6 Tips for Easy Peel Boiled Eggs

Skip the aggravation next time you try to peel a hard boiled eggs. These six tips will produce easy peel boiled eggs every time.

two dozen eggs in paper cartons on a marble background

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I have a confession to make: I have been going about making hard boiled eggs all wrong. For years. As a kid, I grew up eating my fair share of hard-boiled eggs with yolks trimmed in that green discoloration around the edges. I thought this was normal because it was all I had ever known.

As I ventured into adulting on my own, I prepared hard boiled eggs how I was taught. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Carefully lower a few eggs into the hot water then boil for 20 minutes. This usually ended up in a few cracked shells and always resulted in green yolks.

It wasn’t until I got older and learned a thing or two about cooking that I discovered the green discoloration is a sign that the egg is overcooked. It’s a reaction between the iron in the yolk and the sulfur in the whites. It won’t hurt you to eat it (I turned out just fine … I think). But you won’t end up with sunny yellow yolks with that velvety smooth texture everyone loves.

As I got ready to prepare hard boiled eggs for my deviled eggs posts, I thought it might be a good idea to sit down and research the proper way to hard boil an egg once and for all.

Stovetop Method for Hardboiling an Egg

My old method started with heating the water first, then carefully lowering an egg into the pot. The problem with this is that plunging a cold egg into hot water can crack the shell, causing egg whites to ooze out during cooking.

six eggs in a stainless steel pot covered with water

Instead, start with cold water. Place eggs in a single layer in a pot. Add enough cold water to cover the eggs by one inch. Bring the water to a boil. By letting the eggs come up to temperature naturally, you don’t run as much risk of the shell cracking.

Once the water comes to a boil, remove the pan from the heat. Cover with a lid and let the eggs sit for 20 minutes.

Tips for Easy Peel Boiled Eggs

Peeling eggs are an aggravation, especially if you have to peel a lot. Here are a few tips to lessen the stress and make peeling eggs a breeze.

Start with old eggs. Yes, everyone says fresh is best, but in the case of hard boiled eggs, this is not true. Eggs that are a week to 10 days old are best. All eggs have a little pocket of air inside them. As an egg ages, this air pocket gets larger. A bigger air pocket gives your fingers a little more room to slip in a get the shell off.

Create a pinhole. I remember my own mama used to prick the bottom of each egg with an egg piercer before placing them in the water. This further separates the egg from shell and also allows air to escape, preventing the shell from cracking.

eggs in an ice bath

Give them an ice bath. As soon as the cooking time is up, have a bowl of ice water on standby. Immediately plunge the eggs in the ice water to stop the cooking process. This will also prevent green yolks.

How to Peel a Hard Boiled Egg

Once the egg is cool enough to handle, I gently tap the egg a few times on the counter to crack the shell all over. I start with the fat end of the egg because that’s where the air pocket is located. Once I have the shell cracked, start peeling from the air pocket. If you’re lucky, the shell will come off in a few large sections. But if you run into a particularly tricky one, have patience so you don’t ruin the risk of puncturing the shell.

Once peeled, run the eggs under colder water to remove any stuck on bits of debris.

pair of hands peeling a hard boiled egg

How to store hard boiled eggs

Unpeeled hard boiled eggs will last in the refrigerator for up to one week. Be sure to store them away from any foods that give off a strong odor, as egg shells are porous and can absorb the flavor of items around it.

Peeled eggs will also keep for a week in the fridge. It’s a good idea to store them in a sealed container or plastic bag to prevent them from drying out.

Hard boiled eggs can not be frozen. The process of freezing and thawing affects the texture and will results in water, tough eggs.


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