Learn how to make hard boiled eggs that yield perfect creamy centers and easy to peel shells. Stovetop boiling and steaming techniques ensure reliable results. A quick protein packed breakfast or snack, serve with salads, soups or sandwiches.
Learning how to hard boil eggs should be a simple task, but there’s a lot of science that goes into the method. Is there really such a thing as perfect hard-boiled eggs? Every step influences the end product, from the age, the water temperature, cook time, and how quickly the eggs chill. After some intense testing and lots of research, I’ve finally found two reliable techniques that have firm whites and creamy yellow centers.
How To Make Hard Boiled Eggs
Boil an egg, –no problem, right? Wrong! Unfortunately, I’ve had many frustrating hard boiled egg blunders in the past because I didn’t have the proper techniques figured out. After some egg-citing (hehe) testing,
I have two foolproof methods to share with you that will prevent clinging eggshells on the surface and a center that’s not undercooked or with an unattractive olive green ring (what’s that all about?). Here are my simple tips and methods for making hard boiled eggs, so you don’t have to stress or struggle anymore!
Size: I always use large eggs in my cooking, so all of the testing and recipes are for that size. If cooking smaller or larger eggs, the cook time will need to be slightly adjusted.
Age: Does the age of the egg matter? This question comes up frequently when hard boiling an egg. Typically fresh eggs, directly from a farmers market or a backyard chicken coup, are prone to more of the shell sticking to the surface after cooking. You’ll want to age fresh eggs a few weeks. The problem is due to the alkaline nature of the egg white which over time increases and helps the egg proteins bond together instead of with the shell membrane. The eggs you buy in the grocery store have usually been in transit for a few weeks before the consumer picks them up, so no need to age store bought eggs.
The most important things to remember when cooking eggs for peeling:
- Use cold eggs straight from the refrigerator,
- Cook them in high heat by either boiling, steaming or pressure cooking,
- Chill the eggs right away before peeling.
Cold vs. Hot Water: I admit, I used to cook hard boiled eggs in cold water to start. This process would yield challenging to peel eggs that all had a uniform opaque yellow yolk. The solution is to start with hot water to encourage the outer egg white proteins to cook quickly, shrinking as they bond together, so there is less chance for the proteins to bond with the shell membrane. This technique also helps to reduce the chances of craters when peeling. You want those deviled eggs to look gorgeous and smooth!
The Boiling Method:
- Add enough water to a pot so that when the eggs are added, they’ll be submerged with 1-inch of water above them.
- Bring the water to a boil, and then add the chilled eggs.
- Keep the water boiling for 30 seconds so it can get back up to temperature, and set the whites of the eggs as to prevent sticking later.
- Place a lid on top and turn the heat down to low. Allow to simmer for 12 minutes.
- Immediately submerge the eggs in an ice water bath for 15 minutes to allow to cool.
The Steaming Method:
- Add 1-inch of water to a pot, place steam basket insert on top. Cover with lid and bring water to a boil.
- Once steamed has been generated, add in the eggs.
- Cover and cook for 13 minutes.
- Immediately add the steamed eggs to an ice water bath for 15 minutes.
Cool After Being Cooked
Chilling the eggs, no matter what method used is critical for halting the cooking process happening inside the egg. I recommend preparing a 1-part ice to 1-part cold water bath as the eggs are cooking.
I use 4 cups ice with 4 cups water, for every 6 eggs. If making a larger batch increase the water bath size, so it stays cold. Allow the eggs to chill until thoroughly cooled. The longer it chills, even overnight, the easier it will be to peel the eggs.
Once the eggs have cooled, tap on a hard surface to gently crack the more substantial bottom part of the egg, and then around the rest of the surface before peeling. You can also peel the eggs under running water to help remove the shell pieces and clean the egg.
Now that you’ve learned how to hard boil eggs –give both methods a try! You may have to adjust a minute before or after for cook time, but experiment and see what works best for your set up. Will it always have blemish-free surfaces? Most likely not, but the chances for success are much higher with these hot-start methods. Egg salad sandwiches are still a tasty backup plan if the surfaces are less than perfect!
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If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #jessicagavin on Instagram. I’d love to see what you come up with. Cheers, friends!
Why a Hot Start and Chilling Eggs is Crucial
A hot start when cooking eggs allows the proteins in the white part to denature (cook), bond together, and shrink, preventing sticking to the membrane connected to the shell. However, cooling the eggs right away in ice water stops the cooking process, preventing overcooking, and firms the egg white structure, so it’s easier to peel.
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