This method works perfectly. The eggs were extremely easy to peel. Everyone complaining they can’t peel their eggs obviously aren’t able to follow simple directions. Cold water. Eggs. Salt. Rolling boil. Burner off. Wait 15 min. Ice water. Peel. Not very hard……
Thanks for the guide, I just started eating eggs and had never hard boiled before. This method worked perfectly and I had no trouble peeling them. I added salt to the water and let them sit for 10 minutes after turning off the burner, then put them in a bowl of ice water for about 3 minutes before peeling.
I’m curious as to how you get them easy to peel this way. I followed this and they were impossible to peel.
The alternative and much better way: being the water a boil, THEN put the eggs in. Turn off the heat after 4 minutes or so and let it sit for 8 or 9 minutes. Place in cold water.
That method works much better and the eggs are easy peel without vinegar or a crazy technique.
Hi Thomas, if you really want absolutely surefire way to get easy to peel eggs, steam them. http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/how_to_steam_eggs/
Or just put the eggs in after the water is boiling… Please try it and let me know how it goes, I assure you it is also surefire.
I feel foolish having bought ready made hard boiled eggs. I’ve worked in the food business since I was 8. I wish I’d have learned the steaming method a long time ago. It would have saved me a lot of time during “prep”. It’s as easy as steam, ice water and peel. AND they taste great.
ANOTHER OF YOUR PERFECT RECIPES! I CAN COOK EGGS! WITH ELISE’S HELP, EVEN I CAN COOK. I ADORE YOU.
I love it when my in-real-life friends try the recipes. Adore you too Rich!
I am going to try this tomorrow.
Meantime as far as peeling goes: place the egg in a small glass or jar, fill with water, cap (or hold your hand over top), shake!
I have only done this once but it seemed to work. Apparently the battering of the egg against the sides of the container causes cracking which allows the agitated water to travel under the shell. This forces the shell away from the white. I try this again tomorrow.
I followed the directions exactly (I think) and on all 10 eggs, the peel stuck to the membrain which stuck to the whites … which left me very frustrated with ugly eggs not worthy of being made into deviled eggs. Where did I go wrong? Should eggs be at room temperature when I start? Should I cook fewer at a time? Were the eggs not fresh enough? Help!
Hi, Jan — the problem is most likely that your eggs were too fresh. Older eggs tend to peel more easily. For truly easy-to-peel eggs, try steaming them or cooking them in the pressure cooker.
I crack my eggs then slide a spoon inside the shell and it comes right off
Hmm. Wondering why no one has said anything about piercing the bottom of the large end of the egg with a pin before cooking. Any thoughts?
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
Followed directions exactly, wanted the “10 minute” version. They were runny.
Hi Angela! So sorry this method didn’t work for you! This is a pretty universal technique, widely used in restaurants, so it sounds like something must have just gotten off for you. Are you at high elevation? Did you let the water come to a full rolling boil before removing the pot from heat? Did you use extra-large eggs, maybe? Just a few possible thoughts!
Instant Pot is awesome. For the hard boiled eggs, how many have you done at once?
I’ve done as few as 1 and as many as 2 dozen eggs, though I don’t recommend doing more than will fit in a single layer. When I tested 2 dozen, I had to stack the eggs on top of each other and I got a lot of cracks in the ones on the bottom. (Though they still cooked ok!)
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.
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.
Instead of cracking an egg to check for doneness, lay the egg on its side and spin the egg on a counter or flat surface. If the egg is done, it will spin evenly and freely. If it is not done, it will wobble and stop quickly. That’s how grandma used to do it and grandmas are always right. :)
Love this! My grandma taught me this too! Works every time!
I just tried this and it worked well! I live at 5800 ft in the mountains, so I took your recommendation and left the burner on low for the first 8 minutes, then turned it off for the last 3. I have never hard boiled eggs up here (been scared for altitude). I sacrificed one egg at the 11 minute mark and it was perfect!
I tried your recipe today and it worked great for me. I have always used my mothers way, which was put eggs in cold water, heat to boiling. Soft boil 8 minutes, hard boiled and 7 minutes for soft boiled. It has worked great for me. Of course it depends on which size eggs you are using. Jumbo will take about a minute more. For peeling, I simply crack the hollow end and use a teaspoon to peel. Just slide the spoon under the shell. I’ve done this for many years. This works very good. Once in a while I’ll get an egg that doesn’t peel the greatest but usually it works fine
Omg. Best hard boil eggs I ever made Very delicious and they were perfect. No green at all. Thank you so much
thank you! it work
I used the vinegar and salt and they came out perfect!! Peeled easily and the yoke was nice and yellow..thank you!
Just made a dozen, 2 cracked. Put them in ice bath afterwards and they peeled with ease. They were also yellow yoke with no gray or green. Thanks for the tip.
I just did this, it worked PERFECTLY! Thank you so much.
Two of three of my eggs cracked, and they were not cracked before. I’ve never done it this way, and perhaps that’s why. Very disappointed.
No, they probably had some cracks that couldn’t be seen. I use this method at least once per month and I rarely have an egg that cracks. Hopefully you’ll have better luck next time.
THANK YOU SO MUCH.
I’ve been struggling with trying to cook an egg then peel it while still having a semi-hard yolk. What often happens is that I lose some of the whites whilst trying to peel it. Your advice worked and the three eggs I’ve just tried to cook all came out perfect.
I’m so glad I found this, thanks again!
I believe talking to the eggs before boiling them and letting them know what is expected of them works best.
Hahahahaha! I love it!
OMG…… Yes, whispering words regarding expectations really does work! I give them each a little pat on their underside as well, but be sure it’s on the plumper side or it doesn’t work. I am so grateful for all the goodness they bring to me. Thank you so very much for your comment. ……and I thought that I was the only eccentric!
Im going to try it your way.
You’ve given a fresh perspective to my edibles and have given me that missing piece of the puzzle! Gosh, I talk to everything! How could I have neglected my eggs?! You’ve just helped me become just a bit more touched! When I get my own clean, white, padded room I won’t forget to thank my eggs… they’re gonna love me!
When storing in fridge….Is that already peeled?
Hi Shonna, I usually store hard boiled eggs with their peels on.
This method worked like a charm. So easy and simple. Thanks so much!
I believe taking the eggs out of the boiling water and then running them through cold water works great. Although I have a secret after I run cold water through them I immediately put them back in boiling water. It is da best.
What does your secret do? I love finding new ways to cook.
Use several week old egglands best, followed instructions, even added a little salt & vinegar. WORST peel ever! Lost more egg than remained on the yolk. Maybe I shouldnt have thrown away the one that floated it was probably the only one old enough to boil. Maybe this is reflective of how old the eggs in the store really are?
I must add the tip for cracking the shells and putting them back to soak worked beautifully. The rest of the batch peeled with no problem.
I have followed these instructions for a variety of eggs, and I have found that Egglands Best eggs by far peel the worst.
That’s because fresher eggs are harder to peel. Old eggs peel more easily. My guess is that the Eggland’s Best are more fresh than other eggs. Also, stores stock up on eggs around Easter, and so the eggs are usually older and peel better then too.
I believe that temperature shocking the egg eliminates a difficult peeling boiled egg by preventing the bonding of the egg membrane to its inner shell which gradual warming seems to promote. Bring water in a 3 quart saucepan to a vigorous boil. Then add eggs that have been allowed to chill overnight in a 34 degree refrigerator by carefully ladling them into the boiling water one at a time. Using more boiling water helps to keep it from cooling too quickly. After all the eggs have been added to the water, adjust the heat to maintain a gentle rolling boil. Do not layer the eggs. Set a timer at 15 minutes for large or jumbo size eggs. After 15 minutes, turn off the heat and let the eggs remain in the hot water another 5 minutes. Drain the hot water and place the pot under a sink faucet running cold water for several minutes until the water remains cold. Allow the eggs to remain in the cold water bath for about a half hour, then remove to a drying rack. Egg shells will peel easily in large sections. This works for me every single time, whether very fresh eggs have been in the fridge just over night or allowed to age for a couple of weeks.
I am forever through using trays of ice to cool the eggs and I never use salt or vinegar added to the pot of water.
The cold eggs don’t crack being added to boiling water? I always thought you add cold water to begin with to prevent cracking.
Never had an issue unless there was already a hairline crack in the shell, but I’m very careful to gently lower the eggs one at a time into the boiling pan of water.
This method worked like a charm. Thank you for sharing ;)
I have always had trouble boiling eggs.
Tried the steaming method a few months ago and will never go back. They are now always perfect.
I’m sorry, but this technique is terrible – specifically adding the eggs to cold or room temperature water is a guarantee that the shells will stick to the eggs and become a nightmare to peel. Adding the eggs to already boiling water is much more effective as the shells come right off. I won’t be trying this method again.
I’ve made hard boiled eggs all my life, but this was the easiest and the best. I boiled them for 11 minutes submerge them in a ic bath cracked one open peeled perfectly and the Egg Yolk and egg were perfect. Great Hack Thanks!
I’ve tried everything for hard boiling eggs, with easy peeling. Nothing works every time, except the steaming method.
Take a vegetable steamer, if you don’t have one, buy one.
Add water to the steamer, bring to a boil. Add eggs to the basket, one or as many as will fit, place in the steamer, and cover with the lid.
Set timer for 16 minutes. While waiting, make an ice water bath that will fit the steamer, and still cover the eggs.
When time is up, immediately submerge the steamer basket in the ice bath. Let cool for two or three minutes. Peel in the basket, it makes it easy to discard the shells in the garbage. They are perfectly cooked, cooled so they can be handled,and the peels just fall off. Use for deviled eggs, pickling, or just for eating
Spot on! Boiled and then let sit for exactly 11mins. Transfered to iced water bowl…cracked and peeled immediately in an apple peel way. Worked and wonderful. Thanks. Only other I’ve ever tried is Julia Child’s and these were easier
Ok. So, I don’t like hard boiled eggs. Haven’t since I was a kid. I’ll eat the whites but never the yolk it was always grey outside and dry and gross.
I can never remember how to hardboil eggs and my husband requested them for his lunch. So I got on the old interwebs and this was the first recipe that popped up. I read it and this is when I discover that grey outer yolk means over cooked. So, I decided to try this vs my mom’s boil for 20 minutes method.
I followed your directions to a T. I did read somewhere that baking soda makes eggs easier to peel so I threw in 1/2 tsp. Brought 10 eggs covered with cold water 1 inch above the eggs. Brought to a rolling boil, turned off the heat, covered and let them sit for probably 15 minutes. I shocked with cold water and peeled 1 egg (she’ll slid right off). Cut it in half and the yolk was done like the 16 minute egg beautiful. I salted and tasted… turns out I love hard boiled eggs. These were divine. THANK YOU!!!
Love it! My mom used a similar method growing up. I just wanted to boil a few eggs and it works great. I’m at a high altitude (Denver) so I went to 15 minutes and they’re perfect! Just have to remember to let them cool completely. I had been running cold water over them for about 2-3 minutes and cracked one open to find the center still nice and warm.
I notice after adding the water, some eggs float and others don’t. Is that an indication of how fresh they are? Glad to see other people cook them one day and make deviled eggs the next. I used to kill myself staying up late making them for our work party. Splitting the time up be much easier.
Hi Amy if your eggs float they are bad and shouldn’t be eaten.
It is not true if the eggs float they are bad.. they are just older and entirely edible and in fact much easier to peel for hard boiled eggs. I always try to remember to buy eggs at Easter time a MONTH ahead of the food prep date. My father was in the Navy and out at sea for long periods of time. Their eggs were inTheir refrigeration for six months at a time.
Older eggs are easier to peel than fresh eggs, but really old eggs have started to decompose, releasing gas, which is why bad eggs float. I think probably the ideal level is if the egg bobs below the surface of the water. So there is enough air to make it easier for the eggs to peel, but not so much as to indicate that the egg has decomposed beyond being palatable. My guess regarding the Navy eggs is that given how long out to see these ships stay, they probably keep their refrigerator at a temperature lower than the standard fridge in the home. That said, eggs do last a long time. This is true especially in Europe where they don’t strip off the protective membrane on the outside of the egg like we do here in the states.
What protective membrane on the outside of the eggs? My chooks don’t seem to lay any eggs with outside protective membranes?
It’s thin. The membrane washes off if you wash the fresh eggs. So, if you want your eggs to last longer from the chicken, don’t wash them.
All chicken eggs have an invisible membrane on them. You just didn’t realize. That’s why they can be gathered days after being laid and still be ok. The membrane is keeping them fresh. After washing/rinsing an egg, it will need to be stored in a fridge.
You don’t actually have to boil the eggs. Buy a cheap probe thermometer and keep the water around 95 degrees. No ‘casualties’ this way!
Hi Paul, I assume you mean 95 degrees Centigrade. That’s about 203°F, just a little bit below boiling.
How long should the eggs be cooked at 95/203, Paul?
I tried this the other day they turned out perfectly I live at a very high altitude so at ten minutes they ended up somewhere between the shown 6 and 10 minute times I also didn’t have a lid so I jury rigged one with tinfoil and was using a pretty sketchy pot #brokecollegekid
Once the stove is turned off, a plastic or ceramic plate (one that can be put in the microwave so it can withstand heat) can also be used as a lid in a pinch.
Several have mentioned peeling the eggs under running water. Fine, but do NOT let the shells go down the drain. The go in garbage can or compost.
Agreed! I save all of mine for compost. The calcium in the shells helps prevent blossom end rot when growing tomatoes and peppers.
Egg shells along with coffee grounds are the two biggest culprits in clogging up a garbage disposal . Found that out the hard (and downright grossest!) way.
Or, you know, let them go in the drain and run the disposal.
Hi Michael, my plumber’s advice is to not to run egg shells down the drain or disposal. They calcium in the shells ends up clogging up the drain and disposal.
I boiled some eggs in a pot I had made popcorn in without wahing it. The residue oil in the pan caused the egg shells to practically fall off. Now I always add a teaspoon of vegetable or olive oil to the pan and it works everytime. Also, I peel them under running cold water which also helps seperate the shell from the egg.
Somewhat followed these instructions, but changed up a bit after reading reviews and another recipe that called for Baking powder in the water.
I’ve always used my go to brown eggs and shells ALWAYS stick when peeling.
Used white eggs purchased 1 day ago.
Eggs straight from fridge into pan covered 1″ above single layer eggs with water.
Add 1/2 t baking powder (no salt or vinegar this time). And bring to boil.
Turned off heat and let sit covered 15-17 min.
I tested one egg BC I’m making today for Thanksgiving appetizer and want eggs done right for Deviled Eggs.
EGG WAS PERFECT!!! Peeled perfect! Fluffy yellow yolk without any green overcook effect
I immediately transferred eggs into prepared ice water bowl and put in fridge to cool before Deviled Eggs recipe prep!!!
This recipe did not work for me at all. Ruined 2 dozen eggs, it’s not all its “cracked” up to be, will not repeat.
I have used this method for over 30 years and have not had any issues with it and I have lived in many countries during my life time. As each persons conditions are different in reference to altitude, cooking element type, pot type, and egg type it is really hard to narrow it down to why it may not be working for you.
If you could provide further information on what is happening someone may be able to solve this issue for you.
I am by far, the worst egg boiler in the universe, but using your recipe I just made the most perfect hard boiled eggs ever! I thank you and so do my thanksgiving guests!!
I use this method all the time now and it works perfectly. Just curious, if storing the hard boiled eggs that won’t be used right away, is it better to peel them first before storing in a sealed container? Thanks!
Hi Nancy, good question. I usually store the eggs with the peels on. They last longer that way.
You say they’ll keep for two weeks at the top and at the bottom you say eat in five days, which is it?
At the top I say to buy your eggs (raw eggs) two weeks before you boil them, and at the bottom I say eat them within 5 days (after boiling).
Want a perfect way to PEEL hard boiled eggs? After cooling in pan, leave the lid on and roll the pan in a circular motion (making the eggs circle around the sides of the pan and cracking the outer shell into a bunch of tiny pieces). Once you’ve done that, the entire shells practically fall right off, without taking much egg with them at all (if any). Eggs MUST be completely cooked and cooled first.
Old family secret, time and aggravation saver for sure, as I am the family “Deviled Egg” Guru and must bring 2-3 dozen to every family function!
I started with 8 one week old fresh out of the fridge eggs. I put them in the pot and covered them with cold water about an inch over the tops of the eggs. I put them on the burner on high heat then added quite a bit of salt and some vinegar. I didn’t measure, but seriously the more salt the better. I probably used about 2 tablespoons. The vinegar I used one, maybe 2 tablespoons also. As I said, I didn’t measure. I brought it to a full roiling boil and then turned the heat off. I waited until it stopped boiling and then put a lid on the pot. I let it sit for 14 minutes, but could’ve easily went to 15 or 16 without them being overdone. I didn’t Crack one to test for doneness, but I did do the spin test. I then transferred them to a bowl and ran cold water over them until the shells were cool to the touch. Then I ate 2 and refrigerated the rest. They were perfect. The trick is to add the salt and vinegar at the beginning BEFORE they boil. They do you no good if you don’t have them in until after the water is already boiling.
I’ve used this method for several years now thanks to this site! :) I normally boil 24 at a time (big dutch oven), they go in from the fridge into the pot, fill the dutch oven (lots of water to offset the volume of eggs). Bring to a boil (with a teaspoon of baking powder), let sit for 12 minutes on the burner, then into the sink to be shocked with cold water….leave the water running on cold until all of the eggs are as cold as they will be in the fridge. Then drain, cover with the lid of the dutch oven and into the fridge. Peel the next day to make my deviled eggs. :)
Checked several ‘how to hard boil eggs’ sites, not finding an answer: what temp should the eggs be to start with? Fresh-from-fridge, or room temp? Lots of complaints in comments about coming out under-done, I’m guessing they started with cold eggs, but I could be wrong. Answers from the experts?
Hi Tom, I always take my eggs directly from the fridge. I start them in cold water and bring the water up to a boil.
This recipe is no yoke!
Ok. I cooked a dozen eggs in a pot with water, covering the eggs by an inch. Uncovered, I brought the eggs to a rolling boil and covered and turned off the gas. As the eggs were coming up to a boil, I added one teaspoon each of salt and vinegar, which is suppose to make the eggs each to peel and prevent and the the egg white from leaking out from an egg. After the 12 minute boil (I live at 3000′ elevation), I turned off the heat and pulled out one egg.
I peeled the two-week old egg under cold water but it the shell bits still wanted to adhere to the egg a bit. Maybe I should have used a bit more salt and vinegar.
Out of 12 eggs, one egg leaked a little. My eggs turned out like the picture above (16-minute egg).
Don’t forget to save your favorite pickle juice and I saved the juice from my last jar of kim-chi. Pop the eggs into that juice after peeling. Let them sit for a day or two. Yum.
That’s what I do with my eggs too :) you know what i find sooooo much tastier than pickle juice is pepperoncini juice. Mmmmm. Mmmmmm good!
ok, here it is! forget the salt and try horseradish! YUM
After the eggs are boiled and the water has cooled, use it to water your plants! The water contains vitamins and minerals that your plants can use.
Very good point, Laura! If any of the egg shell’s calcium has leached into the boiling water, it would be great for tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant plants. I usually save any egg shells to put in my garden for that very reason.
Thank you for the great tip!!!
Just tried this method and they came out perfect! Love boiled eggs with just salt! Mmm yum!
Just tried this, it worked out to PERFECTION. And thanks for the tip about peeling the eggs under running water, it took me just a few seconds to do it that way. Easy peasy!
This was awesome.. I even accidentally left them in the water too long, and they were still “all good!” I’ve been longing to learn how to do this, and I have finally found the best way!!
yes this works
This recipe DID NOT WORK FOR ME! I followed the instructions to a T and the eggs came out soft boiled and runny! HUH????
Hi Paula, where are you located? Are you at altitude? If so, you’ll need to cook the eggs longer. If not, it sounds like you just needed more water in the pot.
Not at altitude & plenty of water. The yolks in mine were not done all the way and they were hard as hell to peel. Didn’t taste good either.
In order to get the shells off of the hard boiled eggs, put them in cold water after taking them out of the pan. The cold water will shrink the shells so they come off easily.
do not listen to those that say put eggs in water then bring to a boil and let sit for 10 min..put your eggs right out of the fridge into boiling water.9 min at 2000ft elevation is perfect and then put in ice water or very cold tap water till cold and they will peel easy ..just like grammas used to and they was farm freash eggs
Going back to exactly just that.
Leave the eggs in the hot water and peel them one at a time for easy peeling. If you cool them off the shell will stick to the egg and will peel in bits rather than large amounts.
Actually you want to shock them in ice cold water for best results.
I use a device called beepegg which is exactly in the shape of an egg and can be boiled with the real eating eggs. This egg device will play tunes when eggs are perfectly boiled. There are three different tunes based on soft boiling, medium soft boiling and hard boiling depending on your taste. Know more about this device at > http://www.giftick.com/raj/68/ . So you don’t really need to manually check if your eggs are ready or not. The company that makes this device is from Germany.
Jeff is right. This is an eggcellent way to boil eggs. I don’t have much eggsperience in the kitchen, but since my mother has gotten older, I have to do all the cooking. I sometimes get so eggasperated, but now I know who to make the perfect hard boiled egg. Thanks.
This comment made my day.
Finally! Perfect hard boiled eggs!
Steaming is the very best method. I am cooking a lot of eggs for our church’s annual chicken salad and sandwich sale. I let the water come to a boil in my steamer, added 20 eggs – loose enough for the steam to work and set my timer for 20 minutes. Used a trick my niece uses of shaking the eggs in the pot before peeling (loosens and cracks the peelings) and they peeled perfectly under cold running water. I put all of the eggs in a large bowl before running cold water. Perfect! I shook my first batch too hard so a few of the eggs split a bit, but I was able to see they were cooked all the way through with the splitting. Great method! I did learn this a long time ago from a chef I knew and forget how easy it is.
Thank you so much! I’ve tried cooking eggs before and they never are perfect. I followed your directions and mmm perfect!!!
This is an eggcellent way to boil eggs! They come out perfect and with the vinegar and salt they peel so easy! Thanks.
I always take the pot off the burner. I tried it this way, turned off the heat and covered, and I got broken eggs. Fail.
The method works great thank you happy Easter
Eggs have always been a nightmare for me! The steaming method worked perfectly; no tears, bad words or declarations of “no eggs this Easter” were heard by the family.
Mine turned out perfect! Finally! I think the key was to leave them on the burner a little longer. I did use the vinegar and salt. I bet vinegar helps them peel too, just based on science. Thank you!
hello, when you overcook eggs you will get the sulfide green ring….so be careful. plus its looks and taste are off.
I found some of these ideas amazing, but the best secret to peeling, is room temp! I learned this in a restaurant, from a boss and former chef!! Too cold or too hot and mush or chipped eggs…….takes a lot of practice, to get this correct! She would run hot eggs under cold water and cold eggs under hot water……our customers were always thrilled with her gorgeous, shelled eggs.
I Am 71yrs old. My 10 yr old granddaughter wanted to make Easter eggs. I wanted to do it right. I sought you out and followed the directions. They came out great. A happy little girl. We are bringing her up. Happy Easter.
This method didn’t actually work for me. My shell did not come off easily at all. I am pretty bummed. I had to throw 3/12 of my eggs out.
Sometimes eggs can be hard to peel no matter what you do, if you are hard boiling them. Try steaming them next time. Here’s how: http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/how_to_steam_eggs/
It will be real easy to peal if u sprinkle salt in the water while they are boiling .
Boiling eggs couldn’t be easier. I found this method to be the most efficient way of boiling eggs. A lot of the recipes go into science when explaining how to boil an egg. I give this a 5 star, thanks man!
I found the original recipe perfect…didn’t change a thing and the eggs were perfect…
Thank you Simple Recipe writter..
I did add organic apple cider vinegar and salt together in the water
If you REALLY want eggs that peel easily and perfectly EVERY TIME, here is the simple, if not obvious, solution. DON’T BOIL THE EGGS; STEAM THE EGGS! It takes a little longer, 20 – 22 minutes of steaming, but the results are astounding. Frankly I was shocked at how easily and quickly the eggs peeled – and every one perfect. Here is the link: http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/how_to_steam_eggs/ Forget the baking soda or vinegar – you don’t need them!
Put eggs in pot of cold water.
Turn on heat til it boils then turn down to simmer.
After 20 minutes from first putting pot on stove, take it off and run eggs under cold water.
Fill pot with ice water to cover eggs for 3 to 5 mins.
THEN empy water and pour in HOT water to cover eggs and let sit for 1 to 3 mins.
THEN eggs are read to peel or refrigerate.
The ice first contracts the shell and then the hot water expands the shell so that it separates from the egg and makes it very easy to peel the shell off !
I basically do what many do. I put the eggs in a pot with water just covering the eggs. turn the heat until it starts to boil, shut heat off and cover while sitting on hot burner. time this period for 35 minutes, then put in sink with cold water running over them. soon at your water is cool enough to put your hands in. run the cold water and break each egg and remove the shell. you will find that the shells will remove very easy and will not stick to the egg. after removing the shell I put back into the cool water until I finish the rest of the eggs with shells. I have took my family how I do this and they all do it this way now.
Strange, I added the backing soda for easy pealing when doing 3 eggs. One old and 2 new. The 2 new eggs pealed very easy but the old egg took 30 min and took some egg with it. Is it possible backing soda has the opposite effect on old eggs ?
Secret to peeling is, after removing from the heat and letting them sit in the hot water for 12-15 minutes, drain and into the ICE bath. The ice is the secret. The shell will just slide off….perfect.
I’ve been using your method of boiling the eggs for several years now to make my deviled eggs. The baking soda (a teaspoon in your large dutch oven) works miracles – did it one year I couldn’t get old eggs and every year since. SO much easier to peel and don’t affect the flavour or texture at all!! :)
OMG!! I commented earlier the eggs were runny that should have been hard boiled that I had attempted to steam. I put the eggs on to boil the old fashioned way and then peeled them…what a dream to have the peel slip right off. I am now a convert and will steam every time!!!
I’ve tried several different ways and this is the first time I’ve had my eggs come out perfect! Thank you!
I steamed a dozen eggs and was thrilled at how good they were and how easy to peel. I’ve been boiling eggs for years, using the sit in water method and the rolling boil method, and always had a hard time peeling. I’ll be steaming from now on!! Thanks for the tip!
My friend, Gerry Grass from St. Rose, Louisiana gave me this hint. If you will crack your hard boiled egg particularly on the bottom (wide) side, hold egg under running water (faucet), use a wet spoon between egg (spoon cradling the egg) and shell, it will separate the shell in almost complete pieces. Then just rinse the egg from small shell pieces. The membrane will be intact to the shell because of the water between egg and shell. Works every time.
I had never prepared Hard Boiled eggs before reading this recipe. My first batch was perfect, and have have prepared a few more since then.
just made my first hard boiled egg following the recipe. Worked great! Thanks for posting.
I’ve been a USDA Grader the past 14 yrs. and have found that eggs that break while boiling were likely cracked before. If you shine one of the brighter small flashlights through the egg (candling) you will find most cracks. Fry the cracked eggs, boil others.
Found this very informative article from a Bing search. Boiled 2 dozen in one large pan. Very few even cracked (the vinegar may have helped). Opened one up to “test,” came out PERFECT! My wife and daughter will be making deviled eggs for our Church’s ladies Advent tomorrow night, Thank you for your great help. Have a Blessed Christmas.
I am about to make these for a vegetarian scotch egg recipe I want to try. However, I see no reason whatsoever for not being able to eat the same food everyday? I would think your body would get use to the food & be an expert in processing the food. I see more problem with very occasionally eating a food. Interesting…
Hi My daughter raises chickens. She told me to add baking soda to the water. Then they are easy to peel works very well. I used 2 tsp for a dozen because fresh eggs are hard to peel. Thank You
Just tried your method minutes ago. I love it! Yolk is lovely yellow. White is done perfect!
For years, whenever my wife is out of town for business, I have cooked myself hardboiled eggs for breakfast. I can never remember how long to boil them for, so I always wind up Googling “hard boiled eggs.” For years, a traditional solution came up — which was to boil the eggs for a specified period of time depending on whether you wanted them soft or hard boiled. This time, this page and quite a few others with the same “bring to boil and then remove from heat” directions came up. So I tried it — twice. The result was eggs that were virtually impossible to peel without pitting the surface, and leaving tiny fragments of shell to be found by your mouth. Yes, I immediately cooled them down prior to peeling by running cold water over them, and even added ice for ten minutes the second time in the hopes of improving results. I have no idea what scientific principle causes this result, but after two identical attempts, I am going back to the old way of just boiling the eggs, then letting them cool in cold water. In my experience, eggs prepared that way are a cinch to peel perfectly.
The timing did not work for me. I was looking for some guidance on how long to cook eggs for hard boiled doneness. Using this instruction and leaving the eggs in the hot water for 15 minutes I had very soft boiled eggs. If you use this method be sure to test one.
Elise I do not Post comments, no way, not a chance, forget about it;;; EXCEPT, of course, in your Blogs! So here goes: I Adore Eggs in every way except raw. Sadly enough, the rising prices have made eggs (a 70% increase in Calif) a Luxury Item. But let’s not dwell on that aspect, because WE LOVE EGGS!
Now for my real dilemma: Thirty years ago, a dear friend introduced me an egg sandwich to end all egg sandwiches; He called it a Hobo egg sandwich, or something like that. He cut a hole and I think buttered both bread pieces…From there, I am clueless, except to say that the egg sandwich he served me was to die for. My friend is no longer with us, so I come to you, Elise, and your readers for help. Has anyone had, or is familiar with The Hobo Egg Sandwich?
It’s called “Toad in a hole” Butter the bread brown one side in the frying pan. flip over and pace the cracked egg in the hole and fry till theegg is done. Good luck
…but before you begin (!) cut a hole in the center of the bread. (my dad used a small orange juice can with the end cut out and the bread was wide pan). Don’t forget to also butter the “hole” that you cut out!! My dad used to do two of these at a time for each of us girls…that’s how I came to love fried eggs so much!!
Love it! We call it bird in the nest, or egg in a frame
By far my favorite way to prepare a fried egg! I grew up knowing it as a Hobo egg as well! Who knows, maybe that’s offensive nowadays..
everywhere I read says you have to cook 10-12 minutes to cook hard boiled eggs but I grew up being taught 5 minutes at a hard boil. when I only did 5 minutes my eggs turned out a little raw in the yolks once in a while. but over the last 15 years I have always only cooked them 7 minutes at a hard boil and they are always done.
I’m a recent widower and sad to say I never had boiled an egg in my entire life! (athough my wife was a great cook). I know such things are not rocket science, but sometimes the simplest things… … …. I tried this and it worked perfect, so thanks so very much.
Thank you so very much for the tip on steaming rather than boiling. This technique worked perfectly!
There’re still lots of people who think eggs are’t good for them if they have high cholesterol levels. This article could be an eye opener for them.
Oh I agree, keep them in the fridge for a quick meal, I take them to work with me too.
ALSO salt in the water when boiling makes mine peel easier!!
My Dad got perfect eggs at 8 minutes, but I always do 10 minutes.
I followed directions bringing eggs to a rolling boil over high heat using vinegar and salt but one of my eggs cracked completely around and out poured the eggwhite. I think bringing to a slow boil on low heat is preferable.
I love hard boiled eggs. Thank you for this methone. However, I’ve only tried boiling them the same way. I don’t add salt and other things but I eat them with a little ketchup. Sounds gross I know, but they’re so delicious.
Ketchup’s an awesome way to give something a little flavour. I put it in my fried rice too.
Hard boiled eggs are the medium I use to consume Texas Pete’s Hot Sauce
I tried this method and perhaps for the first time ever, my hard boiled eggs came out perfectly! Thank you for this post!
I never really noticed how long my mother use to boil eggs. Mine always turned out bad to say the least. This way works great! So now I know…. Thank you very much.
Just put lots of salt in the water when boiling and stick to 10 minutes, they are easier to peel and I never had a bad egg except the ones I married!!
Thanks for pointing out to cover the cooked eggs in fridge since they give off odors. Many fridges have open egg rack so I’d assumed it’s ok to put the cooked ones in there. And the photos of 6, 10, 16 mins – great help.
Deviled egg recipes yummy, esp recipes with avocados. (Avocados & bit of sprinkled Nesquik (optional warmer) is a way to knock off sweet tooth.)
I tried the steaming method for hard cooked eggs, I’ve only peeled one so far but it was quite easy and didn’t have that tell tale ring around the yolk either. They say you can use fresh eggs and don’t have to wait a week either. I just brought some water to a boil and used a colander for a steam basket, covered it and steamed away for at least 20 minutes, I only hard cook 3 or 4 eggs at a time, seems to be foolproof. Congrats to who ever volunteered this tip.
It would really help if this worked. It didn’t work at all and I followed your instructions exactly. All the eggs were soft and mushy.
Hi David! Sounds like you needed to have more water in the pan, and/or let the eggs sit in the hot water longer. The other thing that can mess things up is if you are attempting this method at high altitude.
No high altitude. I had 2 and a half inches of water in the pan, and I put them on high. Could I maybe not have let it get to as strong a boil as needed? It was definitely boiling but not an out of control boil so to speak. lol Thank you for your kind suggestions.
why do the yokes turn green in the out side of them?
Hi Richard, that usually means they’ve been overcooked.
The 15 minutes in a steam basket doesn’t work
Then you either need more time or you need more steam coming from a full boil instead of a simmer. If you are at altitude you will definitely need more time.
Thank you so much Elise! I boiled 6 eggs for the first time and followed your instuctions and I cant believe , all the eggs were boiled so well and not even a single egg was cracked. It was easy and nice. Enjoyed alot. Thank you Elise.
Gregory. I can’t cook . I try I can heat stuff in the microwave. I wanted to boil eggs for Easter to color with my son . This recipe really works .easy to peel . Thank you so much.
Thanks for the recipe. it worked great. placed eggs in cold water in large pan. Boiled eggs then with lid on turned off electric burner waited 10 minutes. Cold plunge then peeled great right away. one broke when boiling, but came out ok. I cracked the eggs and left them in the water to soak while cracked all the dozens and half eggs. worked like a charm. I have always had a terrible time peeling eggs. Awesome.
I have boiled many eggs over many years but since I knew I would be making 3 dozen today I wanted to see if there were any “tips” out there that I was not aware of. I was glad I stumbled across your blog. All these years I did it the same way as you suggested except for three things that you noted. First, I never tried salting the cold water first, so I gave it a try. Also, having a gas stove, I never knew to let the eggs boil gently for that minute before turning off the heat. I assumed I would have at least a couple of “duds” when it came time to peel them which I planned on using for egg salad for my hungry husband. But I was amazed – I had no duds! Every one came out perfectly smooth. I did the cold ice bath like I have before but I did peel them under cold running water like you suggested. And…I did end up making egg salad with a few of them but added avocado – another great idea of yours. Since they turned out so well, in addition to using them for salads I was able to make some beautiful pastel dyed deviled eggs. I just dyed the egg whites (that were cut in half with the yolks taken out) in individual cups of water with a few drops of food coloring added. They’re beautiful! Thanks Elise!
You’re welcome Kathy, I’m so glad the tips helped!
Can I fix an UNDER-cooked egg? Can I put in water again and cook them longer?
Hi Jean, I assume you mean eggs that haven’t already been peeled and cut open? Sure. I would just put them back in the hot water and cook them a couple minutes longer. If the egg has already been peeled and cut open, I would just microwave it a little to finish the cooking if it isn’t cooked enough to your taste.
I used the 1/2 tsp salt and the 1 tsp vinegar and it worked like a charm. Even the eggs that had a slight crack, didn’t “leak out.” I brought a dozen eggs to a gentle rolling boil, turned off the heat and let them sit…covered… for 16 minutes….they turned out perfect! Thanks!
To easily peel a hard boiled egg: put one hard boiled egg in a mason jar filled with water to cover egg, screw on lid and shake vigorously. Peel will fall right off.
Your recipe “how to make hard boiled eggs works” every time!
I know I’m late to this party. But I just tried this method of hard boiling eggs and they turned out absolutely perfect! Thanks so much for this guide.
A little baking soda in the water helps shells come off easily
Thank you! This was the first time they were perfectly cooked on purpose. ;)
Elise’s hard boiled egg recipe doesn’t work unless it was for a raw egg! I followed all the directions twice and it did not work twice. It was a complete waste of my money and time!
Hello PrincessBob. Given how many people have had success with this method, I would suggest that you review the way you are implementing it. Add more water to the pot and you should have no problem.
I think the amount of water is key – you couldn’t do this recipe with a small saucepan and a pile of eggs and have it come out the same way; it depends on the heat capacity of a decent amount of water, slowly cooling, to cook but not over-cook the eggs. It is a case of properly following directions (1-2 inches of water over not-crowded eggs) even if you don’t understand why.
You’re spot on with this recipe.
When I was in high school back in the late 60’s, I cooked in a restaurant. We cooked eggs every which-a-way for breakfast & also hard-boiled (3) dozen at a time every (3) days for egg salad sandwiches & sliced for salads. Lay out each flat of a dozen eggs, lightly tap each egg with the back of a knife just enough to break the shell, load them into a large pot, cover with 3″ cold water & (1/4) cup vinegar, bring to a rolling boil, cover & let sit on a cold burner for (15) minutes. Strain out the water & load the pot with crushed ice & cold water. Then came the part no one wanted to do; Peeling all of those eggs. Any that had “popped” from the shell were relegated to the egg salad mixing bowl.
I’ve been using this method but letting them sit too long. 20 min. or more. I’m going to try this method instead.
I mostly hard boil eggs to make pesto deviled eggs. Just mix yolks and mayo with pesto, then put back in whites. They’re green so look a little off putting but are delicious. I use home made pesto but you can use store bought.
I use this same cooking method without adding anything to the water. The easiest way to peel that I have found, is after dumping the hot water out and ice bathing them, I pour most of the cold water out and add ice if needed, replace the lid and shake. Not to vigorous. It cracks the shell and water gets up under, making them easy to peel.
Just one of a billion ways to do it lol!
I love your site
The best way to come up with hard boiled eggs, is not to boil them at all. Steam them in a steamer for 20 minutes and plunge them into ice water to make peeling them a breeze. The get the yokes centered, in case your making deviled eggs, try taking the carton of eggs and turning them over the night before (the top of the carton down) to let the yokes center themselves in the white.
Hard boiled eggs dipped in ranch!! To die for!
Another method is to use a pressure cooker to cook them. You could probably have a chicken lay an egg directly into the pot and it would come out easy to peel, the shells just slip right off. Only down side for me is that my only pressure cooker is a mammoth 11qt pressure canning rig, so it doesn’t really work for just a few eggs. But come Thanksgiving and my families desire to eat a dozen deviled eggs each and I find myself needing to hard cook three dozen, it works like a charm.
When I eat a hard cooked egg I like to season it with celery salt and black pepper and a dash of hot sauce, I particularly like Tabasco’s green Jalapeno sauce. Bon Appetite!
I’m gonna catch a lot of flack but here goes. I picked this up from another website, bring your water to a hard rolling boil and take the eggs from the frig and take a push pin and make a hole in the large end and take a pair of tongs and gently lower the cold eggs into the boiling water then bring it back to a hard rolling boil again. Cut off the heat and let set for around 12 mins then put cold tap water in the pan and toss in a couple of ice cubes to stop the cooking. Now I’m going to try and s’plain this insane and unorthodox manner of hard cooking eggs. When you put cold eggs in boiling water the shell expands then when you shock the eggs again with the ice water the white contracts from the shell. I’ve tried this method and the eggs do peel easily, before I discovered this method I used to tap both end of the egg and I put a piece of hose on the end of the tap and hold the egg firmly under the hose and gently pulse the water and it would force the water under the shell, it helped but I like the latest method. I’d wait at least a week from the purchase date to prepare them though. As always, Bon Appetite, Adios n’ Hasta La Bye Bye! Your zaney western plains makeshift chef…….Shalom and G_d Bless.
Haven’t read the whole thread, but just wanted to contribute that I have a big (5qt?) pot with a pasta strainer. Best way to get the eggs into the boiling water is to put them into strainer and lower strainer into water.
Try “Red Hot” sauce on your hard boiled eggs. You’ll love it.
I prefer to steam mine. I steam the eggs for 16 minutes, and then refrigerate. I have one most days for lunch. I find steamed eggs are a lot easier to peel than boiled eggs.
I use the same method that you feature here but follow it up by draining the eggs and putting them in a straight sided bowl or pan, add a small amount of water and a few ice cubes then swirl the eggs vigorously around in it. The shells will crack all over and the cold water will seep in and shrink and peel the shell away from the whites by the collision with the ice cubes and sides of the pan. The water also washes the chips of shell from the egg whites, easily.
For what it’s worth, I never put cold water into a hot pan because it will warp the pan bottom. I’m not sponsored by a cookware company who will replace my pans if they are abused!
You nailed it…..thanks…..
Shawn above, you are wise! I have been doing my method for so long that I cannot remember how I came by it. But, I am sure there were many miscues before the eggs started coming out with any consistent appeal. Luckily I like eggs just about anyway they can be consumed! Still, one likes to be able to predict when they will be just right. Somewhere along the line, I started avoiding fast changes in temperature to obtain a more tender white of the egg. Especially nice for soft boiled eggs, but appealing for hard boiled eggs, too. (I don’t add either salt or vinegar to the water for the same reason.) Otherwise I pretty much use Elise’s method for hard boiled eggs when using electric stove tops, though I gently cool the water down before peeling. This is done by gently crack and rolling the egg on a hard surface. Peel starting at the large end. Whenever hard boiled eggs are made, there are usually at least two that are eaten warm with a dab of butter and salt in the morning, and mayo and mustard after noon!
How to make a perfect hard boiled egg? try a lot of different techniques, times, water amounts, pre cooking soak, post cooking soaks, different additives in the water, etc. Sooner or later you’ll get it right.
Serious Eats found the secret for easy to peel eggs. Cold start. Which means get the water to a roiling boil and take the eggs straight from the fridge and put them in the boiling water. Works with new or old eggs.
My further testing shows the water needs to return to a full boil, then shut the heat off and cover. Covered time depends on the number of eggs and quantity of water. For me, 2 quarts of water (in a 3 qt pan) and 7 eggs, the time is 13 minutes. Then cool in ice water for 15 minutes.
The water needs to stay over ~170° F (I forget exactly, look up in McGee) or the proteins will never coagulate. Of course, if you have a huge pot of water, the cold eggs won’t reduce the temp that much and you can just cover.
I’ll have to try that with some fresh eggs David, thank you!
I was just going to post the same thing! I’ve been using the eggs-into-boiling-water method since that post a few weeks ago and have not had a *single* egg that did not peel perfectly. I’ve been putting the eggs (8-12) in and letting them go for ~11 min once the water comes back to a boil. I haven’t found the perfect time for boiling yet though – a few batches have been a little green.
I was also going to cite the recent Serious Eats article: http://www.seriouseats.com/2014/05/the-secrets-to-peeling-hard-boiled-eggs.html
Elise, I have been following your method (cold start) for years, and have enjoyed perfectly cooked, but hard to peel eggs. Now I’ve been using the Serious Eats method and I can’t believe how much of a difference it makes! Possibly a tiny bit less convenient, but will be my new go-to.
This method has not worked for me. I wait until the eggs are at a rolling boil and then turn them down to a low roll and boil for 10 minutes. I get perfect eggs every time. This is how my mother taught me and she was born in 1921.
12mins makes the perfect egg. From cold water, turn off heat when boiling.
I tried making these eggs just the way the recepie said and was so disappointed because my eggs were not done when I was finished. I had already peeled about 9 of them when I broke one open and found out. Had to throw all of them away am am now recoiling the rest.
It’s always helpful to do a test egg, peel and cut open one of them first. Then you can see if you need more time for the rest.
Grew up not really liking hard boiled eggs, but decided to give them another chance after having a very good one on a salad at a restaurant. Having never cooked them, I found your site while looking for a how to. They were perfect! The eggs were just a couple of days old, but they peeled very easily. I did add a little salt and vinegar to the water before it started boiling. I’ll confess that one that’s still warm, sliced in half, plus a little butter, salt, and pepper is wonderful.
I’ve never made hard-boiled eggs before, so I happened upon this blog while searching for methods. They turned out absolutely perfect! I used salt in the water instead of vinegar. Thanks for the great instructions!
I cut up the eggs and mixed them in a salad with chick peas, sauteed radishes, baby spinach, chopped romaine, green onions, some black pepper, & a garlic salt/sea salt mix. Best salad I’ve ever had!
Thank you so much for these tips. After having trouble year after year peeling my Easter Eggs, I decided to this year search online for information to get them to come out right. Followed your advice and the eggs were perfectly cooked and easy to peel!
Elise, I have no idea how many times I’ve raved about your site to others… but I do it all the time. Almost to an excess… :) Anywho, thanks for the perfect hard boiled eggs. You are amazing! Have you ever considered writing a post for beginners about the basic ingredients one should have in their kitchen? I go to the supermarket and sometimes I’m at a loss as to what to buy… especially because I’m inconvenienced by only one shopping trip a week. Just a suggestion. Thanks again!
Hi Irene, great suggestion! I recommend doing a search for pantry essentials in Food Blog Search to see what other food bloggers have to recommend. ~Elise
This is exactly how I cook my eggs. I’ve never had any crack this way either.
That tip about the eggs spinning like a top is cute! I doubted it at first, but I just tried spinning some raw eggs and they definitely weeble-wobbled over the counter. I’ll have to try with the cooked eggs next time to confirm the rest of the theory!
I just adore hard boiled eggs too! When it’s not a work day, my favorite way to eat them is to boil the eggs, then while they’re still warm, mash with a bit of butter (or if I’m feeling very virtuous I use something like Smart Balance) and then season with sea salt and fresh ground black pepper. I never get tired of eating this!
Sur La Table also makes this love little gadget that I believe is under $10 that tells you when your eggs are done. I find it indispensable. It’s called the egg perfect timer and you boil it with your eggs.
Just wanted to say that this was the best boiled eggs I have ever made. I followed your directions to a T and they came out perfect. Thanks for this.
I forgot to refrigerate my boiled eggs last night. Can we still eat them or throw them out.
Great question. A few hours is one thing. Overnight is another. If you crack one open and remove the shell and the egg smells bad, throw it out for sure. If there are any cracks in the egg’s shell and you left it out overnight, throw it out. ~Elise
I don’t know what went wrong. I followed the recipe exactly and I get eggs that I have bright orange waxy-looking centers, not the smooth yellow I expected. Screw it – I’ll buy them hard-boiled from now on. I can’t even boil an egg!
This is why it pays to test an egg first, before cooling down the rest of them. Could be for your elevation, pan, etc. you need a few more minutes. I would add 3 minutes to the cooking time and try again, this time testing one egg before cooling down all of the rest. ~Elise
WOW this method works perfectly! My whole life I’d been simple boiling water, THEN putting the eggs in, keeping the water boiling for a full 6 minutes. They always came out grey/green and I never knew why.. well now I do! I just cooked 2 following this method and they were the best eggs I’ve ever had. Thanks Elise! :-)
Just tried the salt in the pan to keep the eggs from cracking – 2 of the 5 have cracks?!
The best thing to do to keep the eggs from cracking is to not let them boil for too long, or to have too many eggs in the pan. Vigorous boiling bumps the eggs together. ~Elise
The method you described was perfect, thank you for sharing!
Thanks so much Elise. I just made hard boiled eggs for the first time ever by following your recipe. They came out perfect! Just ate one. The yolk was nice and yellow, and perfectly cooked. Thanks again!
This really did make the perfect hard boiled eggs! Thanks for sharing it.
This discussion reminds me of a passage from Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison’s “Song of Solomon,” where one of the characters makes the perfect soft boiled egg for her nephew. I probably read the book over 20 years ago, but to this day it’s how I cook eggs. I can’t find an actual passage but from what I remember, the eggs and the water must “meet on equal terms” (i.e. the same temperature), when the bubbles in the boiling water reach the size of peas, remove it from the heat, cover and go do some “small obligation” like answering the door. Upon completion of that, your eggs are perfectly soft boiled, with the yolk just slightly soft, not runny. Since then I’ve just left the eggs in the water a little longer for hard cooked eggs.
I just boiled 3 eggs the way mentioned at the top of this post and YES they are perfect, thanks for the advise!
-Cover eggs with water in a small pot, put on high heat.
-As soon as the water starts to boil, remove from heat (I set timer to 7 minutes just as soon as I turn on the heat, works good for me at my altitude (90ft above sea level…lol).
-Cover pot with lid…wait about 15 minutes.
-Drain the hot water from pot.
-Fill pot with cold water, drain it, fill it again with cold water.
-Wait 2 minutes. Drain the water. Eggs should be cool enough to handle.
-Roll them puppies in your hands to crack the shell.
-Peel from fat end first. Shell should come off easily and sometimes all in a bunch.
-MOST Important step—> Eat the eggs! Enjoy. Use your own tastes as to salt, pepper, or whatever is your preference.
I eat them by biting off an entire half at a time, chew, swallow….repeat! OINK. haha
I never made ‘deviled eggs’ or anything else with them. Why? Cause as soon as they are done I eat them! Yumm.
So much to remember!
My fool-proof method for perfect hard-boiled eggs, sans sulphur ring, and with a yolk that is a consistent yellow throughout:
1) Put eggs in a small pot. Fill with water so they are (almost or completely) submerged.
2) Pot > stove > high heat.
3) When water boils turn to medium heat, leave for 10 minutes.
4) This last part, you can do it however you like, but what I do is run cold water on the pot with the eggs for a while until the eggs are warm. Then I drop them an inch or so onto a hard surface so they crack then I roll them and peel. Rinse to get rid of small shell pieces.
This is how I’ve always cooked my eggs and they’ve never come out wrong. I usually boil a dozen to take to work on Mondays for everyone in the office and they just rave about how perfect they are … perfectly yellow yolks every time.
Thanks for saving the day this easter with this post from ages ago!!
Perfect! I think! I put 25 eggs in a pot. I got online to find out how long to boil them and came across your site. So, I added the vinegar and salt. By the time I checked the eggs they were boiling but I don’t konw how long they were already boiling for. So, I let them boil another 2 minutes I think. I took it off the stove, covered the pot, let it sit for about 10 minutes and went to cool them with cold water. The water in my complex was turned off!! I ran to the freezer and dumped the ice maker full of ice into the pot. Perfect eggs! No green. Our elevation is between 9,000-10,000 ft. and the eggs are perfect.
Is there a way to prevent HB eggs from stinking? I keep a week’s worth of HB eggs in the fridge as a way for an easy and healthy snack. Thing is, they usually smell.
We put them in a plastic container and store them in the fridge. Otherwise, yes, they do end up smelling. ~Elise
Adding salt to the water to compensate for the lower boiling point at high altitude sounds like a great idea, but it’s not likely to help much. The boiling point of seawater, as salty as it is, is only 100.6 degrees C, compared to 100 degrees C for pure water. Now imagine trying to add enough salt to raise the boiling point by 4 or 5 degrees C!
One of my favorite ways to eat hard boiled eggs is the way I ate them as a child. Cut open, and mashed up a bit with a tad of sea salt and some fresh black pepper. Delish! I don’t use vinegar in the pot when I make them because it affect the flavor.
Wow! Thanks so much for your site. I just boiled our Easter eggs and my “sacrificial egg” was PERFECT. I did have one of the 21 crack, but that is way fewer than I lost last year.
I’m confused by this method of cooking eggs. In the directions of #2, you say to “gently bring the eggs to a boil”, then later in the same section you say to “put the burner on high”. Well, which is it please?
You gently bring the eggs to a boil by starting them in cold water and putting the burner on high. Do not start the eggs in hot water. ~Elise
Thank you! I’m a big fan of “doing simple things well,” and I agree, this is the PERFECT way to make hard-boiled eggs. I just tried it and it worked so well!
If you want to easily peel a hard boiled egg without waiting, just add 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda to the water before boiling. This raises the PH level and decreasing adhering. Once it cools, crack off the shell on each end of the egg, then hold tight to the shell, and blow the egg out its shell. Yes, with your mouth. Catch it! It is slippery.
Would love to see a video of that trick. ~Elise
In an uncovered pan, as soon as the water comes to a full boil, shut off the heat, cover the pan and leave it. In 25 minutes you have perfectly hard-boiled eggs. No fuss, no timing. The age of the eggs does make a difference in ease of peeling.
In all honesty I have never made a hard-boiled egg in my life, but have had to start eating them for the protein. So today I googled this recipe, and have just eaten what was possibly the most perfect hard-boiled egg I’ve ever seen. Thankyou so much!
Thank you for writing this! It was SO helpful, and extremely thorough! Charmed, Charlie.
I have done experiments on why eggs are hard to peel and I have found placing them in already boiling water makes the egg easy to peel. I used eggs from the same container and placed half in beginning cold water and half in already boiling. The half in boiling water peeled easily while the other was difficult. Piercing the eggs in either case prevented cracking.
These were perfect! The yolk was firm but creamy and not powdery like overcooked eggs and not runny like undercooked. Delicious! Bringing some with me to class tonight.
Just a note for making Potato Salad –
You can cook your potatoes and eggs at the same time! I generally let mine cook for about 15 minutes after adding them to boiling water, with the potatoes.
Remove the eggs and put in ice water. About the time the eggs have cooled enough to peel and chop, the potatoes are ready to be drained and cooled.
While the potatoes are cooling is when I mix up the base for the potato salad: Mayonnaise AND Miracle Whip Light, minced dill pickle, pickle juice, dill weed, celery seed, chopped celery, salt, pepper, hard-boiled eggs, and a Southern Seasoning (usually whichever is in front of the cabinet – Everglades Heat, Seminole Seasoning, Slap yo’ Mamma…etc).
Mix, cool, and eat!
Hope this helps!
My favorite way to eat hard boild eggs is with some cumin, salt, and black pepper… tasty treat that jump starts my morning!
This is such a great recipe – especially for those of us who struggle with even the simplest things in the kitchen! :o)
The reason for the vinegar is that it etches and “cleans” the eggshell, thus preparing it for dying. It makes the colors adhere better. Thanks for your recipe Elise!
I followed exactly and eggs were not cooked when I went to peel them. The egg whites were runny and I ruined 8 eggs!!! Now have to go buy more.
Hi Scott, it’s always a good idea to test one egg first, before cracking all the others open. ~Elise
Reading your post on making boiled eggs and the attached comments remind me of summer times as a boy with grownups who preserved food and raised kids, and vice-versa. For evening snacks we ate Saltine crackers and raspberry jam with our mom on a blanket in the backyard. Us kids snapped beans, for canning, with the neighbor lady while sitting in shade on the front porch. On hot summer afternoons we drank Kool Aide and ate firm chilled boiled eggs dipped in salt. Thanks for the recipe and comments.
Jim Mahoney Spokane
Hi Jim – chilled hard boiled eggs dipped in salt, isn’t that the best? Porches, hot summer days, snapping beans, canning jams, seems like we had similar summers. :-) ~Elise
Myself and my husband are crazy about eggs (in any form). Hard boiled is one of my favourite. I use the normal Steamer to steam the eggs for 10 minutes, remove them immediately, run it under cold water, de-shell them, slice it length wise into 2 pieces, sprinkle some Salt and Pepper on the yolk and place a small piece of Cilantro on top. yummm tastes so good.
Thanks for the great method for the eggs, before now I always let it to chance. No more, now my deviled eggs are perfect! BTW, here’s a quick recipe for great deviled egg mix. Use eight hard boiled egg yolks, mash with potato masher, blend in about 1/2 c. mayo or miracle whip, add a couple tsp of sweet pickle relish to taste. Throw in a tsp or two of spicy brown mustard, mix well. spoon into egg halves, sprinkle with paprika.
Finally, after years of always messing these up, they came out PERFECT! :D
Wow – I can’t believe the amount of comments on this article! I tried the method outlined by Elise and it worked perfectly. The yolks had that beautiful creamy “wavy” texture and taste. Question about the vinegar – are you using white wine vinegar? Does it matter what kind?
I use rice vinegar, white vinegar, or apple cider vinegar. Red wine vinegar would work too, but might stain the eggs. ~Elise
I can never remember how long to cook eggs for so look it up every time – this recipe is by far the easiest and tastiest!! (My shells did crack though but they still tasted great!)
I was so bsuy reading all these great tips that I forgot to take my eggs off the stove! I’m sure they’ll be just fine though.
Next time I hard boil eggs for Deviled Eggs, I will lay them in the fridge on their side first for a day – the centered yolk was a GREAT tip!
Fantastic recipe, worked like a charm!
I remember watching my mom eat boiled eggs with BBQ sauce so I tried it and it’s good..so I eat my boiled eggs with BBQ sauce on them…It might be a BBQ thing too..I have always heard that if you spin an egg and it doesn’t wobble then it’s done…Makes since to me..If it’s done the yoke stays in one place, thus preventing the wobble.. and I have never had an uncooked one yet…if you try it and you get a different result please let me know.
Thanks for the tips. My warm frisee salad with bacon and dijon vinigarette with ‘perfect hard boiled’ eggs was devoured quickly.
I used your tips to make myself some hard boiled eggs – for egg salad AND to eat them plain – and it was the BEST eggs I’ve EVER HAD! (Even better than my grandma used to make…and that’s hard to do!) Usually when I make hard-boiled eggs, they end up incredibly rubbery! Taking them off of the heat and covering them for 10 minutes instead of leaving them on the heat for a five or six minutes is the KEY to making these so yummy! Thanks so much!
THANK YOU. Those are the best hard boiled eggs I have ever had!!!!
Excellent directions, they turned out perfectly!
Hi Kellee, I also hard-boiled many, many eggs with my hot pot (electric kettle) for both my undergrad and grad degrees – they’re the perfect fast protein-filled portable breakfast! There was never a problem with the heating element. You can make a LOT in a hot pot – soup, pasta, eggs, etc. etc. – great for a dorm room with no other way to cook and restrictions on microwaves :-)
Greetings, Rather than straining the eggs and refilling your pot with cold water a number of times to cool them off, I find it works better if you place the pot of eggs into the sink after straining off the hot water and let cold water run into the pan very slowly. Once the water reaches the top of your pot it will overflow keeping the water in the pot cool. You only need to let a trickle of water flow for about 5 minutes to cool your eggs enough to be handled.
My aunt cooks the eggs with onion peel at Easter and they get a lovely marbled brown, and at least to me a hint of onion essence. Maybe its just the onion smell in the air after cooking. I’ve heard you can do this with other kinds of vegetable peels for other colours – does anyone know more?
Here’s a link to other ways to use natural dyes for Easter eggs. ~Elise
Wow this is my first time making anything in the kitchen and I have to be completely honest, that stuff is so freakin pro! My first batch of eggs was delicious.
A neat trick my grandfather showed me for peeling HBE’s is fun, maybe not something you want to do if someone else is going to eat them… but fine if you’re the one eating them.
You hit each end with the back of a spoon until you get a hole in the egg… then you blow in the hole on one end until the egg shell cracks or air comes out the other hole… it basically forces air between the shell and the egg, and then the whole shell comes off in 1 or 2 pieces.
Kids LOVE this trick! :)
Kellee – yes, in college I boiled eggs in my small electric kettle.
Bud, adding salt does affect boiling temp, but sea water boils at about 215F, only 3 degrees more than normal with all that salt.
Sigh…this is such an effort. I’m a uni student and live at a fully catered college. Unfortunately it means I can’t eat what I want and am limited to the crap they serve. I just bought myself one of those electric tiered steamers and was wondering if I can hard boil eggs this way using steam? It says rice can be cooked in it so I cant see how it is much different. (I’m devastated as eggs are one of my most favourite foods and I have no way to cook them)
Also I thought I read in the comments that I can boil an egg in an electric kettle/jug-is this true? Wouldn’t it pose a problem with the eggs resting on the element (the metal coil bit inside the jug that heats the water)
Anyway, just want to test ALL theories before I have to spend my limited student budget on buying a gadget JUST to cook eggs.
(Oh and might I add how appalled I am that so many people have admitted to NOT EVER cooking BOILED EGGS before in their life. It is one of the easiest things to do and I’m only 21-have been boiling (hard/soft), poaching, scrambling eggs since I was 10!)
Hi Kellee, no idea on the steamer or electric kettle. Why don’t you try them and find out? Let us know what you find. ~Elise
This recipe helped me a lot, and after reading some viewers’ comments and seeing that people recommended hard boiled egg with butter and salt, I tried it. It was very good.
If live at high altitude where water boils at a much lower temperature than at sea level, you can raise its boiing point by adding salt. Table salt will do just fine. It doesn’t matter what kind (sea salt, Kosher salt, lite salt) just how much.
Thanks for the tips! I think the easy peeling comes from the step where you immeditaly cool the eggs in cold water after cooking. I never used salt or anything in the water before while cooking the eggs but I discovered that if I place the eggs right into a bowl of cold water and ice after they’re done cooking to quickly cool them that this causes the membrane inside the egg shell to stick to the inside of the shell and not to the egg, thus making them easier to peel. The eggs will slip right out of the shell after cracking the shell by rolling the egg on a counter and pressing on them with my hand to crack the shells on all sides.
If I don’t cool the egg immediately, I find the membrane will stick to the eggs and make them annoyingly hard to peel. I don’t understand the science behind this, I just discovered this is true with trial-and-error cooking of eggs.
I love hard boiled eggs with a few drops of soy sauce on the yolk.
Recently, I got these cute little molds from a Japanese store, so i eat my eggs in the shape of a heart or star!
And lastly, this recipe is perfect because the yolk is not too runny and not too dry. Great job!
This worked a treat! Thank you very much!
Thanks for the great HBE guide. I’d tried once or twice before, with spotty results, but your method worked like a charm! Kudos to you!
One great way to devil the eggs. After you peel; cut the wide end of the egg off right at the edge of the yolk. Gently take out the yoke (I take a toothpick and go around the edges of the yoke to loosen it then gently squeeze it out.) Cut the corner of a ziploc bag and fill with filling. Then just squeeze the filling into the egg. It also helps if you stand the eggs up in the carton. Quick, easy, and mess free. They also look really pretty. At easter I use a LITTLE sprinkle a food colored sugar.
How long can you keep eggs on the stove after cooking before they are not good anymore? I left them cooling for about four hrs?
I’ve left hard boiled eggs cooling in the pan all day and still have had no problem with them. ~Elise
Wow! First time ever cooking hard-boiled eggs (I’m a scrambled or over-medium girl) and these instructions were PERFECT! I got bright yellow not over cooked eggs. Loved it!
Thank you very much for this post, and all the useful comments from everybody! My friend always has a good chuckle at the fact that I cannot boil an egg to save my life. So, I found this post, and decided to try it with the last two eggs in my fridge. I’d like to announce that these directions are wonderfully specific, and I have now, for the first time in my life, perfectly boiled an egg.
Peeling the first one was a pain; I couldn’t get past the membrane, so it felt like the rubber of a dog’s chew toy, and fiddling the shell and that membrane was a long and frustrating process. Then I remembered a friend’s tip to start it with a spoon at the flat end. The second shell just peeled off in a fifth of the time the first one took me.
As for centering the yolk for deviled eggs, my friend just served these a couple of nights ago, and she said the trick was to leave them on their side overnight in the fridge. Her eggs looked great.
My goodness! I think I’ll just crack a raw one and toss it down with a squirt of Tobasco! Such a fuss. Here’s an easy trick: to peel a hard boiled egg if you don’t need it whole, just guillotine the egg at the beltline with a sharp chef’s knife and use a small spoon to scoop out the egg. This is a VERY FAST and TIDY technique.
I’ve been using a similar method for years…many, many years, sigh :). I bring eggs to boil then shut off heat and forget for 15 minutes (a timer works well). Drain in pot and beat them about in the pot then fill with cold water. This is where we differ. I peal them while they are still warm. They are easier to peel when warm and if I am making egg salad this is also where I break them up. Again they are easier to break up when warm. Then I leave in covered container in fridge. If I am using them for halves I don’t cut them until cold. That way they don’t crumble.
I tried this recipe and NOPE it did not work.. I even left the eggs in the pan for 15 monutes and they were still undercooked.. I was dissapointed.
Hi Jenn, many factors can influence cooking time, including size and shape of your pan, how many eggs are in the pan, your altitude, the ratio of water to eggs in the pan. This method works for most people, but sometimes you have to tweak given your particular circumstances. Try increasing the amount of water in the pan. Or if you are high altitude, cooking longer. ~Elise
This was very helpful but we did buy our eggs at the last minute it’s the Friday before easter. What to do?
If you hard boil them, crack one and it is hard to peel, put the rest back in the fridge and don’t crack them for several days. ~Elise
Bud Kinney on January 31, 2008 3:22 PM
“One tip I did not see. If you want fancy HB eggs that last, after you finish your favorite pickles don’t toss the jar and juice. Peel those eggs and put them in there. After a week or so, wow.”
Must you wait until the pickles are gone? Will it effect either’s taste much?
The real secret to prevent cracking of the egg shell is to poke a small pin hole in the large end of the shell – this is where the air bubble is so allows the expanded air to escape as the egg heats. Also I bring the water to a boil before putting in the eggs – set my timer at 6 1/2 minutes – when the timer goes off ( it reminds me I’m doing eggs ) I immediately drain and run in cold water. This gives me a perfect soft boiled egg EVERY time – no guess work. Eight minutes will give you a hard boiled & Ten minutes is enough for Devilled eggs
I keep wanting to make deviled eggs, but wind up making egg salad instead. I put vinegar and salt in the water; boil for minute and let set for 15 minutes; put in icewater for a few minutes. The only problem is the yolks are lopsided. They are never centered. Why?
I just saw last week on Paula Deen……use lots of salt in your water when boiling eggs and they should peel easier……works for me! I usually take so much pain taking the yellows out with a spoon before deviling…..she just pops them out!
For years I have had trouble with hard-to-peel boiled eggs, and for the heck of it, I typed in Boiled Eggs in google today. As God is my witness, I shall never have that problem again! Thankyou, Elise, for helping me make my first batch of ez-peel HB eggies today!
I cannot believe I am enjoying a web site about hard boiled eggs. Thanks everyone for all these tips.
One tip I did not see. If you want fancy HB eggs that last, after you finish your favorite pickles don’t toss the jar and juice. Peel those eggs and put them in there. After a week or so, wow.
Great tip, Fred. Thanks! ~Elise
Regarding boiling eggs at high altitude. A way to raise the boiling temperature of the water is to add salt. You can test the mixture ahead of time to determine how much salt you need to add for the volume of water you want to boil. The salt raises the boiling point (and lowers the freezing point).
Great idea, thanks Bud! ~Elise
I always keep a straight pin with a roud tip and pierce the egg at the largest part. It lets the air out.
I had always loved to EAT hard boiled eggs … but had never cooked them before … Using the method for an electric stove (and a dash of salt and red wine vinegar) my first batch of eggs cooked up perfectly.
I love eggs-fried, scrambled, poached, in an omelette or boiled. I recently discovered cooking poached and boiling eggs with an egg cooker. I am soooo happy with my egg cooker! There are a number of brands sold; I got the Oster brand. I love it. I have had to experiment a bit to get them right, but I find it much easier to get them the way I want them than by boiling or poaching on the stove.
For easy-to-peel eggs: there is a very thin membrane between the shell and the inside of the egg. You have to ensure that water can seep in between the membrane and the cooked egg or else the egg sticks to it and breaks apart when you try to peel it. By cracking the cooked egg well and rolling it around on the countertop to really crack it good, you also tear the membrane a bit. Then, running it under water while peeling or submerging it in cold water, as others have mentioned, the water gets through the tears, between the membrane and the egg, and allows the shell and membrane both to slip right off.
I just tried the egg with butter for the first time – delicious. Tomorrow I’ll try the olive oil!
For high altitude, you can follow her recipe except instead of turning the stove off, turn it down to low. When I lived at an altitude of 5500, I would put my eggs in a pot, cover with cold water. Cover the pot and bring to a boil. As soon as it comes to a boil, turn down to low and cook for 15 mintues.
Our favorite way to eat hard boiled eggs: With hot salt (mostly hot cayenne, some light salt, and black pepper mixed), and if eating hot, add a few drops of olive oil on them instead of any butter type product. To die for!
To stop the eggs from cracking, I pre-warm them for about 15 minutes in a very warm water bath in a plastic bowl. While they are warming I prepare my stock pot and start the water boiling. Then I use a slotted spoon to dip them carefully in. The better they are pre-warmed, the less cracking.
For Altitude, they might try this. After placing the eggs in the boiling water, turn the temp down to low or med. low and COVER the pot. SIMMER covered instead of boiling uncovered. I use 13 to 14 minutes at sea level using simmer/slight boil and my yolks do pretty well. At altitude they can simmer a little longer. Using the low burner setting seems to be better for getting really good looking hard boiled eggs. A loud timer will get you back to take them off the burner. Better yet, keep the timer with you.
I am anxious to try your method the next time I boil eggs. Thanks. Great website by the way!
The best way to eat a hard-boiled egg is with a dash of Tabasco sauce on each bite. Tabasco goes with eggs like peanut butter does with jelly.
My “no fail” way of boiling eggs is really simple. I put them in the pan first, then fill the pan with water at least an inch or more above the top of the eggs. Then, I place them on the stove with the burner set to high, and set the timer for 20 minutes. After about ten minutes I check to see if the water is boiling yet. If so, I turn the burner down a bit so the eggs boil on a low boil. I rarely have more than one egg crack (slightly) with this method.
Once the timer goes off, I remover the pan, carefully pour out the hot water so as not to crack the eggs while slowly refilling the pan with cold water to stop the cooking. I let them sit for about 5 minutes, and then eat or refrigerate for later.
This method has worked successfully for me at sea level, and altitudes as high as 3000 ft. The yolks are never discolored from over-cooking.
My French friend, Florence, once showed me a lovely way to enjoy hard boiled eggs. You slice up some tomato (heirlooms are great if you can get them, or any variety of tomato you like), 1/2 an avocado sliced or cubed, and 3 sliced eggs, and make a salad. I drizzle it with some extra virgin olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. I’m partial to celery seed, so I generally add that, too. In fact, I just finished eating it for lunch today! It’s also quite lovely as the colors of the eggs, avocado and tomato look nice together.
Try sprinkling a little salt in the water while boiling the eggs. It makes it easier to remove the shell.
Hetal and Anuja
The best way to have HB eggs that are easy to peel-boil the water first, turn the temperature down and lower the eggs into the already boiling water. They peel like a banana.
Eggs are the new Fortune Cookie–Write a message, joke or “fortune” on your HB eggs and share in a bowl at work. Much better than doughnuts, and fun, too.
And I’m not “eggs”agerating!
What – no discussion on centering the yolks? Perfect deviled eggs must have the yolk centered. I do this by placing the eggs on their sides in the refrigerator for 24 hours before boiling. Try it – it works.
Re shells: Not only are the shells good for your garden, but birds will eat pieces of shell to recover the calcium lost in laying their own
Thanks to everyone for the wealth of info!
For those that really want to know why adding vinegar works. Egg is largely protein and when you cook the egg you are actually denaturing the protein (that is a good thing) using heat. The vinegar, or lemon juice, makes the water acidic. Acid can penetrate the semi-permeable egg shell and denature the protein. (Much of the water supply is a little acidic anyways but the higher the concentration of acid the more quickly and throughly the protein is denatured.) It usually just denatures the protein on the outside and you heat your egg to denature the rest of the protein. The solid denatured protein prevents any other still liquid protein from escaping until you have finished cooking your egg.
As a further interesting note, if you let an egg sit in acid (more concentrated is better) such as vinegar or lemon juice, you can denature the entire egg without cooking it. It will also ‘eat’ the entire shell. the shell is largely calcium carbonate which will react with the acid to produce carbon dioxide and water.
If I’m having trouble peeling an egg, and I know it isn’t because I’m using super fresh eggs, I crack it all over and soak it in cold water for a few minutes. That usually seems to do the trick.
My tried and true method for dealing with those sticky unpeelable peels: roll egg on countertop using enough pressure so the shell gets crackled all over (you know, in a million pieces but still intact). Toss back into pot of cool water and let sit a minute or two. The water seeps under the shell making it a breeze to peel.
PS- FWIW, I’m in the ‘bring to boil/cover and turn off heat/time for 15 minutes’ camp
This article and these comments are wonderful…Thanks for posting! I especially like the use of less energy… I always boiled my eggs until they were done… now all I have to do is use enough gas to bring them to a boil and then simmer for a minute… very nice. Also… I have a kinda strange addition to the comments…somewhere along the line I found that if I was peeling an egg and it was difficult to peel, that if I just either closed my eyes or peeled it without looking at it, it was never a problem. I figured that I was just me getting frustrated and forcing a delicate thing…know it sounds silly, but all of the women in my family use this now and no more torn up eggs! :) Thanks again…
Seems to me another major problem with hard boiled eggs is cooking them in such a way that they peel easily. I’ve heard lots of theories about this. Would love to hear you weigh in on this!
Wow, everyone has something to say about boiling eggs, huh?
One tip I’ve heard (possibly from Alton Brown) is to use a pin to make a tiny hole in the bottom of each eggshell. Apparently this releases built up pressure inside the egg and will prevent it from cracking. Can’t say I’ve ever tried it before, I’ve never had to patience to sit there puncturing a dozen eggs before putting them in the saucepan.
The most accurate way to consistently boil either hard or soft boiled eggs is to purchase a Oster egg boiler. It has the correct measuring water quantity for either soft or hard. Mine cooks up to seven eggs at a time. When the water boils out, the unit shuts off and you have perfectly cooked eggs every time.
If you live at high altitudes, couldn’t you always try to bake the eggs? It seems you could set the oven to low (I think eggs fully cook around 160F?) and just let them bake away. =)
Megan, this is actually what Alton Brown teaches and how we do them in restaurants to make “so many” at once!
Wet a counter towel or dish towel… ring it out.
Cover your center oven rack with the damp towel.
Rest as many clean eggs as you wish directly on the towel in a cold oven.
Bake at 320 F for 30 minutes.
Soak them in an ice water bath for 10 or 20 minutes… You’re good to go!
All the advice for boiling eggs is good but the correct cooking time is best determined by trial & error, after all its not a big deal to forfeit a few eggs.
The only thing I can add to all the good advice is I place a cloth in the bottom of the pan. This way I do not have to worry about the temperature nor eggs bumping around and guess what, no cracked eggs.
I eat my morning hard boiled eggs with light soya sauce and white pepper — been doing that ever since I was a little girl. Sooo good!
Hi Cindy – I know this approach might seem complicated, but really it isn’t. All you do is bring the eggs to a boil with the water, let them simmer for a minute and then turn off the heat. I usually use an electric stove with a coil, so I don’t even have to do the simmering for a minute part. This couldn’t be easier. I usually don’t even bother with a timer. 10 minutes, 15 minutes, the eggs are still good and not over-cooked.
When I was in Italy, I had a breakfast of HBEs and olive oil. Highly recommended!
hi. i hate to say this, but i think you’re overcomplicating things a bit. i find the best, and simplest, way to cook hardboiled eggs is to bring salted water to a boil, then carefully place the eggs into the pot with a slotted spoon, and let boil for 6 to 8 minutes, depending upon how hard-boiled you like your eggs. then quickly run cold water over them to cool. three steps, and presto, easy to peel, deliciously textured hard boiled eggs.
Hi Arcey –
By the way, in step 2 above, you say in one place to bring to a gentle boil, and then say to use high heat for the boil. Do you use gentle or high heat?
Actually, I think I say to start the eggs in cold water and bring them gently to a boil. By starting the eggs in cold water, they will be brought gently to a boil, even if you have the burner on high heat. The trick is to lower the heat when the water starts to boil so that don’t bump into each other and the pan so much. Harold McGee mentions in his book that heating the eggs too quickly (what happens when you put eggs into already boiling water) increases the chemical reaction that causes a sulfur smell and taste in the eggs. He actually recommends that the water never come to a complete boil, that the heat stay just below a simmer, and then plunge the eggs into ice water as soon as they are done. That’s too much work for me – to stand over the stove and make sure that the water is just the right temp – so I use the bring to a boil and then remove from heat method.
Elise, I love that you reply to questions about your article. This has all been very helpful information. I’m about to go home and boil up a dozen for deviled eggs, and plan to use what I’ve learned here, as the practice ones I did last week were all hard to peel. Can’t wait to try the avacado deviled egg recipe. Thanks!
Charles: Not sure this would work, but what about a steamer? Do those work at high altitudes?
Well, I guess I’ve been boiling my eggs incorrectly all this time. ;)
My method on a gas stove is that it takes twenty minutes to cook eggs from start to finish (I’m in SF and probably pretty close to sea level).
I put the eggs in a pan, run cold water over them and put the pan on the stove on medium high. When I notice it’s come to a boil (usually a little after it’s come to a boil) I turn it down to low to simmer. When it’s been twenty minutes since I put the pan on the stove I take it off. No green rings, never hard as a rock yolk, always cooked through (I hate them runny). This isn’t for soft boiled eggs.
After the twenty minutes have elapsed I take the pan to the sink and begin running cold water from the faucet directly into the pan and over the eggs until they are cool enough to handle and don’t become hot again after a couple minutes.
I always make only what I’m going to eat as for some odd reason I have an aversion to cold boiled eggs that have been in the fridge unless they’re in potato salad. :)
My Mamma always taught me to use a little lemon juice in the boiling water for poached eggs. It helps keep the white together, so I imagine it would work just as well for boiled eggs, but I never have the shell cracking problem with my method of making them. She also taught me that if you crack the egg all around on a hard surface (counter, edge of the pan, etc) and peel it from the “large” end, you’ll never have a problem with getting it out of the shell unless it’s under or over cooked.
Starting from the middle or the little end seems to cause more problems, even with “aged” eggs.
Another way to check and see if a hard-boiled egg is done is to take it out of the boiling water with a slotted spoon and count to 8. If the shell is perfectly dry at the count of 8, your egg is done. Works every time for me! If it still has a wet spot past 8, then it needs to cook for a bit longer. (This trick and the spinning trick are fun ones.)
Hi Oc – The reason you shouldn’t eat eggs every day is that you shouldn’t eat any food every day. According to my doctor, our bodies work best on a varied diet. This is why in our family at least we have pork one night, chicken the next, steak the next, tuna the next, etc, and we don’t eat the same food for dinner that we ate for lunch. Also, sometimes if you eat one food every day, your body can develop a sensitivity to it, which can lead to an allergy to it.
I enjoy hard-boiled eggs with tomato-canned tuna mixed with the egg yolks and served inside the egg whites
Yes to Adissa’s comment! I use poultry trussing needles or the tines of a boiled corn holder to poke a small hole in the bottom of each egg, drop them in gently boiling water for 12 minutes, then remove them into very cold water for a minute or so. They are always perfectly cooked and remarkably easy to peel. My mother thinks I am insane for doing it this way, of course.
The sure fire way to prevent the eggs from cracking is a couple of shakes of salt in the cold water from the beginning. No need for vinegar or the needle…I PROMISE you they will not crack! :0)
So, it is not ok to eggs everyday? why? Can you elaborate on that please.
My 85-year-old stepfather has eaten two fried eggs every day of his life. And the FDA has said an egg a day is just fine. Jus’ sayin’
The doctor was commenting on the importance of having variety in the diet
I’m with you the best way is with hot sauce!
I enjoy hard-boiled eggs with hot sauce. This post will help.
One episode of Good Eats recommended that you hard-boil eggs in an electric kettle. I tried it out, and it works great. Put in the eggs, cover with cold water, and flip it on. Come back about 15-minutes later and rinse them with cold water to slow down the cooking. It works like a charm every time (though I suppose you could argue that it’s a pain to clean the kettle).
This is the method I used when I lived in California, except I found that if I cracked all the eggs before putting them in ice water, they were sure to peel easily. Now that I live at 5500 ft here in Arizona, once they come to a boil I turn the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes – that’s for extra large eggs. They come out perfect.
Hi Michael, according to this page about Avery Island, they are still mining salt there.
Re eggs: It’s very fashionable these days to say “sea salt”. Here in Greece all salt is sea salt. What is the alternative? Are they still selling salt from Salzburg and Avery Island? I thought that went out with horses going blind in the mines after years of almost no light.
Most salt here in the US is manufactured. Not harvested from the sea or salt mines.
Sea salt is lower in chloride than the common varieties of salt on the shelf.
In other words, there are a greater variety of chemicals in sea salt, which lower the actual percentage of salt it contains.
I recall the egg-spinning test differently. You spin the egg on its side, then very quickly press down on it (ever so briefly) with one finger to stop it, finally and let up. With a hard-boiled egg, the egg will just sit there after you release it (or start rolling off the surface its on). However, an uncooked egg will start to spin again! This happens because the yolk continues to spin independently from the eggshell itself.
This doesn’t help though if the egg is mostly cooked, to the point where the yolk is more of a solid than a liquid.
Oh well, its a fun trick to entertain children.a
Everyone has an opinion on boiling eggs! My two cents:
(1) I’ve found free-range eggs typically have thicker shells, meaning you can lower them into boiling water with little fear of cracking.
(2) Getting the boiled eggs into ice water immediately from the pot of hot water makes them easier to peel. (I think I learned that one from Alton Brown.)
Actually there is a much easier method to safely boil eggs. Normally the shell cracks because of the air that’s inside the egg which expands when the temperature rises. So before you put the egg in the water, just use a little needle (here in Germany we even got devices for that) and make a tiny hole in the bottom (bottom as in the flat side of the egg, not the pointy one)… don’t sting the egg too deeply as this would damage the membrane inside and would cause liquid to leak out.
After doing that, you’ll see air coming out of the egg while it boils inside the water.
A trick I found from a guy that sells food to construction sites…for easy peeling add about a quarter of a teaspoon of salt to the water. Works like magic, doesn’t matter if the eggs are old or new!
A easy way to peel an egg, that my best friend taught me, is to put the hard boiled egg in a small tubaware container with some water and a tight lid and shake it up until it feels like there is just water. Then, peel. Works every time with any type of egg. No vinegar salt or lemon needed.
I always understood that the vinegar acted on the calcium on the shell to “soften” it thereby making it less prone to cracking. Lemon juice does the same thing (A good use for yucky bottled lemon juice). Incidentally, the egg shells are good for the garden! I suppose the calcium neutralizes acidic soil. Just a guess., though.
I’ve always done something similar. I bring to a boil with cold water, then turn off the heat and cover for 17 min. (I know that’s a lot longer than your time, but it’s the way I learned it, so I’ve always done it that way.) I use a gas range.
By the way, in step 2 above, you say in one place to bring to a gentle boil, and then say to use high heat for the boil. Do you use gentle or high heat?
Thanks for all the great tips!
Julia Child says 17 minutes…
Hi Angel Elf – Adding vinegar works because of a chemical reaction with the acid in the vinegar. It speeds the coagulation of the egg whites. Salt helps too.
Hi Charles – Cooking at altitude presents all sorts of challenges. Sorry I can’t help you there, but perhaps a Google search will yield some information.
Hi Denise – Spinning an egg is a great way to tell the difference between a raw egg and a cooked one, but it won’t tell you if your yolk is cooked through or not. The reason that the spinning egg works for distinguishing raw eggs is that the yolk is moving in the egg whites. Once the egg whites are firm, the egg will spin normally.
Hi Stacy – You got it. With an electric burner (coil), all you have to do is turn off the heat and cover the pot. Don’t have to worry about simmering for a minute, because there is enough residual heat in the coils to keep the eggs simmering for a minute on their own.
I read about a similar method in the New York Times a couple of years ago, and I’ve had nothing but perfectly boiled eggs since. Hard to imagine, but it’s even easier than this. Once the water is boiling, simply clamp on a tight-fitting lid and turn off the heat. Leave them on the now-cooling burner 10 minutes and then cool the eggs. I like it because it doesn’t require the minute of simmering time and me remembering to come back and turn off the heat and take them off the burner. Now that I’m writing it, though, maybe this method works only on electric burners, which would allow a more gradual reduction of heat — simulating the simmering time in this method?
I agree with all your steps Elise except for the way to tell that they are done. I spoon one out and run under cold water for a second, then I spin the egg on the counter and if it spins perfectly and doesn’t wobble like a weeble wobble, I know the eggs are cooked to perfection. Whoever gave me this tip told me that a raw egg won’t spin like a top but a cooked egg will – I don’t know where I heard this or who to give the credit to, but it works!
I love avocados. Whats your recipe if you want to tell me?
We have a great one on the site: Guacamole Deviled Eggs
I make egg salad sandwiches using avocado instead of mayo, I also add a bit of garlic and soy sauce and it’s delicious :)
I find that using Salad dressing, like Miracle whip and such, plus some mustard, makes great egg salad and even tuna. Plus some finely chopped dill pickle.
Mayo, for the most part, lacks enough tang, almost like using oil, to my tatse.
I also take most of my hard cooked eggs and pickle them, often in pickle jiuce.
Using teh juice from peperoncini lends a bit of heat to the pickled eggs, and I usually add some kosher, or pickling salt to that, and maybe a bit more vinegar
Pickles nicely, and will keep in teh brine for month in the reefer.
The spinning trick worked but my eggs were very soft in the center, almost runney.
Elise, thank you for a terrific food blog! My family and I have enjoyed several of your recipes.
I must say that today’s recipe and yesterday’s recipe on poached salmon simply don’t work for us. We live at an elevation of 6300 ft, where the boiling point of water is about 12 degrees lower than at sea level. Any recipe that calls for bringing water to boiling then taking it off the heat simply won’t cook the food for us.
Is there is “sure-fire” adaptation to these sorts of recipes that will work for us?
Charles, I live in Colorado at 6400 ft. and my sure way to boil the perfect egg is to add eggs to a heavy bottom pan, fill with water to at least 2 inches above eggs…place on burner (I have electric) on high until they boil, then turn down burner to 4 and let lightly boil for 5 minutes. At 5 minutes, cover the pan, and move from burner and let sit for 12 minutes…then run eggs under cold water and I add ice to really cool them off! Hopefully this will help you! I always get perfect eggs but you might have to adjust times based on your stove. Good luck!
I have heard that adding vinegar to the boiling eggs is just a myth. My mother did it, I do it, and everyone I know does it. I’m going to write to the American Egg Board and find out once and for all.
By the way a quick and effective way to clean up a broken egg that’s fallen to the floor. Just sprinkle a little salt, I use the kosher one, on the egg. The salt coagulates the sticky mixture, making it easy to scoop up with a paper towel.
Thanks for the tip! I’m sure this has happened to everyone at some time or another.
Salt also works when wine spills on rug. At a party with brand new white rug someone splashed red on it. Luckily I got them to throw salt on the big spot. Let it sit 3 minutes or so and cloth towel pulled out the red, no stain. Imagine this works on white wine as well to prevent any stiffness in rug.
I’m wondering …. why is it you’re writing the American Egg Board? Did adding the vinegar work for you or not? Works for me. Thank,s for the salt tip!!
I love the honesty-I never notice them boiling either.
Friends think I’m odd because I keep hard boiled eggs in the refrigerator, but each week when I grocery shop I get a dozen fresh eggs and boil up the remainder of the last carton. There’s always 4-6 hard boiled eggs on-hand. Need a quick snack/meal-egg salad sandwich! Salad needs something-slice a hard boiled egg up. Dog is being a picky eater-slice a hard boiled egg over his food. How’s that ad go? The incredible edible egg!
Pouring a bit of dark soya sauce on the yolk is my favourite way of eating hard boiled eggs. Brings back a wealth of childhood memories.
My favourite way to eat boiled eggs is with some good butter and a sprinkle of sea salt. Granted, it’s not something you can have every day, but it’s so delicious every now and then..
That Sounds Sinful. I Owned a very busy & successful deli when I was a just Kid @22 with my brother . We use to cook about 50+ eggs a day Just for egg salad So all these years I’ve been doing it the commercial way So I decided while I was making breakfast for my wife, How do Other people do it.? I used to fill a small pot 3/4 of the way drop 6 eggs put on stove and set timer for 10-12 minutes with salt come back & let sit .So I find your great site (THANK YOU) and went back to the kitchen the water was Just starting to perk so I drained 1/2 of it,let it come to a boil turned off heat & then left covered for about 6 minutes as instructed .PERFECT! I dont like them overdone.
I find cage free brown range eggs VASTLY superior to any others in taste texture & cooking ease. If you haven’t tried it you missing the boat FYI I grew up on an egg farm :)
Here is a trick for a VERY QUICK egg sandwich. We came up with this Long before the Egg McMuffin. Its was called a “Lud Egg” after the name of our Deli Ludwigs.
Simply take an egg and place in a ramekin or a small tea cup Take a tooth pick and polk the center of yolk once. Put in microwave for about 3o-34 seconds & its perfect. You can heat up some sliced ham, sausage or bacon on a separate plate for about 15 seconds or so ( sausage more) and serve on a toasted roll or what ever. Do not cook for more than the allotted time that without checking because they will they will Blow up. Messy :) You might want to check the first one at 30 seconds because of wattages of models. No fuss or muss Your done before the toast is :) Good Luck !
I tried your idea and found out that eggs explode in exactly 22 seconds in our microwave. Coincidentally, it takes 6 minutes to clean up the mess and a whole night for the Mrs. to complain about it!
Thank you Ken, for making a mess so we don’t have to. ;-)
I agree that eggs coming from free range chickens are vastly superior in taste and texture. Eggs are the cheapest source or protein so you can pay a few more cents to get the good ones from free range, organically fed chickens, not the one coming from battery caged chickens that is still legal in the US.
Microwave may take out some important nutrients
hahaha My wife just did the exact same thing as you do but added chopped bacon as well and reheated it lol Now There is A tasty cardiac sandwich ! She always has boiled eggs in fridge herself, she says you can never have enough eggs She even uses them on her face as a mask of some sort what ever she does it has worked
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