The Ultimate Guide to Boiling Time: Always Achieve Perfectly Cooked Food

Boiling is one of the most basic cooking techniques that everyone should master. It is a quick and versatile technique for cooking vegetables, pasta, rice, eggs, and many more. However, getting the boiling time right can be tricky. Because overcooking can result in mushy or flavorless food, while undercooking can lead to crunchy and raw ingredients. So, how long should you boil your food? This article will walk you through the ultimate guide to how long to boil food.

Understanding Boiling: A Brief Overview

Boiling is a cooking method that involves heating a liquid, typically water, to its boiling point (212°F or 100°C at sea level) and maintaining that temperature while the food cooks. This cooking technique is typically used to cook meat, veggies, and pasta. 

Boiling Time Guide for Common Foods

To make the most of this cooking technique, it’s crucial to understand the appropriate boiling times for different foods. To help you achieve perfectly cooked food, here’s a handy guide on how long to boil some common ingredients:


The boiling time for eggs depends on the level of doneness you prefer. Here are some expected boiling times for eggs:

Soft-boiled: 3-5 minutes

Medium-boiled: 7-9 minutes

Hard-boiled: 10-12 minutes


Vegetables are the most common food items that are boiled. To get the perfect texture and taste, it is essential to know the boiling time for each vegetable. Here are some common vegetables and their boiling times:

Fresh Peas: 6 minutes

Medium-sized Red Potatoes: 20 minutes (25 minutes for large)

Whole Zucchini: 15-20 minutes (3-5 minutes for sliced)

Frozen corn on the cob: 3-7 minutes in boiling water

Cauliflower: 5-6 minutes


The boiling time for pasta depends on the type of pasta you are using. Here are some common types of pasta and their boiling times:

Lasagna Noodles: 1 minute (Fresh) & 10-15 minutes (Dried)

Dried Angel Hair: 2-6 minutes

Penne Pasta: 10-13 minutes

Pasta shells: 6-9minutes

Fresh pasta: 30-90 seconds

Fresh Tortellini: 3-5 minutes

Fish & Seafood:

When boiling seafood, it is vital to know the correct boiling time to ensure it is cooked and safe to eat.

Crab: 10 minutes for blue crabs, 14 minutes for Dungeness Crabs, 10-20 minutes for king crabs

Crab legs: 5-7 minutes, 5 minutes for frozen

Shrimp: 2-4 minutes for fresh, 2-5 minutes for frozen

Boiling Rice:

The boiling time for rice depends on the type of rice you are using. Here are some common types of rice and their boiling times:

White rice: 18-20 minutes

Brown rice: 35-40 minutes

Basmati rice: 10-15 minutes

Jasmine rice: 18-20 minutes

It is important to note that you should always rinse the rice before boiling it and use the correct ratio of water to the rice for the perfect texture.


Quinoa is a healthy and nutritious grain that can be cooked in a variety of ways, including boiling. Boiling quinoa is a simple and easy way to prepare it. Simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the water is fully absorbed and the quinoa is tender. Make sure to add one cup of water for every cup of quinoa.


Peanuts are a popular snack loved by many people all over the world. When boiling peanuts with shells, it usually takes about 2-2.5 hours for them to become soft. However, boiling peanuts without shells typically takes around 12 minutes if you pressure cook on high.

Tips for Perfect Boiling

To further improve your boiling skills, keep these tips in mind:

Always use a pot with a lid to retain heat and reduce cooking time.

Add salt to the water to enhance the flavor of your veggies and shorten boiling time.

Do not overcrowd the pot, as this can lower the water temperature and lead to uneven cooking.

When boiling eggs, place them in a single layer and ensure they’re completely submerged in water for consistent results.

Important Tip

Remember that these boiling times are approximate, and you should always test for doneness before serving. Use a fork or knife to check if the food is tender and cooked through, or use a food thermometer to ensure it has reached a safe internal temperature.

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