In search of the perfect ‘Dippy Egg’…

My boys love a runny boiled egg commonly called ‘dippy egg’ in our house. They love to bash the shell, peel it off and see if the yolk is runny, as it should be, and then dip their warm toast dripping with butter into it. Dippy eggs rock in this house; they are a staple, common, easy food. So why are they so damned hard to cook?

Once upon a time I was taught to boil an egg. I was told that the water needed to boil, they egg would be plunged into the boiling water, wait 3 min and voila! You have the perfect runny yolk. These days I’ve noticed that the time to cook the egg is taking longer and longer. I cooked 3 eggs today and they took 8 mins to cook! Are eggs getting bigger? Should we abandon the 3 min rule or am I just doing it completely wrong?

I’ve tried putting the hot water (from a tap) into the saucepan with the eggs from the start. My theory here is that the egg starts to cook a little before the water actually reaches boiling point. This takes a couple of mins in itself and would account for the extra mins surely? Nope. This didn’t work and I just had to boil the eggs longer as before. The boys complained ‘Grandma can cook dippy eggs properly –why can’t you?’

Hubbie then came in to the competitive world of cooking the perfect runny yolk. He’s ‘sciencey’ (studied astrophysics at University) he follows instructions and cooking, as we all know, is just a set of instructions to follow just as science is. If you follow the instructions then surely the result should be near enough, right. Right? Well, in his case yes. He, according to the boys, cooks the most delicious dippy eggs and once again Mummy is not up to the grade…

I try again though the boys have been eating far too many eggs though in my pursuit of the perfect egg. They are rock hard. I’m beginning to feel as despondent as the faces of my children reflect. I’m an average cook, I have a signature dish but I still can’t cook an egg it seems.

The today I am on my own with Henry. Ollie is out with the neighbour’s children (apparently riding in beach buggies and pushing old motorbikes in and out of garages) and Hubbie has taken Tobes to collect a new desk. Hen is dubious when I ask him if he would like a dippy egg. He says ‘I want it runny Mummy, you know runny‘ like Grandma and Daddy do.’ No pressure there then.

I boil the water; I put the eggs in and wait 4 mins. I take an egg out, crack it and it’s still not cooked.

The white is still clear and the yolk isn’t even warm. I resist the urge to shout out ‘FOR GOD’S SAKE IT’S ONLY A BLOODY EGG!!! I leave the others and decide another 2 mins is called for.







After the 2 mins I take out another egg, crack it and look in to see the deliciously golden yolk nestling in the cooked white pillow and yes –it’s runny! I feel like doing an ‘I can cook an egg’ dance (a bit like my ‘poo dance’ –for another blog I feel) something between Ricky Lake and Eliza Doolittle.







I butter the toast; a jaunty enthusiasm accompanies my buttering.










..and then present my second son with the perfect Dippy Egg.

So I can then, apparently, cook the perfect egg. Henry dived in and dipped to his heart’s content. He said ‘Thank you Mummy that was lovely’ which made me feel like a million dollars, like I was Delia Smith, Gordon Ramsey and every other famous chef rolled into one. I think I will rest my new found skill as that many eggs in one week surely aren’t that good for you. Henry left the table happy, and full, and declared that not only was he ‘The money monster’ (he’s great at finding money) but he’s now also ‘The dippy egg monster’ and I think that’s a lovely thing to be…






About littlewhitecottage

Emma is a qualified teacher with 14 years of teaching in many different settings. From teaching adults and children at a music school to choosing to work in a demanding primary school that was failing (which meant moving from an outstanding school – her colleagues were aghast!) to running her own sewing business for the last 5 ½ years teaching all ages how to sew: Emma loves to teach.
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8 Responses to In search of the perfect ‘Dippy Egg’…

  1. Jan Jones says:

    I’m not a bad cook, BUT I can’t cook dippy eggs either, when they aren’t cooked I pierce the yolk and microwave it for about five seconds blasts, then I discovered a German egg boiler, perfect eggs every time, damn the Germans…….

  2. Wendy Bilton says:

    Give me a complex recipe, well a fairly complex recipe, and I can do it……..but one thing Ive never been able to do is, boil an egg. BUT someone has taught me, and I now feel that I am able to join ‘I can cook a perfect egg dot com’. The secret is, you put the eggs into the saucepan and fill to just cover the eggs – use cold water tho. Put on the gas and count 4 minutes from when they start boiling.
    I had an egg for breakfast this morning, and heres a question…..what happens when you are boiling a double yolker? Well, you dont know its a double yolker do you till you eat the top egg, and to much delight find another egg underneath. I cooked mine just as I would normally i.e. 4 minutes. So, they dont obviously need more cooking.
    Just thought you might like to know that lol
    Thank you for your blogs. They make me smile and thats good!!

  3. Louise says:

    I too can cook the perfect dippy egg, as again popular here. I put eggs in cold water, with salt, bring t the boil and boil for 3 mins, works everytime. That’s how my grandad taught me. Also fab at poached eggs (just done in water not a plastic cup thingy!!) as these are my favourite!! My hubby, uses the electric steamer for dippy egg, puts eggs in, turns on for 10 mins and they are perfect too!! Didn’t Delia once put the basics in a book???

  4. My 8yr old son requests ‘eggs and soldiers’ every sunday I have become quite good at it ..though every now and then i will get one that just doesn’t seem to want to cook..something is definietly up! lol

  5. Jo Rees says:

    Runny eggs – don’t ask…!! I struggle with them too. Getting a runny egg in our house is like finding the Holy Grail…..
    Now fried eggs on the other hand……….
    Jo. x

  6. This may seem obvious to some but… I used to keep my eggs in the fridge & they took ages to cook & I never got it right. I had a sudden epiphany a while ago and started storing at room temp…now – perfect runny eggs :o) x

  7. Ah the fridge thing…….Never thought about that!!!! I always boil the water in advance, place the eggs in (from the fridge) boil for EXACTLY 7 mins and they come out perfect……This reminds me of a ‘discussion’ with my dad who always made me the perfect eggs as an evening snack if I was studying and he did the same as me but cooked for 10 mins??!!! It’s an ongoing debate ;0) But I ask……What are the rules with eggs and refrigeration? Do they last longer in the fridge or can they be stored at room temp for just as long?

  8. Wendy Bilton says:

    I always do mine at room temperature. Fill the saucepan with cold water and put the eggs in cold. Bring to the boil, then simmer for four minutes. Perfect eggs every time !!!!!

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