Of course boiling eggs are easy, but getting it soft, medium or hard boiled takes a timer and getting the egg to peel into a smooth oval shape without pieces missing has a few secrets. ;0) So, here are my tricks or secrets that I have figured out through trial and error over my years of cooking.
*Note the best way to get your desired eggs exact, is to experiment with a timer yourself. Take one hour out of a day to play with eggs. It will be just you, your sauce pan, water, vinegar, a timer, and your choice of egg (size, brand, fresh, organic, free-range, or regular grocery store variety). I decided to take a morning and play; I used three timers set one minute apart (using one timer twice). I took the cooked egg out of the pan and put it under cold running water while peeling it within one minute of the next one being done (that way the cooking stopped and I didn't have a cold egg, which putting it on ice would give you). I cooked each fresh brown cage free organic large egg 2, 3, 4, and 5 minutes on my gas top stove.
A closer view shows the two minute egg on top is runny, and progressively gets more solid up to 5 minutes (the bottom sliced egg).
I'll begin with a chart for cooking times. (I usually use large or extra large eggs). Try the different times below, so you can hear yourself say, "Ah, now that is just right;" be like Goldilocks! Every morning at breakfast, you will wonder why you waited so long to "use that one hour it took" to learn what you like, getting the perfect eggs for you and your family.
Egg Size Cooked to Order Boiling time
Medium Soft yolk .75 minutes
Medium Medium yolk 2.5 minutes
Medium Hard yolk, but not green 8 minutes
Large Soft yolk 1 minutes
Large Medium yolk 3-4 minutes
Large Hard yolk 9 minutes
Extra Large Soft yolk 2 minutes
Extra Large Medium yolk 4-5 minutes
Extra Large Hard 10 minutes
1. I used a larger pan than necessary for the purpose of pictures for this blog; a smaller saucepan would be fine too. Pour cold water into pan with raw eggs. Note: You do want to allow the eggs to move around a bit, because if they are too crowded, you will have flat sides due to the stationary egg cooking in a settled position.
3. Bring to a full boil. Place lid on pan (optional, I didn't in my experiments), turn off heat. Note: If you use a lid, it will take a second more of your time to lift lid... since I only had one minute to peel each egg, I didn't use a lid. To be frank, I usually don't use a lid because 1, 2, 3 minutes until done is fast enough! A lid will hold in the heat and could speed up your cooking times.
5. Refill with cold water to stop the cooking process. The water will loosen the shell off the soaking eggs while you get set to peel them. I place one bowl out next to the sink for the shells (I compost, or you can let them go down the garbage disposal) and another bowl placed on the other side of the sink for the freshly peeled eggs.
6. Peel from wider end. I pore running cold water over the egg while I peel it; the running water will get under the membrane skin making it much easier to peel off with the hard shell. (This is my secret to smooth deviled eggs).
7. The following are images for you to pick your "Cooked to Order" desired doneness:
As soft as they come, 1.75 minutes on an Extra Large egg:
Medium Well Egg, (Extra-Large egg for 7 minutes) the shell half on lower front right; my fella ate the other half before I could grab my camera, lol. ;0)
Hard Egg, (10 minutes for Extra Large egg) on left side. They're sliced with a simple fork.