How to Cook (and Peel) Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs

The Spruce
Ratings (262)
  • Total: 15 mins
  • Prep: 0 mins
  • Cook: 15 mins
  • Yield: 4 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
87 Calories
6g Fat
0g Carbs
8g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 servings
Amount per serving
Calories 87
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 6g 7%
Saturated Fat 2g 9%
Cholesterol 226mg 75%
Sodium 86mg 4%
Total Carbohydrate 0g 0%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Protein 8g
Calcium 34mg 3%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Have you ever cut open a hard boiled egg and seen a green halo around the outside of the yolk? Or smelled a funky, sulphury odor?

Those are the telltale signs of overcooked eggs. Eggs contain a sulphur-based compound that, when heated too long, or at too high a temperature, will turn your egg yolks green and funky-smelling.

But if you cook your eggs properly, this won't happen. You'll have nice, perfectly golden-yellow yolks and no funky smell. The technique described below will help you do just that.

Easy to Peel Hard Boiled Eggs

But before we get to that, let's talk about peeling the eggs. There's a common misconception that one cooking technique or another will make it easier or harder to peel the egg. But this just isn't the case.

The only thing that makes an egg easy or hard to peel is how fresh the egg is. Fresher eggs are harder to peel.

There's a thin membrane underneath the egg shell, and it forms a little air pocket at the bottom of the egg. As the egg ages, that pocket expands, which makes the shell separate from the cooked egg more easily.

So if you want to make the peeling experience easier, try using eggs that have been in your fridge for a week or so. Or you can hold them in your fridge for a week after boiling them, either way will work.

How Long Should I Boil the Eggs?

The technique described below is a basic template, given that different stovetops will produce more heat (and thus boil water faster) than others. Also, not all pots are the same size or hold the same amount of water. So while we use 15 minutes as a baseline, your cooking times might vary.

Either way, once you find the exact time that works for you, just use that. What matters most is the technique of letting the eggs stand in the covered pot, off the heat, rather than the precise number of minutes.

For this hard boiled egg recipe you'll need a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan with a tight-fitting lid. And the lid does matter, because if heat escapes through the top of the pot, it will slow down the cooking.

Ingredients

  • 4 large eggs

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Hard boiled eggs ingredients
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  2. Place the eggs in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and cover them with cold water. Make sure the tops of the eggs are covered by at least an inch of water. How much water will depend on the size of the pot, but in general, a bigger pot is better. Crowding the eggs risks cracking them.

    Place hard boiled eggs in water
    The Spruce
  3. Bring the water to a full boil, uncovered. You'll see the water simmering, but as soon as you see a few big bubbles, remove the pot from the heat and cover it. Let the pot stand untouched for 15 minutes.

  4. Remove the boiled eggs from the water and transfer them to a bowl of cold water for 15 minutes to stop the cooking process.

    Add hard boiled eggs to cold water to cool
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  5. Then either peel and serve or refrigerate.

    Finished hard boiled eggs
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  6. Enjoy!

Tips

  • Fresher eggs are hard to peel due to the thin membrane under the shell. As the egg ages, that membrane expands, making it easier to peel the egg. If you're looking for easier to peel eggs, use ones that have been in your fridge for about a week or so.
  • For this technique, once you bring the water to a boil with the eggs in the pot, turn off the heat and let the eggs sit in the water for 15 minutes to cook.
  • Make sure that you have a cold water bath set up for the eggs once they hit that 15 minute mark in the hot water. This way you can plunge the eggs into the cold water, stopping any carryover cooking that might occur.