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!”)
- 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.
- 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 and use right away, or store unpeeled eggs in the refrigerator for up to 7 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 easily 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.
– 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.
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