Making hard-boiled eggs is an essential cooking skill, and while it seems easy, the results often come up just short of perfect. Whether you’re looking for a quick, healthy breakfast or are trying to make some scrumptious deviled eggs, knowing how to hard-boil eggs perfectly every time — and knowing what not to do — is a must.
The two most common problems that arise when trying to make hard-boiled eggs are improper 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 them.
To make the process easier, use this headache-free four-step 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 a fresh egg tends to cling to the shell more than in an older egg, making the peeling process more difficult. Here’s the easiest way to tell if your eggs have gone bad.
Step 2: Bring the cold water to a boil over high heat. Once the water arrives at a rolling, bubbling boil, 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-sized eggs and 12 minutes for large eggs. This timing ensures 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 ice-cold 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 any preparation. Slice them and sprinkle with salt, layer them on a Cobb salad, turn them into delicious deviled eggs, or use them as a building block for some of these 50 ways to cook an egg!