How to Make Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs

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Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

I love hard boiled eggs. They’re great for deviled eggs, egg salad, or just eating plain with a sprinkle of salt.

Used to be that people were scared of eating eggs because of the cholesterol in the egg yolks. Not only has research found that eggs also raise the good cholesterol that bodies need, but the latest Federal dietary guidelines no longer warn against dietary cholesterol which made people limit the eggs in their diet in the first place.

When it comes to boiling eggs, the biggest problem is that people can easily over-cook them, leading to a dark green color around the yolk, and a somewhat sulphuric taste. Here’s my method for how to cook hard boiled eggs so that they don’t get over-cooked.

How to Make Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs

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  • Cook time: 12 minutes

Did you know? Older eggs are easier to peel than fresh eggs. If you are planning to make hard boiled eggs for Easter and want to make sure that the eggs are easy to peel, buy your eggs at least a week ahead of time (two weeks even better, they'll keep).

If you need easy-to-peel eggs and you have fresh eggs, you might want to try steaming the eggs for 15 minutes. Pour an inch of water into a pot and insert a steamer basket.Bring to a boil. Place the eggs in the steamer basket, cover and steam for 15 minutes (more or less, check!).  (Or if you don't have a steamer basket, steam the eggs in a half inch of water.) The steam penetrates the shell a bit making the eggs easier to peel. (You can also steam eggs in a pressure cooker!)

If you've boiled a batch of eggs that  you are now finding difficult to peel, try cracking the shells all around without peeling them and soaking the eggs in water for a while. The water often seems to seep in enough under the shell to make the egg easier to peel.

If you live at high altitude, let the eggs sit in the hot water longer or lower the heat and maintain a low simmer for 10 to 12 minutes.

Method

1. Place the eggs in a single layer at the bottom of a saucepan. Cover with at least an inch or two of cold water. The more eggs that are crowding the pan the more water you should have over the eggs.

2. Heat the pot on high heat and bring the water to a full rolling boil.

Adding a teaspoon of vinegar to the water may help keep egg whites from running out if an egg does crack while cooking. Also some people find adding 1/2 teaspoon of salt to the water helps prevent cracking as well as making the eggs easier to peel.

3. Turn off the heat, keep the pan on the hot burner, cover, and let sit for 10-12 minutes.

If you have the type of stove burner that doesn't retain any heat when turned off, you might want to lower the temp to low, simmer for a minute, and then turn it off.

Depending on how cooked you like your hard boiled eggs, the eggs should be done perfectly in 10-12 minutes. That said, depending on your altitude, the shape of the pan, the size of the eggs, the ratio of water to eggs, it can take a few minutes more. Or if you like your eggs not fully hard cooked, it can take a few minutes less. When you find a time that works for you, given your preferences, the types of eggs you buy, your pots, stove, and cooking environment, stick with it.

If I'm cooking a large batch of eggs, after 10 minutes I'll sacrifice one to check for doneness, by removing it with a spoon, running it under cold water, and cutting it open. If it's not done enough for my taste, I'll cook the other eggs a minute or two longer.

I also find that it is very hard to overcook eggs using this method. I can let the eggs sit, covered, for up to 15-18 minutes without the eggs getting overcooked.

4. Strain the water from the pan and run cold water over the eggs to cool them quickly and stop them from cooking further. Or, if you are cooking a large batch of eggs, remove them with a slotted spoon to a large bowl of ice water.

I find it easiest to peel the eggs under a bit of running water.

The best way to store hard boiled eggs is in a covered container in the refrigerator. Eggs can release odors in the fridge which is why it helps to keep them covered.

They should be eaten within 5 days.

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The good thing about this method is that even if you forget and the eggs sit in the water a few minutes longer than you had planned, they'll still be fine.

Some people like their eggs less or more hard cooked than others. If you want your eggs still a little translucent in the center, let them seep in the hot water for only 6 minutes or so.

Hard Boiled Eggs

Showing 4 of 358 Comments

  • David

    Have been boiling eggs for years and like them soft on the inside. So I thought I’d give your method a try and it was right on point. 6 min per the directions and a nice soft center and at 8 just as you described it.
    I also added salt to the water as directed.
    Eggs peeled nicely as well.
    Thanks for the well written article along with the pics showing the yolks as that was critical.
    My new goto method…thanks Elise

  • Angela

    Followed directions exactly, wanted the “10 minute” version. They were runny.

  • Rich Murphy

    Instant Pot is awesome. For the hard boiled eggs, how many have you done at once?

  • Kate

    When peeling, I’ve always found it easier to cool the eggs afterwards in cold water until you can hold it in your hand without it burning. Then I tap the egg a few times around and on each end to crack it, then just roll it in my hands or on the plate, like your rolling a ball of dough, until the shell cracks into tiny pieces all around. It peels right off that way with no problems. The shell practically falls off.

  • Brittney Lewellen

    For easier peeling I found it great to cook for 15 minutes and put straight into a bowl of room temp water and place it straight into the freezer. Let the top freeze over, this may take 30 to 45 minutes for a 1/2 inch freeze with a 14inch round bowl, then take the bowl out. If you have younger little ones letting them crack the ice with thier fingers is fun for them and entertaining for the adults to watch their fingers slide as they try to break the ice but not the eggs as they roll around in the bowl.

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