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Should I buy an egg coddler?

Has anyone ever used one of these contraptions?

I love soft boiled eggs in the morning and this seems like an easy way to make them. Or is it just going to be one more useless gadget in my kitchen?

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  1. My folks bought a set of exactly these things way back when. I can't believe they still make them. Dad did use them for a while and then they were relegated to the closet and stayed there forevermore. For all I know, they even brought the set down with them to Florida when they retired some 20+ years ago. If they still have them, they are still in a closet ...

    Assuming my folks still own these, I'm sure they'd be happy to let me send them to you, merely for the cost of shipping.

    If you really like soft boiled eggs, I'd probably recommend poaching them. First break open your eggs into a small bowl. Then get water to a full boil in a small covered saucepan or small pot. You only need about 1.5 - 2" of water - that's it. Then turn off the heat, drop the eggs in and cover. Then just remove your beautiful eggs with a hand strainer at exactly the firmness that you most enjoy.

    This is the same technique that I use for eggs benedict, although I let mine go for a bit more time, as my application needs a certain firmness.

    5 Replies
    1. re: jkling17

      How do you transfer them from the strainer to ... whatever... without messing them up?

      1. re: DPGood

        Oh no worries there - these are very shallow, not your typical bowl-type strainer. The food just slides right from them into whatever bowl or dish you want. I own 2 of these - one is very fine and the other just normal fine. For a soft boiled egg, either would probably work. They are very useful for all sorts of things in the kitchen.

        The very fine one I use for straining tea, coffee, etc - where all I really want is just the liquid and to catch all or nearly all solids. A very small amount of tea or coffee steeped directly in hot water makes a LOT of beverage. So a strainer like this is perfect to get rid of the sediment.

        The normal fine also gets regular use. I make a puled pork about once a week and this is great for removing it from the slow cooker. It gets the whole thing out in one piece, instead of falling apart before I get it into the pyrex disk that I use to shred it up, season it and then store it in the fridge.

        These strainers are commonly available in many asian markets, chinatowns and such for about $5-7. If that doesn't help you, you can buy these from Amazon.


        1. re: DPGood

          I agree. These strainers are fairly shallow and flat. In other words, you can slide the egg out.


        2. re: jkling17

          What kind of strainer is that? Your technique sounds like something I would like to try.

          I have a "non-stick" egg poacher, but it always sticks and I just find the egg poacher to be a general pain in the neck and useless piece of equipment in my kitchen taking up valuable real estate.

          As to the egg coddlers, there is one cheap brand made in China and other than that Replacements.com sells Wedgewood china ones that I don't think are still in production. Unfortunately, the only pattern I liked was $60 for one coddler! (The other patterns are half that price, but I hate the other patterns). $60 is a big investment for a gadget I might not use. I do like the concept though that unlike a soft-boiled egg, you don't have to deal with hacking off the top after you have cooked it. Also, apparently with coddled eggs, you can add spices and even cheese to the coddler and get a nifty cooked egg dish when done. And with a king-sized coddler, you can cook two eggs at once. (Just checked Replacements.com again and the only other pattern that I kind of like, is $100 for king-size egg coddler. Talk about pricey - I need to learn jkling17's technique for poaching!)

          1. re: jkling17

            A slotted spoon also works well for removing the poached egg from the water.

          2. In The Elements of Cooking, Michael Ruhlman writes: "As a rule, any tool that has only one use should be avoided."

            7 Replies
            1. re: GH1618

              Yes, but if we all heeded such sensible advice imagine how many interesting threads would never have come into being. I personally like a lot of single use items, like my tinned fish poacher. I have a pair of egg coddlers, likely wedding presents in 1975. I like coddled eggs, but the coddlers are hard to clean,especially the inner edge of the metal rim. Texturally they (coddled eggs) seem a little more rubbery than boiled or poached to the same degree of doneness as measured by the softness of the yolk.

              1. re: tim irvine

                Thanks for this advice. I hate things that are hard to clean. I think I will try the pan poaching with strainer method and save myself some money and clutter. I guess there is a reason they don't really make egg coddlers anymore.

                1. re: tim irvine

                  This "avoid tools with one usage" is a good general guideline, but one should take caution in applying it and not strictly follow it. Surely, there is a difference between a waffle iron and an egg poacher.


                  While both are designed for one single primary use, there are many alternatives to an egg poacher, but not so for a waffle iron.

                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                    Yes, it's a rule of thumb, not an absolute. Ruhlman is merely advocating simplicity. He is trying to get at "The Elements of Cooking."

                    1. re: GH1618

                      Is there a difference between a kitchen tool vs an appliance?
                      And I agree, no point cluttering up your cupboard with battery operated milk frothers, garlic skin removers, and other clearly one-task designed tools. But I'd really miss my waffle iron and my drip coffee maker (ya I know, I could make couscous in my coffee maker, but lets be serious, we totally won't do that outside of a hotel room in a pinch...).

                      1. re: GH1618


                        I wasn't trying to criticize the general advice. It is a good advice, and I follow it. I probaby have less kitchen gadgets than 90% of the people. I was more or less telling other people not to take a good advice too far. At the end, don't let the guideline overrun the common sense. A person who poaches eggs all day long, 24/7, has a very different need than another person who does it twice a year. Same argument can be made for other tools. A cherry pitter is fairly useless for me, but it may be essential for others. A pair of cut resistance gloves is another example.

                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                          Thanks. I believe we are in agreement.

                2. I had those exact ones and maybe used them twice. They are wonderful if you like very buttery poached/boiled eggs but I never really got used to using them. I butter poach my fried egg and get about the same result right in a small non-stick pan.

                  1. On topic: They're useless. Don't bother.

                    Off topic: Another egg poaching method is to line a teacup with saran wrap, break an egg into it and gather up and twist the wrap to form a purse. Poach this in boiling water for about 1 minute for a perfect compact egg.

                    1. Sometimes you just have to try things to know if you would use them. I've just discovered that I can poach an egg (a form of coddling, no?) in the microwave. I heat the water in a small saucer, then slip the egg in the water, and cook for 3 minutes on power level 3. I read in Wikipedia that you can coddle an egg by pouring boiler water over and letting it stand for 10 minutes. If you think these methods aren't your style, by all means try the coddler. Why not?

                      1. Couldn't you use a buttered small ramekin for each of the eggs, and put them in a bain marie for 7 or 8 minutes? I think this is one way to coddle an egg without involving a pure poaching method. And you can use the mini ramekins for a ton of other things, too.

                        10 Replies
                        1. re: freia

                          Great idea. Tomorrow I try the bain marie method.

                          This morning, I tried Jkling17's method and it was a disaster. I didn't have the kind of strainer that Jkling17 showed in his/her picture, but did have a large slotted spoon. Decided not to use my smallest saucepan (1.5 qt) because it was too small to fit the slotted spoon in properly. Pulled out a larger sauteuse on the theory that I could easily slide the spoon in. However, when I plopped the egg in, it spread far and wide. Checked it after 4 minutes and no way were the whites going to lift out, so gave it more time. By the time I could scoop the whites out, the yellow was overcooked. And in any event, the whites broke apart and half the whites stayed in the pan, the other half lifting out with the yoke..

                          Was the problem that I used too big a pan? But even in my smallest saucepan (5 1/2 inches across the interior bottom), the egg is going to spread.

                          1. re: omotosando

                            If it makes you feel any better, I've never been able to poach an egg in that manner. Don't forget that some say the addition of white vinegar in the water is essential to poaching an egg in water. I personally find that if I add vinegar, the egg tastes terrible, and if I don't add vinegar its an unmitigated disaster. So for me, I used to use one of those old fashioned pans with the egg poacher insert in it. And now, even then, I don't bother with it. I'll either ramekin or stick to eggs over easy or sunny side up made in a sautee pan.
                            Go with the Ramekins and enjoy your coddled eggs!

                            1. re: freia

                              A bit off topic, but what is your method of sunny side up in a saute pan? Best size pan? Timing? I'm also a lover of sunny side up.

                              1. re: omotosando

                                Hey there! Sunny side up is pretty easy and I do this mostly by experience...nonstick pan to high with a little oil spray in it (don't like to heat an empty pan, just a personal thing), then I crack the egg into a small dish, then add butter to the now hot pan, swirl the butter around, then slide the egg into the pan, turn the pan down med low, season the egg, then cook until the egg yolk sets and make sure the white doesn't brown...usually around 45 seconds to a minute, then slide onto a plate. I don't go much by timings per se as it will depend on how set you like the egg yolk. As for pan size, it depends on the number of eggs. I have a small 6 inch skillet that I use (enamel nonstick not teflon) for one or 2 eggs. I'll use my 12 inch one if I'm making a bunch. Hope this helps!

                                1. re: freia

                                  Thanks Freia! I have a lovely old 5 inch Griswold cast iron skillet and I will give it a try to make one egg sunny side up.

                            2. re: omotosando

                              Hi Omo,

                              To avoid spreading whites, break the egg into a small cup or saucer ahead of time to ease entry into the water, acidulate the cooking water slightly with white vinegar (roughly 1 tsp/cup water) to help set the white more quickly, and create a vortex in the pot by stirring the water with a spoon before slipping the egg into the center of it. All this should help keep the egg more compact while the proteins set in the white, giving you the shape I think you are looking for.. Hope this works.

                              1. re: PommeDeGuerre

                                Ok, I will give this technique a try before I give up on the methodology. Using this technique does the size of the pan matter? Can I use my sauteuse again?

                                1. re: omotosando

                                  The size of the pan should not matter. There are some nice youtube video about poaching an egg. It is better to crack the egg and place it in the bowl, and then slide the egg into the water. This will minimize the spreading. As jkling has nicely pointed out, some people use vinegar to hold the egg white tigher. The use of vinegar help denature the egg white proteins.

                                  There are many little trick to it, but most are very intuitative.

                                  1. re: omotosando

                                    Omo, the pan just needs to be deep enough to hold about four inches of water.

                                    Kinetic, I believe the vinegar reference was originally included in my post.

                                2. re: omotosando

                                  Sorry that I wasn't more specific about the entry of the egg into the hot water. I did write to first crack your eggs open into a small bowl but I did a bad job and told you to "drop them into the water". That's not correct and sorry for rushing that step. If you don't have a SMALL bowl, you can do the same thing using a ladle or large serving spoon.

                                  Ok so you don't actually just "drop the egss" into the water from the bowl. It's really a nice slow easing of the small bowl etc into the boiling water - nice and easy. The heat must be turned off naturally to keep the water calm. As you ease the eggs into the water, let them setup slightly and then slowly roll the small bowl out of the way leaving the eggs behind. They will stay reasonably together and not spread out all over the place. There will always be some slight tendrils that go off their own way but the vast majority of the egg and white will stay in a nice organic mass - very attractive.

                                  I don't personally put any vinegar in my water but many people do. You may wish to experiment with this to see if that's to your liking. Alton Brown recommends that so... sure give it a shot.

                                  I also failed to mention that I only do 1 or 2 eggs at one time in a single pot. If I need more eggs, then I use more pots. Otherwise, the number of eggs will quickly leach the heat so that none of them cook very well.

                                  Sorry for leaving out these important details. Please give this another try - use just one egg to start. Get that water VERY hot, turn the heat off, let the water sit for a few seconds and then EASE that egg in, slow and gently. Again I don't use any vinegar but go ahead and use 1 tsp.

                                  As soon as you get your ladle, large spoon or bowl out of the way, please cover the pot to keep the heat in. If your cover is glass then first cover the pot with foil and then cover that with your glass top to hold the foil down tightly. Why? Because foil will keep 97% of radiant heat in that pot.

                                  I think that you'll find your second try to be much more to your liking.


                              2. We have a stove top type. Stainless steel all around, composed of a base, a ramekin holder and ramekins and cover. I'm not so sure I would get an electric one as I don't know how easy they are to clean. The one we have is simple to clean.

                                If we didn't have the dedicated one then I would just get some ramekins and do it in a pan with water boiling halfway up the ramekin and a cover on top.

                                1. I use mine ALL the time..fits 2 large eggs...I usually Pam it, add a chunk of butter for flavor...maybe some cream or half and half...cooked bacon if I have it, or cheese or vegetables....8 minutes approx. ...I use a chop stick to fish it out by the loop on top...no problem at all to clean...mine are yellow like egg yolks......for me, works great, and I love the texture of the eggs and the lack of egg shell shards....

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: ChowFun_derek

                                    At last, a pro-coddler voice. ChowFun_derek, what happens if you put one egg in your 2-egg coddler? Does it come out all right? Or do you need a small coddler if you want to coddle one egg and a big coddler if you want to coddle two eggs? (Which seems like too many coddlers in the kitchen).

                                    1. re: omotosando

                                      one egg is fine! experiment with your additions....chives, mushrooms bacon etc!
                                      Also experiment with time..one minute more one minute less ...just as you would when boiling an egg in the shell or poaching one...once you get it just the way you wish timewise, it will always come out the same....have fun!

                                  2. I LOOOVE my egg egg coddlers. But I do not use them for just plain eggs. We add "stuff". Cheese, salsa, bacon, ham, mushrooms, onions, anything we have laying around. I grew up with them, we called them "egg-in-a-cups". I wouldn't buy one for poaching or soft boiling as the texture turns out completely different and a traditional soft boiled egg takes less time. If you want ease for soft boiled eggs get an egg topper, it takes up very little space and runs around $5-10.

                                    1. To me the question is, how well does it work?

                                      Many people, and I'm one of them, eat a fairly repetitive breakfast. For most of the winter, I ate a baked egg every day. I already had the handled ramekins I baked them in (and I use them for lots of other things), but if I hadn't, I think it would have been a worthwhile purchase due to the many times I'd use them.

                                      So if it does what you want, I'd say go for it. Perhaps the only way to tell will be to buy one and see. I would think they could also be used for pots de crème and the like.

                                      Btw, for my coddled & soft-cooked eggs, I don't hack off the top--I just carefully & gingerly peel them like any other egg, except that I cool them less because I want them to be hot when I eat them.