Egg Slices and Wedges
(click to enlarge)

Boiling Eggs
General Method

Two minute eggs and soft boiled eggs may be served in individual egg cups for breakfast, but for many other uses, from salads to garnishes, hard boiled eggs are needed. This method, incorporating current "best practices", will make any of those.

Egg Spoon Egg Spoon

This is the ideal utensil for removing eggs from hot water - it holds the egg but the hot water all escapes. I also find it very useful for transferring tomatoes from the scalding water to the cold quench water for peeling. For details see our Egg Piercer / Spoon / Slicer page.


Hard cooked eggs should be just cooked through and not overcooked or the yolks become discolored and texture becomes less appetizing. There are many ways recommended in many books and on many Web pages as to how to accomplish this, but much of it is bunk. The method given here follows the latest research and actual comparative testing.

Note:   Many sources recommend buying eggs you will hard cook a week in advance and keep them well refrigerated. This is said to make them easier to peel. My experience says otherwise. I've had older eggs that just wouldn't peel, and very fresh eggs that peeled wonderfully. My experience has recently been confirmed by actually testing by J. Kenji López-Alt. Some hens lay peelable eggs and some just don't know how (peelability is probably not a high priority for a chicken). If you're going to do a big batch, test before need. If they just won't peel, try a batch from a different farm. Free range eggs are reportedly the most difficult to peel.

This method will maximize the peelability of hard cooked eggs

  1. Piercing?   Optional: you may want to use an egg piercer or a large sewing needle to puncture the round end of the egg where the air sack is. This hole need not be visible to be effective. This does not materially affect peelability, but does help keep eggs with invisible cracks from bursting.
  2. Prepare:   Have your cooking pan (I usually use a large sauté pan when doing a lot of eggs) ready with plenty of cold water in it. Do Not add salt, vinegar, baking powder / soda or any other substance you may have heard recommended. Preferably the pan should be large enough for all the eggs in one layer, with 1/2 inch of water above the eggs. You can probably get away with two layers with 1 inch above the eggs.
  3. Pretreat:   This greatly improves peelability. Bring a small but deep saucepan to a rolling boil. With an egg spoon, lower eggs one or two at a time into the boiling water. Let them stay for about 15 seconds, then remove them into the waiting cold water in your cooking pan.
  4. Cooking:   On high heat, bring the cooking pan to a rolling boil. As soon as it is boiling well, turn off the heat. Leave covered and let stand for 15 minutes - it should still be around 188°F/88°C. The eggs will be perfectly cooked through and the outside of the yolks will have none of that gray-green color.   Note:   you can do 2 minute and soft boiled eggs by this method - just pull the eggs sooner. The exact timing may vary a bit depending on your pan, amount of water and size of your eggs - you'll just have to experiment.
  5. Peeling:   I've read much advice on peeling eggs, and most of it doesn't work at all. Some say the eggs must be cold, but the eggs I get tend to be totally unpeelable cold. Here's what works for me.
    1. Pull an egg from the hot water (easiest using a wooden egg spoon).
    2. Give the egg a quick dash under cool running water so you can handle it.
    3. Crack the shell lightly on a hard flat surface in several places, just hard enough to break the membrane under the shell. Caution: strike or massage gently, because if you are rough enough to separate the outer two layers of egg, peeling is hopeless.
    4. Many say to peel under cold running water, but I get the best results peeling the egg as hot as I can handle it.
    5. If the water the remaining eggs are in drops down below 150°F/66°C, I start having trouble peeling, so I put the pan back on the stove and bring it back up to 180°F/82°C.
  6. Cooling:   If you want your peeled eggs uniformly round with no flat spots, cool them floating in cold water.

Egg Slicer Egg Slicer:

Slicing eggs with a knife is an exercise in frustration. The eggs stick to the sides of the knife, the yolks smear and crumble, and the whites break. The wires of the Egg Slicer have no sides to stick to. It cuts eggs into slices or wedges without difficulty or mess. For details see our Egg Piercer / Spoon / Slicer page.

  1. U.S. measure: t=teaspoon, T=Tablespoon, c=cup, qt=quart, oz=ounce, #=pound, cl=clove in=inch, ar=as required tt=to taste
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