Cooking Hard Boiled Eggs: What is the perfect Way?

by (5100) Updated July 26, 2012 at 1:18 AM Created June 03, 2011 at 3:35 PM

I cook hard-boiled eggs a lot. I cook until the water boils, then lower the heat and let it simmer for another 15 minutes. Then I immediately dump the eggs into a bucket of cold water (supposedly this prevents the egg yolk from turning green).

So far so good. What additional step should I take to make sure the shells come off easily? They break in very small pieces and take forever to peel. Soak in vinegar?

I cook up to a dozen hard-boiled eggs at a time. So anything to save time will be greatly appreciated.

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20 Replies

190 · June 03, 2011 at 4:15 PM

My 80yo Mother-In-Law taught me to do it this way and it has helped. I still get an occasional "Hard to Peeler"

put eggs in cold water and bring to a boil over medium heat. Once boiling, turn off and cover. Let sit 13 minutes then run cold water over them till cool. Peel. She said when having trouble peeling them, peel under cold running water. The cold water gets under that little membrane and seperates the membrane from the egg. It helps and they are pretty close to perfect everytime.

5105 · June 03, 2011 at 10:27 PM

I basically put the eggs into cold water and bring that water to a boil, then turn it off, move to a cool burner and let the eggs sit in the hot water for 30 minutes. Then I put them in ice cold water. By far the tastiest hard boiled eggs I've ever had, amazing texture, never ever any green on the outside of the yolk.

2817 · June 03, 2011 at 4:08 PM

Peeling has more to do with the state of the egg that how it's cooked, from what I understand. I've heard that older eggs peel more easily. That said, the best peeling eggs I've had were farm fresh and never refrigerated (if your farm-fresh eggs are unwashed you can leave them out on the counter, washing them right before cooking).

3978 · June 03, 2011 at 4:07 PM

Ok, I've read a ton of things about HB eggs over the years, and make them a lot, and a lot of it is inconsistent. Regardless of method (I used to make them like you do with the lower heat after boiling, but now I'm back to just boiling them for 8 minutes with no difference and less steam in the kitchen), I usually end up with one or two (out of 6-9) with a green ring around the yolk. They can all be from the same carton, all cooled really, really fast or not so fast, and still one or two. I think it's just something inherent with that particular egg. FWIW, the ones that get cooked a long time in spag sauce which I mentioned in another post don't necessarily turn green, so I'm pretty sure it's not from heat.

On peeling them, I've read somewhere over the years that it has to do with the age of the eggs. IIRC, younger ones were supposed to be harder to peel, and eggs that were a little older were better for boiling. This may or may not have been from a Martha Stewart website, but it comes to mind. It may also have something to do with the diet of the chicken. All I know is that when I start peeling, if one of them sticks, usually several of them do, so I'm inclined to believe it's age of eggs or diet of the chicken.

6140 · June 03, 2011 at 4:00 PM

I often bake hard boiled eggs using this method from Alton Brown but they are not necessarily easier to peel. (I bake bacon at the same time sometimes for a no attention easy clean up breakfast)

This is a silly method that works and you get better at with practice.

The Baking soda in the water does seem to help if you boil.

10 · July 26, 2012 at 1:18 AM

Try the Egg Boil Pro app. I use it a few times a week. Boil half a dozen and refrigerate the extras. Perfect eggs every time.


2979 · June 03, 2011 at 5:16 PM

I have the perfect boiled egg method :-)

  • Puncture the fat end of the egg with a pin or thumbtack (producers always put them fat end up in the carton so they all look bigger - some eggs it's hard to tell so it works best to do it while still in the carton)
  • Dump them in strongly boiling water - I sometimes lower them with a big spoon or strainer then tip them out in the water to avoid cracking against the pan
  • Boil 8-10 minutes
  • Over the sink, dump out as much hot water as you can quickly then refill with cold from the tap, dump and refill a couple times then leave in cold water. I don't bother with ice (too much work and doesn't make enough of a difference in either quality or peeling)

The reason eggs crack in hot water is that the air pocket at the fat end expands too quickly. Starting with cold water still cracks some of them - and is very hard to control precisely.

I don't have the answer for the peeling, but I think the other answers are correct - it depends on the age of the egg. There might be some interesting hacks one could do for this though - soak in something maybe, either to strengthen the shell or to weaken the boundary between egg and shell

13583 · June 03, 2011 at 4:09 PM

I've been streaming my eggs instead of boiling. The best method I've ever tried:


Alton Brown for the win.

77338 · February 02, 2012 at 10:16 PM

If you tap the shells to crack them after they are cooked and before they go into cold water it makes them a bit easier to peel. Older eggs peel way easier than really fresh ones.

75 · February 02, 2012 at 9:44 PM

i recently got an electric pressure cooker. i swear that the other day one of my hard boiled eggs came unpeeled in 2 pieces. i was so excited that i took a picture and sent it to my husband. :)

method: put eggs in pressure cooker on a rack with about 2 inches or so of water. seal and turn on for 6 minutes. release pressure and VOILA!

10004 · February 02, 2012 at 8:08 PM

I can't remember what web site I got this from but it really does make the perfect hard boiled egg. Cooking the eggs this way, you will not get a green ring around the yolk.

"Boiling perfect hard boiled eggs is a bit simpler than making soft boiled eggs. This is because, the timing is not so stringent in hard boiling eggs.

Place room temperature eggs in a saucepan and slowly pour water to cover them, till the level reaches to about half an inch above the eggs. Place saucepan over a burner, setting it to high temperature.

Bring water to a boiling temperature and set timing to exactly 3 minutes, while still maintaining high heat. Following this, take off the saucepan from heat and cover lid. This time, allow the eggs to set for 8 minutes.

Then place your hard boiled eggs under running water to cool down. You can share this method on how to boil an egg perfectly with your friends."

60 · June 04, 2011 at 1:23 PM

Bring water to a boil. Carefully drop in eggs--I use a slotted serving spoon, 2 at a time. Boil for 30 seconds, remove from water and put in pot with cool water.
Bring 2nd pot with eggs to almost boiling, turn off heat and cover for 6-7 minutes. Remove eggs from hot water. (Optional, Put eggs in cold/ice water.)

I usually crack one in the process, so I throw in a spare. I just eat the broken egg shortly after cooking.

I know this takes 3 times as much time, effort, energy and water, but the eggs will peel consistenly(even new eggs, which are usually hard to peel). I can often break up the shells and peel half the shell off the egg with the membrane holding it together. After doing it several times, one gets the routine down. It helps to have a timer.

Medium avatar
19355 · June 03, 2011 at 6:48 PM

I've never seen a "green ring" in my hard boiled eggs, but I cook them according to the boil, cover, simmer method.

I also add sea salt to the water and peel while they are still warm.

You can see the full recipe here...http://www.fitnessinanevolutionarydirection.com/2011/03/caveman-cuisine-perfect-hard-boiled.html

883 · June 03, 2011 at 5:58 PM

my favorite way is to put the eggs in cold water and set them on the burner, up the heat till it boils and boil the hell out of them for 5 mins and then immediately transfer them over to a bowl filled with ice water (to stop the cooking process) or just simply run cold water over them until they cool down. Fast and effective for impatient people (like myself)

1959 · June 03, 2011 at 5:44 PM

I started just poaching them instead (even for egg salad/cold hard boiled eggs) because PEELING DRIVES ME CRAZY!!


3854 · June 03, 2011 at 5:00 PM

I have never tried the method in this video, but it is, nevertheless worth a look...


2426 · June 03, 2011 at 4:59 PM

Try cracking them on the counter in a few places, then rolling them under your hand before peeling. All those little pieces will stick to the albumin and come off easily.

30 · June 03, 2011 at 4:08 PM

CCQ: doesn't that make them soft-boiled? I'll eat soft-boiled, but I prefer hard-boiled. Lately, I thought i was cooking the eggs the same way as always, but the eggs turn out soft-boiled. I boil them for about 10 minutes, then dump in cold water. Also been having peeling problems... I lose way too much of my eggs that way!!

Follow-up question re. bacon -- I've seen that bacon is on the not-so-great paleo list, but does that apply across the board? I use turkey bacon (sometimes chicken), not pork, and it's always the no-antibiotic, free range, blahdy blah type turkey. Not so much with the nitrates, etc. as in pork bacon, I think (or in non-happy-turkey bacon). Thoughts?


15261 · June 03, 2011 at 4:06 PM

I've never found anyone so anal about cooking boiled eggs than Jacques Pepin. He has made an art out of it.


0 · June 03, 2011 at 3:40 PM

I don't know about making them peel more easily - perhaps that has more to do with the egg itself?

But to save time on cooking them, I've always just put the eggs in the room temperature water, bring to a full boil, turn off the heat, and wait until things cool. Takes about 60 seconds of effort over five minutes and they are cooked perfectly every time.

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