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How To Know When Eggs Are Done Boiling Without Thermometer

overhead shot of deviled eggs on a plate

Photo: Meredith Food Studios

Boiling an egg is one of the first skills most cooks learn in the kitchen. The simple method can sustain you with a protein-packed breakfast or snack, a base for festive deviled eggs, or, if you’re still old-school, cute pastel Easter eggs ready for a spring hunt.

Hard-boiled eggs are handy enough to get you through times when you’re strapped for cash, but with a little dressing up or a shorter cook time, they can easily snatch their place at the brunch spotlight.

However, a small mistake or carelessness can easily ruin hard-boiled eggs, and an under-boiled egg is something all cooks have experienced at least once. Next time you mess up a hard-boiled egg, don’t despair. Read on to learn the best way to finish cooking hard-boiled eggs.


Can you boil an egg?

Do you have a strong suspicion that you undercooked your hard-boiled eggs or did a crack tell you the batch wasn’t ready yet?

As long as an egg shell hasn’t cracked, it’s perfectly fine to put it back in hot water and continue cooking.

But if you’ve ever tried to save an egg that broke in the pot, you know exactly why trying to boil a compromised egg is a lost cause.

How To Boil Eggs Perfectly Every Time


How to Boil an Egg

The best way to save an underboiled egg is to put it back in hot water. You can either reboil them right on the stove or place them in a bowl that can handle boiling water and pour hot water over the eggs.

Note: Do not cook hard-boiled or partially hard-boiled eggs in the microwave; this will cause them to explode.

The stove method

  1. Add cold water and eggs to a saucepan. Bring the water to a boil.
  2. Once the water is boiling, remove the pan from the eye and cook the eggs until desired doneness is reached (at least another 3 to 5 minutes, longer if the yolk was very runny).
  3. Drain the hot water, rinse the eggs with cold water and enjoy.

The bowl method

  1. Transfer the eggs to a bowl or container that can handle boiling water.
  2. Boil water on the stove or using a kettle. Slowly pour the water into the bowl until the eggs are submerged.
  3. Cover the bowl with a lid and leave to stand until the water has cooled.
  4. Remove the eggs from the water and check for doneness.

I’ve found a new method for scrambling eggs and it’s the only one I’m going to use from now on


How to know if a boiled egg is ready

Do you have doubts about cooking your egg? Luckily, you don’t necessarily have to open a hard-boiled egg to determine if it’s cooked enough. Just give the egg a quick spin on a flat surface:

  • If your egg spins quickly, smoothly, it’s done and has a completely solid mass.
  • If the egg only wobbles or spins for a short time, it means it is having trouble balancing because it still has liquid inside.
  • Return the flaky eggs to the pot for a minute and repeat until they are done as desired.


Tips for a better boiled egg

  • If you prefer to start with cold water, don’t start the timer the moment the eggs enter the pot – this method can prevent cracking, but you have to factor in the time your eggs are sitting in water that isn’t hot enough. Instead, wait for the water to boil before starting the countdown.
  • If you like to boil your water first, add the eggs to the pot as carefully as possible. An egg dropped haphazardly has a greater chance of breaking and spilling its contents into the water.
  • Use a large enough pot. If your egg isn’t fully submerged in boiling water, it won’t cook evenly. Make sure you use a pot that has enough volume to cook the egg on all sides.

Related:

  • 18 ways to cook with boiled eggs
  • How to know if your eggs are bad
  • Easy tips and tricks for making the perfect deviled eggs


Boiling an egg is one of the first skills most cooks learn in the kitchen. The simple method can sustain you with a protein-packed breakfast or snack, a base for festive deviled eggs, or, if you’re still old-school, cute pastel Easter eggs ready for a spring hunt.

Hard-boiled eggs are handy enough to get you through times when you’re strapped for cash, but with a little dressing up or a shorter cook time, they can easily snatch their place at the brunch spotlight.

However, a small mistake or carelessness can easily ruin hard-boiled eggs, and an under-boiled egg is something all cooks have experienced at least once. Next time you mess up a hard-boiled egg, don’t despair. Read on to learn the best way to finish cooking hard-boiled eggs.


Can you boil an egg?

Do you have a strong suspicion that you undercooked your hard-boiled eggs or did a crack tell you the batch wasn’t ready yet?

As long as an egg shell hasn’t cracked, it’s perfectly fine to put it back in hot water and continue cooking.

But if you’ve ever tried to save an egg that broke in the pot, you know exactly why trying to boil a compromised egg is a lost cause.

How To Boil Eggs Perfectly Every Time


How to Boil an Egg

The best way to save an underboiled egg is to put it back in hot water. You can either reboil them right on the stove or place them in a bowl that can handle boiling water and pour hot water over the eggs.

Note: Do not cook hard-boiled or partially hard-boiled eggs in the microwave; this will cause them to explode.

The stove method

  1. Add cold water and eggs to a saucepan. Bring the water to a boil.
  2. Once the water is boiling, remove the pan from the eye and cook the eggs until desired doneness is reached (at least another 3 to 5 minutes, longer if the yolk was very runny).
  3. Drain the hot water, rinse the eggs with cold water and enjoy.

The bowl method

  1. Transfer the eggs to a bowl or container that can handle boiling water.
  2. Boil water on the stove or using a kettle. Slowly pour the water into the bowl until the eggs are submerged.
  3. Cover the bowl with a lid and leave to stand until the water has cooled.
  4. Remove the eggs from the water and check for doneness.

I’ve found a new method for scrambling eggs and it’s the only one I’m going to use from now on


How to know if a boiled egg is ready

Do you have doubts about cooking your egg? Luckily, you don’t necessarily have to open a hard-boiled egg to determine if it’s cooked enough. Just give the egg a quick spin on a flat surface:

  • If your egg spins quickly, smoothly, it’s done and has a completely solid mass.
  • If the egg only wobbles or spins for a short time, it means it is having trouble balancing because it still has liquid inside.
  • Return the flaky eggs to the pot for a minute and repeat until they are done as desired.


Tips for a better boiled egg

  • If you prefer to start with cold water, don’t start the timer the moment the eggs enter the pot – this method can prevent cracking, but you have to factor in the time your eggs are sitting in water that isn’t hot enough. Instead, wait for the water to boil before starting the countdown.
  • If you like to boil your water first, add the eggs to the pot as carefully as possible. An egg dropped haphazardly has a greater chance of breaking and spilling its contents into the water.
  • Use a large enough pot. If your egg isn’t completely submerged in boiling water, it won’t cook evenly. Make sure you use a pot that has enough volume to cook the egg on all sides.

Related:

  • 18 ways to cook with boiled eggs
  • How to know if your eggs are bad
  • Easy tips and tricks for making the perfect deviled eggs


Video about How To Know When Eggs Are Done Boiling Without Thermometer

How to Tell When an Egg Is Boiled

Learn how to tell when an egg is boiled with this guide from wikiHow: https://www.wikihow.com/Tell-When-an-Egg-Is-Boiled

0:00 Boiling Eggs Properly
0:25 Testing the Eggs

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