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Easy Peel Hard Boiled Eggs

Easy peel hard boiled eggs video

Gah! Guess what we’ve all been boiling eggs the wrong way. Or I have at least. For years I touted this method of hard boiling eggs and while it certainly works fine, I’d still end up with 30% of my eggs being a serious pain in the ass to peel. No matter how old they were, how long they cooled in the ice bath, peeling under water or not, adding baking soda or vinegar to the water. None of it really makes that big a difference, it turns out, to getting easy peel hard boiled eggs

What does make a difference? Boiling water start!

I read about this on Serious Eats and obviously had to try it. And thus far, after 20+ trials, I’ve yet to have it fail me. The idea is that by putting the eggs into boiling water, the shell membrane adheres only to the shell, rather than gluing the shell to the albumin, which is what makes removing the shell cleanly and smoothly an impossibility. No more!

But wait. Won’t the egg crack if you put it right from cold fridge to hot water? No. No it won’t. Lower the eggs into the boiling water carefully using a slotted spoon and they don’t crack. I know. It gets me, too. But I’ve only had like 2 crack, ever. If you’re super worried, leave them out on the counter for a couple hours so they can warm up and it’ll be less of a temperature shock.

The post-cooking ice water bath is still important, though. That will cool them fast so you can get to peeling and, according to Serious Eats, also reduces the size of the air pocket  in the fat end of the egg. Mine still usually have little dimples in the fat ends, so I’m not sure about that, but it does cool them off faster and I think helps the peeling go even “smoother”. Ha!

Watch the Easy Peel Boiled Eggs Video on YouTube

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Easy Peel Hard Boiled Eggs

easy peel boiled eggs

4.8 from 6 reviews

  • Author:
  • Cook Time: 11 mins
  • Total Time: 11 mins

Ingredients

  • Eggs (the older, the better)
  • Water
  • Ice

Instructions

  1. Fill a pot with 1 1/2-2 inches of water. Cover and bring to a strong boil.
  2. Lower cold eggs into boiling water witha slotted spoon. Be careful not to splash.
  3. Count to 30.
  4. Reduce heat to the lowest simmer your pot will go. The temperature of the water at this stage should be 180-200ºF.
  5. Set a timer for 11 minutes for hard boiled eggs (6 minutes for soft boiled eggs).
  6. Fill a bowl with ice and water – the size of the bowl depends on how many eggs you are cooking.
  7. When the timer goes off, use the slotted spoon again to lift eggs out and into the ice bath. (If you’re boiling lots of eggs, reuse the water!)
  8. Allow eggs to sit in the bath for 15 minutes until completely cool. (Save this cool water to pour on your house plants!)
  9. Store in the refrigerator or peel now.

Then use your perfectly peeled boiled eggs to make

Jalapeño Deviled Eggs

Pickled Deviled Eggs

Breakfast Meatloaf

easy peel hard boiled eggs

30 Comments

  1. pat Soltis on September 23, 2014 at 8:48 pm

    Hello again, Hilah,

    For me, good hard-boiled eggs are essential, but they’re just a beginning. I need to try your method for boiling and peeling them.

    In 1981 my then wife and I spent an evening, a night, and a morning at L’Oustau de Bauminiere in the far south of France. The chef and owner was the legendary Raymond Thuilier. He was then eighty-four years old and the Michelin three-star chef of longest standing in the world. I conversed with him briefly. He was a great gentleman.

    Anyway, I have M. Thuilier’s cookbook, in French. He gave a recipe for hard-boiled eggs in a cream sauce with anchovy paste. Great stuff.

    I know that the BIG DAY is getting closer. Good luck, courage, and strength.

    ps

    • Hilah on September 24, 2014 at 2:30 pm

      Mmm. That sounds yummy, Pat. I had a dish at a Christmas brunch many years ago that I still remember: halved boiled eggs, cream sauce, red bell pepper strips, served over toast. Man, that was good.

      • pat Soltis on September 25, 2014 at 1:38 pm

        Hilah,

        Your Christmas brunch dish sounds like something I would make for an informal, late supper, just for myself. I’m making a note to myself to try it soon.

        BTW, I forgot to mention that Raymond Thuilier’s cream sauce contained a fair amount of parmigiano-reggiano, so it was technically a Mornay. For the record he retired in 1990, at the age of 93, and lived to be 96.

        Best,

        Pat

  2. The Other Randy on September 24, 2014 at 9:22 am

    It’s not really a new technique. It’s just older than you are 🙂 My mother used the start-with-boiling water method. My grandmother and aunts used the start-with-boiling-water method. And ironically, over the past 20 years, despite never experiencing any of the problems that it supposedly corrects, I’ve gone with the start-with-COLD-water method. In recent years, it seems that peeling hard-boiled eggs has become such a MAJOR, unpredictable pain in the ass (i.e. when I’d just want hard-boiled eggs to eat as is, they peeled relatively easily, but just as soon as making deviled eggs became the goal…well let’s just say that it’s too bad I’m not a sci-fi film director because I could have used them as miniatures of the moon’s surface), I stopped making deviled eggs. I vaguely remember a time when peeling eggs was always a simple, quick, fast and clean endeavor. I’ll bet it was when I still used the traditional start-with-boiling water method. And I’ll also bet that what prompted me to stop using it was a bad experience peeling very fresh eggs.
    You’ve really addressed all of the issues of making hard-boiled eggs and identified what causes what with this video. Great job!

    • Hilah on September 24, 2014 at 2:27 pm

      Hahaha! Yes, that is true. 🙂 I’m sure there are a million other tricks out there that are older than dirt that just don’t get the recognition they deserve!
      Let me know if this old way fixes your moon-surface-egg problem. Do you recall ever having the eggs crack when put into boiling water? I’ve had several people concerned with that but in all the times I’ve done this, the only time I had an egg crack was when it slipped off the spoon and fell into the pot, rather than being carefully lowered in.

      • The Other Randy on September 24, 2014 at 3:04 pm

        I’m sure it will. I can only recall one case of cracked shells when starting with boiling water and it wasn’t the temperature differential that did it. It happened because I got sidetracked with something else and didn’t lower the flame of the burner for at least a minute and the rolling boil caused one egg to slam into the side of the pan.

        Since I’ve only got 2 eggs in the refrigerator and they’re destined for a double-batch of your genius meatloaf recipe, I won’t be getting around to cooking any hard-boiled eggs for about a week, but I’m already thinking about it and I suddenly remembered an issue that you neatly solved in one of your previous videos: off-centered yolks. Since I don’t recall that being a issue back when I used the boiling-start method using cold eggs, I’d guess that refrigeration keeps the egg whites in a dense enough state to keep the yolks suspended in the center. Does that sound right to you?

  3. Sarah on September 24, 2014 at 2:34 pm

    Yes! Those of us with hens never can get really fresh eggs peeled. Well, boiling the water *first* then lowering in the eggs works so good, I can hard boil eggs that were laid that same day and they peel up great! Glad you shared this, Hilah!

    • Hilah on September 24, 2014 at 2:37 pm

      Oh hooray! That is wonderful to know that this will even work on super fresh farm eggs. Thank you, Sarah!

  4. sara on September 24, 2014 at 4:27 pm

    I can’t wait to try this! I’ve been struggling with making hard boiled eggs for years. Hoping it works for fresh farm eggs too.

    • Hilah on September 26, 2014 at 10:11 am

      I hear it does, Sara, but let me know how your experience is. 🙂

  5. Ann Marie B. on September 27, 2014 at 10:28 pm

    Hi Hilah! I like using my spaghetti spoon to lower the eggs in the boiling water and get them out. That way I don’t have to worry about them accidentally falling off the spoon!

    • Hilah on September 28, 2014 at 10:35 am

      Oh that’s a great idea! Thanks, Ann Marie.

  6. elspeth on September 28, 2014 at 6:54 pm

    Thanks for sharing this awesome tip! Worked for me, but I either had the burner too low or 11 minutes was not enough for hard boiled. Thanks, again!

    • Hilah on September 29, 2014 at 10:28 am

      Yay! Glad to hear, Elspeth. I should put a disclaimer “Your mileage may vary” when it comes to the simmering time since stoves simmer settings can fluctuate so much. 🙂

    • Adrianne on January 6, 2017 at 12:34 pm

      Yeah, I always do around 15-18 depending on number o’eggs.

  7. Sophie on October 6, 2014 at 10:57 am

    Thanks again, Hilah! I’m just about finished making these for my lunches this week at work.

    cheers and happy manic not so manic monday,
    soph
    a fan from baltimore

    • Hilah on October 6, 2014 at 11:00 am

      Happy Monday, Sophie!

  8. Terry on October 8, 2014 at 1:40 pm

    I tried this start with hot water technique and it worked pretty well. I also tried the steam the eggs for 15 min technique and then place in a bowl with ice cubes and put them in the fridge for 30 min. That really worked well. Better than the first hot water start method IMO.

    There’s a guy on youtube with a hunting/cooking show and he demo’d this technique.

    By the way, all my blessings on the pending baby. You will be a great mother for sure.

    Good luck and best wishes!

    • Hilah on October 8, 2014 at 6:54 pm

      Thanks, Terry! I’ve never heard of the steamed eggs technique. Makes you wonder just how many ways to boil eggs there are in the world! 😉
      And we are super excited about our pending bundle of joy. Thank you!

  9. Cat on October 8, 2014 at 2:29 pm

    I’m trying this awesome method for the first time today and I plan to store them in the fridge for the rest of this week. Is it important to store them in the bowl of water or can I transfer them to a new, dry bowl? Also, for how long can I store them in the fridge?

    • Hilah on October 8, 2014 at 6:52 pm

      Hi Cat!
      You don’t store them in the water, just leave them there until they are cold. I usually store them in another egg carton, labeled of course. 🙂 They will keep for at least a week, probably two weeks or more but I’ve never had them around that long.

  10. Cathy on March 27, 2015 at 3:03 pm

    If you use really fresh eggs, they have a smaller air pocket and no dimples on their bottoms. Simples.

    • Hilah on March 27, 2015 at 5:24 pm

      Thanks, Cathy! I hadn’t heard that. This method is great for boiling fresh eggs, too, since the peels don’t stick even if the eggs are just laid.

  11. Arnthor on March 28, 2015 at 2:28 am

    After this method, you can easily peel the egg by rolling it first with your palm on a table top and feel how the shell comes loose from the egg. Then once you start to peel, the whole shell comes off in an instant.

  12. Terry on April 1, 2015 at 3:25 pm

    Well – eggs are cooking now. Two cracked as I put them in. I know they looked good on the top when I bought them, but one may have had a hairline crack. Fingers crossed.

    • Terry on April 1, 2015 at 4:00 pm

      Just ate one of the cracked and it was so easy to peel. It’s been so long since one was that easy. Have another 6 cooking now. And one of those looked like it might have a hairline crack, but it went in without a problem.

      • Hilah on April 2, 2015 at 10:34 am

        Thanks for mentioning the hairline crack issue, Terry! I think most of the time when people have a problem with eggs cracking in the hot water start it’s because of that. Or accidentally dropping the eggs in too hard like I have done a couple times. Oops! 🙂

  13. teri on August 13, 2015 at 11:52 am

    I live at a fairly high altitude so I have to cook EVERYTHING for a longer period of time. I place about 5 eggs in a medium sized pan with enough water to cover them, then bring them to a boil. I then turn off the burner and cover them for 15 minutes or so. Put the pan in the sink under cold running water for a few minutes, then let them sit for another 5 minutes to cool them completely. Perfect eggs every time. I have no trouble peeling them at this point.

  14. Joan on March 6, 2017 at 11:41 am

    I haven’t had too much difficulty peeling eggs in the past years. A few were problem children every once in a while. I did try your method today and not a one, repeat, not a one gave me a problem. I boiled 30 eggs (different batches, obviously) because eggs were on sale for 29 cents a dozen. Egg salad sandwiches and deviled eggs are on the menu for a week or so. I’ll continue using your boiling water method. Perfect. This will be my go to from now on. Thank you for sharing.

    • Hilah on March 6, 2017 at 6:21 pm

      Great to hear that, Joan! 🙂

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