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A Coddled Egg for Duncan’s Breakfast from The Fiery Cross

A Coddled Egg for Duncan’s Breakfast from The Fiery Cross

The Fiery Cross

“Phaedre!  Have you seen Mr. Innes this morning?”  Jocasta’s body servant was flying past, her arms full of table cloths, but came abruptly to a halt at my call.

“Ain’t seen Mister Duncan since breakfast, ma’am,” she said, with a shake of her neatly capped head.

“How did he seem then?  Did he eat well?”  Breakfast was an ongoing affair of several hours, the resident guests serving themselves from the sideboard and eating as they chose.  It was more likely nerves than food poisoning that was troubling Duncan’s bowels, but some of the sausage I had seen on the sideboard struck me as highly suspect. 

“No, ma’am, nary a bite.”  Phaedre’s smooth brow puckered; she was fond of Duncan.  “Cook tried to tempt him with a nice coddled egg, but he just shook his head and looked peaked.  He did take a cup of rum punch, though,” she said, seeming somewhat cheered at the thought.

“Aye, that’ll settle him,” Ninian remareked, overhearing.  “Dinna trouble yourself, Mrs. Claire; Duncan will be well enough.”

Diana Gabaldon, The Fiery Cross (Chapter 39 – In Cupid’s Grove)

Duncan’s a good egg.  I can see why Phaedre is “fond” of him.

As for his coddled egg, it would have looked a little different than mine.  For one thing, Cook would have coddled it in the shell.  (Egg coddlers were first made at the end of the 19th C.)  Secondly, it would have been a lot less cooked than the one you see above.

Traditionally defined as having a barely solid outer white, a milky inner white, and a warm yolk, most people today would think coddled eggs were under cooked and unsafe. Instead, I cooked my eggs a little longer, to a firm outer white and semi-liquid yolk — technically called mollet eggs — to answer the food safety concerns many of us have around the factory-produced eggs of this century.

I used a coddler because it’s one of my favourite breakfasts of all time. My Dad and I used to make coddled eggs almost every Sunday while Mom put her feet up one morning a week.  And I still eat start my day with them once or twice a week.

So, although Duncan wasn’t up to his that day, (could you eat breakfast if you were marrying a MacKenzie in a few hours?) I can tell you, from extensive experience, that they’re delicious.

duncans-coddled egg

How to Cook a Coddled Egg

Bring a saucepan of water to a low boil.  Meanwhile, brush your egg coddler with butter, then add the egg(s).  Season with salt and pepper, herbs, cheese, diced tomato, ham, whatever takes your fancy, but remember that sometimes less is more.  Screw the lid on the coddler (do not over tighten) and place in the pan of gently boiling water.  The water should come just above the level of the egg in the coddler.

Reduce the heat to medium, so that the water is at a low boil, and cook to your desired doneness, about 5-7 minutes for soft (coddled), and 8-10 min. for medium (mollet).  A double coddler, like the one you see here, will take longer, about 10 min. for soft and 12-15 min. for medium.

In addition to the butter used to brush the coddler, on this morning I flavoured my eggs with a dusting of parmesan cheese, a little chopped dill & green onion and plenty of salt and pepper.  They were cooked in 14 minutes.

Served with a couple of rashers and one of Claire’s Nettle-Kissed Buns, it was a breakfast worthy of a wedding day at River Run.  (And what a day that was.)

Ith do leòr! (Eat Plenty)



  1. Mary
    March 22, 2012 at 3:41 am

    My, that looks good!

  2. aaron
    March 22, 2012 at 6:16 am

    I have never seen a Coddler- what an interesting kitchen item! Looks very yummy with the rolls!!

    • Theresa
      March 22, 2012 at 9:47 am

      Verra tasty, Aaron!

  3. Chandra Naylor
    March 22, 2012 at 7:16 am

    I am a Family and Consumer Sciences teacher and I teach my students how to coddle eggs using a coddler such as the ones depicted. I love them too. One of my favorite methods of preparing an egg.

    • Theresa
      March 22, 2012 at 9:47 am

      It’s so fantastic that you’re teaching kids to make these! Like I said, I’ve loved coddled eggs almost my whole life. Theresa

  4. lionartcreation
    March 22, 2012 at 8:10 am

    I want to buy an egg coddler now!

    • Theresa
      March 22, 2012 at 9:46 am

      Do it, Lee Ann! I prefer the double coddlers (even if you only cook one egg at a time) they give you a little more room for flavourings!

  5. Ruth
    March 22, 2012 at 9:26 am

    Boy, does that take me back to my childhood! And makes me want to pull out the egg coddler that I have in my cupboard – that my mom gave me for a birthday a long time ago. I just loved dunking toast fingers/pieces in the yolk – and never worried about food safety at all.

    Thanks for posting this recipe – guess what I’m going to be making for breakfast this weekend? (Can’t do it during the week, not enough time to enjoy and savour)

    • Theresa
      March 22, 2012 at 9:45 am

      Fantastic, Ruth! The egg coddler in this post was given to me by my Dad when I moved out of the house…enjoy your breakfast and trip down memory lane! 🙂

  6. ruaTimeTraveler2
    March 22, 2012 at 11:25 am

    I LOV THIS!…..We have even sold the egg coddlers on E-bay..I find antique ones from time to time …(People don’t know what they are)…I lov them…
    …..and I lov Duncan.

  7. Kiri W.
    March 23, 2012 at 10:38 am

    Oooh, that looks delicious! 🙂 I’ve never had a coddler egg, but it looks like I’d enjoy it very much.

    • Theresa
      March 25, 2012 at 7:32 am

      Coddled eggs are pretty much my favourite breakfast. 🙂

  8. deniz
    March 24, 2012 at 3:45 pm

    Sooo yummy looking. I love eggs.

  9. ML
    March 26, 2012 at 5:37 am

    I always wondered what a coddled egg was. Although I did think it might be some sort of soft boiled egg. When I was a little girl my aunt would make the soft boiled over toast for me once in awhile. Fond memories!

    • Theresa
      March 26, 2012 at 2:43 pm

      yes, the comfort of a soft egg is universal. 🙂 (unless you don’t like them…lol)

  10. bullrem
    March 27, 2012 at 9:25 am

    I do not have a coddler. So I poach my eggs. That is a yummy way to do them too. You just have to add the other goodies afterward. Helen in Ark.

    • Theresa
      March 27, 2012 at 10:03 am

      I love me a poached egg too, Helen! A great way to start the day. 🙂

  11. dearli13
    April 1, 2012 at 4:56 pm

    my favorite breakfast as a kid!!! thanks Outlander Kitchen! you never cease to amaze me with your wonderful recipes!

    • Theresa
      April 3, 2012 at 9:22 am

      Thanks for your support Dearli…now how about coddled eggs as an adult’s breakfast? Hmmmm? 🙂

    • dearli13
      April 12, 2012 at 3:31 pm

      egg allergy has destroyed breakfast for me. forever. 🙁

    • Theresa
      April 12, 2012 at 3:36 pm

      oh, yeah…I forgot. 🙁

    • dearli13
      April 12, 2012 at 3:45 pm

      it’s so depressing.

  12. meganhcarroll
    April 1, 2012 at 6:34 pm

    I guess I am making coddlers… I love ceramic dishes that have one function…

    • Theresa
      April 3, 2012 at 9:21 am

      If you make coddlers, I want to know, Megan! I’ll be your first customer…

  13. Tsondeen
    June 9, 2012 at 9:12 am

    Inherited a few coddlers from my husband’s Aunt. Now I know how to make it taste good! Thank you. We were thinking of passing them on but now looks like we can use them!

    • Theresa
      June 10, 2012 at 1:37 pm

      yay! enjoy your coddling.

  14. Sara Howard
    July 14, 2012 at 11:27 pm

    Might have to try to inherit my Grandmothers egg coddlers… always wondered what those funny little things in the china cabinet were! 🙂

    • Theresa
      July 15, 2012 at 4:21 pm

      Sara — I bet if you ask her, she’ll be happy to share. 🙂

  15. Fiona Rankine Wright
    October 19, 2012 at 10:52 am

    A half-breed Sassenach, embarking on a new job in B & B I am exploring how to make traditional breakfasts, like my Scottish Grandma would have made… bought oak smoked haddock at local Hastings smoakerie. Found a coddler in charity shop & put 5 Bantam eggs into it. Hey presto a meal for 2! I was delighted to find your blog! Thanks for making me smile & sigh for the bygone days I disdained…

    • Theresa
      October 19, 2012 at 12:06 pm

      Wonderful to hear from you, Fiona! Keep us posted on your culinary adventures…I envy you a wee bit! Theresa

  16. Judy
    December 8, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    I just bought a maxim egg coddler. Large enough for 4 eggs and put in 2 jumbo eggs from the fridge with a piece of cheese and some mushrooms. I am already at 32 minutes for cooking and it seems to be cooked enough. Any one have any advice for this and does any one have recipes for the stews one can make in the maxim coddler.

    I have used the single egg coddler with great success–one egg cooks in 7 minutes. 32 minutes is a long time to wait for 2 eggs.


    • Theresa
      December 10, 2012 at 10:43 am

      Judy — I have seen a German-made extra large coddler, but not a Maxime by Royal Wor. And I agree — 32 minutes is far too long. My double coddler takes about 12 minutes for a cooked white with a soft yolk.

    • Judy
      December 10, 2012 at 4:42 pm

      I will try with out the mushrooms and onions and see what happens. My large coddler’s walls are half again as thick as my single. Maybe it just takes longer for the heat to transfer to the inside.

  17. Leslie L Sexton
    August 17, 2014 at 10:56 am

    I love good food, and new food ideas from the past most of this info is lost. i miss my grandmothers cooking….thanks for information

    • Theresa
      August 17, 2014 at 11:32 am

      Outlander Kitchen is very much about regaining those lost skills, Leslie! Great to have you here.

  18. Susan Cowles
    August 18, 2014 at 11:52 am

    The coddled eggs look delicious and can’t wait to make them, but what is in the sliced roll? It looks like rolled dough topped with cheese, spinach, mushrooms and maybe meat and then rolled like a cinnamon roll, sliced and baked. Do you have this recipe? It looks like a breakfast that you couldn’t get enough of.


  19. Kelly
    September 7, 2014 at 7:57 am

    What is that roll that is with the eggs?! It looks awesome….would love to make this entire breakfast.

  20. D Suzanne Bishop
    September 7, 2014 at 8:05 am

    After reading this recipe, I immediately ordered an egg coddler . I ordered a double coddler based on your recommendation.
    I can’t wait to try this recipe!
    I really enjoy your website ~ Thank you for sharing!

  21. Karen Chambers
    September 7, 2014 at 8:08 am

    You learn something new everyday and I now know that what I previously thought were fancy jampots are actually coddlers. 45 years ago we talked about coddled eggs in Home Ec class but it took your wonderful blog to actually SHOW me what they are all about. I love your site, love your cooking, love that you found so much food in the Outlander series and are bringing it to life, and am so so proud that you are a fellow Canadian !

  22. Sandra Bigelow
    September 20, 2014 at 7:29 pm

    Where can you buy egg coddlers? I never can find them.
    Thank you
    Sandra Bigelow

    • Dawn Spruill
      August 15, 2015 at 8:07 am

      Is too would like to know where to get an egg coddled. My mom was big on poached eggs. We had a pan with little cups that sat in water. I would love to find one of those pans as well.

    • Theresa
      August 15, 2015 at 10:29 am

      Coddlers are available on Amazon…or eBay, if you want a vintage one. Google “egg coddlers” and start your search!

  23. Stacy
    August 15, 2015 at 8:08 am

    Good morning! I always enjoy reading your recipes and the history behind them. 🙂

    1 question: do you beat or otherwise scramble the eggs before adding them to the coddler?

    • Theresa
      August 15, 2015 at 10:26 am

      No…just crack it in there. You want the yolk whole.

  24. Laura
    August 15, 2015 at 4:09 pm

    This looked so interesting I went to amazon to find egg coddlers. Thanks!

  25. linda
    October 24, 2015 at 8:47 am

    This looks so neat. Looking at amazon and they don’t seem to list double as a size. Would it be the 4.4 oz or 8.4 0z?? TIA

    • Theresa
      October 25, 2015 at 12:09 pm

      The 8.4 oz will fit 2 eggs.

  26. Judy
    October 25, 2015 at 8:09 pm

    Hmm, a kitchen gadget neither my Mom nor Grandma owned or used. Or at least if Grandma did I never saw it, nor did it make it to Mom’s when Gma moved in. ha. I do have one of those skillets (Revereware, even) with the insert and little cups for poaching.

  27. Shannon
    January 3, 2016 at 11:20 am

    Just a American anglophile (and Outlander devotee) here, who ordered two double coddlers after reading this. Today, we had our first coddled eggs ever! (Technically, I guess, they were “mollet” eggs…) Thanks for the opening my eyes to something so new (to me!) and wonderful!

    • Theresa
      January 4, 2016 at 1:57 pm

      Wonderful! Enjoy your coddled eggs!

  28. Christine Krueger
    April 9, 2016 at 9:29 am

    I was looking for the potato fritters recipe, but the link goes to the coddled eggs. 😢

    • Theresa
      April 9, 2016 at 11:41 am

      uhoh! I`ll correct it now. In the meantime, here are the potato fritters…

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