How to Cook (and Peel) Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs

The Spruce
  • 15 mins
  • Prep: 0 mins,
  • Cook: 15 mins
  • Yield: 4 servings
Ratings (233)

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.

What You'll Need

  • 4 large eggs

How to Make It

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  1. Remove the boiled eggs from the water and transfer them to a bowl of cold water for 15 minutes to stop the cooking process. Then either peel and serve or refrigerate.
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
Calories 87
Total Fat 6 g
Saturated Fat 2 g
Unsaturated Fat 2 g
Cholesterol 226 mg
Sodium 86 mg
Carbohydrates 0 g
Dietary Fiber 0 g
Protein 8 g
(The nutrition information on our recipes is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. Individual results may vary.)