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How To Hard Boil An Egg

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hard boiled eggs

I finally ran out of patience. I eat a lot of boiled eggs and I got tired of chalky yolks and stripping off patches of egg with the shell. So I set out to find the best way to boil an egg and tried all the methods I could find in Google.

Bottom line: None of them are foolproof, but this method is pretty good.

There are several small secrets that work: Really fresh eggs are harder to peel. Or buy the oldest eggs on the shelf. Don’t worry. They’re OK. Let them sit in the fridge for a week if possible. Other tips are to wait til the ater is boiling before adding the eggs, make sure the eggs are completely covered with water, don’t overcook, and don’t forget to cool them in cold water. Otherwise, other tricks like adding baking soda or vinegar to the water don’t work.

Boiled Egg Recipe

deviled eggs
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2.62 from 21 votes
Start with eggs that have been refrigerated for a week to 10 days. During this time, air gets through the shell and helps separate the membrane. And to make sure you get the timing right, don't add the eggs until the water is boiling. Make sure the water is deep enough to completely cover the eggs by about 1" (2.5cm). If you add them to cold water you cannot predict how much they will cook as the water ramps up to 212°F (100°C). To make sure they don't crack when they hit the bottom, place each egg on a spoon and gently lower it into the water. When your eggs are all boiled, try my favorite egg salad recipe, Mayo Mojo Eggs.

Main Course
Side Dish
difficulty scale


Servings: 12


Prep Time: 1 minute
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Cooling Time: 10 minutes


  • 12 Eggs
  • Enough water to completely cover the eggs by 1 inch (2.5cm)
Metric conversion:

These recipes were created in US Customary measurements and the conversion to metric is being done by calculations. They should be accurate, but it is possible there could be an error. If you find one, please let us know in the comments at the bottom of the page


  • Everybody in the pool. Bring the water to a vigorous boil. Gently place the eggs in one layer on the bottom of a wide pot or deep pan by lowering them in with a spoon. The eggs must be completely submerged by about 1" (2.5cm).
  • Boil. For hard boiled large eggs, when the water returns to a boil, set a timer for 11 minutes for medium sized eggs, 13 minutes for extra large, jumbo, or duck eggs (egg size should be on the box). For soft boiled eggs, set the timer for half that time.
  • Cool down. When the time is up, put the pan in the sink, pour out the hot water and run cold water into the pan over the eggs until the water overflows, then let it continue to run and overflow for about 5 minutes so there is always cold water in the pan. Or turn the water off and add lots of ice. Let the eggs sit for about 5 minutes until they are cool.
  • Chill. With a pen, label the boiled eggs with a "B" or an "X" so you can tell them apart from the raw eggs. Now put them into the refrigerator until you're ready to use them. Try to use them within a week. If you plan to use them soon after boiling, peel them as soon as they cool because the inside shrinks a bit.
  • Peel. To peel a cooled egg, gently tap it on the countertop or table at the fat end, where the air space is, until it has cracks in it. Roll the egg on the counter until the cracks turn into small crackles all over the egg. Hold the egg under running cold water or dip it in a bowl of water to make peeling easier. Throw out the pieces of eggshell when the egg is all peeled (my wife puts them in her compost pile).

The Norpro Method

  • The Egg Rite Egg Timer is an amazing and inexpensive little gizmo. It really works. You just put this heat sensitive plastic egg in the boiling water with the real eggs, and it changes color at the same rate as the eggs. It's easy to read the scale and get perfect soft, medium, or hard boiled eggs every time, no matter what altitude you are at or how many eggs in the bath. Click here to order.
    norpro egg timer

Smoke Your Eggs

  • Yes, you can smoke an egg, and although not a lot of smoke penetrates the shell, enough does get in to to darken the egg and give it a subtle smoke flavor. Just put a raw egg on your smoker at 225°F (107°C) for about 2 hours. Take it off and rinse it, let it cool for about an hour, and peel.

Related articles

Published On: 12/2/2015 Last Modified: 6/24/2024

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  • Meathead, Founder And BBQ Hall of Famer - Founder and publisher of, Meathead is known as the site's Hedonism Evangelist and BBQ Whisperer. He is also the author of the New York Times Best Seller "Meathead, The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling", and is a BBQ Hall Of Fame inductee.


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