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How to Hard Boil Eggs

Perfectly Hard Boiled Egg

My grandmother was a huge fan of Deviled Eggs and made them for all kinds of holidays and family gatherings as I was growing up. I became a fan, too, so as soon as I was old enough to operate the stove safely I asked my grandmother to teach me how to make them myself. I made them with her whenever I visited, and these days I often just make myself them as a snack.

Good deviled eggs start out with good hard boiled eggs. Actually, there are lots of egg dishes (from egg salad to and brightly colored Easter eggs) that start out with hard boiled eggs. The trick to getting a perfectly cooked hard boiled egg is to cook it just long enough to cook through without making the egg tough or discolored. Nothing is less appealing than opening a hard boiled egg and seeing a gray-green cast to the once-yellow yolk. That gray-green color results from overheating eggs, which causes sulfur to be released from the egg whites and turn an discolor canary-yellow yolk.

My grandma tended to estimate the time the eggs needed to boil, but I find that an actual timer works much better. I start by placing my eggs in a pot and add just enough water (tap water) to cover them.

Eggs in simmering water

Once the eggs are in place, I cover the pot and turn up the heat, cooking just until the water just comes to a boil. I turn off the heat and set the timer for 10 minutes, letting the eggs just sit in the hot water (with the lid still on- don’t peek!) and continue cooking. When the timer goes off, I rinse the eggs in warm, then cold tap water to stop the cooking. I always start with the tap water on warm because a sudden temperature change can cause the eggs to crack. That said, if one does crack while I’m rinsing it off, I just eat that one first.
Rinsing hard boiled eggs
After the eggs have been rinsed for 3-4 minutes, they are usually cool enough to handle and you can peel them pretty easily right away to begin making Deviled Eggs, egg salad or some other egg dish. If you’re not going to eat them right away, pop them in the refrigerator to keep for later.

Perfect Hard Boiled Egg Yolk

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  • holly
    April 19, 2011

    they sit for 10 min with the lid on, right?

  • Nicole
    April 19, 2011

    Holly – Yes, with the lid on to hold in the heat.

  • Jessika
    April 19, 2011

    I hate a strange but fun egg timer as an app on my iphone. It measures cooking time depending on ground elevation, temp etc., really cool! But then I normally use just a regular timer!

  • Jessika
    April 19, 2011

    have, not hate 😉

  • Michelle
    April 19, 2011

    i never thought it would be hard to boil eggs right, my aunt boils them perfectly everytime…to the point where i dont even bother boiling them She times them perfectly in her head.

  • Elizabeth
    April 19, 2011

    How long will hard boiled eggs keep in the fridge? I have to make a couple tomorrow for my son’s preschool project, but I want some to dye over the weekend.

  • cathy goldman
    April 19, 2011

    My problem is with eggs that are too fresh and when I go to peel them….well they are just a big mess….shells do not come off easily. Any suggestions?

  • Nicole
    April 19, 2011

    Elizabeth – They should keep for about a week in the fridge, so you should be alright to boil them tomorrow and dye them a few days later.

  • Heather
    April 19, 2011

    Any tips on getting them peeled? It never fails when I am making deviled eggs the peels just will not come off in a smooth fashion and they end up a mess.

  • Justeen @ Blissful Baking
    April 20, 2011

    I hate overcooked eggs more than anything! I’m definitely going to try this method next time I make hard-boiled eggs.

  • Shaun
    April 21, 2011

    Do you start with the eggs at room temperature or refrigerated?

  • Nicki
    April 24, 2011

    Thanks for the tips! Tried your method this morning with great results. I love that this takes less time and uses less energy…awesome!

  • Linda @ Lemons
    May 15, 2011

    I eat hard boiled eggs all the time, and I love to make deviled eggs, but my yolks always have that greenish tint. I will definitely use this method – your egg looks beautiful. So perfect!

  • Nathan
    October 3, 2011

    Excellent! mine came out yellowy awesomeness.

  • karen
    October 30, 2011

    Do you take the eggs off the burner and let sit for 10 minutes, or on the burner?

  • Camille
    March 29, 2013

    I’m in the minority and like just a little green around my egg. The picture of the “perfect egg” is just a tad too undone for me.
    I also saw on tv this week that if you add a ton of salt to the boiling water the eggs will peel well. ?? Anyone agree with this?

  • Pat Kaster
    July 16, 2013

    Oh my goodness, put eggs in boiling water, set the timer for 6 minutes, take off heat and set the timer for 10 minutes, dump in colander, rinse, crack on sink and put back in cold water in the pan, peel like magic !!!

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