Easy-to-Peel Hard-Boiled Eggs [The Trick!]

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Perfect Easy-to-Peel Hard Boiled Eggs Elizabeth Rider Blog

Want to make perfect easy-to-peel hard-boiled eggs recipe to make deviled eggs or your favorite egg recipe?

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!

Watch this video to learn how to make the shells practically fall right off of your hard-boiled eggs! 👇 Or, keep reading below…

YouTube video

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 watch this recipe on YouTube 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! To make sure your hard-boiled eggs turn out perfect, you want to boil the water first, then reduce it to a simmer and gently lower in the eggs.

#2: Making easy-to-peel hard-boiled eggs requires shocking them in cold water.

After 13 minutes at a low 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 can shock them in a bowl of ice water like I do in this video, or if you’re feeling brave strain the hot water from the pan and add ice and cold water to cover the cooked eggs (but you might crack them this way).

easy to peel eggs

#3: Easy-to-peel hard-boiled eggs require a specific cooking time.

You don’t want the water at a full rolling boil for 13 minutes or they will be overcooked (and they may knock together and crack). The best method is to bring the water to a full boil and then reduce it to a simmer, carefully lower the eggs in (a slotted spoon, fine mesh strainer, or spider-skimmer work well), cover the pot, then keep them at a low simmer for 13 minutes.

After the water boils, turn the burner to low and keep them at a very gentle simmer.

None of these tips really take much effort—and trust me—it’s worth it for shells that practically fall right off the eggs.

In summary, bring the water to a boil, then reduce it to a very gentle simmer and gently lower the eggs in. Put the heat back up to high for 30 seconds then reduce to the lowest setting setting and put a lid on the pan. Cook for 13 minutes, then shock them in an ice bath at the end to make 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.

Do I need to cover the pot?

I generally do cover the pot, but I’ve forgotten to cover it before and they still turn out great. There are other methods that call for turning off the burner while the eggs sit in the hot water. If you turn off the burner you definitely want to cover the pot to trap the heat in. But, if you do it as I explain on this page and keep the burner on the lowest setting, it’s not always necessary.

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 either crowded or it’s too big.

Be sure to not overcrowd the pan. Your eggs need a little room to groove. They should not be on top of each other nor be packed in tightly. There needs to be enough room to allow a single layer of eggs in your pan while they cook, but not so much room that they’ll roll around. Watch this video to see how to choose the right-sized pan.

If they crack while cooking, it may be because they are 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. Of course, don’t use expired eggs.

No need to bring them to room temp; you can use this method with eggs straight out of the refrigerator.

Easy Peel Hard Boiled Eggs on cutting board

How long do you boil eggs?

The general rule of thumb to make hard-boiled eggs is to (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. You can also turn off the heat and cover the pot with a lid for 13 minutes to trap in the heat.

The size of the eggs can also be a factor. Smaller eggs might take 11-12 minutes, while extra large eggs might take 14-15 minutes. I almost always simmer for 13 minutes and they always turn out great.

Depending on how you want your yolk:

  • Hard-boiled yolk: 13 minutes (extra large eggs will need 14-15 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 shells 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.

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Perfect Easy-to-Peel Hard Boiled Eggs Elizabeth Rider

Perfect Easy-to-Peel Hard-Boiled Eggs

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 4.2 from 69 reviews
  • Author: Elizabeth Rider
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: varies
  • Category: Eggs, Breakfast, Snacks
  • Method: Simmer, Ice Bath

Description

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.” 


Ingredients

  • Eggs (obviously!)
    (Super fresh eggs crack easily, so try to use “older” but not bad eggs. Read the notes below.)

Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. If using, use a thumbtack to make a tiny hole at the top of the big end of the eggs. (See note.)
  3. 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!”)
  4. Once the eggs are in, keep the burner on high for 30 seconds (so long as the eggs aren’t knocking together), 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. 
  5. 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.
  6. Leave the eggs in the ice bath for 15 minutes.
  7. Peel and use right away, or store unpeeled eggs in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.
  8. 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 easily they peel.

Notes

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.

– Tip: While I’m not for wasting food, if you are unsure of your cooking time, you may want to cook 1 extra egg and test it by trying to peel it to check the inside before shocking it in the ice bath. It won’t be as easy to peel because it hasn’t gone into the ice bath, but it will let you see the inside to know if it’s cooked to your liking. 

Looking to use your easy-peel eggs?

Check out a variety of deviled eggs recipes:

How to Make Deviled Eggs

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

Chive & Dill Deviled Eggs

I love the spicy kick and crispy crunch of these Jalapeno Chive Deviled Eggs on any appetizer spread. 

Healthy Deviled Eggs Elizabeth Rider

Secretly Healthy Deviled Eggs

Jalapeno Chive Deviled Eggs with Parmesan Crisp

Fancy Jalapeno Chive Deviled Eggs with Parmesan Crisp

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:

Perfect Egg Salad Recipe for sandwiches Elizabeth Rider Recipe

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 sandwich

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.

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  1. Teniqua says:

    You are amazing! This trick for easy peeling is amazing! I’ve never had such a calm and joyful experience peeling my eggs! As an adult who loves egg salad sandwiches and deviled eggs but hates peeling eggs…this has changed everything!

    Thank you for sharing!






  2. Siobhan says:

    I tried this today and I am thrilled to say it worked perfectly. It does not differ too drastically from other methods I have used, I think the biggest difference is the ice-water bath for 15 min. and also, putting the eggs in already boiling water. I am using 1-2 week old brown eggs from our own chickens, and all other methods have yielded messy results. This will be my go-to method here on out. Thank you.






  3. Joan Renger says:

    This does not work! I followed the recipe for 2 dozen eggs made 6 at a time as per the instructions. NONE of them pealed easily and they were all undercooked even though I added 2 minutes to the cooking time. I would rate it 0 stars if possible.






  4. Patty says:

    My egg yolks were not completely cooked. I used large eggs and followed the directions exactly EXCEPT I did not return the water to a boil after putting the eggs in. I was making deviled eggs so I had to improvise, finishing cooking the yolks in the microwave for a few seconds. The consistency of the filling was a little grainy. The eggs were not any easier to peel than the old way I was doing them. I will try again with a smaller batch making sure they return to a boil then turning the heat down before I give up on this method.






  5. Steve says:

    I have tried multiple methods I have read online to hard boil eggs and get them to peel easily. This method worked PERFECT! What a save of unnecessary frustration! Thank you!

    BTW, I used the thumbtack puncture trick.






  6. Ron says:

    This long-winded guide does not work. Followed it precisely and the shells stick to the eggs and only peel with huge chunks of eggwhite coming off with them. Ruined 6 eggs.

    Also, this influencer doesn’t seem to be engaging with the commenters who report bad outcomes. Not cool, Elizabeth.






  7. Renee says:

    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!






  8. Gina says:

    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.

  9. Pina B says:

    Just tried it and it worked perfectly. Thank you! I’ve been using the wrong method and have been annoyed for so long.

  10. Addie Bean says:

    Terribly undercooked eggs. They were easy to peel but not done enough.






  11. Sue says:

    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.






  12. Hajnalka says:

    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?






    • Amber Smith says:

      This was a bust for me. Followed it step by step for Easter eggs and every. Single. One. Cracked. 🙁 This is a no-go!






  13. Kathy says:

    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.






    • Jennifer says:

      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.

  14. RICHARD says:

    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!!






  15. Robert Pendrey says:

    Preheat eggs in hot tap water before placing in boiling water for easier peeling.
    Especially important in Australia where eggs are refrigerated.

  16. Tina Forbrich says:

    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.






  17. Nate says:

    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.

  18. Janis says:

    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!!

  19. Jamie says:

    This absolutely works!! Recommending this method to everyone I know 🙂






  20. Jay Whitaker says:

    Works Great! Thank you for posting.






  21. Timothy says:

    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.






  22. Dan P says:

    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.

  23. Ken Lichtsinn says:

    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.






  24. Susan Conley says:

    I, too, followed this recipe to a T, but had a very difficult time with peeling the eggs.






  25. www.fooddoz.com says:

    It is a great recipe. Thanks alot!

  26. Meg Agrella says:

    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 🙂

      • marilyn says:

        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

      • LW Jennings says:

        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.
        The Chief

  27. Christine Michels says:

    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.

  28. Mary Jo says:

    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.






  29. Jane M Kiser says:

    Perfect






  30. meg says:

    I followed to a T but it did not work for me. The yolks were like jelly and they were impossible to peel.






  31. Kathy Cicciarelli says:

    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.

    • Tony Wormer says:

      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.






      • Liz says:

        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!!






  32. GG says:

    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!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Jordan says:

      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!

    • cynthia raposa says:

      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…






    • Daniell says:

      Not even close!!






  33. Blaine C says:

    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 ❤️

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