How to Make Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs

5 from 37 votes

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Perfect in your favorite egg salad or as a snack, everybody loves a hard-boiled egg! Use this foolproof, 10-minute recipe to avoid overcooked eggs or an eggshell mess.

How to Make Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs

You are now going to have your best shot at making perfect hard-boiled eggs every time. Here are two methods that should ensure peerless hard-cooked eggs, plus a whole lot of tips for success. Then, you are on your way to making perfect Deviled Eggs, the best egg salad, or just tucking a beautiful white and yellow hard-cooked egg into a picnic basket, a lunch box, or the fridge for some high-protein snacking.

Making perfect hard-boiled (or hard-cooked eggs) is a task that flummoxes even seasoned cooks. There are no guarantees, and the hard-boiled egg gods can be a mercurial bunch. Yolks too undercooked, or — more likely — overcooked, and maybe dry and flaky. Maybe even tinged with that unattractive green circle. Rubbery whites. Shells that won’t peel off neatly. Not great. This is how you avoid those hard-boiled egg pitfalls!

Perfect hard cooked egg cut in half.

How to Make Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs: Two methods for making perfect hard cooked eggs with creamy yolks, tender whites, and shells that slip right off.

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How to Hard-Boil Eggs

There are two methods for making perfect boiled eggs, which we will walk through step-by-step below.

Method 1

  1. Boil the eggs and water: Place the eggs into a saucepan and add water to cover. Bring the water to a boil, and then allow the eggs to boil for 1 minute. Turn off the heat, cover, and let the eggs sit for 10 minutes.
Eggs in a pot of water.
  1. Cool: Fill a bowl with ice water. Transfer the cooked eggs to the ice water with a slotted spoon and let sit for about 5 minutes.
  2. Peel: Remove the eggs, tap both ends on the counter to crack the shells, crackle them by rolling them on the counter, then peel them. Peeling them while still warm and submerged in a bowl of cold water is often helpful for allowing the shell to slip off easily.
Woman peeling shell of hard boiled egg.

Method 2

  1. Boil the water: Bring a pot of water to a boil, making sure the water is high enough to cover the eggs.
  2. Boil the eggs: Use a spoon to lower the eggs into the water. Boil the eggs for 9 minutes.
  3. Cool: Transfer the cooked eggs to the ice water with a slotted spoon and let sit for about 5 minutes.
  4. Peel: Remove the eggs, crackle them by tapping the two ends on the counter, then rolling them on the counter, then peel them. Peeling them while they are warm and submerged in a bowl of cold water helps the shell slip off easily.

Kitchen Smarts

You can also make hard-cooked eggs in the oven. It’s a perfectly easy solution when you need a lot of hard-boiled eggs!

Perfectly cooked hard boiled egg cut in half.

FAQs

How old should eggs be to hard boil them?

Older eggs, at least 1 week old, tend to peel more easily. Obviously, you don’t want eggs that are no longer fresh, but super-fresh eggs don’t peel easily, so save those for scrambling and baking.

How do you tell if an egg is fresh?

You can’t determine whether an egg is fresh or not just by looking at the shell. While there is a “best by” date, cartons aren’t always clear about when an egg was laid, and you might not remember how long eggs have been sitting in the fridge.

To double-check that any egg is fresh and safe to eat before boiling, use the “water test:” Place the egg in a glass filled with cold water; eggs that sink are fresh, and eggs that float to the top should be tossed.

What is the best way to peel hard-boiled eggs?

There are two methods that I have had ongoing success with.

Peeling them after they have sat in an ice bath for a while but still warm gives the best results because the shells come off more easily. Chilled eggs don’t peel as smoothly.

Rolling them on the counter before peeling them to crackle the shell also helps the shell come off cleanly. Peeling them while submerged under cold water in a bowl (or running water, but that’s kind of wasteful) is another trick for getting the shells off easily.

Woman picking up hard boiled eggs from water.

What to Make With Hard-Boiled Eggs

So, what are the best ways to use those perfect hard-boiled eggs? Let’s count the ways!

Hard-boiled eggs are delicious on their own, but they are also an important ingredient for a lot of delicious foods. My favorite of these is Deviled Eggs. First, you hard-boil some eggs, then take out the yolks, mash and season them, and add them back into the hollow in the whites.

If you love deviled eggs as much as I do, then you’ll be very excited about Deviled Egg Potato Salad! It’s the perfect side for any picnic or potluck. Other great classic uses for hard-boiled eggs are Egg Salad or Niçoise Salad. As soon as you make them, you’ll remember that they are classics for a reason.

Two deviled eggs on green plate.
Deviled Eggs

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5 from 37 votes

How to Make Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs

Perfect in your favorite egg salad or as a snack, everybody loves a hard-boiled egg! Use this foolproof, 10-minute recipe to avoid overcooked eggs or an eggshell mess.
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 13 minutes
Servings: 6 People
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Ingredients 

  • 6 Eggs
  • Water (as needed)

Instructions 

Method 1:

  • Place the eggs into a saucepan and add water to cover by at least 1-inch. Bring the water to a boil, and then allow the eggs to boil for 1 minute. Turn off the heat, cover and let the eggs sit for 10 minutes. While the eggs are sitting in the hot water, fill a bowl with ice water.
    Gently place the eggs in a medium-sized saucepan. Cover the eggs completely with water, with at least 1-inch of water above the eggs. Turn the stove onto medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Allow them to boil for just 1 minute. Then turn the heat off, cover the saucepan, and let sit for 10 minutes.
  • While the eggs sit, prepare to cool them by filling a bowl with enough ice water to cover the eggs. Transfer the cooked eggs to the ice water with a slotted spoon and let sit for about 5 minutes. The goal is to get the eggs cool enough to touch, but not so cold that they are difficult to peel.
  • Take the eggs out of the water. Tap the top and bottom sides on a flat countertop to crack the shells. Then roll them lengthwise on the counter to crack completely. It may help to peel them while holding them under the surface of the cold water.

Method 2:

  • Fill a pot with enough water to cover your eggs (before adding them). Bring the water to a boil. Once boiling, use a slotted spoon to slowly add the eggs to the water, making sure not to drop them against the bottom of the pot. Boil for 9 minutes.
  • Fill a bowl with ice water. Transfer the eggs to the bowl and allow it to sit for 5 minutes.
  • Remove the eggs and crack on their end by tapping against the counter. Roll them to crack completely, then peel while submerged in the cold water. The shell should slip off easily.

Notes

You can’t determine whether an egg is fresh or not just by looking at the shell. While there is a “best by” date, cartons aren’t always clear about when an egg was laid, and you might not remember how long eggs have been sitting in the fridge.
To double-check that any egg is fresh and safe to eat before boiling, use the “water test:” Place the egg in a glass filled with cold water; eggs that sink are fresh, and eggs that float to the top should be tossed.

Nutrition

Calories: 378kcal, Carbohydrates: 2g, Protein: 33g, Fat: 25g, Saturated Fat: 8g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g, Monounsaturated Fat: 10g, Trans Fat: 0.1g, Cholesterol: 982mg, Sodium: 375mg, Potassium: 364mg, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 1426IU, Calcium: 148mg, Iron: 5mg
Like this recipe? Rate and comment below!

About Katie Workman

Katie Workman is a cook, a writer, a mother of two, an activist in hunger issues, and an enthusiastic advocate for family meals, which is the inspiration behind her two beloved cookbooks, Dinner Solved! and The Mom 100 Cookbook.

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3 Comments

  1. Helen at the Lazy Gastronome says:

    Great instructions – easy to follow – and the eggs really did come out perfect!

  2. DK says:

    I was looking for the perfect guide to hard boiled eggs – so glad I came across this recipe. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Debra says:

    That ice bath was new to me…and definitely made a difference. Loved that the eggs were easy to peel!