You can’t get much better than a well-boiled egg with dipping soldiers for breakfast or brunch. Whether you like them soft- or hard-boiled, it’s easy to get them spot-on simply by keeping an eye on the cooking time.

Once you’ve cooked your eggs to perfection, serve them with toast or asparagus soldiers, in a spicy kedgeree, or later in the day you can even team them up with smoked salmon and dill for the ultimate nibble or party snack.

Be sure to use the best-quality eggs you can – choose free-range as a minimum, and go for large eggs to match up with the timings below. A good tip to remember is that adding a small pinch of sea salt to the boiling water before placing your eggs in will help to prevent them from cracking.

Image with boiled eggs and timings for each yolk consistency

HOW TO BOIL PERFECT EGGS

1. Fill a small saucepan ¾ of the way full with water, and bring it to a fast boil.
Image of a pan of boiling water to boil eggs

2. Add a good pinch of sea salt, and, using a slotted spoon, dip your eggs in and out and then lower them into the water.
Image of egg being lowered into boiling water

Dipping the eggs first helps prevent the shock of the change in temperature from fridge to boiling, which can sometimes make them crack open). Be sure to lower them in slowly, so the shells don’t crack on the bottom.

3. Cook for the following times, depending on how you like your eggs: 5 minutes for runny, 7½ minutes for semi-firm or 10 minutes for hard-boiled.
Image of eggs being removed from a pan of boiling water

4. Remove the eggs with the spoon and serve with hot, buttered toast, or allow to cool before peeling.
Image of a plate with boiled eggs and toast soldiers

So there you go – super-simple steps to getting perfectly boiled eggs just the way you like them. Follow this approach every time and you won’t go wrong. If you want to brush up on your egg skills, check out how to make perfectly scrambled eggs, or master the art of poaching with this handy step-by-step guide.

For more information on free-range eggs and welfare standards, check out the British Hen Welfare Trust.

Adapted from Jamie’s Ministry of Food.