Easy peel hard boiled eggs actually are easy to achieve! If you’re like me and have past experience with eggs whose shells would only come off if they could take half the egg with them (inciting swear words and gnashing of teeth) I’m here to shine a light.
You don’t need old eggs, baking soda, salted water or any other trick you’ve heard about. All you need is boiling water to cover and cold eggs straight from the refrigerator. Yes, that’s right. Cold from the fridge.
Simple egg cooking procedure
There’s no complicated recipe for easy peel hard boiled eggs, just a simple procedure to make this aspect of your cooking
Decide how many eggs you want to cook and add one or two for a little insurance. (While this is a super reliable method, no method is entirely foolproof.) Sometimes there are tiny cracks in the shell and the eggs will burst open, leaking some white. Those ones make good snacks.
Bring to a light boil (not a rolling boil) enough water to cover all of your eggs by 1 inch. Have your timer ready with the time needed – more on that further down in this post. Remove your eggs from the refrigerator and lower them into the boiling water with a slotted spoon. I can fit two eggs on my favorite vintage slotted spoon, my Kitchamajig.
Dunk them up and down in the boiling water a couple of times then set them in. Work quickly, but gently. As soon as they’re all in, turn on your timer and reduce heat to a bare simmer. While they’re cooking, prepare an ice bath.
The ice bath is very important because it stops the cooking immediately and is the fastest way to cool the eggs to their centers. They should be cool in about 15 minutes. You can store them in the refrigerator in their shells for 7-10 days, peeled about 3-4 days.
Interested in a terrific all-purpose slotted spoon for fishing stuff out of anything? Try this style of skimmer. I’m using a vintage Kitchamajig. I buy them at antique shops and such when I find them. They’re terrific!
To peel, gently tap the ends of the egg on the counter, lightly cracking the shell, then work your way around the middle, gently tapping and cracking. I then like to give it a gentle roll, crushing the shell as I go.
Find the air bubble under the shell which will feel like a hollow spot about 1/2″ in diameter. It’s often on the wide end of the egg and is an easy place to start. Pick at the shell and remove as much as you can in large pieces. Peeling it under running water helps clear away tiny bits.
What makes this method work for
How long to cook your eggs?
How long to cook
For eating in hand, I like my large eggs cooked for about 10 minutes. I’d cook
Maybe you want eggs to place in a salad or alongside a steak or vegetable dish and you’d like the white to be set and a dark orange yolk that is still a bit gooey? I’d cook those large eggs 8 minutes.
These 12 minute eggs pictured above have only a smidge of dark yolk left but the yolk is still very tender. Mmm mmm, pass the salt.
For egg salad or deviled eggs I’d cook the eggs for 13-14 minutes. You want that yolk cooked through because an undercooked yolk won’t yield a fluffy deviled egg filling. Plus, the white needs to be sturdy for the egg salad and to support that beautiful deviled egg.
Egg cooking tips
- Don’t crowd the pan when cooking. If you have a lot of eggs to cook, use a large pot or cook in multiple batches.
- Sometimes the yolk lies near the edge of the egg and makes for a broken deviled egg white. If you’d like to center the yolk in your hard cooked eggs, turn the eggs upside down in their carton the night before.
- Pay no attention to those funny white squiggly things attached to your raw egg yolks. They’re the only the chalazae, the chords which suspend the yolk in the white. A chalaza (singular) is simply made of dense albumen (egg white.) Notice you never find it in a cooked egg white?
What’s up with the greenish ring in some eggs?
Ugh. If your eggs sport a green/gray layer between the yolk and the white it’s a glaring indication the eggs are
That green coloration is a chemical reaction between the sulfur in the egg white and the iron in the egg yolk. It tastes bad, smells bad, looks bad and is a message to you that you need to cook them differently next time.
Do other methods of cooking eggs work? Sure. However, in my decades of egg cookery I’ve never come across any method that is as reliably consistent as this one. In cooking hundreds of eggs this way I’ve only ever had a handful give me peeling difficulty.
Sometimes, farm fresh eggs like to hang on to that membrane for dear life and sometimes they don’t. I can’t vouch for the reliability of this cooking method for them every time, they seem to have a mind of their own.
Easy Peel Hard Boiled Eggs
- 6 large eggs, cold (or however many you want)
- water to cover
- Place enough water in a 2 quart saucepan to cover the eggs by at least 1 inch. Bring to a light boil.
- Ready your timer to 10 minutes (or desired length of time) but do not yet set it to count down.
- Using a slotted spoon, lower 1 or 2 eggs at a time into the boiling water. Bob them up and down a few times to allow the shells to adjust to the heat before setting them down in. Work quickly but gently. When all eggs are in the water, set your timer. Reduce heat to a bare simmer.
- While they cook, prepare an ice bath. Place ice in a large bowl and add water, but not enough to cover the ice.
- When timer goes off, remove eggs to the ice bath to cool.
- Not sure how long you like your eggs? Experiment. As you remove them from the water at different times, allow them to dry for a moment then mark the shells with a marker.
- Want a gooey yolk? Cook 8 min. Want deviled eggs or egg salad? 13-14 min.
- Cook an extra egg or two. One will usually have tiny cracks in the shell and will crack in the water. Snacks!
- If you’re cooking a lot of eggs (12 or more) either use a big pot or cook them in batches. You don’t want the cold eggs to lower the temperature of the boiling water by much when you put them in. Leaving lots of wiggle room allows them to cook evenly.
If you’re looking for a new dinner idea, try fixing up a big salad including these eggs and and my Creamy Avocado Lime Ranch Dressing?
thank you! just made myself an egg salad sandwich for the first time in years. didn’t follow your recipe to the letter, ice bath, messed that up, but frozen water worked.
I’m glad you had success! Now I’m hungry for egg salad…
Success! Only one egg out of seventeen didn’t peel smoothly.
Hi Erin – Yay!
Love this recipe!! What I like most about it is the consistency in the outcome. In addition to the timing that is suggested in the recipe, running the egg under water as I am peeling the egg, using a slightly older egg, putting my eggs out and letting them come close to room temperature before I boil them and finally, after I cook the eggs (I always use the 11 minute time), after draining the hot water, I run cold, tap water over the eggs so that I can handle the eggs. I usually time what I am doing with the eggs such that I don’t need to use the eggs right away so I am able to let the hot, newly boiled eggs, come to room temperature on my kitchen counter before I refrigerate them. This year, I made pickled eggs for Easter with fresh beets that I had prepared and canned a couple of weeks ago. Yummy!! Love this blog! Donna’s tips are just wonderful!!
Thank you, Andrea! I’m glad you’ve adapted it to what works for you. That’s what cooking is all about! Enjoy!
Didn’t work for me
. No devilled eggs for me today!
I’m sorry you had difficulty! I’ve been using this method for 10 years and hundreds of eggs and had difficulty for the first time a few weeks ago. I’m curious, did you use store bought or farm fresh eggs? Do you know how old they were? I’m interested in the variables. Thanks for your feedback.