Egg Peeling Rage (aka-Hack My Hard Boiled Eggs)

by 499 · July 19, 2013 8:41 AM

I've googled the heck out of this subject and searched here as well. There seems to be dozens of methods to cook a hard boiled egg but less talk about the best cooking method so that the egg shell comes of easily. My frustration is that I cook them the same way every morning and there seems to be no rhyme or reason to how hard or easy the shell comes off. Sometimes they just about fall off and other times they are so hard to peel half the egg white goes with the shell to the point I'm left with the yoke. This morning at work I attempted to peel three eggs for breakfast and I honestly felt like I ended up with about an egg and a half since I lost so much white with the peel. Yesterday I had 3 eggs out of the same carton and the shell came right off. I've used a variety of egg brands and older and new eggs and haven't noticed any corresponding correlation to peeling ease.

My method is: -cold eggs into cold water -put on stove and bring to boil -back heat down to a slow boil and set timer for 10 minutes -remove pot and run cold water over eggs until the pan and eggs are cool and then fill the pot with cold water and let set for 10 minutes

I do this on most days in the morning and then have the eggs at work for breakfast about 2-3 hours later.

To give this thread some direction I have a few questions: -My eggs come out great with my cooking method but is there a better way to cook them to insure an easy peel? -Does adding baking soda or vinegar really do anything? -Would peeling the eggs right after they are cooled compared to a few hours later make them easier to peel? -anyone tried steaming the eggs and does that make fore a better peel (Alton Brown from Good Eats method he claims is best)? -the blowing the shell off method doesn't work for me at all. -Do the types of eggs impact peeling? Omega, pasteurized, cage free, organic, etc. -the age of the eggs seems to come up a lot as the cause of good or bad peel. Is there a method there like buy eggs and sit them in the fridge for a week or 2 and then boil?


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692 · July 18, 2013 3:32 PM

I grew up on a working ranch. We got at least 30 eggs a day and ate them in all manner, including boiling them by the stockpot full!

When we boiled, we chose OLDER eggs. Fresher eggs are nightmares to peel.

I was taught/told that's because the albumen pulls away from the inside of the shell as it ages (perhaps this is dehydration of some kind?).

If we had no older eggs because we had sold or given ours away, it was hellish peeling a mess of eggs!

If you buy farm-fresh eggs, it's even worse than the ones in stores (which can be older). Next time to get eggs, buy more and let them age a few weeks. It'll help a bunch. I was also taught to begin boiling in cool, salted water. After reaching a boil, allow to cool til tepid, then run COLD water over them til the shells feel cool to touch.

2611 · July 18, 2013 at 11:00 PM

For wonderful hard-boiled eggs, I always go with the Georgia Egg Board method. One addition I've seen is that after the final step where you chill the eggs, you can dunk them back in boiling water for 10 seconds, then put them back in cold water. This supposedly loosens the shell.

45 · July 18, 2013 9:32 PM

we had 18 chickens for a while before they died (fox attack) and I have to say that the older the egg is the easier to peel. that said, most of the time there is no rhyme or reason. Day old eggs sometimes had the shell pop right off and I have trouble with grocery store eggs all the time.


my mom suggested adding salt to the water before boiling but this hasn't helped me at all.

20 · July 18, 2013 3:33 PM

It's all about the age of the egg. The older the egg, the easier it is to peel. The fresher the egg, the harder it is to peel. Leave a carton of eggs in the fridge for a month, and when it nears the "best-by" date, boil them and watch how easy it is to slip the shell off.

1353 · July 18, 2013 2:57 PM

+1000 on your frustration, as a consumer of 2-3 eggs per day this drives me mental. In answer to your question, there is absolutely no rhyme or reason. I always boil them for exactly 3 minutes, I always put them from fridge-chilled into hot tap water then boil it. Yet I will get many from the same dozen that peel nicely and some that won't. Makes no sense.

3279 · July 18, 2013 at 11:18 PM

Pressure cook them! Since discovering this method, I never do it any other way. Even the freshest eggs' shells just slide right off. Same amount of time to make, but so easy to peel.


I use the tea towel method mentioned down in the comments. If you search the web for 'pressure cooked hard boiled eggs,' you'll find many different ways to lay the eggs in the pot.

(I used to be terrified of pressure cookers but I'm hooked. They're perfect for paleo...bone broth in 45 minutes!)

8497 · July 18, 2013 3:18 PM

Tim Ferriss - How to Peel Hard-boiled Eggs without Peeling

Peel an Egg like a PRO

108 · July 19, 2013 8:41 AM

btw. older eggs are easier to peel than fresher ones.

24412 · July 18, 2013 9:52 PM

Other than using older eggs, the trick I saw on a cooking show was to use enough salt in the water. The chef mentioned that people complain about salt not working because they don't use enough of it (as she added a full handful to the water).

1600 · July 18, 2013 8:50 PM

Have you tried steaming your eggs? http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/how_to_make_perfect_hard_boiled_eggs/

Elise (of the above website) says that even fresh eggs steamed for 20 minutes will be easy to peel. Her recipes and site are great. Might be something to try.

1714 · July 18, 2013 5:20 PM

My mom always taught me to put cold eggs in cold water, boil the water, cover and turn off the heat immediately. Let them sit in the hot water until cold.

Sometimes this results in easy to peel eggs, sometimes it does not.

I tried the cold water bath after cooking and only ended up with raw eggs O_o

108 · July 18, 2013 3:18 PM

I cook water and put in the cold (fridge cold) eggs. after exactly 6 min. and 45 sec. I take the pot off the oven, remove the hot water and flood the whole thing with cold water.

Then I wait a couple of minutes before taking the eggs out of the water.

My eggs are always perfect (with a bit of liquid yellow in the middle) and easy to peel.

Cheers Marc

666 · July 18, 2013 3:18 PM

When my eggs are boiled, I will pour cold water on them for a little while until the shell has cooled down. Then I peel it off right away. The shell will peel off much easier. I have no explanation for why this works, but I've had no problems since I started doing this. Give it a try.

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