Soy Sauce

The Genius Ramen Shop Staple That Will Make Your Lunches Better

May 13, 2015

Every week—often with your help—Food52's Executive Editor Kristen Miglore is unearthing recipes that are nothing short of genius.

Today: How to make perfect, Momofuku-style soy sauce eggs—the simple ramen shop staple that will be your new Not Sad Desk Lunch (and last-minute breakfast, dinner, and midnight snack). 

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This recipe goes out to all those times that you've stooped at the open fridge door, hoping for a respectable dinner to show itself. And to all the 1PMs at your desk in a scramble for takeout, cursing yourself for not planning ahead. To all the salads that aren't quite filling enough, the sandwiches that lack heft, the toast that stops short of fueling you through the morning. 

In the interest of being one step ahead of all of those moments, take a break on Sunday (or tonight!), and make soy sauce eggs, or shoyu tamago. Make as many as you can eat in a week, which—you'll soon realize—is a lot. 

If you've ever lived in Japan or tackled making your own ramen, this simple fridge-enhancing trick won't be news to you. (But why didn't you tell us sooner?) For the rest of us, this recipe—Christina Tosi's version of Momofuku's standard—requires only four ingredients that you already have, and renders eggs that are virtually perfect in form. The yolks—just thickened, not yet pale and stiff—are centered in firm (but not too firm) whites. You'll submerge them in a soy sauce marinade that will penetrate only as much as you decide to let it.


The trick to these model eggs is cooking them exactly 6 minutes and 50 seconds, stirring gently for the first couple minutes to center the yolks via a whirlpool of centrifugal force. By immediately shuttling them to an ice bath, you do away with any variables that might allow them to continue cooking secretly.

Once the water feels temperate enough to swish your hands around in, you peel the eggs straight in it, to leave the whites smooth and glossy and not lose as many bits to the shell (some bits might go rogue anyway, but the eggs will still taste good). 


After peeling the eggs, you move them to marinate in the fridge in a small vat of soy sauce, sherry vinegar, and sugar for a few hours. (I've left them overnight too, which I actually found to be extra salty and delicious.) 

The soak isn't just about salting them, but a more rounded seasoning—a little sweet, a little tangy, but mostly a lot of umami. You can vary the marinade as you like—add sake, scallions, ginger, mirin, garlic, chiles, or rice wine vinegar. What's to stop you?

Since these will be your new weekly fridge companion, you'll have plenty of opportunity.

Momofuku's Soy Sauce Eggs

Adapted slightly from Milk Bar Life by Christina Tosi

Makes 6 eggs

6 tablespoons warm water
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
3/4 cup soy sauce
6 large eggs
Maldon or other flaky salt, for serving
Black pepper, for serving

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Got a genius recipe to share—from a classic cookbook, an online source, or anywhere, really? Please send it my way (and tell me what's so smart about it) at [email protected]. Thanks to Food52er drbabs for this one!

The Genius Recipes cookbook is finally here! The book is a mix of greatest hits from the column and unpublished new favorites—all told, over 100 recipes that will change the way you think about cooking. It's on shelves now, or you can order your copy here.

Photos by James Ransom

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I'm an ex-economist, lifelong-Californian who moved to New York to work in food media in 2007, before returning to the land of Dutch Crunch bread and tri-tip barbecues in 2020. Dodgy career choices aside, I can't help but apply the rational tendencies of my former life to things like: recipe tweaking, digging up obscure facts about pizza, and deciding how many pastries to put in my purse for "later."


Gail F. July 2, 2020
I followed the recipe and they came out perfectly delicious!
glsai January 10, 2017
If I were to do this, would I have to toss out the marinade after each batch or is it possible to freeze and reuse it?
David N. January 29, 2016
These are awesome. I make a version (using mirin, rather than sherry), but never thought of keeping them in the fridge in batches...
John M. January 17, 2016
Sherry?... Really?.... C'mon.... sake, soy, mirin. In equal proportions for the soaking brine. Delicious
Amanda June 27, 2015
This was surprisingly delicious. Gladly a new fridge staple now. Thank you!
Wout T. June 25, 2015
Boy, this really went south. Eggs cracked upon being put in the boiling water, far too much white stuck to the shell when peeling and two of the yolks ran out into the marinade... Not an auspicious first try.
Gina June 13, 2015
I made these eggs and could not eat them. Did the recipes as written tried to eat them cold out of the refrigerator with Maldon salt. Could not get past the cold soft yoke and the egg was way to strong of a flavor for me, and not a good flavor. Not sure what Momofuku does with these eggs but I could not eat them. In the trash they went. Maybe Momofuku does not want use to know how to make these eggs. Did anyone really like these?
Pamela_in_Tokyo June 13, 2015
Americans tend to have a problem with soft yokes. I think that is too bad but it still does not help you. Cooking them longer, perhaps 10 minutes, would work. Slicing them and eating them with toast might work. But, if you don't like the flavor, there is not much that can be done. The Chinese make even more spicy or flavored eggs adding star anise or other spices. Here in Japan, they are served as a topping on ramen and are well loved. In China, they are often served chopped with their soupy rice breakfast dishes.

You might try using marinade ingredients that you like.
Let us know if you come up with a new version! That would be fun!
Chani S. June 2, 2015
Would a substitute vinegar work as well?
Chia-Li S. May 24, 2015
David Chang is such a thieve!!!!!He stole recipes of Chinese/Taiwanese street food and Japanese home cooking and claimed that it's HIS.....
Anna M. May 18, 2015
Made this with Bragg's Aminos instead of soy sauce (was out of soysauce) and had one for breakfast today with a mandoline-sliced radish. I was whimpering this egg was so good!
kimikoftokyo May 18, 2015
I eat organic eggs since my stomach seems to like it better and I use this recipe I just use harder boiled eggs I can not stomach runny eggs. I use dark soy sauce also. Its a staple I use when friends come over and want a snack.
Indigo1969 May 17, 2015
Sorry allergic to eggs:(
Pamela_in_Tokyo May 17, 2015
Queen Mab: I would imagine it would be fine to cook your eggs for 10 minutes, for example, to get a harder cooked egg. I don't see why it wouldn't work.
Queen M. May 17, 2015
Has anyone tried this with harder cooked eggs? I don't do the runny stuff.
kimikoftokyo May 18, 2015
I eat this alot and I hard boil mine and do the same thing. I use darker soy sauce I like the dark look. Its good regardless. I hate runny eggs you are not alone.
Pamela_in_Tokyo May 17, 2015
The Japanese make these ramen eggs, but the Chinese make some cool marinated eggs too. I have seen recipes where the raw eggs are marinated in the refrig. first (sometimes for several days) then boiled and served with rice dishes in the morning. The marinades include soy sauce, spices, etc.
Lynn H. May 17, 2015
With eggs straight out of fridge and unsalted water, the yolks were definitely runny.
Anda May 17, 2015
Do you boil in hot or cold watr? From which moment 6:50?
Cookie June 8, 2015
I waited until the water was at a rolling boil, and lowered all the eggs in with a wire strainer, counting the 6:50 from there. The yolks were perfect --not runny, just softer than usual. I see no reason at all that people who want harder yolks cant cook them a minute or two longer, it's about seasoning the whites anyway. They are outstanding! A new staple for my fridge.
Ken F. May 17, 2015
Hailey, BTW that's for soft boiled... so for this recipe adjust accordingly.
Ken F. May 17, 2015
Hailey: They will.... and it's dependent on exactly how high you are (very different at 5K and 8K feet, for example). I use a sous vide cooker and take the guesswork out, but this guide can help:
Hailey May 17, 2015
Hailey May 17, 2015
Do you know if high altitudes will affect the cook time?