Not Sad Desk Lunch

How to Reheat Soft-Boiled Eggs (and the Search for a Better Way)

May 11, 2016

I seem to be on a mission to treat soft-boiled eggs like we do hard-boiled: I want to add them to all my pack-and-go lunches, have them around for whenever I want one, carry one around as a pet.

But soft-boiled eggs (a.k.a. 7 minute eggs) are finicky. They have to be hot when served and the yolk still has to run (so be between 110 and 140° F), which makes its make-ahead potential smaller—but not impossible!

For a while, I’d been following Molly Wizenberg’s cousin Katie’s advice and microwaving peeled eggs for 20 seconds. Everyone I told this to had the same question: “Do your eggs explode?”

Nuking a peeled egg for 20 seconds (where's the yolk run?)

Mine have never exploded but I admit I had been settling for a yolk that was mostly hard—and the whites hardly creamy. But it meant I could bring soft-boiled eggs to work!

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Then I found the better way—at Cook’s Illustrated.

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Top Comment:
“Enjoy your perfectly warm & soft-med boiled egg at work! Another option is to use a microwave to heat up your water at work for your semi-pre boiled egg to sit in and warm up, it works! ”
— Aaron M.

It does require that you get a pan out, wait for a half-inch of water to boil, and peel the egg while it’s still warm (which sometimes is tricky), but now I can pack soft-boiled eggs for work and warm them with ease—and the psychology of “reheating” versus “cooking” does increase the chance that I won’t totally abandon the egg.

Reheating an unpeeled eggs in boiling water for 3 1/2 minutes (look at the yolk ooze).

Here’s how to reheat soft-boiled eggs:

  • Bring a half inch of water to a boil in a medium saucepan.
  • Carefully plunk your soft boiled eggs into the water.
  • Cover the pan and cook for 3 1/2 minutes.
  • Scoop out your eggs, peel, and eat!

While this is method works like a charm, I haven’t found a promising way to reheat soft-boiled eggs in the microwave. And I want to! For me, but also for all you without stoves at work.

I'm thinking a mash up of Molly Wizenberg and Cook’s Illustrated’s methods might work, but I haven't found the right concoction. I've tried microwaving unpeeled soft-boiled eggs in both room temperature and hot water for various seconds. I have only tried unpeeled because I have a feeling peeling before means the egg gets too much direct heat.

Some eggs did explode. Others’ yolks were ice cold. Some were sort of warm. I’m going to keep trying—I’m committed—but maybe you can help so I don’t use up all of New York’s eggs?

Any ideas about how to reheat soft-boiled eggs in the microwave? Tell us in the comments!

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Lucinda Smith
    Lucinda Smith
  • Aaron Moreno
    Aaron Moreno
  • LusaB
  • Alexandra
  • Petrina Chong Hollingsworth
    Petrina Chong Hollingsworth
Editor/writer/stylist. Author of I Dream of Dinner (so You Don't Have To). Last name rhymes with bagel.


Lucinda S. August 23, 2020
why are people peeling them? is this a US thing? Do you not eat a soft boiled out of an egg cup?
Aaron M. January 2, 2020
I'm a sucker for a soft boil egg at work too! I boil my eggs for 4 minutes at home and immediately take them out of the hot water. I let them sit in room temp for about 20 minutes to naturally cool down before placing them in the fridge. Take the eggs to work & I use our water cooler's hot water valve to heat them up by simply just placing them in a clean coffee cup of hot water. Let the egg sit in the hot water for about 3 minutes then take your egg out of the coffee cup and peel away. Enjoy your perfectly warm & soft-med boiled egg at work! Another option is to use a microwave to heat up your water at work for your semi-pre boiled egg to sit in and warm up, it works!
LusaB June 10, 2019
I worked on that problem over the weekend. I soft-boiled (5 minutes) several eggs, knowing that the whites and yokes wouldn’t be done. I carefully peeled and refrigerated them.
Next day, I toasted my bread, then cut the egg in half, on top of the toast, and heated in microwave for 15 seconds. Checked it, then went another 15 seconds. Egg was hot enough, yolk was jammy, whites were done and breakfast was tenderly delicious. Worked again this morning.
Alexandra March 19, 2019
I figured it out! typically if you’re soft boiling and egg to eat immediately you cook in boiling water for 6-6.5 mins. instead cook for 4 minutes, and plunge into an ice bath to stop the cooking. Refrigerate. The next day at your office, wrap your peeled soft boiled egg in parchment paper and microwave for 20-25 seconds (depending on how strong your microwave is). Take it out and voila! you’ve done the remaining 2 mins of cooking via the microwave.

I wish I could add a photo here to show how perfectly it comes out!
LusaB June 10, 2019
Similar to what I did!
Petrina C. July 16, 2017
I heat water in a mug in the microwave until it's a roiling boil and then put the unpeeled egg in. Works for hard boiled too.
Lori W. May 11, 2016
Watching this space for ideas!
KO May 11, 2016
I pour boiling water over mine and let them sit for a few minutes. They won't get to be piping hot, but they are pleasantly warm and the yolk is runny. At work, I use our instant hot water tap and it works just fine.
Ali S. May 11, 2016
Are they peeled or unpeeled at this point? Thanks for the tip!
KO May 12, 2016
Leith D. May 11, 2016
Actually, I make them ahead and eat them cold. Still yummy in a different way. Now I'll have to try reheating them in water!