Looking for the perfect easy-to-peel hard-boiled eggs recipe? This is the best way to peel a boiled egg.
After a lot of trial and error, I finally figured out the secret to making the shells fall right off of hard-boiled eggs. No more tiny shell pieces or hard-to-peel eggs!
Let me be the first to tell you… we’ve all been led astray on how to boil eggs.
Who else has been told to put the eggs in a pot, cover them with an inch of cold water, then bring them to a boil? Yeah, me too. But that’s where we’ve been doing it wrong.
Follow this process on how to boil eggs on the stovetop (you can also read or print it in the recipe card below) and I guarantee you will have the easiest-to-peel hard-boiled eggs you’ve ever made. You can also make hard-boiled eggs in the Instant Pot if you prefer.
#1: Easy-to-peel hard-boiled eggs are the result of a boiling hot start.
I think this “cold start” egg myth came from the fact that potatoes actually do need a cold start. When you give potatoes a cold start—meaning that you put the chopped potatoes in a pot, cover by an inch with cold water, then boil—you wind up with a better texture and a more even cook. (Tuck that away for the next time you make mashed potatoes!)
Because this cooking method is tried and true for potatoes, people have assumed the same with eggs. But that’s not the case!
#2: Making easy-to-peel hard-boiled eggs requires shocking them in cold water.
After 13 minutes at a simmer (not a boil—see full method below & read the tips to prevent cracking), immediately put the eggs in ice water to make them easy to peel. Shocking them in ice-cold water stops the cooking process.
This not only yields more tender whites and a perfectly cooked yolk (no weird dark lines here), it immediately cools the eggs which makes them easier to peel.
My friends over at one of my favorite blogs, Serious Eats, go into the science of it, but you can just trust me that it’s true.
You don’t even have to use a second bowl, see how I shock them right in the pan with ice water in the tutorial video on this page.
#3: Easy-to-peel hard-boiled eggs require a specific cooking time.
You don’t want to boil the eggs for the full 13 minutes or they will be over-cooked. The best method is to bring the water to a full boil, carefully lower the eggs in (a fine mesh strainer or spider-skimmer works well), cover the pot, keep the heat on high for 30 seconds.
After 30 seconds, turn the burner to low and allow them to very gently simmer. Trust me, this is essential.
None of these tips really take much effort—and trust me—it’s worth it for shells that practically fall right off the eggs.
A boiling start for 30 seconds to a very gentle simmer for 13 minutes, then an ice bath at the end makes perfect, easy-to-peel hard-boiled eggs.
BUT, there are still a few mistakes that will mess up your easy-to-peel hard-boiled eggs.
What about making a tiny hole at the top of the egg?
In my experience, making that tiny hole in the shell with a thumbtack actually does help—but only a little. If you don’t have a thumbtack handy, you don’t need to drive to the store to get one just to make easy-to-peel eggs.
However, if you already have one, use a thumbtack to make a tiny hole at the top of the big end of the egg before boiling (gently press and it will go right through the shell). The shells will be that much easier to peel.
There are other methods out there that call for salt or vinegar in the water. I tried both (multiple times!) and didn’t find that either trick made a difference. So, save your salt and vinegar for other recipes.
Tips to Prevent Cracking
Post update: Since publishing this blog post last year, it’s quickly become a top Google search result. And, while an overwhelming majority of you have commented that this method works perfectly, a few of you have commented below that your eggs cracked.
This can be for two reasons:
Mistake #1: The pan is crowded.
Be sure to not overcrowd the pan. Your eggs need a little room to groove. They should not touch or be on top of each other. There needs to be enough room to allow a single layer of eggs in your pan while they cook.
If they crack while cooking, it may be because they were too crowded.
Mistake #2: Super fresh eggs crack more easily.
And finally, don’t use super fresh eggs for your hard-boiled eggs.
This is probably the only time in the kitchen that day-of-fresh isn’t best. Shells like to really stick to just-laid eggs. If you have your own chickens or buy directly from a farmer, use those eggs for a glorious scramble or poach ’em up.
If you buy your eggs at the grocery store, they’re already a few weeks old so they’ll work great. In the US, eggs are refrigerated because they are power-washed before packing.
No need to bring them to room temp; you can use this method with eggs straight out of the refrigerator.
How long do you boil eggs?
The general rule of thumb to make hard-boiled eggs is to boil (simmer) them for 13 minutes. A roaring boil can crack your eggs, so yes, first bring the water up to a boil, then let the eggs simmer for 13 minutes before transferring them to an ice bath.
The size of the eggs can also be a factor. Smaller eggs might take 11-12 minutes, while extra large eggs might take 14. I always simmer 13 minutes and they always turn out great.
Depending on how you want your yolk:
- Hard-boiled yolk: 13 minutes
- Medium soft yolk: 9 minutes
- Soft yolk (a soft-boiled egg): 6 minutes
After boiling, let the eggs sit in the ice bath for at least 15 minutes, then peel them or refrigerate them (unpeeled) for up to seven days.
The ice bath quickly cools the eggs, which prevents them from overcooking and prevents the dark ring from appearing on the outside of the yellow yolk. The ice bath also helps the shell separate, making them much easier to peel.
To peel, gently tap the egg at the big end first, then the small end, then all around.
I prefer not to roll them because it’s easy to break the white. Just gently tap all around to crack the shells everywhere and they will peel with ease.
Need to learn how to make deviled eggs? You can do that right here with my deviled eggs tutorial.Print
Perfect Easy-to-Peel Hard-Boiled Eggs
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: varies
This easy-to-peel hard-boiled egg post is a #1 Google search result for a reason–it works! Read the recipe notes below to prevent your eggs from cracking. If you love this recipe, give it a 5-star rating in the comments below to help other readers.
One reader recently commented, “I deployed your method just yesterday and the results were stunning! Not only did the shells just “slide” away – the eggs were gorgeous.”
- Eggs (obviously!)
(Super fresh eggs crack easily, so try to use “older” but not bad eggs. Read the notes below.)
- Bring a pot of water to a full boil. Use an appropriate-sized pot that will fit your eggs. I use a 2.5-quart pot for six eggs.
- If using, use a thumbtack to make a tiny hole at the top of the big end of the eggs. (See note.)
- Gently lower the eggs into boiling water. A fine mesh strainer or spider-skimmer work well for this.
- (Tip from a reader comment: “I took my boiling water off the burner and let it settle a moment and then gently lowered my eggs. Worked great! I had several broken eggs on my first batch when I put the eggs in while the water was at a rolling boil. Hope this helps someone because this recipe is a game-changer!”)
- Boil on high for 30 seconds, then turn the burner to the lowest setting for a very gentle (not rolling) simmer. Cover the pan with a lid and wait 13 minutes. (It’s ok if the water doesn’t come back up to a rolling boil for the 30 seconds.)
- Put the eggs in an ice bath. You can do this by filling a separate bowl with water and ice, and transfer the eggs, or, gently pour the water out of the pan without cracking the eggs, then fill the pan with cold water and ice. The first way, with the bowl, is easiest to prevent accidentally cracking your eggs while they are hot.
- Leave the eggs in the ice bath for 15 minutes.
- Peel, or store in the refrigerator unpeeled for up to three days.
- To peel, gently tap the egg at the big end first, then the small end, then tap all around to gently crack the shell. Be amazed at how easy they peel.
Tips to prevent cracking:
- Tip to prevent cracking #1: Be sure to not crowd the pan. Your eggs need a little room to groove. They should not touch or be on top of each other. There needs to be enough room to allow a single layer of eggs in your pan while they cook. If they crack while cooking, it may be because they were too crowded.
- Tip to prevent cracking #2: Don’t use super fresh eggs for your hard-boiled eggs. This is probably the only time in the kitchen that day-of fresh isn’t best. Shells like to really stick to just-laid eggs. If you have your own chickens or buy directly from a farmer, use those eggs for a glorious scramble or poach ’em up. If you buy your eggs at the grocery store, they’re already a few weeks old so they’ll work great. In the US eggs are refrigerated because they are power-washed before packing. No need to bring them to room temp, you can use this method with eggs straight out of the refrigerator.
- Make sure you have a single layer of eggs in the pan. If you try to stack eggs or stuff more in the pan that fit, the water won’t be hot enough to cook the eggs. I use a 2.5 quart pot for six eggs, which is about 6.5 inches in diameter.
– In my experience, making that tiny hole in the shell with a thumbtack actually does help—a little. If you don’t have a thumbtack handy, you don’t need to drive to the store to get one just to make easy-to-peel eggs. But, if you do have one, use a thumbtack to make a tiny whole at the top of the big end of the egg before boiling (gently press and it will go right through the shell). The shells will be that much easier to peel.
– Unpeeled eggs can be stored in the refrigerator up to 7 days. I suggest storing them in an airtight container to prevent odor in your refrigerator.
Keywords: hard boiled eggs, easy to peel eggs, best hard boiled eggs
Looking to use your easy-peel eggs?
Check out a variety of deviled eggs recipes:
How To Make Classic Deviled Eggs
This easy recipe for deviled eggs is a staple in American cooking. Make the classic just as written, or get creative with add-ins and toppings.
Chive & Dill Deviled Eggs
I love the spicy kick and crispy crunch of these Jalapeno Chive Deviled Eggs on any appetizer spread.
Or, use your easy-to-peel hard-boiled eggs for a delicious egg salad:
Chive & Dill Egg Salad Recipe (Amazing on Sandwiches!)
This is my all-time favorite egg salad recipe for sandwiches. It comes together in about 10 minutes if you already have hard-boiled eggs, and less than an hour if you need to boil the eggs. The fresh dill really makes it, so use it if you can find it. If you don’t have any fresh herbs on hand, this egg salad recipe is still great. If you like it, please leave a star rating in the comments to help other readers in our community.
How to Make Egg Salad for Sandwiches
Once you learn how to make egg salad you’ll always have an easy meal a few minutes away. If you already have hard-boiled eggs it takes just 10 minutes and is easy to make and beyond satisfying. Serve it on toasted bread for a healthy lunch or serve it alongside crackers for the perfect appetizer.
What do you think? Have you tried this method or others? Let us know how they turn out in the comments below.
This method worked perfectly for me! They eggs cooked beautifully and peeling was so easy! I’m so happy I stumbled across your method. Thank you!
The first time I tried all of my eggs came out runny almost like liquid. I thought maybe I didn’t do it right so I gave it another try. I followed to a T. Another disaster. I’ve ruined a 14 eggs. What a waste!! It was the worst recipe.
I’ll go back to use my instanpot.
Just tried it and it worked perfectly. Thank you! I’ve been using the wrong method and have been annoyed for so long.
Terribly undercooked eggs. They were easy to peel but not done enough.
It worked! So easy to peel. I lost 3 out of 24 to immediate cracking “pop” when I gently placed them in the boiling water. So maybe next time won’t start with cold eggs. On the bright side: I had a nice breakfast of warm boiled eggs with tender firm whites and pretty yellow yolks. Thank you.
Agree. I lowered them soooo carefully, but could hear them crack in just a few seconds. My eggs were at room temp also. In a few sec it was like egg drop soup over here.
Recipe owner:: Any explanation and/or tips?
This was a bust for me. Followed it step by step for Easter eggs and every. Single. One. Cracked. 🙁 This is a no-go!
I’ve been struggling with my “egg-cooker” and getting crappy results. I don’t recommend poking a hole in your egg, but otherwise this recipe made for perfect hard-boiled eggs. I’ll never do it any other way, now.
I had 4 eggs break and ooze the insides out in my boiling water. Think I’m going back to hard to peel eggs and starting with cold water.
I followed you directions to the letter. I was using jumbo eggs so I added a min. to the simmer time. All were perfect! I had been using the cold water method with varying results. This is much better. THANKS!!
Glad to hear it! 🙂 ~E
UNBELIEVABLE!! I’ve NEVER had eggs peel so easily or cook so perfectly. This process is amazing!! Ann
Preheat eggs in hot tap water before placing in boiling water for easier peeling.
Especially important in Australia where eggs are refrigerated.
I followed directions and it worked fine since I was making egg salad not deviled eggs. The problem I had was a couple of the eggs cracked (popped) and leaked the minute I spooned them into the boiling hot water. Next time I will get the eggs to room temp first and hopefully that will fix the issue. I set the timer for 13 mins and they were perfectly cooked.
Holy crow with the pop up ads… literally so many it’s painful and frustrating to try to read. Good tips ruined by marketing wolves trying to make a cent.
You should take this down!! It was the first easy to peel site that came up so I thought it would be the most popular! Christmas Eve, last dozen eggs, no stored left open and my eggs are ruined!!!! I wish I knew how to post a picture of the disaster!! I followed this recipe to the letter!! Even did all the tips!! Guess I’m not having deviled eggs for Christmas!!
This absolutely works!! Recommending this method to everyone I know 🙂
Works Great! Thank you for posting.
Glad to hear it! 🙂 ~E
I tried every trick out there and can never get good hard-boiled eggs that would peel. Follow the directions to a T. Bring water to boil place eggs in very gently with a spoon. Bring back to boil for 30 seconds turn down to simmer boil for 13 minutes. Get them in Coldwater right away. I was shocked how the shelves were falling off. I’ve done five dozen eggs now, haven’t had one cracked shell. The yolks are perfect.
Got my water to a rolling boil, gently placed my dozen eggs in the pot, boiling for close to a minute, turned stove to the lowest setting, simmered on L on my electric stove for 15 minutes, then into an ice water bath for an hour. My egg whites were slimy and the yolks slipped out of the shells.
I was able to buy peeled eggs at WinCo. That did the trick for me. A bit pricey though.
It most likely didn’t work because it doesn’t sound like you followed her directions at all.
I think the diet of the chickens that laid the eggs might have something to do with it. Somtimes your method works and sometimes not. When I was a child, my mother and my sister always made easter eggs that peeled almost in two halves with no problem. They are both deceased so we can’t ask them how they did it. The process started with my going out and gathering the eggs on Saturday morning. They made the easter eggs sometime after I returned with the eggs. And, yes, some of them weren’t even cooled off yet. I really hated trying to get the eggs away from those fiesty old hens! I never had an easter egg that the shells didn’t almost fall off. I never payed any attention to the cooking process so I have no clue how they did it.
I, too, followed this recipe to a T, but had a very difficult time with peeling the eggs.
It is a great recipe. Thanks alot!
I am 57 years old and for the first time in my life I have easy to peel eggs EVERY TIME! Thank you! We have chickens so LOTS of eggs! Note: store bought eggs can be months (not weeks) old so check the date, not the “use by” but the 3 digit DOY date (January 1st being number 1 and December 31st being number 365) located above/below the “best by” date. : )Thanks!
Glad to hear it, Meg! Thanks for leaving a comment to let us know 🙂
Hi…I followed your recipe EXACTLY for easy to peel hard cooked eggs. After a 24 egg disaster using the cold water method I went searching on the web and found yours.
8 eggs, absolutely PERFECT….shells slipped off and the eggs looked terrific. I even quoted your method as a reply to the cold water method! Thanks so much…we’re big pickled egg fans and didn’t indulge because of the hassle of PEELING EGGS! You solved my problem….thanks so much! Cheers Marilyn Schultz
I am an 81 year old male, tried your method three times so far..and absolutely perfect eggs. Bad part. Now my wife has assigned boiling and peeling eggs to me as another one of my jobs.
Hi LW, thanks for letting us know! I think your wife is onto something 😉 I’m glad to hear this works well for you. ~Elizabeth
I have been struggling lately with peeling hard boiled eggs and was actually starting the eggs in the cold water when I decided to look up what can you do to make it easier to peel hard boiled eggs. I took those eggs out of the water, tried this method, and what a relief! Those shells came right off.
First time ever did I have eggs that peeled! We have chickens, so our eggs are really fresh. I followed the instructions and still got perfect eggs! I have tried everything to get my eggs to peel and this is the only thing that actually worked. Really enjoyed my egg salad sandwich.
Glad to hear it!
I followed to a T but it did not work for me. The yolks were like jelly and they were impossible to peel.
This was an epic fail. When I very carefully lowered the eggs into the boiling water, every single one of them cracked IMMEDIATELY. Common sense now tells me that the eggs MUST be at room temp. Cold eggs Hot water=cracked eggs.
This the correct way to hard boil eggs (13 minutes max)and not only get them to peel easily but also get beautiful yellow golden firm yokes without a dark ring around them. if your eggs are cracking as bad as you experienced get better eggs or not fresh eggs and don’t boil your water as if it is an erupting volcano! Out of a dozen eggs I get at most two cracked, most of the time none. I landed on this method by lots of trial and error before I read Elizabeth’s method and I heartily endorse her method.
This is TERRIBLE advice for boiling eggs! Just for giggles, I tried it, and exactly what I thought would happen happened; every single egg cracked as soon as it hit the water. You cannot add a cold egg to boiling water. It’s going to crack. It has absolutely nothing to do with the freshness of your eggs, but it’s literally the science of mixing cold and hot. I have not cracked an egg while boiling it in YEARS. The eggs need to be added to cold water. It’s a shame that this is coming up so high in a Google search, with such terrible information! Do not use this advice to boil your eggs!!
LIES, LIES, LIES!!! It is Christmas Day, No stores are open to buy more eggs. I am in charge of two dishes today and I have 7 acceptable eggs out of 16 for my deviled eggs. I had bought these a week ago to have older eggs. I didn’t salt my water because you said it’s no use. I usually hard boil them for 25 minutes and usually only have a couple unusable ones. Don’t trust the internet, people. No Fail – Failure!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Me too. Followed directions exactly…did not pin prick the ends before cooking, and I’m off to get another dozen eggs, and these will go in salads or egg salad….too ugly to serve. UGH!
Hard boil for 25minutes???!!! No way. I call BS. If you seriously hard boiled your eggs for 25 minutes you wouldn’t be worried about the whites. Your yolk centers would be so dark grey and smelling/tasting of sulfur, it would render your dish inedible. Just saying…
Not even close!!
Wow! So perfect, after years of mutilated egg whites and embarrassing deviled eggs, what an easy method to perfect peeling and beautiful showing of my deviled eggs. Thank you so much!
HAPPY THANKSGIVING ❤️