Back to Basics: Hard Boiled Eggs

It came to my attention this week (much to my horror), after watching both Julia Child and Ina Garten discuss the importance and method for properly cooked hard boiled eggs, that I have been making hard boiled eggs incorrectly my whole life. (nervous giggle) Oops! And while I am still nearly incapable of peeling a perfect egg, no matter how many different ways I try (if you have a fool proof method please share!!!), I have now learned how to achieve the perfect consistency, and also to prevent that disgusting green ring around the yolk. This is a great (and humbling) reminder for all of us that sometimes we get so caught up in extravagance, in our need to reinvent food, that we can often overlook the importance of mastering the basics. But thanks to Julia and Ina, I have finally been set straight. (I appreciate the intervention, ladies!) I tried both of their methods, and, for me at least, Ina’s method was the simplest and the most successful. She says “Place the eggs in a sauce pan and add enough cold water to cover. Bring the water to a boil and immediately turn off the heat. Let the eggs sit in the pan for 5 minutes. Remove the eggs to a bowl and allow to rest for at least 2 minutes.” (She then suggests that one take the egg, crack it, and roll it with your hand on your counter top to peel it. For me, this did not prove to be successful. But perhaps my eggs were too fresh?! Who knows…). I thought it was important to share with you all this newly found wisdom, in the hope that there are others out there, like me, who might find benefit from this rudimentary refresher course. Enjoy!


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10 responses to “Back to Basics: Hard Boiled Eggs

  1. I let my eggs sit in the water even longer. 15-20 minutes, and if I forget about them for even more time, that’s okay too.

    How I peel my eggs is this: Run the faucet so it’s just a trickle. Move it so it’s running over the barrier in the middle of your sink (or if you don’t have a double sink, near the edge). Gently but firmly tap the egg against the sink in many tiny taps covering the entire shell while the water runs over it, until the entire shell is essentially crushed but still on the egg. Pick off a bit of the shell, through the membrane, and run the trickling water into the hole, then begin to brush the side of your thumb against the edges of the hole so that it pushes the shell off the egg. This should bring it up in large pieces and it should glide right off the white. If you’ve tapped the shell enough times, sometimes the shell will just fall right off when the water gets underneath it.

  2. I’ve been using the same method Ina uses for about 15 years. I used to have a book on eggs and it used this method. I too used to let them sit much more like 12 mins.

    Recently I was told by a friend to cover with cold water, bring to a boil and then reduce and simmer for 5-12 mins depending on the level of doneness you like. I used 9 mins and they were perfect.

    I never recall having any issue peeling eggs as a child but I struggle with ever peeling an egg that doesn’t look like it has road rash. I just give up.

    It does seem that older eggs and an immediate icebath help but still.

  3. This is a perfect post:) We did one awhile back on tips to hard boiling eggs. There are a few additional, but to add quickly – not crowding your pan when hard boiling multiple eggs…

  4. I’m a big fan of hard boiled eggs. There are so many wonderful ways to use them that I always have a couple in my fridge. Thanks for a great post and, of course, fantastic photos!

  5. Perfectly cooked! I really appreciate this. And I can’t agree more with your observation about how the basics getting neglected in the rush to be ‘creative’. You know the old saying: You have to know the rules before you can break them!

  6. I almost always overboil my eggs and end up with the grey/green ring. They taste just fine but sure don’t look that good. Thanks for this!

  7. woman&warrior

    Darling, I remember how horrendously you peeled eggs in that kitchen in Richmond. I mean, it was just damn ungraceful. I tried to teach you then, and failed. My only trick is to cool them under cold running water or in a ice bath. The heat of the egg and then the cold shock causes the egg to retract away from the shell. I don’t know what it is with you and eggs, but I’d take your kitchen talent any day in exchange for my egg peeling skills.

    • jacobskitchen

      Hahaha! I HAVE tried the ice bath, and always use the cold running water, both to no avail. I think it is some sort of genetic predisposition toward terrible egg peeling. That or abject stupidity. I prefer to blame it on incredibly fresh eggs =) And please, who are you trying to fool? You have mad skills in the kitchen!

  8. classickitchentwist

    As soon as my eggs start to boil I take them off the heat & cover for exactly 20 minutes then plunge in cold water & end up with perfect eggs all of the time. As far as peeling, I too think that the older the egg is the easier it is to peel. Someone once told me to add some salt to the water & the shell will come right off, however, I never remember to try it!

  9. SO perfect you posted this. My boyfriend was visiting for the weekend and I am on crutches so he was on his own for making meals. He decided he wanted hard boiled egg sandwiches and I thought “no big deal” because I know how to boil an egg– who doesn’t? Well, the second he took the eggs out, he looked at me for guidance and I ended up googling it because I didn’t remember! So Jacob, this post is perfect, appropriate, and right on time!

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