How to boil a runny egg

Eggs are such a breakfast staple with so many variations. I love boiled egg and soldiers it reminds me of being a child, the excitement of the first dip and the satisfaction when the egg is perfectly runny. Everyone has different preferences on how they like their soft boiled egg. Personally I want a runny yolk with a firm white.

How to boil an egg might be easy when you know how but it takes a bit of practice to work out the best method for you. Here is my method for a runny egg and soldiers.

how to boil a runny egg

The Egg

The size of your egg will impact on the cooking time so keep this in mind, my times are based on a standard medium egg. Eggs can be kept out of the fridge or refrigerated. Keep in mind a colder egg will need longer to cook.

Eggs will easily crack when put straight into boiling water especially if the egg is cold. To help avoid cracking I use a pin to make a tiny hole in the top of the egg first, you can also use the end of a bottle opener. Be careful to only do a tiny pinprick as a larger hole will release some of the egg white.

how to boil a runny egg

Cooking a soft boiled egg

I boil the water in a kettle first as I find it quicker. Put the boiling water into a small pan over a medium heat. I use a small pan to avoid the egg crashing around in too much space.  Use a slotted spoon to lower the egg into the water, dip it in and out twice before submerging it in the water. This is to avoid the temperature shock which can make the egg crack. 

How long to cook a soft boiled egg?

As soon as the egg has been put in the water you need to start the timer. A timer is the key to a perfect egg, guessing the time or watching the clock just doesn’t cut it. You need to be precise on the timing.  My perfect egg takes 3 minutes and 45 seconds. The egg needs to come out as soon as the timer hits 3:45. You may need to play with the timing to find your own perfect time but you can try mine to give you a good starting point.   If the egg is straight from the fridge I would go to 4:15.

how to boil a runny egg

Place your boiled egg in an egg cup with the rounded end up (that is where the yolk sits). It is easier to use a serrated knife to slice off the top.

how to boil a runny egg


Toast and eggs are perfect partners, a runny egg without soldiers to dip would be very sad. Make sure you toast the bread well, it needs to be hard so your soldiers work for dipping. Add butter or margarine and slice into soldiers. Be careful when cutting your toast as it is very disappointing if your soldier doesn’t fit into your egg for dipping or falls apart because it is too thin.

how to boil a runny egg

Marmite Soldiers

To change things up I do like to have Marmite soldiers as I find this adds the perfect amount of salt for my egg (I prefer eggs with salt).  If you like Marmite it is worth a try.

how to boil a runny egg

Pancetta Soldiers

For a special occasion you may want to try pancetta soldiers. I toast the bread very lightly in the oven then cut into soldiers. Then wrap the raw pancetta slices round the toast and put under the grill for a couple of minutes until the bread is golden and the pancetta crispy. Again this gives a more salty taste but a great indulgence.

Slimming tip

Keep it simple with the egg and for the soldiers just use one piece of dry wholemeal toast (from a 400g loaf).

Mix it up

For a change you could use a duck egg but the soldiers provide the opportunity for the most variations.  You can use any type of bread for your soldiers try a mixed seed / bread to provide another texture.

For the kids

You can get some great novelty egg cups for kids. We have one that is Winnie the Pooh holding the honey pot, so the egg sits in the pot being held by him. Another one we have is a soldier with a hat that goes over the egg (although my son spends more time putting the hat on and off the egg than eating it).  You can also get templates to cut out your toast. For example a template that slices the toast into the shape of actual soldiers.  I have found using the novelty egg cups really adds to the excitement of boiled egg and soldiers for little people.

Printable Recipe

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  1. May 2, 2019 / 7:15 pm

    I cannot convince my wife to make chucky eggs, only hard boiled eggs. I think it’s an American thing. Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next time

  2. May 6, 2019 / 2:59 pm

    Mmmmmmm you’re making me hungry!!! #KCACOLS

    • Jade
      May 9, 2019 / 9:16 pm

      Thanks xx

  3. May 9, 2019 / 3:00 pm

    This looks so yummy! Now I am really hungry. Great pictures too! #KCACOLS

    • Jade
      May 9, 2019 / 9:15 pm

      Thank you xx

    • Jade
      May 9, 2019 / 9:14 pm

      They are really tasty xx

    • Jade
      May 10, 2019 / 6:04 am

      No worries, hope it helps next time you have dippy eggs

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