How to Make Hard-Boiled Eggs

Make Perfect Hard-Cooked Eggs Every Time

Hard-Cooked Eggs
Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs. Photo © Molly Watson

Hard-boiled eggs are full of protein, easy to eat, and wonderfully portable. They're great to keep them on hand for quick breakfasts, easy snacks, and turning simple salads into a satisfying meal.

Perfect hard-boiled eggs have fully cooked, evenly textured yolks, and fully set but not rubbery whites. And what they don't have is any icky green ring around the yolk or stinky sulfurous smell. Luckily, perfectly hard-boiled eggs are easy to make. This method is so easy it feels like a trick.

Once you've boiled some eggs, check out these Hard-Boiled Egg Recipes.

To Make Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs:

  1. Place the eggs in a saucepan or pot large enough to hold them without crowding in a single layer on the bottom. To minimize the possibility of cracking, you can prick a teeny hole in the end of each egg with a tack, if you want, but it isn't necessary.
  2. Cover the eggs with cool water. The eggs should be covered by at least an inch of water above them.
  3. Bring the pot of water and eggs to a boil, and by "boil" I mean a real boil with large bubbles coming up all over, not a little simmer with a few bubbles along the edges.
  4. Cover the pan, turn off the heat, and let the eggs sit for 12 minutes. Exactly. Set a timer.
  5. Meanwhile, prepare a large bowl of ice water.
  6. Drain the eggs and put them in the ice water to cool them off quickly.
  7. Peel and eat the eggs as soon as you can handle them for warm hard-boiled eggs (sometimes I just peel them under cool running water instead of dealing with the ice bath if I'm eating all the eggs right away and want them warm). For chilled eggs to eat later, let them sit until cool (about 10 minutes) and chill for up to two days before using, if you like.

    Bonus Tip: Easy Ways to Peel Hard-Boiled Eggs

    For even easier-to-peel eggs, save the hot water: After the eggs cool down in their ice water bath, dip them back in the hot water for 10 to 20 seconds. Peeling them under cool running water is another option that works for this as well.

    How to Store Hard-Boiled Eggs

    After you've quickly cooled them down in the ice water, either use them immediately to pop them in the fridge. Properly cooled hard-boiled eggs will last up to a week in the fridge, but the whites do tend to get rubbery if they're stored for very long. 

    Like most things, hard-boiled eggs taste best fresh and if they're eaten right after cooking and never having been refrigerated. Obviously, cooking a batch and having them in the fridge is wonderfully convenient, but be sure to try devilled eggs or egg salad made with hard-boiled eggs that you've just made—fabulous!

    Beyond Hard-Boiled Eggs

    Maybe you don't want to peel the eggs, but want to dye them instead—see How to Dye Egg Using Natural Dyes.

    Want softer, less set eggs? Check out How to Make Soft-Boiled Eggs.