Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs

Everyone should know how to boil an egg, it’s a cooking basic right?  Or maybe not.  Several years ago in Hawaii I wanted to boil some eggs for tuna salad.  I suddenly realized that whenever I’d done it at home, I had a nifty little boiled egg timer that my mom used.  With no timer, and no money to buy one, I turned to the one source I knew could tell me how long to boil an egg.  I called my mom!

My mother is one of those people who seems to know everything, not thinks she knows everything, she actually knows just about anything you could ask her!  I call her up and she tells me, oh it’s easy!  I think she was mostly thrilled that her at the time estranged daughter was actually calling her on the phone.  (We have a great relationship now fortunately).

She gave me step by step instructions, and over the years I’ve used those (and probably adapted them slightly) to get perfect boiled eggs every time.  The term “boiled egg” is actually misleading, because if you really boil them for very long, they bounce and crack and you get a scary deformed egg like the one below.

So let’s just take it one step at a time.  How to Hard Boil and Egg:

1.  Place eggs that are at least 5 days old (NOT fresh from the farm!)  in a single layer in the bottom of a pot, and fill the pot with water that covers two inches above the eggs.

2.  Place the pot on the stove and turn the burner to high.  You can walk away for a few minutes but make sure you check on it to see when it begins to boil.

3.  Once the water starts boiling, PUT THE LID ON THE POT (can you tell that’s important?) and take the pot off the stove.

4.  Set a timer for 10 minutes and let the covered pot of eggs sit.  (This is a good time to wash dishes or something, I ALWAYS need to wash dishes, grrr)

5.  When the timer goes off, your eggs should be done.  Use tongs or a slotted spoon to remove eggs from the hot water.

6.  Place the eggs in a small bowl and place in the sink then run cold water over the eggs.  (Don’t skip this step!  The steam it creates inside the shell makes it easier to remove the shell later)

A couple trouble shooting tips if your eggs tend to crack:

1.   Pierce a small hole in the tip of the egg before boiling.  You can use a pin, but I use the egg piercer in my slicing gadget.

2.  Add a teaspoon of vinegar to the water, this is supposed to help keep egg whites from leaking out if the shell cracks.

Boiled eggs are so handy, and I have lots of recipes to use them in!  Like Egg Salad, 1000 Island Dressing, Tuna Sandwiches, or (my favorite) a Thai recipe called Son-In-Law Eggs.  Tonight, I’m just eating one with a little salt.  Do you have any other tips to getting perfect boiled eggs?


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12 Responses to “Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs”

  1. katerina
    February 5, 2010 at 8:46 am #

    Everytime I make hard boiled eggs I have to look it up, I never remember the timing!

  2. Chou
    February 6, 2010 at 6:58 am #

    A well-cooked hard boiled egg is so wonderful.

  3. Crystal
    February 7, 2010 at 10:46 am #

    I’m looking forward to your hard boiled egg recipes since I’m always trying to use them before they go bad and I can’t eat eggs sunny side up (since I’m pregnant) and that’s my fave :(

  4. Sarah- A Beach Home Companion
    February 7, 2010 at 12:00 pm #

    Great tutorial on something that seems so basic, but can really be a disaster if you don’t do it right! No matter what, I always have trouble with the peel, I’ll try timing them next time.

    • diana
      February 7, 2010 at 12:07 pm #

      Crystal, I promise there’s several recipes for you coming up, from the basic egg salad to the more exotic :) Oh and I’m so excited you’re preggers!

      Sarah, getting lots of steam under the shell is the key to easier peeling. Time it and then immediately run under the cold water, or even put in an ice water bath! This creates the steam that helps separate the membrane from the egg.

  5. Ashley
    February 8, 2010 at 5:53 pm #

    Hey girl. Thanks for this post. I saw your egg salad samich on FoodGawk and had to check out the recipe. I LOVE egg salad!! I think I might try a version using greek yogurt instead of mayo. Also, this post on boiling the eggs if very helpful. I have found that brown eggs are much harder to peel! I wonder if something is different with the proteins that create the shell? Anyway…thanks! The hubs has been buggin for hard boiled eggs…tonight he will get them ;)

  6. Fuji Mama
    February 11, 2010 at 7:30 pm #

    THANK GOODNESS FOR MOMS. Awesome post–this is how I do mine! SO easy! Mmmm, cannot wait to see what you use them in!

  7. Mary Jo
    May 6, 2010 at 9:12 am #

    For those who like kitchen gadgets, this little thing works like a charm but you do have to keep an eye on it to watch it changing colors. I used to always have green rings around the yolks before I got one.

  8. SundancerSEM
    June 6, 2010 at 3:39 pm #

    Why can’t you boil farm fresh eggs?

  9. diana
    June 7, 2010 at 8:32 am #

    They’ll be impossible to peel. Eggs need to be at least 3 days old to hard boil if you want to be able to get the shell off.

  10. Dave Ewer
    May 19, 2011 at 2:02 pm #

    here’s another tried and true hard boild egg method: cold eggs in warm tap water. put on high heat and start 12 minute timer just when the water boils. reduce heat half way between high and med/high and hit timer. at 12 minutes have your mits on and slide the hot pot off heat. when boiling stops you can move to sink and run cold water over the eggs till you can touch the water with bare finger. yes let it overflow the eggs about 30 seconds and you’ll be fine. now grab the eggs and start smacking them against the sink; both ends and around to break shells. first broken chip you remove the whole shell will easily slide right off. I do a dozen at a time for salads and Son in Law Eggs and this method never fails. if you boil them longer and don’t immediately cool them the opposite happens; the shells stay near permanently attached to the eggs. No Yolk ladies and gents.

    • diana
      May 19, 2011 at 2:09 pm #

      I’ll have to give that a try, thanks Dave!

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