kitchen 101: how to hard boil eggs

Posted on Jul 26, 2012 in Food

You guys may have noticed the obscene amount of hard-boiled eggs I eat in my What I Ate Wednesday posts. Hard boiled eggs (or, like they are called in our house, HBEs) are literally one of my favorite foods. They are portable, delicious and packed full of healthy fat, protein and just the right amount of calories to keep hunger at bay. Basically, HBEs are my best friend. I make up about a dozen eggs per week, stick them within easy grasp in my fridge and snack on them all week long.

A few people have taken notice of my insane egg consumption and asked me to show my method for the perfect hard-boiled egg, and it sounded like a great Kitchen 101 post! So here is my method for egg boiling…

The key to easy-to-peel eggs actually starts before you boil anything! The older the eggs are when they are boiled, the easier they are to peel. As the egg ages, the membrane that connects the egg to the shell actually begins to shrink and it makes the egg easier to peel later. If you can, only boil eggs that are 5-10 days old. I like to stay a week behind. I’ll buy a dozen one weekend, let them rest in the fridge, and then boil them the next. Although, sometimes I don’t plan ahead and have to boil “new” eggs. Which ends up in a lot of egg-y massacre when peeling. But they are still delicious! Just not so pretty.

You want your eggs to be fully submerged in water while boiling, so pick a large enough pan to fit all the eggs you want to boil, plus about 1-2 inches of water over their little egg-y heads.

Put the cold eggs in the bottom of the pan, and then fill the pan with cold water until the eggs are covered by at least an inch. You want both cold eggs and cold water because that’s part of the timing process. If you start with room temperature eggs and warm water, you’ll have to cook them longer. Keep in mind, my method is for cold eggs and cold water only.

Stick the pan, uncovered, on the highest, hottest burner you have and let them do their thing. Because the water is cold and the eggs are cold, it should take a while, but eventually you’ll get them to a nice rolling boil.

As soon as the eggs start to boil, cut the heat off, put a tight-fitting lid on the pan and let the eggs rest on the hot burner for 10 minutes. This is where the final cooking happens. Longer than 10 minutes, and you start to get the gray/green yolk, which tastes fine, it just doesn’t look all that appetizing. Longer than 20 minutes, and the eggs start to go rubbery.

Once your 10 minutes is up, dump the hot water out of the pan in the sink and fill up the pan, covering the eggs with cold water from the tap. You want to stop cooking (again to avoid the gray yolk/rubber egg issue). I normally keep the cold water running over the eggs for 1-2 minutes just to make sure they are really cooled off. At that point, they should be cool to the touch, I transfer them into a labeled egg carton and stash them in the fridge.

What’s your method for boiling eggs?

24 Comments

  1. I always mess up hard boiled eggs. They ALWAYS end up too mushy. This is so helpful, thanks so much. I’ll have to try it out!

    • Mushy!? I’ve never heard of mushy! Is that from cooking too long, maybe?

  2. I add a tablespoon of baking soda while they’re boiling. Helps with the peeling.

    • Ooh! That’s an awesome trick. Must try!

  3. I do pretty much the same thing, but I had a tbsp. of vinegar to the water while it’s boiling, because it helps with peeling (much like the person above suggested that baking soda helps!). Gotta love HBEs!

    • Fascinating! I’m gonna have to try that one, too. :)

  4. Love me some hard boiled eggs too! Great post.

    Now that you have the house and the great outdoor space have you guys given any thought to raising chickens? Over at The Broken Plow you can post about building their enclosure, etc. and her at BTHR you can post all kinds of yummy egg recipes that you make with the fresh eggs from you chickens.

    • Yes, we have thought about it! :) Maybe in the future.

  5. I can NEVER remember how to hard boil eggs. Do I boil the water first then add the eggs or add the eggs thn boil? How long do I boil for? Do they rest?

    Thankfully Alton Brown taught me you can cook them in the oven too! You put the eggs in the oven, turn it on to 325 and leave them in there for 30 minutes (including the prehat time). Then you rinse and store.

    • I’ve seen that on Pinterest! I thought that was pretty smart, too (especially using a muffin tin). But I’ve never tried it.

  6. I use a steamer. In T bay the water was pretty hard and it made peeling eggs difficult. Put about an inch of water in a pot, plop in the steamer and add the eggs and heat ‘em. Once steam starts coming up, put on the lid and time for 16 minutes. After that, put into an ice bath for a few minutes and voila! (Cook a bit longer for bigger eggs. i use 16 for plain old large)

    You will not get any grey in the yolk…they are lovely!

    • Fascinating! I’ll have to try it!

  7. My method is YOUR method because I got it from you :-)! You gave a short answer on how to make them in your comments section once and I went straight to boiling them. I was so beyond excited that I was able to make the “perfect” hard boiled eggs that I even wrote a post about it, lol!! I called it Hard Boiling 101….and certainly did not include pictures as pretty as yours!!

  8. I wish I liked hard boiled eggs – they’re such a good and easy source of protein! Do you just eat them plain? Any ideas for how to spice them up (literally) to make them more palatable?

  9. I wish I liked hard boiled eggs – they’re such a good and easy source of protein, but they just taste bland to me and I think they have a weird texture! Do you just eat them plain? Any ideas for how to spice them up (literally) to make them more palatable?

    • I just eat them plain and LOVE them, but I know lots of people sprinkle on salt and pepper.

  10. I make them the same way and they turn out great — except when I forget I’m cooking them and the water boils so long it evaporates (oops!) or I leave them sitting for too long and they turn grey/green. So unappetizing.

    Question: how long do your hardboiled eggs last in the fridge? I can’t seem to find a good answer in google land.

    • I actually have no idea because we plow through them SUPER fast. :)

  11. I am in loooove with eggs lately. And that’s exactly how I make mine too! Although, I didn’t know about the age thing. Thanks for the suggestion!

  12. I put in pan with cold water and boil for 13 minutes. Once finished boiling, I put two ice cube trays full of ice in the bowl with cold water and let the eggs cool off in the ice water until finished, they are easy to peel once that happens.

  13. For the people who find them too plain, I like salt & pepper, but a thin layer of pesto lightly spread on top of each half is a pretty awesome snack… ;)

  14. I used to work at a deli so a small batch of eggs was 5 dozen at a time. Usually used for egg salad, deviled eggs or a few for the chicken salad. Timing was a little different since it was on a much larger scale but the only thing that made peeling that many at once easier. Salt. Toooons of salt. Pop it in at the same time you stick the eggs in and it works awesome. Also how you crack the shells makes a difference, whack em on both ends first then just gently crack alllll the way around and it usually just slides off.

  15. I use a similar method to boil my eggs! I always have such a hard time peeling them cleanly though!

  16. I love how simple your hard boiled egg method is! I like to take a white crayon and draw pictures on my eggs and then when they are in boiling water, I put in 2 drops of blue food coloring. Each egg comes out decorated. It also makes it easy to figure out which eggs are the HB eggs

    Cheers, Calamity Kate

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