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Five Ways to Easily Peel Hard Boiled Eggs

Updated on April 10, 2015
Knowing how to quickly and easily peel hard boiled eggs is a crucial first step in enjoying them by themselves or in elegant appetizers.
Knowing how to quickly and easily peel hard boiled eggs is a crucial first step in enjoying them by themselves or in elegant appetizers. | Source

Neat, self-contained, inexpensive and packed with nutrition, hard boiled eggs seem like the perfect snack in many ways. Unfortunately, fans of hard boiled eggs face one major obstacle whenever they want to enjoy one: peeling it. We have all spent too long trying to pick one tiny fragment of eggshell after another off a hard boiled egg before we ever get to eat it. Fortunately, there are many ways around this obstacle; these are several of the best. Try them all, and see which one works best for you; if necessary, you can combine multiple methods together to ensure that your eggs peel cleanly.

Few things are more frustrating than hard boiled eggs that will not peel properly; fortunately, these strategies can ensure that you avoid this frustration.
Few things are more frustrating than hard boiled eggs that will not peel properly; fortunately, these strategies can ensure that you avoid this frustration. | Source

How to Hard Boil the Eggs

  1. Start by filling a pot with enough water to cover your eggs by one to two inches, but do not put the eggs in it yet.
  2. Some chefs feel that you should mix one teaspoon of baking soda in to the water to change the egg white’s pH level and discourage it from sticking to the shell; others feel that a pinch of salt in the water helps prevent the egg from escaping through cracks in the shell; others feel that a dash of vinegar will soften the eggshells and make them easier to remove; and still others feel that none of these additions are necessary. Choose the method that works best for you, then bring the water to a boil.
  3. Once the water is boiling, add the eggs, being careful not to splash hot water on yourself; use tongs and wear an oven mitt if necessary. It is fine to add the eggs straight from the refrigerator; letting them warm up to room temperature will not usually impact how easy it is to peel off their shells.
  4. Keep the pot simmering for about 12 minutes.
  5. Drain the hot water out of the pot, then run cold water over the eggs until they are completely cool to the touch. Use ice water if the water from your sink is not cold enough to rapidly cool the eggs.

Cooling your hard boiled eggs as fast as possible after they are done cooking will make peeling them much easier.
Cooling your hard boiled eggs as fast as possible after they are done cooking will make peeling them much easier. | Source

Eggshell Removal Method # 1: The Classic

  1. Crack the shell of the egg you wish to peel by tapping each end against a hard, flat surface
  2. Beginning at the wide end of the egg, you should now be able to easily peel the eggshell off as long as you followed the proper hard boiling and cooling procedure. If necessary, run a thin stream of cool water over the egg as you peel it to help loosen and remove the shell.

Regardless of the specific peeling technique you use, much of the ability to easily remove a hard boiled egg's shell stems from how it is cooked and cooled.
Regardless of the specific peeling technique you use, much of the ability to easily remove a hard boiled egg's shell stems from how it is cooked and cooled. | Source

Eggshell Removal Method # 2: The Spoon and Scoop

  1. Tap the wide end of the egg with a soup spoon. The bowl of the spoon should be roughly the same length and curvature of the egg.
  2. Slide the point of the spoon under the shell from wide end toward the narrow end, then rotate the spoon around the egg to pop it free from the shell.
  3. This method may take some practice before you get the angle exactly right, but it is one of the fastest eggshell peeling methods once you get the hang of it.

Some methods of easily peeling a hard boiled egg begin at the narrow end, while others begin at the wide end.
Some methods of easily peeling a hard boiled egg begin at the narrow end, while others begin at the wide end. | Source

Eggshell Removal Method # 3: The Mosh Pit

  1. After you finish cooling the eggs, drain off all but a small amount of the cold water.
  2. Cover the pot with a tight fitting lid.
  3. While holding the lid on firmly, shake the entire pot back and forth for about ten seconds.
  4. Most of the eggshells should now be loose, allowing you to simply rinse them off each egg. Of course, this method could damage the eggs themselves somewhat; this is not an issue in many dishes, but could be problematic if you plan to use the eggs for certain photogenic appetizers and similar dishes.
  5. You can use the exact same strategy with a single egg by placing it in a glass with an ounce or two of water, then covering the open end with your hand as you shake it. Just to be safe, keep the glass under the top of a sink or in a large bowl or pot as you shake it to make sure no drops of water fly around the room.

The "Mosh Pit" strategy can be used to peel individual or multiple hard boiled eggs.

Eggshell Removal Method # 4: The Push/Blow

  1. Crack both ends of the egg against a hard, flat surface.
  2. Brush the broken eggshell off both ends of the egg with your thumb.
  3. Place your lips against the intact eggshell on the narrow end of the egg, then blow as if you were blowing up a balloon. The air being forced out of your lungs will separate the egg from the membrane on the inside of the eggshell, allowing the egg to pop free.
  4. Alternatively, apply gentle pressure with your thumb on the narrow end of the egg to pop it out the wide end of the shell.
  5. Take your time getting the hang of this method; most people do not get it exactly right at first.

Since the "Push/Blow" method of easily removing a hard boiled egg's shell takes some practice to master, you should first try it when you are making multiple eggs for a salad or similar dish.
Since the "Push/Blow" method of easily removing a hard boiled egg's shell takes some practice to master, you should first try it when you are making multiple eggs for a salad or similar dish. | Source

Eggshell Removal Method # 5: The Roll and Submerge

  1. Just like in the first eggshell peeling method, begin by tapping both ends of the egg against a hard surface.
  2. Next, roll the egg around with one hand while applying gentle pressure until the shell is completely covered in cracks.
  3. Finish by placing the entire egg in a bowl of warm water, then keep it submerged while peeling the entire eggshell off from the wide end toward the narrow end.

Many find the "Roll and Submerge" to be the most convenient and easily learned method of quickly removing the shell from a hard boiled egg.
Many find the "Roll and Submerge" to be the most convenient and easily learned method of quickly removing the shell from a hard boiled egg. | Source

Other Tips

  • If you buy your eggs fresh from a farm or farmers market, allow them to sit for roughly three to five days before you hard boil them. Boiling them fresh can make peeling your eggs slightly more challenging because the air bubble inside the shell on one end will be smaller. Eggs that you purchase from a supermarket will usually have sat for more than enough time already.
  • Boiling your eggs for too long will often make the shell almost impossible to remove.

How do you prefer to enjoy hard boiled eggs?

See results

References

Real Simple: “What Is the Best Way to Peel a Hard-Boiled Egg?”

Chow: “Does Vinegar Make Peeling Hard-Boiled Eggs Easier?”

Huffington Post: “Perfectly Peel a Hard Boiled Egg in Seconds -- With a Glass of Water”

Serious Eats: “The Food Lab: The Hard Truth About Boiled Eggs”

What are your tips for preparing, peeling and serving hard boiled eggs?

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    • EuroCafeAuLait profile image

      Anastasia Kingsley 3 years ago from Croatia, Europe

      Very helpful hub, voted up! We have a vegetarian in the house, so hard boiled eggs are a staple food. The soda helps, I think. We do buy from a fresh grower so maybe I need to wait a few days.. looking forward to trying out all your suggestions to see what works best for us.

    • maggs224 profile image

      maggs224 3 years ago from Sunny Spain

      As the old saying goes 'there is more than one way to skin a rabbit,' and having read this Hub, I now know also, that there is more than one way to peel an egg lol...

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