How to tell If a boiled egg is done? (+5 Tips)

In this article, we will answer the question “How to tell If a boiled egg is done?”, and how to distinguish between a boiled and a raw egg?

How to tell If a boiled egg is done?

When boiling eggs, temperature and holding time are the two important considerations. The following table is a complete guideline on how to tell if a boiled egg is done according to your preference.

Egg textureHolding time
Soft white and a runny yolk4-6 minutes
Soft yolk that stays in place8 minutes
A firm yolk with a central soft spot10 minutes
Hard-boiled egg with a light yolk12 minutes
Hard-boiled egg with a firmer white and yolk but not overcooked14 minutes

How to distinguish between a boiled and a raw egg?

Place and hold the egg on a tabletop, counter, bottom of the sink, or a cutting board. With the snap of your fingers, twist the egg. After it archives a steady twisting motion, stop it with your index finger. Now observe the motion of the egg.

  • If the egg wobbles around like a top, It is uncooked.
  • If it stops after you remove the finger form the egg, It is hard-boiled or cooked.

Similarly, If the egg wobbles while spinning, It is raw. If it has a steady spin, it is cooked.

The science behind boiling eggs?

An egg is a rich source of protein. A large egg has approximately 628g protein, 3.6g of which constitutes the egg white.

The building block of proteins is amino acids which are held together by weak bonds. These covalent bonds are weak enough to be broken by the heat that is provided during boiling.

The heat breaks these weak bonds and stimulates the amino acids to make stronger bonds simultaneously. During this process, water is expelled through the egg resulting in the solidification and denaturation of the protein.

Proteins in an egg pass through the following stages during boiling.

  • At 130-140°F, egg proteins start to unfold.
  • At 140°F, ovotransferrin turns the egg white into a gelatinous matrix as a result of bonding with itself.
  • At 155°F, ovotransferrin is moist but solid.
  • At 180°F, ovalbumin makes the egg white firm due to cross bonding.
  • Above 180°F, proteins lose water slowly. As a result of dehydration, the egg white develops a dry a rubbery texture and starts to give off a foul Hydrogen sulfide smell.

The shelf-life of different types of eggs

  • Unpeeled, hard-boiled eggs will stay fresh for about 4 days in the fridge.
  • Poached eggs, stored in ice water, will keep fresh for only 36 hours in the fridge.
  • Hard-boiled egg whites wrapped in cellophane will keep in the fridge for about 2 ½ days.
  • Hard-boiled yolks will be good for about 24-36 hours at steady refrigeration temperatures. These can be used in salad dressings, sauces, and as a filling to make deviled eggs.

How to make the perfect hard-boiled eggs?

Follow the instructions below to make the perfect hard-boiled eggs each time without cracks or rough peel.

  • Add water in a saucepan or pot. There should be enough water to submerge the eggs completely. The eggs should be covered by an extra 2 inches of water above.
  • Gently place the egg/s into the boiling water using a spoon.
  • Lower the heat and simmer the eggs for 11 minutes for a perfect hard-boiled yolk. 
  • When the timer reads 11 minutes, remove thee gg/s using a spoon or a ladle and either keep the egg/s in an ice bath for 5 minutes or place under cold running water.
  • Store in the fridge or freezer and enjoy.

How long do boiled eggs last?

According to the USDA, eggs must be stored within 2 hours of boiling or cooking. Eggs that have been sitting out for more than 2 hours become unsafe for consumption. The following table shows an estimated shelf-life of boiled under refrigeration.

Peeled or unpeeled soft boiled eggs 2 days 
Peeled or unpeeled hard-boiled eggsUp to a week

Freezing boiled eggs is not recommended as It causes the water to separate and makes the egg whites rubbery and turn the yolk into a dry crumbly mess upon thawing.

How to store boiled eggs?

Keep the boiled eggs in an air-tight container. To retain moisture, keep some wet or damp water towels on top of the eggs and secure the container with a tight lid. The eggs will preserve their freshness for a week.


In this article, we answered the question “How to tell If a boiled egg is done?”, and how to distinguish between a boiled and a raw egg?



Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.

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