’t Add Anything to the Water

Some recipes call for adding salt, baking soda, or other items to the water when boiling eggs.

However, only water and eggs are needed for perfect boiled eggs.

Immerse Boiled Eggs In Very Cold Water Immediately After Cooking

If boiled eggs are allowed to remain hot, they will continue cooking, which may cause the yolk to discolor and the whites to become rubbery.

Immersing eggs in ice water, even if you plan to eat them warm, stops the cooking process at your desired stage of doneness and prevents overcooking.

In Summary

Boiling eggs from cold water is an excellent way to heat eggs gently, preventing overcooking of the egg whites.

However, monitoring cooking times using this method is more challenging, creating inconsistent results in your boiled egg yolks.

Boiling eggs from boiling water is a better way to make perfect boiled eggs in every stage of doneness.

Following my other tips, including using old, room-temperature eggs, stirring during boiling, and stopping the cooking with ice water, is the best way to make your favorite, easy-peel boiled eggs every time.