Monday, April 13, 2009

How To Make Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs

Who needs a tutorial on making hard-boiled eggs? Well, maybe you if you've ever started to boil eggs only to have them crack and burst open in the water, releasing a gush of egg whites. Or have you ever cooked them to the point where the yolks aren't a creamy yellow, but rather have a greenish tint around the edge? Do you find it difficult to peel off the shell without a layer of egg white coming along for the ride? Come on now, fess up.

Fear not, I've got a foolproof way to cook them to perfection, and easily peel them too, even if it's a bit unorthodox. I've been using this method for so long, I don't even remember where I first learned it. But it works every time, and I've been doing this for decades.

There are many opinions on how to cook hard boiled eggs - start with cold water, start with boiling water, etc. My method starts with boiling water, but you can't just drop an egg into the water without following these instructions exactly.

First, you've got to pierce the eggs with the sharp tip of a knife or a large needle, or even a turkey skewer as I do. Poke a teensy little hole in the broader end of the egg. Look at the photo below and you'll see a little hole in each egg. Don't do this while they're in the egg crate. You've got to hold the egg in the palm of one hand while poking a hole with the knife or needle, or any other sharp pointy object. Careful, because if you press the egg too hard, you could crack it and end up with a gooey, raw mess in your hand.
Why should this work, you ask? Because if you pierce the egg and then put it into the boiling water, you'll see little bubbles percolate out of that teensy hole. The egg is creating a seal as all the air immediately rushes out, keeping all the contents of the egg inside. It really works, try it!
When the eggs are all in the water, set the timer to 12 minutes for medium size eggs, 13 minutes for large and a few seconds longer for jumbo.

After the appropriate time is up, take the eggs off the heat and drain the water. Immediately fill the pot with cold water. Change the water two times because the heat from the eggs will warm up the cold water. You want the eggs to stop cooking.

Now take each egg and crack it all around against your sink or countertop, but don't peel it. Drop it back into the pot with the cold water. When you're finished tapping all the eggs and putting them back in the water, start peeling. You'll find that water has now seeped in between the cracks you made in the eggshell, allowing you to slip the shells off easily.

Peel the eggs and slice open. Inside is a moist golden yolk, and a perfectly cooked hard-boiled egg.

Next up, deviled eggs.

One caveat to this method is if the egg already has a crack in its shell, in which case you'll find out as soon as you drop it in the boiling water because it will start to ooze its liquid immediately. Scoop it out immediately and save that one for scrambled eggs.


  1. Nice tip. I'll be putting this to work for us soon. Thanks!

  2. So whatdya do with the eggs?
    I do a 13 minute egg, and I will try the little pin prick method.
    I make h.b. eggs weekly!

  3. This sounds very interesting!

    I usually put my eggs in cold water, bring to a gentle rolling boil over medium heart and then cover and sut off the fire and allow to sit 15 minutes. It works well almost every time.

  4. Thanks for the tip. Wish I would've read this before yesterday ;-)

  5. Absolutely awesome recipe!

    I've had it up to here with being told "put them in cold water and wait for a medium boil, not a rolling boil but a steady boil, turn to medium upside down backwards heat, blah blah blah then give it this many minutes.."
    How on earth can you possibly be precise with such vague waypoints?

    Boiling water.
    12 minutes.

    This recipe works for hot boiled eggs as well - AND you just tweak the time depending on how you like your eggs.

    I don't know why the whole world doesn't do it this way.
    Thankyou very, very much indeed.