Five Ways to Easily Peel Hard Boiled Eggs
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.
How to Hard Boil the Eggs
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Keep the pot simmering for about 12 minutes.
- 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.
Eggshell Removal Method # 1: The Classic
- Crack the shell of the egg you wish to peel by tapping each end against a hard, flat surface
- 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.
Eggshell Removal Method # 2: The Spoon and Scoop
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Eggshell Removal Method # 3: The Mosh Pit
- After you finish cooling the eggs, drain off all but a small amount of the cold water.
- Cover the pot with a tight fitting lid.
- While holding the lid on firmly, shake the entire pot back and forth for about ten seconds.
- 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.
- 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
- Crack both ends of the egg against a hard, flat surface.
- Brush the broken eggshell off both ends of the egg with your thumb.
- 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.
- Alternatively, apply gentle pressure with your thumb on the narrow end of the egg to pop it out the wide end of the shell.
- Take your time getting the hang of this method; most people do not get it exactly right at first.
Eggshell Removal Method # 5: The Roll and Submerge
- Just like in the first eggshell peeling method, begin by tapping both ends of the egg against a hard surface.
- Next, roll the egg around with one hand while applying gentle pressure until the shell is completely covered in cracks.
- 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.
- 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?
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”