Seeking Boiled Egg Perfection

Eggs steamed at 4 to 11 minutes

Eggs steamed at 4 to 11 minutes

I believe that all in all, there are two kinds of people. Those who love eggs and those who don’t. To those who don’t..well, I don’t want to say much here, the poor things are already deprived. To those who love eggs – Hello there, kindered soul!! Having married a hardcore egg-o-maniac, in our house we consume 2 dozen eggs every single week. Yes, crack an egg over anything and you are guaranteed to have paved a way to Atuls heart.

While its great to be living with someone who is that easy to please, one does have to find a way to up ones game. My take is that if you are to eat the same thing day in and day out, it better be brilliant. After 5 years of eggy breakfasts now, I make a mean creamy scrambled egg and learnt some lovely sausage fried eggs from Turkey. But boiled egg perfection eluded me despite several attempts at cracking the code. If you are still with me, you are probably an egg lover – surely you remember all those times you’ve aimed for boiled eggs with the perfect yolks but somehow arrived at grey ringed, dry, overcooked sadness? Or the times you were hoping for the perfect runny yolks only to end up staring at a jolly cooked yolk that rolled straight off your plate? No? Well, these things do happen to me. Sigh!

Having chased the perfection that is a well boiled egg and tried every trick in the book from starting off the eggs in cold water to adding them straight to boiling water, I finally feel I have my go to method now. Out with all that confusion around what temperature the water should be, how much water to add, whether to switch the heat off on boiling or let the eggs cook in boiling water etc. And in with the simple, failproof solution to perfect boiled eggs, every single time. STEAMING!

Gooey soft boiled eggs

My pick – gooey yolks at 4 minutes of steaming. Love!

All you need is any kind of a steamer (a stainless steel idli steamer will do perfectly well), a bowl which you will keep under running tap water and a bowl with iced water to plunge the eggs into. Depending on how long you steam the egg, the consistency develops from gooey to boiled. My favourites the gooey yolk and set white at 4 minutes which I can happily scoop out of the shell with a spoon. At 4- 4.5 minutes, the temperature is perfect to get a cooked, set white casing but a soft gooey yellow. In my experience, thats impossible with boiling eggs when submerged in water. For hard boiled eggs, I like my white set but not rubbery and yolks to be cooked but just a tad wet in the middle – perfect at 10 minutes. Work out which texture you prefer and you will soon be in the game for consistent results every single time. Do remember though:

  • An egg that’s colder will take longer to cook than one thats warmer.
  • Larger eggs will take longer to cook. These were regular eggs that you get in Mumbai super markets. Would probably call them a medium.

Seeking Boiled Egg Perfection
  • 1 tray of ice cubes
  • eggs
  1. Add the ice cubes to a large bowl of water.
  2. Fill a large pot with 1 inch of water. Place steamer insert inside, cover, and bring to a boil over high heat.
  3. Add eggs to steamer basket, cover, and continue cooking on hight heat (4 minutes for soft boiled or 10 minute for hard is what what works for me).
  4. Plunge the cooked eggs immediately in the cold iced water and allow to cool.
  5. Peel under running water. (If the soft boiled eggs are cooled well, you will be able to peel those too but I wouldn't risk doing it under running water for fear of the white breaking and the yolk oozing. If you don't have the whole egg with oozing yolk fixation that I have, the best bet for a soft boiled egg is to cut it in half and scoop the insides with a spoon)
  6. Serve.
PS: According to, steaming works for three main reasons:
Placing eggs over a pot full of steaming water cooks them evenly and gently with less risk of cracking.
Chilling the eggs immediately after boiling ensures that they come out perfectly shaped with no air space indentation on their fat end.
Starting the eggs hot and peeling under running water makes for easy, divot-free peeling almost every time. (I wouldn't advice this for the soft boiled versions though).






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