How Do You Know When Boiled Eggs Are Done?

This article may contain affiliate links (disclosure policy).

Boiling eggs is supposed to be one of the easiest things in the world.

But how do you know when boiled eggs are done without opening them?

Well, there are actually a few simple ways you can do this.

You can spin the eggs, shine a light through them or simply place them in a pot with room temperature water.

In this article I’ll show you how each of these methods works and which is the best one you should use.

How do you tell when boiled eggs are done cooking?

Telling when boiled eggs are done can be surprisingly difficult when you don’t know what to look for.

It seems as if each egg has a mind of its own and cooks differently despite your best efforts.

Fortunately, with these four simple methods you’ll always know when your boiled eggs have finished cooking:

Give the eggs a spin

an egg on a table within a hair band

by Hydroax

One of the easiest ways to tell if eggs are cooked is to give them a spin.

To do this, simply place the eggs flat on a cutting board and spin them.

Uncooked eggs will wobble because they haven’t solidified and contain liquid.

Boiled eggs on the other hand will spin quickly and easily.

In my experience, this is the most reliable method to determine whether boiled eggs are done.

The only downside is that you can’t tell how cooked the eggs actually are.

Get a special boiling egg timer that changes color when the eggs are done

a pot of boiling water with an egg next to an egg boiling timer

by cizzoo

If you don’t mind using a small gadget then this method will ease up your egg-boiling struggles.

There are these super cheap boiling egg timers that can be used to tell you when your eggs are soft, medium or hard-boiled.

The timer is in the shape of an egg and you just place it to boil alongside the raw eggs (you read that correctly).

The timer then slowly changes color according to a scale.

When to color hits the desired doneness on the scale you remove the eggs from the stove and flush them under cold water to stop the carryover cooking.

And yes, most of these egg boiling timers don’t contain any plastics that could be released in your food under high heat.

You can check one made from a safe material over here, on

Shine a light

shining a light through an egg

by droo46

Another way to determine if eggs are done is to shine a light through them. This technique is known as candling and is used in egg farms to check if eggs are fertilized or not.

Fortunately, it works equally as well when you’re trying to figure out if it’s time to take your eggs off the stove.

The way this method works is quite simple. All you need to do is place a flashlight behind the eggs and check if the light passes through.

Raw eggs have a porous shell which allows the light to pass through, unlike cooked eggs which do not.

Even though this method is quite useful, you won’t be able to determine if the eggs are soft-boiled or hard-boiled.

Place the eggs in water

a raw egg in a jar of warm water producing oxygen bubbles on its shell

In case the first two methods didn’t work out or you want to try an alternative, you can place the eggs in warm water and look for bubbles.

Just make sure the water isn’t hot since it will be bubbling on its own if that’s the case.

Anyways, the logic behind this method is that the porous shell of raw eggs allows them to exchange oxygen with the environment.

This leads to the formation of tiny air bubbles that aren’t present when boiled eggs are done cooking.

Crack them

If everything else fails you can crack an egg to see how cooked it actually is. This will help you determine if your eggs need some extra cooking time or not.

Simply take the egg out of the pot, run it under cold water, peel it and cut in half to check its yolk.

Unfortunately, you may lose a perfectly good egg if it’s not cooked to your liking. So if you’re going to use this method you should be prepared to take some losses.

How to hard boil eggs properly?

Even though many people hard boil eggs by dropping them in boiling water, I’ve found that placing the eggs in cold water first gives more reliable results.

This is because eggs often crack when they’re placed straight into boiling water and can easily be overcooked.

Therefore, to properly hard boil eggs you should place them in a saucepan or a pot and cover them in an inch of water.

Once the eggs are covered, you should put the pot on the stove and bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat.

When the water starts to boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 4 minutes for soft-boiled eggs, 6 minutes for medium-boiled and 8 to 10 minutes for hard-boiled.

After the eggs are done, you should transfer them into a bowl filled with ice water to prevent overcooking.

When the eggs cool down, you can peel them and use them as a snack later, for a salad or in any other way you see fit.

a chart with egg boiling times according to doneness

Find out: How long can you leave an egg unrefrigerated before it goes bad?

Do hard boiled eggs float when they’re done?

You may have noticed that occasionally some of your boiled eggs float while the rest sink to the bottom.

Even though this might seem troubling, it’s something completely normal and shouldn’t be a cause of concern.

Eggs have an air sac that supplies the yolk with oxygen. As the egg ages, the air sac gets filled with oxygen and the egg starts to float.

This usually becomes apparent when you place the egg in cold water but can also occur after the egg gets heated and the oxygen in the air sac expands.

In fact, this technique is often used to determine if eggs are bad when they float in water.

Another, albeit less probable reason why boiled eggs might float in water is salt. Adding too much salt to water can increase its density and make boiled eggs lighter.

However, you’ll need to add astronomical amounts of salt to make this happen.

My short recap

Boiling eggs becomes trivial once you know how to tell they’re done without breaking them open. And you can do this in three different ways.

You can spin the eggs, shine a light, or place them in warm water. In my opinion, the most easy and reliable method of the three is the first one.

However, you can play around with the other two to determine if there’s any merit to them for yourself.

By the way, if you love eggs for breakfast you may like my Baked Sunny Cloud Eggs Recipe.

Learn next: How to Tell When Boiled Chicken is Done

how do you know when boiled eggs are done pinterest image

How Do You Know When Boiled Eggs Are Done?

If you've tried my recipes and cooking tips, please tag me on social media - I would love to see your creations! 

Following me on PinterestYouTube or Facebook may be just a click for you but it's very valuable to me... So thank you for your support!

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.