Whether you opt for deviled eggs, egg salad, or just a whole one as an on-the-go snack, there are plenty of occasions that call for the perfect hard-boiled egg. The question is, how to get it? How do you avoid a sulfury flavor or a crumbly yolk? How do you avoid a rubbery, overcooked egg? Never fear, it’s an incredibly easy process and we’re here to help. We’ll show you how to get the perfect creamy egg every single time, without fail.
It seems simple enough – you boil some water, put an egg in, and you end up with a hard-boiled egg. It is simple, but even so, there are a few pitfalls that can lead to eggs that are crumbly or rubbery or have a less than desirable flavor. Our first tip is to start with cold eggs and cold water. This allows them to come to temperature together and helps prevent cracking or uneven cooking. Just place your eggs in a saucepan and cover them by one inch with water, but try not to cram too many eggs in the pot. You want them to have enough room around them that they cook evenly.
You don’t need to add anything to the water. Just turn it to high heat and as soon as it comes to a rolling boil, cover the pot and remove it from the stove. Let it sit off the heat, covered, for 10-12 minutes, depending on how you like your eggs. 10 minutes will result in a creamier, softer egg, while 12 minutes gives you a harder texture that’s still not crumbly. Since your eggs are cooking off the stove in the residual heat from the water, this method makes it very hard to overcook the eggs, so experiment and see what time works best for you. (I like 10, myself.)
Once the cooking time is up, transfer the eggs (gently) to an ice bath. Cooling them down quickly keeps them from developing that unsightly gray-green ring around the yolk and keeps the flavor nice and fresh. The quick change in temperature also helps separate the membranes from the shell and the egg, making for an easy peeling experience.
It’s often said that older eggs are easier to peel, and that’s true – their higher pH helps the inner membrane separate more easily. But the truth is, any egg you buy in a grocery store is going to be old enough; there’s no need to age them any further. If you have your own chickens and have very fresh eggs, just use eggs that were laid at least three days prior. (If you absolutely need to boil a very fresh egg, add a little baking soda to the water before you bring it to a boil.)
That’s our chosen method for the perfect egg. It’s tender and creamy every time, and never overcooked. Now how to go about cracking? I like to tap it all over with the back of a spoon and roll it on the counter until the entire surface is crackled. Start at the bottom of the egg and separate the membrane and it should be easy, egg-cellent peeling from there.
Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs
20 minutes to prepare serves 1-12
- Large eggs, chilled
- Cold water
- Place eggs in the bottom of a large saucepan. Cover with cold water by 1-inch.
- Place over high heat and bring to a rolling boil. Cover and remove from heat. Let sit 10-12 minutes.
- While eggs sit, fill a medium bowl with ice water. Transfer eggs to ice bath and let sit for five minutes.
- After five minutes, crack eggs by tapping all over with the back of a spoon or cracking and rolling it around on a table.
- Peel and enjoy!