Every dish made with hard-boiled eggs is served cold. Egg salad, Cobb salad, deviled eggs, salad niçoise… After you read this, you’ll be thankful for this odd fact. You’re better off this way. Though you can hard-boil an egg in the microwave, eggs that have already been cooked should never be reheated.
Hard-boiled eggs, once microwaved, have a tendency to explode. They don’t typically explode in the microwave, either. Instead, they explode a few minutes later after being poked or prodded — by something sharp and pointy like, say, your teeth.
Yep, you read that right. The egg will explode right after you put it in your mouth.
The phenomenon has baffled scientists. They aren’t entirely sure why some eggs explode once microwaved while others lie dormant. One hypothesis: “The egg yolk develops many small pockets of superheated water, leading to an increasingly unstable condition. When the egg yolk is disturbed by an internal or external stimulus, the pockets spontaneously boil, thereby releasing considerable energy (i.e., an explosion).”
Researchers could not prove this theory, though there’s enough evidence to believe it to be true. They have, however, repeatedly witnessed the detonation followed by a spray of rubbery shrapnel. The blast emits a noise louder than most rock concerts, clocking in at up to 133 decibels. (A rock concert averages around 100.)
An eggs-plosion of that magnitude can do a surprising amount of damage. One man recently sued a restaurant after a steaming piece of egg white combusted inside of his mouth.
Realizing the potential of the incident, he pointed out the risk of hearing loss, claiming he should be repaid for noise damage. But scientists investigated and published this paper on December 6 claiming that the explosion could not feasibly have damaged his hearing. The exposure to the loud noise would have to be prolonged and relentless in order to do any real damage.
What the man should have sued for was for an inside-the-mouth burn. The explosion is both loud and scorching, with most microwaved eggs releasing temperatures hotter than the water they were boiled in.
The man lost the lawsuit against the reckless restaurant — but we can all learn from his trauma. Never ever microwave a hard-boiled egg. Those who do are using their microwave all wrong.