How to Make Hard-Boiled Eggs

Cook hard-boiled eggs in hot water and avoid boiling; peel when eggs are cooled.

hard boiled egg

Get the hang of making tasty hard-boiled eggs, and learn a few tricks on how to make hard-boiled eggs easier to peel.

Photo Courtesy American Egg Board

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For easier peeling, use eggs that are 7 to 10 days old. Pack hard-boiled eggs for lunch, slice or cut into wedges for tossed salad, dice for egg salad, or color and decorate for Easter.

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How to Make Hard-Boiled Eggs

Place eggs in saucepan large enough to hold them in single layer. Add cold water to cover eggs by 1 inch. Heat over high heat just to boiling. Remove from burner and cover pan.

Let eggs stand in hot water for about 12 minutes for large eggs (9 minutes for medium eggs; 15 minutes for extra large).

Drain immediately and serve warm, or cool completely under cold running water or in bowl of ice water, then refrigerate.

Insider Info for Making Hard-Boiled Eggs

Banish the greenish ring. This harmless but unsightly discoloration that sometimes forms around hard-boiled yolks results from a reaction between sulfur in the egg white and iron in the yolk. It occurs when eggs have been cooked too long or at too high a temperature. This method — cooking eggs in hot, not boiling, water, then cooling immediately — minimizes this.

Very fresh eggs can be difficult to peel. To ensure easily peeled eggs, buy and refrigerate them for a week to 10 days prior to cooking. This allows the eggs time to take in air, which helps separate the membranes from the shell.

Hard-boiled eggs are easiest to peel right after cooling. Cooling causes the egg to contract slightly in the shell.

To peel a hard-boiled egg: Gently tap egg on countertop until shell is finely crackled all over. Roll egg between hands to loosen shell. Starting peeling at large end, holding egg under cold running water to help ease the shell off.

Hard-boiled egg storage time: In the shell, hard-boiled eggs can be refrigerated safely up to one week. Refrigerate in their original carton to prevent odor absorption. Once peeled, eggs should be eaten that day.

Food safety precaution: Piercing shells before cooking is not recommended. If not sterile, the piercer or needle can introduce bacteria into the egg. Also, piercing creates hairline cracks in the shell, through which bacteria can enter after cooking.

Never microwave eggs in shells. Steam builds up too quickly inside and eggs are likely to explode.

High altitude cooking: It’s almost impossible to hard-cook eggs above 10,000 feet.