How to peel soft boiled eggs without destroying the egg

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Excited for your steamy bowl of ramen soup but terrified of opening your soft-boiled egg? Learn the trusty ways to peel soft-boiled eggs without shells sticking to the egg whites or crushing your egg and ruining the runny yolk. 

A bowl of Indomie mi goreng with soft-boiled runny eggs in grey bowl next to chopsticksPin

Soon after I met Alex, I prepared a mouthwatering bowl of mi goreng instant noodles for him. Like me, he soon became addicted and wanted to learn how to make them. 

But he had no idea how to peel soft-boiled eggs. They’re the critical ingredients to create a rich and jammy sauce for the noodles.

I taught him my tricks from years of mi goreng consumption. Here are my best strategies for peeling soft-boiled eggs with different tips and variations depending on how intractable your egg is acting. 

How to peel soft boiled eggs without the shell sticking

I have 3 main methods I follow for peeling soft-boiled eggs. Why 3?

Some eggs are easier to peel than others.

Here’s my commentary on the methods and why I would start with Method 1, then escalate to Method 2, and finally settle on Method 3 if all else has failed.

Method 1: Crack the shell and peel

Best scenario for: The shell is practically falling off on its own. Start with this method and escalate to Method 2 or 3 if it’s not working. 

If the eggshell is almost falling off, I use method 1. This is the easiest method but only works if your egg is compliant.

You know this method is working because when you begin to peel the shell away, it comes off without resistance

TIP: Check the ends of the egg to see if there is an air bubble, If so, start peeling from the air bubble where there should be a gap between the egg white and the shell. If there’s no air bubble, start from the pointy end of the egg.

I like to crack the eggshell by tapping it with the back of a spoon because it offers me more control, especially if the egg is floppy and not holding its shape. 

Alternatively, some people like to roll the egg against the kitchen counter. This works if your counters are clean (doesn’t work when I’m camping!) and you’re not heavy handed. If you roll against the counter to crack the shell, make sure you don’t crush the egg and cause the runny yolk to spill out. 

Another alternative is to knock the egg against the side of the saucepan (a bit violent!). This also works to crack the eggshell but I prefer the control of a spoon to break the shell into smaller pieces. 

Method 2: Open the shell with a spoon

Best scenario for: The shell begins to lift off but chunks of egg white are sticking to the shell. If you keep pulling off the shell, you’ll get jagged edges that make the egg white look like a mold for T. rex’s teeth. 

Method 2 gives you more control and solves the problem of stubborn egg white bits sticking to shell.

This is also the best technique for eating a soft-boiled egg in an egg cup.

TIP: The smaller and thinner the teaspoon, the better. Also, turn your spoon to use the scoop side towards the roundness of the egg.

Method 3: Cut the egg and scoop out

Best scenario for: The egg is being a pain. Neither Method 1 nor Method 2 are working. You’re prying with the spoon and big chunks of egg white remain stuck to the shell, no matter how much gently you try. 

Method 3 is the “nuclear” option. If method 1 and 2 aren’t working, and you’re willing to give up the clean vertical cut down the length of your egg, this can be the best only method that works.

NOTE: Sometimes, I jump straight to Method 3 if I’m lazy, the egg is obstinate, and I don’t care about the appearance because I’m going to break the egg up into pieces anyway.

Alex hates this method because he complains that cutting the egg in half gets bits of eggshell in his food and it’s not possible to rinse the egg because the running egg yolk will get washed away. 

If you’re more like Alex, skip Method 3. Stick with Method 2 by scooping out the egg as best as you can and toss out the peel with big chunks of egg white stuck to it. 

(I wonder if cutting the shell with kitchen shears might avoid the problem.) 

TIP: Position the egg over a bowl or your plate of food when you scoop it out if you want to collect drippy egg yolk.

Let’s dive in to learn the different methods.

How to peel soft-boiled eggs without destroying the egg

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Learn 3 different methods to peeling soft-boiled eggs without squirting out the runny yolk or wrecking the egg white. There's an easy method and a method to peel stubborn eggs. Get ready for a steamy bowl of ramen!
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Total Time: 2 minutes
Course: Cooking Helper
Cuisine: Chinese, French
Keyword: 10 ingredients or less, 5-minute recipe
Servings: 1 person
Calories: 143kcal
Author: Anna Rider
Cost: 25¢


  • Mixing Bowl
  • teaspoon


  • 2 soft-boiled Eggs, eggs should already be soft-boiled
  • 1 bowl Water


Method 1: Crack the shell and peel

  • Use the back of a spoon to hit the eggshells until it has cracked all around the egg. It should look like a mosaic of eggshells.
  • Peel back the cracked eggshell. Gently unravel the shell from the egg white.
  • Peel until all of the eggshell is removed.
  • Dunk the egg in water to remove any remaining bits of shell that's stuck to the egg white.
    A collage of 4 images showing how to peel an egg with handsPin

Method 2: Open the shell with a spoon

  • Begin by cracking the eggshell with the back of a teaspoon until it turns into a mosaic. (If you can find an air bubble, dig your spoon into the air bubble.)
  • Create a gap between the shell and egg white. Dig your spoon into a gap and pry the shell off the egg using the spoon as leverage. 
  • Push the spoon deeper into the egg and move it around the circumference of your egg to separate the shell from the egg white. Remove the shell as you go along. 
  • When you've pushed the shell off the egg, dunk it in water to remove stray shell bits. 
    A collage of 4 images showing how to peel an egg with a spoonPin

Method 3: Cut the egg and scoop out

  • Tap the back of your spoon around the center circumference of your egg to crack the shell. 
  • Cut the egg in half with a knife (or pull apart if the egg is already broken).
  • Use a spoon to scoop out the 2 halves of the egg. If the egg yolk runs, drain it over your plate of food.
  • Don't rinse the egg in water. Add the egg directly to your plate to serve.
    A collage of 4 images showing how to peel an egg by cracking it open with a spoonPin


Calories: 143kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 372mg | Sodium: 142mg | Potassium: 138mg | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 540IU | Calcium: 56mg | Iron: 2mg
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Tips for success

  • As you peel your eggs, you’ll find there is a “membrane” between the egg white and shell. It’s a thin, translucent velvety coating. If you see this membrane, do your best to peel it away from the egg white. If you can latch onto this membrane, it will help you peel the shell faster.
  • As soon as your eggs are done cooking, put them in a bowl of cold water (or ice bath). Avoid resting your eggs at room temperature on the counter after removing from the boiling water unless you want your egg to continue cooking from the residual heat (this risks resulting in hard-boiled eggs).
  • The goal of soft-boiled eggs is a runny yolk, not necessarily a runny egg white (otherwise, you’re eating raw egg). Make sure you cook the eggs long enough for the egg white to set on the outside where it meets the shell. If your egg white is very runny, it makes peeling soft-boiled eggs even more challenging. Usually, this means you need to boil your eggs for at least 5 minutes. 
  • Avoid peeling a soft-boiled eggs that’s sat in your fridge for a while. I find cold eggs to be very hard to peel. If you refrigerated your soft-boiled egg with the shell on, soak it in boiled water for 1 minute to bring it to room temperature before peeling. 
An egg in a glass of waterPin

How to cut a soft boiled egg in half

Once you’ve successfully peeled your soft-boiled eggs, you’re ready to eat them. Here are my favorite ways to cut soft-boiled eggs to serve with food. 

  • Sharp paring knife: This is the fanciest method for a clean cut. Cut the egg lengthwise with a sharp paring knife on a cutting board. You might get an egg yolk leaking on your cutting board if your yolk is very runny. Good presentation if you’re serving guests or want to achieve restaurant-level plating. 
  • Butter knife or spoon: The lazier and easiest method, I place the eggs on my plate or bowl on top of my food. I cut it down the middle with a butter knife or spoon until it cleanly splits in half. Fast and effective, especially if you’re not picky about appearances. 

How to eat soft-boiled eggs

In an egg cup

If you’re eating a soft-boiled egg by itself, I like putting it in an egg cup with the pointy end sticking up. I use Method 2 to crack the pointy end of the egg and peel the shell away. 

I scoop out the top of the egg white. I add soy sauce and toasted sesame oil to the egg white. Then I alternate scooping a spoonful of egg and peeling away the shell until all the egg is gone. 

If I’m feeling fancy, I’ll dip toasted bread into the runny egg yolk for breakfast. 

With food

Halved soft-boiled eggs are a great topping for:

How long do peeled soft-boiled eggs last

According to the USDA, hard-boiled eggs last for 7 days in the fridge and must be refrigerated within 2 hours of cooking. The USDA’s Egg Storage Chart doesn’t mention anything about soft-boiled eggs. But it says raw egg yolks can be safely stored for 2-4 days in the fridge.

What I do is err on the raw egg yolk guidance and use the soft-boiled eggs within 4 days in the fridge.

READ NEXT: Garlic Cucumber Noodle Salad With Soft-Boiled Eggs

Anna looking down chopping vegetables
About Anna Rider

Hi! I'm Anna, a food writer who documents kitchen experiments on with the help of my physicist and taste-testing husband, Alex. I have an insatiable appetite for noodles 🍜 and believe in "improv cooking".

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