How To Hard Boil An Egg
I finally ran out of patience. I eat a lot of boiled eggs and I got tired of 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.
There are several small secrets that work: Really fresh eggs are harder to peel. Let them sit in the fridge for a week if possible. Other tips are to make sure the eggs are completely covered with water and then some. Don’t overcook, and don’t forget to cool them in cold water as described below if you want to avoid the gray ring and you want easy peeling. Otherwise, other tricks like adding baking soda or vinegar to the water don’t work.
For easier peeling, 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. When your eggs are all boiled, try my favorite egg salad recipe, Mayo Mojo Eggs.
Servings: 12 eggs, more or less
Submerge the eggs. Gently place the eggs in one layer on the bottom of a wide pot or deep pan. Put the pan in the sink. Run water into the pan until the water is 1" over the eggs. The eggs must be completely submerged. Hot or cold doesn't matter. Hot water will boil faster (there is a silly legend that cold water will boil faster - it doesn't). Put the pan on a burner and turn it to medium high heat.
Bring to a boil. Let the water come to a vigorous rolling boil. Once the water is boiling, put the lid on the pan and move it off the burner. For hard boiled eggs, set a timer for 12 minutes for medium eggs, 15 minutes for large eggs, or 18 minutes for extra large 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 overflow for about 5 minutes so there is always cold water in the pan. Turn the water off and let the eggs sit for about 5 minutes until they are cool. This gradual cooling avoids shocking the eggs, helps keep the shell from cracking, and makes peeling easier.
Chill. With a pen, mark the boiled eggs with a "B" 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 until it has cracks in it. Roll the egg on the counter until the cracks turn into small crackles all over the egg.
Use your fingers to start peeling off the shell at the large end of the egg where the airspace is. If you need to, you can 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.
Smoke Your Eggs
Yes, you can smoke an egg, and although not a lot of smoke penetrates the shell, enough does to darken the egg and give it a subtle smoke flavor. Just put a raw egg on your smoker at 225°F for about 2 hours. Take it off and rinse it, let it cool for about an hour, and peel.
Published On: 12/2/2015
Last Modified: 4/16/2021
Meathead - Founder and publisher of AmazingRibs.com, 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", named one of the "100 Best Cookbooks of All Time" by Southern Living.