Coddling an Egg

By Cat, Mar 10, 2018 (photo right, is from What’s Cooking America (1))

Vintage Egg Coddler

Coddling is an old-fashioned way to heat the egg just enough to kill any bacteria in the egg, while retaining its liquid nature for use in recipes. My Dad used to eat the coddled eggs just as they were.

I coddle the egg when making homemade mayonnaise or Caesar dressing, or any other recipe requiring a raw or coddled egg, because I once got salmonella poisoning from eating raw cookie dough containing a raw egg.

See also: 1. Miscellaneous Menu; 2. Foods (About) Menu; 3. Caesar Salad and Dressing recipe

Coddling an Egg

You can coddle a whole egg, or just the white or yolk of an egg. It involves heating the egg just enough to kill the bacteria in the egg, while retaining the runny consistency. It is typically used when you would otherwise use a raw egg – such as in mayonnaise – but want to avoid food poisoning.

The first method (coddling in its shell) is from Julia Child’s recipe for Caesar Salad (2); the second method (using a coddler) is from Wiki-How (3), and my own experience.

NOTE: Since writing this post, I’ve seen ads for using a silicone cup to cook eggs, similar to using a coddler. I have never used this (I’m skeptical about the safety of silicone for cooking) so do not know simmering time(s) for this device.

To coddle a whole egg in its shell

  1. Bring a small saucepan of water to a simmer.
  2. Pierce the large end of the egg shell with a pushpin to prevent cracking. Place whole egg into the simmering water and simmer for exactly 1 minute. Remove

To coddle two yolks using a small coddler

  1. Remove egg(s) from refrigerator and place on counter to warm to room temperature.
  2. Line bottom of saucepan with a dishtowel or cheesecloth to keep the coddler from moving around in the water. Add just enough water that it comes half-way up the outside of the coddler when it sits in the pan. Remove coddler.
  3. Bring water to a boil and reduce to simmer.
  4. While water is heating, coat inside of coddler(s) and inside of lid(s) with butter, coconut oil or olive oil.  It should be well-coated, but not so much that it will puddle in the bottom of the coddler.
  5. Crack the egg’s shell and separate the yolk from the white, putting the yolks together into the prepped coddler. Break the yolks; screw on the lid. Set the whites aside for another use. Or if coddling a whole egg in the coddler, crack the shell and dump entire contents into the coddler, breaking the yolk if desired.
  6. Screw on the lid of the coddler, tight enough that water can’t seep in, but not too tight.
  7. Carefully lower the coddler into the boiling water and cook for 5 – 5½ minutes, depending on size of the egg:
    • 5 minutes for one medium egg or 2 yolks in a small coddler
    • 5½ minutes for one large egg or 2 yolks in a small coddler
    • 6½ minutes for two medium eggs in a large coddler
    • 8½ minutes for two large eggs in a large coddler
  8. Remove coddler from water. The easiest way to keep from being burned by the boiling water is to insert the end of a spoon or fork into the ring on the top of the lid, and lift the coddler.  Set it on a kitchen towel or hot pad, on the counter.
  9. Using a spoon, remove the coddled yolks/egg from the coddler.

You can use the same method to coddle two whole eggs in a larger coddler, but it will take longer:

  • 6½ minutes for two medium eggs in a large coddler
  • 8½ minutes for two large eggs in a large coddler


  1. Coddler photo:
  2. Julia Child:
  3. Using a coddler:

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