I could not understand how "the water reduces to a rapid simmer"

Decrease the temperature so that the water reduces to a rapid simmer and gently lower the eggs into the water one at a time.

Does the sentence imply " Don't increase temperature too much at first because the water vaporize rapidly when it reach boiling temperature"

if it does , isnt it a bit weird sentence though ?

2 Answers 2


"Rapid simmer" refers to what the water is doing. Simmering is like boiling, but slower and cooler. This site describes simmering and boiling as a spectrum:

At one end, you have a "slow simmer" and on the other end you have a "full rolling boil." At a slow simmer, you'll see very little movement in the liquid; wisps of steam and a tiny bubble or two every so often, but that's it. Then you have a "simmer," where you'll see some gentle bubble activity. A "rapid simmer" is just below a full boil; you'll see a lot of activity in the liquid but the bubbles will still be pretty small. When liquids are at a full, rolling boil, you'll see big bubbles and lots of churning, frantic activity in the pot.

The sentence is standard English. It means that you should turn down the heat until the water is simmering just below a boil, then add the eggs.

  • Thank you but which sense was the word reduce used here ?
    – Mrt
    Jan 3, 2015 at 21:22
  • It's used in sense 2 from here -- to bring something to a lower or weaker state. Your sentence is not a good use of "reduce" since it could easily be confused with sense 1.2 (to boil a liquid until it becomes more concentrated). It would be better to say "Reduce the heat to a rapid simmer."
    – Adam Haun
    Jan 4, 2015 at 0:52

This might probably be better on Seasoned Advice, but still...

What this sentence wants to say is: "Don't cook you eggs in boiling water, but in simmering water." Simmering here means almost, but not quite boiling. If you look at the surface, it's moving, but not bubbling. (Cook's note: Keeps the whites from getting rubbery.)

I'd say your sentence uses a wrong word:

Decrease the temperature so that the boiling reduces to a rapid simmer and gently lower the eggs into the water one at a time.

  • I disagree that the sentence needs to be rewritten. As written, it's a shortened form of "so that the water's state reduces" and your rewrite is a shortened form of "so that the boiling of the water reduces". Both are fine but "the water reduces" is idiomatic recipe-speak. Jan 2, 2015 at 10:33
  • (Also, on a point of cooking which isn't at all relevant to ELL, I think the sentence given is a description of how to poach eggs, not boil them. Adding eggs in their shells to simmering water is likely to crack the shells so, to boil eggs, you put the eggs in cold water and then bring the whole lot up to temperature. So I think the cook's note is actually: trying to poach eggs in boiling water breaks the egg apart because everything's moving too fast.) Jan 2, 2015 at 10:36
  • O dear, let's not get into the big "how to cook eggs" debate. But I agree, this could also be about poaching eggs. (And as I couldn't resist: room temp. eggs & simmering water works fine, cold eggs & boiling water cracks them - according to my "empirical studies" over 30+ years...)
    – Stephie
    Jan 2, 2015 at 11:05

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