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.

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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.

Course. Breakfast. Brunch. Lunch. Dinner. Appetizer. Entree. Side Dish. Snack.

Cuisine. American.

Makes. As many eggs as fit in one layer in your pan or pot.

Preparation time. 1 minute

Cooking time. 16 to 22 minutes


Eggs refrigerated for a week to 10 days are easiest to peel when boiled. During this time air gets through the shell and helps separate the membrane.

Enough water to completely cover the eggs


1) Gently place the eggs in one layer on the bottom of a pan or pot. 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.

2) Let the water come to a vigorous rolling boil. Put the lid on the pan once the water is boiling and move it off the warm 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 is on the box). For soft boiled eggs, set the timer for half that time.

3) When the time is up pour out the hot water and put the pan in the sink and run cold water into the pan until it overflows and let it overflow 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 allows them to cool gradually without shocking them. It helps keep the shell from cracking and makes peeling easier.


4) With a pen, mark the boiled eggs with a "B" so you can tell it 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.

5) 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.

6) 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).

Click here for my favorite egg salad recipe, Mayo Mojo Eggs.

There is another way


The Norpro Egg Rite Egg Timer inexpensive little gizmo is amazing. 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 flavor. Just put a raw egg on you smoker at 225F for about 2 hours. Take it off and rinse it, let it cool for about an hour, and peel.

Meathead Goldwyn

Meathead is the founder and publisher of, and is also known as the site's Hedonism Evangelist and BBQ Whisperer. He is also the author of "Meathead, The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling", a New York Times Best Seller and named one of the "100 Best Cookbooks of All Time" by Southern Living.



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