Making hard-boiled eggs is an essential cooking skill — a task that is seemingly easy but always comes up just short of perfect.
The two most common problems that arise when trying to make hard-boiled eggs are achieving the proper doneness (because nobody likes sulfuric green yolks) and egg shells that just won’t peel off without taking a big chunk of the white with it.
Make the process easier use this headache-free method for the easiest hard-boiled eggs.
Step 1: Place the eggs in a pot, cover with cold water, and place the pot on the stove. It is best to use eggs that are just past the point of fresh, though not expired or bad. The outer membrane in fresh eggs tends to cling to the shell more than older eggs, making the peeling process more difficult.
Step 2: Bring the cold water to a boil. Once the water arrives at a rolling, bubbling boil, then turn the heat off, cover the pan, and remove it from the heat. Allow the eggs to sit in the water until they are cooked; about 9 minutes for medium eggs and 12 minutes for large eggs. Follow this timing to ensure that the eggs will be perfectly cooked with bright yellow yolks and non-rubbery egg whites.
Step 3: When the timer goes off, remove the eggs from the hot water and place them in a large bowl of cool water to halt the cooking process and lower the temperature of the eggs. When the eggs reach room temperature, it’s time to peel them — any colder and they’ll be tougher to peel.
Step 4: Roll the egg under your palm on the counter so that the shell is broken and cracked all over, and then submerge the egg in your bowl of room-temperature water. This will help to loosen the membrane that connects the white to the shell. While the egg is still submerged, begin to peel it. You can also opt to peel the eggs under the running water of the faucet so the added pressure of the water can work to remove the shells, too.
Voila! Perfect hard-boiled eggs! Your delicious eggs are now ready for whatever preparation you wish: sliced with a sprinkle of salt, transformed into deviled eggs, or perhaps layered on a Cobb salad. Enjoy!
Article originally published by Kristie Collado with updates and additions by Rachael Pack, cook editor of The Daily Meal.