For a luxuriously spoonable consistency, steam the eggs—and stop cooking at 8 minutes.
So-called “jammy” eggs are all the rage. If you’ve missed the buzz, these are eggs with yolks that have luxuriously spoonable consistency that falls midway between the runniness of a soft-cooked egg and the firmness of a hard‑cooked egg. We love them for spreading over toast, topping a bowl of ramen or congee, perching sunny-side up on a salad, or just eating out of hand with a sprinkling of coarse sea salt.
But that gorgeous gooeyness surrounded by a tender-firm white isn’t a given—even when you think you’ve nailed the cook time. Sometimes the yolk is too liquidy; other times it’s solidified to the point where it’s barely jammy at all.
The problem: Most methods have you drop the eggs into boiling water. That means every time you add or subtract an egg, use a different amount of water, or even use a different pan, the timing is thrown off. That’s because all these variables affect how little—or how much—the water temperature drops from the boiling point of 212 degrees. Even a 1- or 2-degree drop significantly influences the cook time.
Our experiment: We brought a quart of water to a boil in the same pan and varied the number of eggs we added to the pot. With one egg, the water temperature stayed steady at 212 degrees. With four eggs, it dropped to 210 degrees and took a full minute to recover. Six eggs caused the water temperature to plunge to 202 degrees, and it took 2 whole minutes to recover.
Our solution: Just as we do for soft-cooked eggs, we steam our jammy eggs over ½ inch of boiling water. Steam reaches the same 212 degrees as boiling water, cooking the eggs exactly the same way as when they’re submerged. But because steaming involves so little liquid, the water returns to a boil within seconds, no matter how many eggs you add to the pot. By steaming your eggs, you can cook one, two—even six—perfect jammy eggs every time.
Of course, exactly how long you cook the eggs matters too. We’ve found that soft-cooked eggs should cook for 6½ minutes and hard-cooked eggs for 13 minutes. But the sweet spot for jammy eggs turned out to be 8 minutes.
Bring ½ inch water to boil in medium saucepan over medium-high heat.
Using tongs, gently place up to 6 eggs in boiling water (eggs will not be submerged).
Cover and cook for 8 minutes.
Transfer saucepan to sink and run cold water over eggs for 30 seconds to stop cooking.
Start by cracking the broad end of the egg against a hard surface and then peel away both the shell and the inner membrane. A quick rinse in warm water removes any remaining wisps of membrane and shards of eggshell. Split the egg in half, and it’s ready to go.