Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Perfectly Boiled and Easy to Peel Eggs

Do you ever struggle with getting hard boiled eggs to peel easily?  Do you ever end up with a yolk that's surrounded by a grayish/greenish ring?  Well never fear, today I'm sharing all the tips and tricks I've gathered over the years that have made for the perfect hard boiled egg that peels in a flash.

I used to have problems with both of the things I mentioned.  Then eventually I figured out how to get rid of the gray/green ring, but I still spent oodles of time trying to get all the tiny little pieces of shell to let go of the egg.  They would just cling to it with a vengeance and I would dread the fight.  But after trying different tips and tricks with sporadic success I've finally figured out the combination that works.

1.)  Only use eggs that are at least a week old.  I read something about the membranes in fresher eggs being tighter, and as they age they loosen up making them easier to separate from the egg.

2.)  Let the eggs sit out for awhile and come to room temperature before boiling.
(Makes them less likely to crack while cooking.)

3.)  Place all the eggs in a pan in a single layer.  Don't stack them.

4.)  Cover them with cool water.

5.)  Add a sprinkle of baking soda.
I had a read about adding baking soda to the water after you boil them - drain the hot water, add cold water, and add the soda.  But...that didn't seem to work for me.  So I tried adding it to the water before it boiled and that worked.

6.)  Put a lid on the pan and turn heat to med/high.

7.)  Bring the eggs just to the start of a good hard rolling boil.  
(You'll start to hear them vibrate and might even see some steam escaping under the lid.  Use these as your indicators, but DO NOT open the lid!)

8.)  Once they come to a boil, turn the burner off, remove the pan from the heat, and just let them sit with the lid on for 14 minutes.
(This will cook them perfectly without over cooking them.  Over cooking dries them out and gives that unsightly gray/green ring.)

9.)  As soon as the timer goes off, drain off the hot water and fill the pan with cold water.

10.)  Let them sit in the cold water just for 2-3 minutes.  You want them to be cool enough to handle, but not so cold that the membranes start to tighten back up.

11.)  Spread a paper towel in the bottom of your sink and turn the water on in a small trickle.

12.)  Starting at the large end first, give each egg a tap hard enough to crack it.  Then flip it over and crack the small end. 

13.)  After cracking each end, roll the egg back and forth under your hand and under the stream of water.  This allows the water to seep in the cracks and further separate the membrane from the egg.  
Do this to all the eggs before you start to actually peel them.

14.)  Once you get all the eggs cracked, then go back and start the peeling process.  Again, start at the large end as there's usually a bit of an air pocket there that makes it easy to get started and get under the membrane.  Here the arrow is pointing at the membrane.  It's very important to make sure you're getting your fingers under that and using it to peel the shell off.

Most of the shells should just slide off in large sections like this, but if not then just make sure you're getting under the membrane and slide them off as you can.  

When you're done, the eggs should feel really smooth, almost slimy and your fingers should easily be able to slide over all surfaces of the egg.  If you hit a spot that feels "rubbery" and provides resistance to your fingers then you've hit a bit of membrane that's still attached.  Just run your fingers over it a few times until it comes loose.

Now, the reason I put a paper towel in my sink is that as I peel them them I just pile the shells on the towel.  The water can still drain through it, but the paper towel is catching the majority of my mess.

Then when I'm done I can just fold up the towel and toss it without too much trouble and mess to clean up.  Plus, keeping everything in one spot saves time and energy since I'm not reaching back and forth between the sink and the garbage can.

Congratulations!  You should now have the perfect hard boiled egg that you didn't have to fight with.  I always hated it when I was supposed to bring Deviled Eggs to a gathering and I would have to boil twice as many as I actually needed because I knew half of them wouldn't turn out nice enough to be presentable.  Now I don't have that problem.

I've been doing the Atkins diet the past couple of weeks and Deviled Eggs have been my life saver, lol!  Now that I know how easy it is to peel them, I no longer dread it when it's time to make some more.

So, did you find this helpful?  Have you always struggled to get them to peel easily and perfectly?  Or do you have any other tricks or hints to share with our readers?  
I'd love to hear about it!

Sharing over at:


  1. This is really good to know. I had a friend one time tell me that he was so happy that his hard boiled eggs turned out perfect for once. Maybe I will have to tell him this secret.

  2. I am going to give the baking soda a whirl. Last Easter I thought I might have to have a little temper tandrum as my eggs would not peel nice and pretty!

  3. I'm off to try this right now! Thanks for the great tutorial! You're awesome. :)

  4. Stephanie is there any way to get rid of the pinterest icon from the center of your pages as we are scrolling down? It's really hard to read what you've written. Thanks.

    1. Thanks for letting me know about this. The icon was supposed to only be showing up in the right upper corner of the pictures, not in the center of the page or covering the text. I removed it from the blog. Again, thanks for letting me know and feel free to contact me with any other problems you might come across.

  5. Well, I knew (from experience!) that fresh eggs didn't make good hard boiled eggs, but I had never heard the baking soda trick. And I have always simmered my eggs for a good 6 minutes, never heard to just shut them off and let them sit (amazing). Thanks for sharing your secrets. :)

  6. Thank you for the information and I love your pan!!
    Do we have to have a truncated blog????? It is a pain for those of us with slow loads to wait for it to load and wade through all of the replies. Then wait for the next post to load...etc., and on into ad finitum.....
    I mostly don't read those blogs, but I will have to read yours or take a chance on missing out ;^(
    Thank you for letting me roar....
    Blessings to you,

    1. Thanks for letting me know how slow it is for you to load. I came up with a compromise of keeping the two most recent posts non-truncated for ease of loading for those of you using reader programs.

  7. Thank you! Can't wait to!

  8. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  9. Nicely done. It's amazing how something so simple can give us so many little headaches, but you have walked us through all of that. I watched a show years ago, I think maybe it was a Ripley's Believe It or Not, either that or some old cooking show, and they had on someone who could peel some ridiculous amount of eggs in a short time. They did the running water thing and smacked it down, rolled it and swooshed all the shell off in one swoop like you showed. It was so cool. I try to do it and sometimes succeed. It's definitely the way to go over picking pieces off. Great tips, Stephanie!

  10. I "hard boil" my eggs in the oven, 325 degrees for 25-30 minutes, remove and plunge into ice water. They peel easily with no little pieces and no discolourings. Eggcellent boiled eggs!


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