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How to Hard Boil an Egg

This simple task is often not carefully done.  To avoid greenish tinge on yolk and assure a moist interior, follow these instructions. For the best-tasting eggs buy a dozen from pastured hens at the farmer's market.  Read here how Michael Pollan justifies spending $8 on a carton of eggs.

3 eggs

1. Fill a 2 or 2.5 quart pan about ĺ full with cold water. Place eggs carefully in pan, making sure they are totally submerged.

2. Bring heat up to high.  When the water is at a full boil (donít leave the room for too long!), turn the heat OFF. 

3. Cover the pan and set a timer for 10 minutes. 

4. When the timer goes off, drain off the hot water and refill with cold water.  You may empty and refill a few times until the water stays cool.  Let eggs rest in cool water for about 10 minutes.

5. Crack and peel under gentle stream of cool water from the faucet.  Egg shells can be added to compost.


Cindy Wambeam
Is that a Bento Box on her t-shirt? I want one of those!
September 23, 2010, 10:17 am

Kay Hatlestad
The eggs definitely make a difference. I am lucky enough to be supplied by my 10 year old nephew's flock of various free-ranging hens. These eggs have orange yolks, which stand up. What I buy in the store does not compare.
September 23, 2010, 10:22 am

Tina Carlson
Would I spend $8 on a dozen eggs? NO.. but I would spend $500 on ONE egg. That's how much the first egg from my very own hens is going to cost (figuring in cost of the coop, feed, etc.). After that, they are all free! :) Nothing like having your very own organic, free-range eggs right out your back door!
September 23, 2010, 10:47 am

Denise McArthur
my eggs cost me $25 every two months. That is the cost of the organic feed for my six backyard hens.
September 23, 2010, 11:44 am

Loren Kaplan
I buy free range, organic eggs from Whole Foods. They are not quite $8, but they are close. It does feel crazy pricey when I compare them to regular grocery eggs. But I absolutely agree with Michael Pollan that the regular supermarket eggs just seem cheap. We (as a soceity) end up paying much more for them later in terms of what producing them costs our environment and our health. We have to stop thinking of food in terms of bargain-hunting. Cheap food is only cheap short term.
September 23, 2010, 3:49 pm

Eileen R
I've found that my hard boiled eggs peel easier (and neater) if they are about three days old. Am I imagining this? BTW, FYI, free-range, organic eggs go for about $4/doz (ish) at the Olympia Farmers' Market.
September 23, 2010, 4:13 pm

Juliana Caton
I have heard that fresh eggs are harder to peel. I tried a few that were about a week old from our chickens and they were pretty hard to peel, but I didn't lose too much of the white, do you have any tips? My mom said salting the water would help, I dont know if that works. We have many extra eggs and I am always hoping someone will come ask me for eggs so I dont have to figure out which neighbors need them. If you have a neighbor with chickens dont be shy, I am sure they would love to share!
September 24, 2010, 3:47 pm

Sara Storr
I feel lucky -- here in Iowa we pay $3 a dozen for free-range, organic eggs! And they are so beautiful - blue, grey, brown...
September 27, 2010, 2:31 pm

Jane buzana
This is the way I always make my hard boiled eggs. I really like the taste of Egglands Best all natural eggs.
September 29, 2010, 3:37 pm

To save on water, drain the hot water from the pan after cooking eggs, jiggle pan so eggshells crack. Add cool water and let eggs soak in the cook water for a few minutes. The eggshells peel off easily because water has gotten under the membrane which causes the shells to come off very easily. No more peeling the shells in little bits and no more peeling the shells under running water!
October 6, 2010, 10:32 am

Cynthia Lair
Nice tip. Thanks Carrie!
October 6, 2010, 3:51 pm

Bonnie LeRoi
I have heard more than once that it's not necessary to store eggs in the fridge and may actually be better to leave them out, which I have done for several months with no problem, plus they're not so cold! Friends stayed in Brazil where they are stored on shelves for months with no problem. Anyone else does this?
November 15, 2010, 11:50 am

Diane Carney, Township 18 Farm
I am not a food safety expert, but I am a chemist and an egg farmer, and here is what I know about the question of whether or not eggs should be refrigerated. The issue here is that eggs can contain the bacteria Salmonella enteriditis (Se) on the inside. The CDC says that Se can be found in about 1 in 20,000 eggs. To make you ill, the bacteria need to multiply inside the egg, and to do that, they need the nutrients in the yolk, moisture, time, and a temperature above 45 degrees F. The egg has built-in protections against bacterial growth inside the shell -- have you seen the fortress of egg whites propping up the yolk? From the outside, we can limit bacterial growth by doing two things: keeping eggs cool and consuming them while they are fresh. Now, where does Salmonella enteriditis come from in the chickens in the first place? It comes from the environment and from their feed. Another way to control Se in eggs is to control Se in the chicken by keeping them in a clean environment and by feeding them clean food. Thatís the job of the farmer; the job of the consumer is to know what your chickens are being fed. The cleaner the food source, the cleaner the chicken, the cleaner the egg, the lower the risk of contamination. Another factor to consider! Heat kills Salmonella enteriditis! So if you are going to cook your eggs thoroughly, including hard boiling them completely as shown in this video, then temperature of storage becomes less important. Eggs can also be contaminated on the outside of the shell by Se or by other bacteria or viruses and this is where proper egg washing and handing comes in. WA State egg handling regulations require the sanitizing of all surfaces the eggs come in contact with after washing. Eggs can either be washed (with or without detergents) or they can he lightly sanded. Industrially, chlorine bleach is used as a further deterrent to exterior contamination. I opt for clean nesting boxes, washing by hand in the hottest water I can stand, without the use of bleach. I use iodine to sanitize surfaces. Again, the role the consumer can play is to ask about the egg handling practices of the farm you are buying from. All of this said, I lived in New Zealand for a year where pallets of eggs formed aisles in the grocery stores and were not refrigerated. At home, I refrigerate the eggs that I sell and use personally, but if I am using them for baking, I pull them out of the fridge because they behave better when they are warmer. Hope this helps to parse the issue!
December 30, 2010, 11:05 am

Diane Carney
Salmonella enteritis! Sorry for the extra syllable!
December 30, 2010, 11:08 am

Diane Carney
Fresh eggs are harder to peel because the inner membrane is still very close to the shell. As the egg ages, the air pocket in the top expands and the membrane thins and comes away from the shell more. You can test how old eggs are by submerging them in water. Fresh eggs sink to the bottom and lie sideways, older eggs that will be easier to peel will float with the big end up. For best peeling eggs, use three+ week old eggs (grocery store eggs usually are already this old and peel well), or use the trick of hard boiling them almost all the way, then poking or cracking them and finishing them off for a couple of minutes. The infusion of water separates the egg from the shell nicely.
December 30, 2010, 11:40 am

kate maxfield
none of the many third world countires i have ever been in refridgerate their eggs. my understanding is that if they have never been refridgerated they do not have to be to be safe and store well.
January 31, 2011, 10:06 pm

Teri Smart
Just wondering what you thought of steaming to hard boil eggs? I set the timer for 20 min and it makes them perfect and so easy to peel-
May 30, 2011, 6:47 pm

Jeep Driver
I have a commercial steamer (home owner model from another web site .com) and it uses very little water to cook the eggs, amount of water determines doneness Steams 7 very nicely, (and poaches) You poke the large end before, with a provided pin/water measurer, and they come out fantastic, like an automatic rice cooker, buzzes when done. Then straight to cold water. easy peel and fantastic egg salad sandwiches.
July 7, 2011, 8:24 pm

Bethany Wofford
Are these instructions for an electric or gas stovetop? Since the coil on electric stays hot, should I move the pan or leave it when I turn the heat off?
October 2, 2011, 9:08 am

Cynthia Lair
Good question Bethany. If the electric coil takes a long time to cool down, yes I would definitely remove the pan from the burner.
October 2, 2011, 9:19 am

Laura22 Laura22
This is what I do with my eggs and they come out amazing
March 8, 2012, 12:53 pm

Avishek Lal
November 30, 2012, 7:10 pm

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