How to Make Easy to Peel Hard Boiled Eggs

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Have you ever boiled eggs and discovered that they weren’t “pretty” once you peeled them? What about nicking off half the egg because you couldn’t get the shell off?

How to make easy to peel hard boiled eggs MOMables.com

These are the two most frustrating things about cooking hard-boiled eggs.  The yolk isn’t pretty and the shell is difficult to get off.

Now, before you decide to head over to the grocery to purchase those overpriced and convenient hard boiled eggs; check out how easy it is to get them perfect at home-every time.

Before my husband met me (or so he says), he had no idea that hard-boiled eggs COULD be over-cooked.  That dark gray-green ring around the yellow center of an egg?  He thought that was supposed to be there.  The poor boy didn’t know that ugly ring was a sign of an over-cooked egg.

Perfectly cooked hard boiled eggs aren’t difficult — and, when you do it right, not only do you have an exquisitely yellow center but you also have a hard boiled egg that is easy to peel.

There are 3 things / tricks to keep in mind:

  1. Eggs must not be fresh (10+ days)
  2. Don’t let them boil forever, and
  3. After cooking, let the eggs rest in an ice-bath to “shock” them.

If you remember to do this, you’ll have perfect, beautiful eggs every single time for your child’s lunch, an after-school snack or your favorite recipes.The-Trick-to-an-Easy-Peel-Hard-Boiled-Egg

Word to the wise: super fresh eggs are going to be hard to peel regardless of what you do, so it’s best NOT to hard-boil eggs the same day they are purchased.  The best eggs for boiling are at least a week to ten days old.

4.1 from 17 reviews

How To Make Perfectly Cooked and Easy-Peel Boiled Eggs
 
Author:
Cuisine: How to
Ingredients
  • Large Eggs
  • 1 Tablespoon Salt
  • Water
Instructions
  1. Place your raw eggs in a medium saucepan and cover with at least 2 inches of cold water.
  2. Add 1 tablespoon of salt.
  3. Place the pan over high heat until it reaches a boil.
  4. Turn off heat, cover and let it sit for 13 minutes.
  5. After exactly 13 minutes, remove the eggs from the pan and place them in an ice-water bath and let them cool for five minutes.
  6. Carefully crack the eggs shells (making sure the majority of the shell is cracked).
  7. Gently begin removing the shells. The ice-water bath will “shock” the membrane in between the egg-white and the egg shell, loosening the shell and allowing you to peel it off in nearly one piece.
  8. As needed, you can dip the egg (as you are peeling it) in and out of the water to remove any slivers of shell.
  9. Serve immediately, use in a recipe or store in your refrigerator for three days.
Notes
The salt won’t affect the flavor of your eggs; it helps solidify the proteins within the egg, helping create an easier to peel egg! I have used both iodized (table) salt and Himalayan rock salt (the pink salt in my photo) and both have worked perfectly.
Test one egg first, if for some reason it’s a bit undercooked, put eggs back and bring to boil, turn off heat.
You need to fully cover eggs with at least 2 inches of water for this to work. less water means that it will cool down quicker and your eggs won’t cook throughly.

 

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Comments

  1. Will O says

    Followed the directions all the way and seriously, best hard-boiled egg I’ve ever made and eaten! The shell peeled perfectly and the yolk was a perfect yellow. Thanks for sharing your tips!!

  2. Meg says

    I just found this website to search… how to make hardboiled egss…. and I just
    followed the instructions and made 24 hardboiled eggs….and everyone of them
    turned out beautifull….My kids and grandkids are going to love the deviled eggs
    I’ll be able serve for Easter dinner. Last year I threw out a dozen eggs because
    they didn’t turn out….. I’m so happy to have found out how to do them correctly!!
    Thanks for sharing.

    • Des says

      Ditto to me too. I am in charge of deviled eggs tomorrow and was throwing a fit because I went through a whole dozen with only one peeling right. Luckily, I bought a second dozen and tried your method and every one came out beautiful. I was starting to think they are called “deviled” eggs because they are such a pain in the rear to peel. My husband is super excited though because the messed up first dozen got made into egg salad for sandwiches :)

  3. Kim says

    WONDERFUL! I have never made hard boiled eggs more yummy, beautiful and yellow and not over cooked. So glad I found your method. Only problem was the peeling but that was my fault. Had to use eggs I bought today as Easter is Sunday and we need to color them tomorrow. That being said, even super fresh eggs peeled
    better with this technique versus the others I’ve tried. Looking forward to trying ot with not so fresh eggs. Thank you!

  4. neil says

    This method works great. I maybe get 15%ugly ones from the peeling. The yokes come out a beautiful yellow color. It’s really relatively idiot proof. I never time it exactly and it always comes out right. My only problem is that you can only make about 15 at a time with the regular size pot. I tried the oven once, and eggs have ugly brown spots on them. I may try that again.

    • Smoore says

      I’m trying again! :-) Maybe I misread, but turning them off when they reach a boil and letting them sit for 13 min didn’t cook them all the way. Gooey eggs :-/

  5. Terra says

    GREAT METHOD! Another good tip: To make sure your yolks are always perfectly centered, which makes them easier to fill and prettier- turn egg carton upside down in fridge a few hours before boiling :)

    • Karen says

      I just followed the directions exactly ….perfect hard boiled eggs! I bought my eggs a week ago, I don’t know how long they were in the store. I also took the eggs out of the fridge and put them into salted water. After the cold bath for 5 mins I cracked both ends peeled…blew into the smaller opening and you can hear the shell move when you do this…and peels easily. These eggs are for me not a party. Thanks

  6. Susie says

    Thanks ~ I made perfect hard boiled eggs! Followed your directions exactly!

    Question: How about soft boiled eggs & keeping them warm? What about deviled eggs & egg salad recipes?

    • says

      Susie, this recipe is just for hard boiled eggs. I’m working on other times. Egg salad recipes will use these hard boiled eggs. cool them off first then make the recipe. soft boiled eggs take me about 6-7 minutes.

  7. says

    I didn’t follow this exactly, because I’m forgetful and also didn’t realize how high the water has to be to fully submerge the eggs. Still, the shells were quite easy to peel off, which was my main issue with boiling eggs. I’m going to eat more of them now that I can peel them so easily! Thanks.

  8. Lisa says

    This did not work at all for me and I followed the directions. I was making deviled eggs for a church potluck. I had all yolks and hardly any whites! Will keep looking for another method. :(

    • says

      I just did it…………..and a piece of cake! Just like the recipe said, way to go Momables! Perfect white, bright yellow yolks with not even a remote sign of the unsightly green tone. Yeah, ya gotta gently break up the shell adn then before you know it you are taking off the entire shell in simple and large 1 or 2 large pieces and DONE!

  9. Thad Mitchell says

    Worked like a CHARM! I have never made eggs this easy. Only one of 9 eggs didn’t peel perfectly and I’m pretty sure that is my own fault for being to harsh. Thank you!

  10. says

    We pressure boil our eggs and they usually come out perfect. Put some sort of basket / insert in so the eggs aren’t sitting directly on the bottom. Half cover the eggs with water, seal the pressure cooker and put on med high – high heat until up to pressure and set the timer for 7 min. Once at pressure start timer and back off the heat a tad bit. Once time is up cool immediately under cold water. Once pressure is released then open and cool eggs w cold water (I like to add ice but DH just used cold water). This even works w fresh eggs (with 2 teenage boys I’m lucky if eggs last 3 days before they’re gone, fortunately I collect an average 6 a day from our chickens)

  11. Alan says

    there are SO MANY VARIABLES.. how cold was the egg when you started.. my fridge is VERY cold, about 32.003 degrees.. that makes the time it takes to cook to the center longer.. how old the eggs REALLY are.. the chickens diet. etc… I started to let the eggs sit out to room temp before doing anything, or putting them in water for an hour our two before cooking to take some of the cold out.. I use both boughten eggs that are fresh, boughten eggs that have been in the fridge for a couple weeks or a month, and also used our home grown eggs layed by our chickens that eat bugs, seeds and whatever they can find. I have used vinegar in the water, baking soda, or salt.. there seems to be no rhyme or reason to making the perfect egg except luck, although the ice bath IS one of the major things that make them peel easier because of the ‘steam’ or condensation that builds up between the cold shell and the egg, and pushes the membrane away from the cooked egg. I also use Pekin duck eggs, which we raise and REALLY make it easy to peel, and make a perfect egg… just say’n ..

  12. Faye says

    I tried this the other day with eggs bought a week ago, except I boiled for two minutes and took of burner to sit for another 12 minutes in hot water. They came out perfect once peeled. Thanks a lot for the tidbit. :)

  13. Kelly says

    Based on other reviewers that said they were a bit underdone in the center, I let them sit for 14 minutes instead of 13. They are perfect! I have never been able to make hard boiled eggs that are not overdone.

    Also, the shells came off very easily…my eggs were bought 5 days ago. However, I do have the organic, cage free eggs. Maybe the previous poster had a point about what our chickens are being fed.

    • JayJay says

      Exactly–I am on a diet and boiled eggs without the yolk are part of my everyday sustenance.
      I’ve tried every method–that membrane is stuck and will NOT come off regardless of the method used.
      Even when I know my eggs are 10 days old.
      Not working and I lose half my egg because of the membrane sticking to the shell.
      Oh, I’ve been boiling eggs for 45 years–it has to be what the chickens are being fed–this is a problem that started in the last 10 years.

  14. says

    This worked well for me. I used baking soda instead of salt and the egg was wonderfully easy to peel even though they were very fresh. I will perhaps allow it to sit in the hot water a minute more because the center of the yolk was a shade darker than the rest, but the consistency was really good and “fluffy”. Thanks

  15. Shannon says

    I’ve used variation on this method with success. I add a bit of white vinegar to the water (along with salt) and that helps so that if any eggs have hairline cracks, they don’t “leak” out into the water. Also, generally I have boiled for three minutes THEN turned off for 10 to sit. The colder the icebath the better; once cool put immediately into the fridge. I don’t peel them until I use them (they last longer than three days for me anyway, when I use this method).

    • dan says

      As a single person, I like to make as much as possible a head of time. Eggs are one of them. I hard boil 4 at time and use 1 now and store the rest for use over a 2+ week interval.
      What is the best way to peel refrigerated eggs?

  16. Adrian says

    Followed the instructions to the letter – 2 week old eggs – and still half the white came away with the shell!
    Back to the drawing board for me
    :oD

  17. Erin says

    First time using this recipe and made 4 exactly as the recipe is written. Absolutely perfect! This will be my “go to” recipe for hard boiled eggs! THANK YOU!

  18. Cheryl Howell says

    Correction. I just submitted a post and I think that I said that boiled the eggs for 13 minutes. I didn’t. I brought them to a boil and let them sit covered for 13 minutes! Great recipe!

  19. Cheryl Howell says

    I tried this recipe today and it really works. I even used eggs from Costco. I have never had good luck with Costco eggs in the past yet every one of the dozen eggs peeled easily. I followed the directions and made sure I had more than two inches of water over the eggs, boiled for 13 minutes, and shocked them in a ice bath. I need the eggs because I am making deviled eggs for a party. These eggs are going to look perfect. :o)

  20. Joshua says

    I didn’t follow this recipe exactly but I incorporated some of your tips and it did the trick.

    I actually don’t hard “boil” my eggs anymore, I steam them! In terms of consistency of cooking nothing has worked better than steam for me. (It actually works equally great for soft “boiled” eggs too.) As such, salt isn’t really an option at that stage since it’s not coming up with the steam.

    What I did do was add the salt to the ice bath instead. That seems to have made a HUGE difference in terms of ease of peeling. Steam for 11 minutes and then ice bath for… doesn’t matter. Perfect results. I just did 19 eggs and had only one small spot of white peel off. That’s a record.

    • Celeste Sowden says

      This recipe did not work for me. The eggs were not cooked inside and the whites were not completely hard either. They did peel ok but not perfectly. Does it matter that I am using an induction stove? I also wondered if I did it correctly. Bring to a boil and turn off the heat and let them sit covered for 13 minutes or so minutes..not boiling for 13 minutes?

  21. Dyan Heard says

    I just destroyed 18 eggs using this method. I have been cooking for over 40 years and thought I’d try this method. The eggs (like the writer above) look like a hacksaw got them and they weren’t cook completely. I believe I’ll go back to my old method. Next time I’ll read through the comments.

  22. Gerald says

    I always disliked wondering if my boiled eggs would be intact after peeling them. Sometimes, it wasn’t a pretty sight. I just tried this method for the 1st time. I used 10 eggs. The result was a batch of PERFECTLY cooked and PERFECTLY peeled eggs! I was amazed that it worked so well the very first time I tried………Thank you for teaching me this easy method!!!

  23. says

    If you try this I promise you it will work!
    Get a clean small thin sewing needle and sterilise it by pouring some boiling water over it.
    Prick a hole at the base of the egg very gently before popping it in the water to boil.
    When it has boiled for ten minutes put them in very cold water from the tap to cool down.
    They will peel extremely easily.
    This is how the blogger Soule mama does it.
    It really works!

  24. Ron Ray says

    I place the (large/jumbo) eggs in a large pan of cold (tap) water with 2 or 3 tsp of Arm & Hammer baking soda, turn the heat on high and as soon as the water and eggs come to a *COMPLETE rolling boil, turn the heat off and COVER the pot. (I leave the pot on the burner.) After twenty (20) minutes, I place them in the sink and run cold tap water over them until they are cool enough to handle. They will peel easily and never have that dark green circle around the outside of the yoke.
    As mentioned elsewhere, it is best to use eggs that are at least a few days (weeks?) old. Fresh eggs will stick to their shells.

  25. Al says

    I’ve done the ice-shock thing for years, with mixed success. Sometimes it works great, other times (like this week) not at all. Wish there was a fool-proof way for peeling eggs, but so far this one isn’t it. Any other ideas out there?

    • Marge says

      I remember watching Julia Child address this issue and, bottom line? She said that fresh or not, ice bath or not, it’s hit or miss and she never did find out why some eggs were easy to peel and some were not. I’ve been boiling eggs for about 45 years and I concur.
      Also, remember this: WHEN you bought your eggs cannot determine how fresh they are. Eggs have an amazing shelf life; just ask someone who raises chickens. Your eggs didn’t just get into the supermarket that day…or week…or even weeks…after they were laid.

  26. David says

    Rachel,

    Would you alter anything in your process if you were hard boiling a large quantiy (3-5 dozen) at one time? I only ask because I used your intrucstions perfectly several times and had perfect results when I only boiled 2 dozen at a time but the last two times when I hard boiled 3+ dozen I had horrible results. I was so frustrated because it took over 2 hours to shell all those eggs both times! Obviously, one solution would be to only boil them in groups of 2 dozen or less but for the sake of time it would be nice if I could find a solution where I could do them all at once.

    Also, a friend of mine suggested I try poking a pin hole in the shell prior to boiling them with a bulletin board push-pin. Have you heard of this? What are your thoughts?

    Thanks,

    David

    • says

      Hi David! I’ll wait until Rachel chimes in with boiling many at a time. I can tell you that when I want to make a lot of hard boiled eggs (say 5 dozen?) this is what I do. I skip the boiling process completely. I bake them in the oven. Put a baking sheet on the bottom of the oven then place all the eggs you need cooked directly on the rack, the baking sheet will catch any broken ones for easy cleanup. I’ve never had one break yet but this is just in case.
      Bake them at 325°F. for half an hour (do not preheat). Meaning. Place eggs in cold cold oven, set temperature, and set timer. At 30min, take them out then put them directly into a big bowl of very cold water (with ice added). This will stop them from cooking and make them easier to peel too. When I make 5 dozen at at time, I fill one side of my kitchen sink with cold water and a lot of ice. I put them in there. For easy shelling, crack them all over. Pull off a tiny bit of the shell AND skin. Insert a small spoon under the skin and shell and push it all around the white. This will get all the shell off easily.
      Rinse and repeat. ~ Laura

  27. Alex says

    I like the idea of removing the heat source and letting it cook with the hot water but doing it this way means the ratio of eggs to water is a factor. Covering with 2 inches of water will be a different quanity of water if you use a wider or narrower pan and will affect the rate of cooking.

  28. kiki says

    are these whole eggs — still in the shell? You said “no rings” so it sounds like maybe you’re taking the eggs out of the shell and cooking like you would on the range using an egg ring — just curious to know before i try to bake an egg in the shell … :-)

  29. Monica says

    You know I just came across hard baking my eggs…perfect every time and so many less crack….

    Put eggs in muffin tins – no water…bake at 325 for 30 minutes and then take out…no rings, all perfectly cooked…I guess ovens might vary…but I have done it in two different ovens and both mad perfect eggs!

  30. Lauren says

    Steaming them is WAY easier. Also easier to put them in the ice bath b/c you just remove the basket and plonk it in the ice water. Seriously, try it!

  31. Jaime says

    Update –

    of the 4 eggs I made, 2 turned out pretty good (only a small piece came off), 1 was about a B-, and the other was a D+. The D+ one then fell on the floor. :/

    Maybe it’s because the eggs are a couple weeks old?

    They’re in the fridge now.

      • kiki says

        Hi Rachel and all — thanks for this post — some great ideas here !
        .
        Do you find that brown-shelled eggs work better than white — or does that matter?
        .
        Also — what size egg do you usually use? I’ve been using extra large — that may be part of the problem … ?
        .
        I’ve tried several variations — cooking them longer, cracking them while they’re in the ice bath — it still seems hit-or-miss. I didn’t know about the salt, so maybe that will help. I find that using 7 – 10 days old eggs usually works better than fresher eggs.
        .
        oh btw — in my earlier question to Monica — I just realized she may have meant no green rings in the eggs — is that it?
        .
        I’d also like to know how long Lauren steams them — just to try it —
        .

        • says

          Hi, Kiki –

          The egg shell color shouldn’t matter at all BUT fresher eggs WILL give you a hard time regardless of method.

          I use Large eggs.

          And the salt does help!!

          Yes, I believe monica meant no green/gray rings INSIDE the egg (which is a a result of over cooking a hardboiled egg).

          Hope all of that helps! :)

      • says

        Rachel dose making a small hole in the broad end of egg help the peeling job as the egg is put into the ice bath & should the hole be put in be for the egg is cooked or after? thanks

    • says

      Oh bummer!! I made my eggs like Rachel’s two weeks in a row -just to test- and they came out great-only 1 out of 8 cracked… that’s a great record for me.. since they usually nearly all crack and the yellow are green lol!

  32. Jaime says

    I tried this earlier, and maybe I didn’t bring it to the full boil, but my eggs looked like they’d been attacked by a hacksaw.

    I have 4 more going – they’re in the ice bath right now. We’ll see how those turn out. Although, I don’t know what I’m going to do with 4 more hard cooked eggs!

    • Jess says

      What size eggs were you using? I wonder if that might be your problem.
      I use a very similar method, but 10 mins for me is for medium eggs, 12 mins for large and about 15 mins for extra large.
      If you try again, definitely make sure it comes to a full rolling boil first before you remove from heat.
      Hard boiled eggs baffled me for years, but not I feel like a pro! lol Good luck!

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