Can we as a forum bust a survival TV show myth? – Cooking an egg in toilet paper

On the Bear Grylls TV show Running Wild, actor Terry Crews tags along with Bear in the Icelandic Highlands of Season 6 Episode 2 (available on Disney+ for streaming). One of the main points of this episode is that Terry has to carry an egg around with him and on the second day of their adventure they eat it. Bear introduces Terry to a cooking technique where they wrap the egg in toilet paper and light it on fire. With magic of editing, the egg is perfectly hardboiled in 2 minutes. 

Ever since seeing this scene, I wanted to test that out for myself. I tried to look online for anybody else attempting this and could not see a single mention of this technique. So going back to the original episode, I analyzed it to see if I could pick up on any tips or tricks. 

  • Terry rolls up the egg in toilet paper and seems to do it moderately tight
  • Bear says that to prevent the egg from exploding, you need to poke a small hole in it.
  • It seems like they may have used another tinder source behind the wad of toilet paper because it takes off very forcefully, there is a loud hissing sound from the flame, the toilet paper doesn’t seem to be on fire and charring enough to equal the amount of flames coming off of the wad, the flames look an unnatural red color, and personally I haven’t been able to easily light toilet paper like that with a ferro rod before.
  • They do cook a gull egg, but it doesn’t look to be too different in size than a medium chicken egg.

Here’s the clip in case you want to look at it as well. 

On my first attempt, I took a free range chicken egg from my neighbor’s chickens and wrapped it tightly in over six feet of toilet paper.


Taking it outside, I doused it with lighter fluid (for extra help) and set it on fire. The lighter fluid gives off big orange flames for a few seconds and then the wad of toilet paper is extinguished and it smolders. I let it do that for a few minutes thinking that it would still give off heat and cook the egg. But when even the smoldering started to die down, I drenched it in lighter fluid twice more and waited for it to die down again.


All of the toilet paper didn’t burn off because I wrapped the egg tightly and the toilet paper wasn’t able to get enough oxygen.

When I cracked the egg open after 13 minutes, only a very small sliver of the egg white was cooked.


I attempted the experiment again with a very small chicken egg that is much smaller than the gull egg used in the episode. I wrapped it in the same six feet of toilet paper, but very loosely and lightly this time to have it burn more completely. I also stayed away from using lighter fluid this time to see if that was causing it to burn too quickly last time. After 13 minutes, the toilet paper was more thoroughly consumed, but the egg wasn’t any more cooked.

My guess is that the egg used in the TV show had been hardboiled the entire time and this toilet paper technique was just to show off for the audience.

I know that many survival shows are staged and edited to show various techniques, but if this is a hoax and you can’t actually cook an egg from raw to hardboiled with toilet paper like is shown, then it needs to be known that this is not a real survival technique. I am not dogging Bear at all, he is a great and genuine guy and I look up to him as a person in many ways.

So here’s where the challenge comes in. Can we as a community prove or disprove that this works? Try it on your own with your family and see if you can figure out what steps need to be taken to hardboil an egg using toilet paper. 

Want more Bear Grylls? Drinking your own pee for survival: does the science bear it out? 


  • Comments (21)

    • 3

      Weird, random information here – I am Jewish, and for Seder (the meal for Passover), we have a plate with symbolic foods. One of the items on the plate is a roasted egg. Most of us boil the egg, but it’s nice to have a little char on it so it looks roasted. I’ve tried to char my egg multiple ways – matches, flame from gas stove, but, the moisture left in the egg always causes it to crack under direct heat (maybe under actual hot coals it’s different). So poking a hole makes sense. However, that’s the extend of my knowledge.

      My personal opinion, burn toilet paper?! No way – after the great toilet paper run – that stuff is money – ha! TP seems like it burns too hot and too quickly. Can it be slowed to a roast? 

      • 2

        So do toilet paper cooked eggs give the look you are wanting? 


      • 3

        Perfect! lol! No one actually eats it so no need to cook it! 

      • 3

        Glad something good came out of this dumb experiment haha!

    • 4

      In another Bear Grylls show, Born Survivor / Man vs Wild, the show said he was abandoned in the wild to fend for himself. Really they went out to film individual scenes, and he stayed at a hotel in between.


      • 3

        And I am okay with that. As long as they show quality survival techniques in between takes, I don’t care how they edit the episode to make it seem like he is sleeping out there the entire night. But this egg thing is starting to bug me, because if they in fact faked that, then they are not showing those quality survival techniques in between takes.

        What are your thoughts on these type of survival shows? Does the fact that the crew and Bear stay in a hotel in between scenes bother you and kill the magic?

      • 2

        I haven’t watched any of Bear Grylls’s shows.

        In general, when watching a survival show, I see that as a mix of entertainment and learning. From the entertainment side, it doesn’t really matter. From the learning side, it matters a lot.

        I’ve watched a lot of “Naked and Afraid” episodes and learned a lot from that. The lessons are not always explicit. For example, I watch when contestants get sick and when they do something that might make them sick. I’ve picked up on the patterns that getting your face wet while swimming in a lake is just as likely to make you throw up a few hours later as if you’d drank a pot of water without boiling it. If the producers were constantly passing antibiotics to the contestants without telling us, I would have learned the opposite lesson.

        I noticed that Naked and Afraid contestants never got lost, despite hiking miles through dense woods. Good thing I knew that was odd, or I might have learned that hiking in the woods is safe and never leads to getting lost. I’d watched about 50 episodes before I finally caught a sign of how they were doing it. That paper map that they receive at the beginning has a “you are here” mark at the point they got dropped in. When they look at the same map later in the episode, that mark has moved to their new location. I’m pretty sure the producers hand out new maps to them with updated location, like a paper GPS.

        Every time a survival show has fake elements, there’s a chance that the audience will learn something fake. That’s why they need to be transparent about what aspects of the scenario they’ve artificially adjusted.

      • 4

        I am glad you mention the lake thing. I have friends who think I am nuts for refusing to go swimming in freshwater lakes, ponds, and rivers (I’m totally cool with saltwater).  One episode of giardia is all it takes, people…..


    • 3

      My thought is to swallow the egg raw and trade the TP for a hen.


      • 1

        You remind me of the raw egg scene from Napoleon Dynamite

    • 2

      I don’t buy it. I know how long it takes to boil an egg even after the water is brought to boil…4 minutes minimum. No way that TP burned that long unless he used Terry’s whole roll!

      Also Googled it. The ONLY thing that came up was the clip from Bear’s show and they didn’t show the whole process. There are no other contributions on the ‘net regarding cooking an egg with nothing but TP. The closest thing was wrapping it in wet TP then putting it in a pot, but then why not just use water and save the TP? There’s also an article about putting an egg in a paper cup full of water and then placing it in a fire. Supposedly the cup won’t burn cause it got water in it. Not sure I buy that either since there’s no water protecting the lower rim of the cup, but it sounds more feasible than TP. 

      I say save the TP and the cup, and fry the egg the old fashioned way…on hot pavement!

      • 2

        Thanks for doing some Googling towards busting this myth! Those are all the same results I saw as well.

        I would like to try that hard boiling an egg in a paper cup with water over a fire sometime.

      • 3

        Okay, so when I went to “wilderness” summer camp as a kid, we cooked bacon and an egg in a paper bag over a fire.  You put the bacon in first, and then crack the egg over it. Fold over the top of the bag and poke a sharpened stick through it. 

        Hold it over (but not in) the campfire. The flames can occasionally “lick” the bottom of the bag. It took excruciatingly long as a kid with a hungry morning stomach, but it did work! There were about 12 kids, and only one had his bag catch on fire. (He was NOT patient and dangled his deep into the fire, lol)

      • 2

        That is really neat! Does the grease from the bacon prevent the bag from burning?

      • 2

        Yes, it does! Now that I think / remember making it, I kinda remember them saying how we should make sure the bacon kinds went up the sides a little.

        All of this being said…this is probably a great way for a large group to make their own breakfast, but if it were just me, I’d use a little frying pan 🙂

      • 4

        The grease from the bacon has two jobs: (1) blocking oxygen from reaching the bag so it won’t burn and (2) speeding up the transfer of heat through the bag to the egg which (a) cooks the egg faster and (b) leaves less heat behind to damage the bag.

        Neat educational trick, but yes there are much easier ways to cook an egg. Same idea would apply to cooking with toilet paper – not particularly useful even if it did work.

      • 3

        Not to mention that he could have just boiled the egg in a natural hot spring, since he was in Iceland. Should you wish to try that on YOUR upcoming adventure, be aware that the ground around hot springs is very fragile and if you don’t know what you’re doing you can fall in and get boiled alive yourself.  

    • 4

      If you’re interested in disproving this scientifically, I would try and calculate the energy given off by the toilet paper when on fire and compare that to the amount of energy needed to hard-boil an egg.

      If you can believe it, the University of Exeter’s Physics and Astronomy department have published this resource on The Science of Boiling an Egg. It contains mathematical formulas and if mathematically inclined you might be able to adapt them to find the heat energy required.

      To measure heat energy produced by the toilet paper, you’d probably take the egg out of the equation and start a fire with just the toilet paper. You can measure how much thermal energy the toilet paper releases using a DIY calorimeter like in this wikihow article.

      • 2

        That is probably the best way of analyzing if it is scientifically possible. Without even doing the math, I just don’t see how a few feet of toilet paper would have the same amount of energy as boiling an egg for 10 minutes. Which is why I thought this all to be fishy to start with.

      • 2

        Well, exactly. While I’m not interested in trying it out myself, I’d certainly take an interest in anyone else’s results.

        The onus of proof should be on the person claiming it is possible in the first place, and not everyone else’s to disprove it.

      • 3

        According to this article (page 3 “microwave theoretical”) it takes a minimum of 12.4 Wh of energy to cook an egg. Every experiment they tried took substantially more than that, just because real processes never have perfect efficiency.

        [Electrical Energy Used and Time Consumed When Cooking Foods by Various Home Methods: Eggs]

        I couldn’t find a similar number for the energy released by burning 6 feet of toilet paper. Anyone else want to take a try?

        BTW, even if the burning paper releases enough energy to cook an egg, most of that energy will be lost to the surrounding air. As in the article above, this process won’t have perfect efficiency either. I’d need to see the toilet paper producing 2-5 times more than 12.4 Wh of energy before I’d consider this approach even plausible for cooking eggs.