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How to Hard Boil an Egg Perfectly

Updated on December 3, 2011

Hard Boiled Eggs

You may find yourself needing to hard boil an egg as part of recipe, like for Deviled Eggs, Egg Salad or my favorite Scotch Eggs. Or you may enjoy Hard Boiled Eggs on there own.

Hard boiled eggs are great for breakfast and also make a great snack. If you cook a batch of hard boiled eggs they will keep well in your refrigerator for the entire week. You can take a hard boiled egg with you to school or work for lunch or a snack and it will last the day at room temperature without needing refrigeration.

If you have never boiled an egg before or are in search of that perfectly cooked Hard Boiled Egg here are some tips for you.

Cooking a Hard Boiled Egg

Placing the egg in the pot

If you wait till the water is boiling and then try to drop the egg your going to run into two problems.

  1. You may burn your self.
  2. You may crack the eggshell.

By simply placing the egg(s) into the pot before heating the water is boiling will help prevent a trip to the burn ward as well or broken eggs.

How long should you boil them?

For the best hard boiled eggs you actually do not need to boil the water for very long. Simply place your eggs in a pot or pan and fill it partially with cold water, up to an inch over the egg. Then heat the pan on High and wait for the water to boil. Once it has reached a full boil, place a lid on the pot and move it to a cold burner or trivet. Then let the eggs cook in the hot water for 10 - 15 minutes depending on the size of the egg.

  • Medium Egg 10 Minutes
  • Large Egg 12 Minutes
  • Extra Large Egg 15 Minutes

Hard Boiled Eggs Vs Soft Boiled Eggs

The difference between a hard boiled and soft boiled egg is not whether the eggs were boiled in water that was at a hard boil or soft boil, it is how well cooked the eggs are. A Hard Boiled Egg will be cooked all the way through and have a solid center while the yolk in a Soft Boiled Egg will still be runny.

Since the egg yolk is still runny these are traditionally eaten with strips of toast, known as solders in the UK, which are dunked into the egg yolk.

You should be careful eating soft boiled eggs and avoid eating undercooked eggs due to the risk of salmonella. A properly cooked soft boiled egg should have a solid egg white with a runny yolk, just like a sunny side up egg.

Egg Cookers

If you have troubles boiling water or just love kitchen gadgets, you can get an Egg Cooker. These are especially useful if you enjoy poached eggs, which can be challenging to cook well.

You can get an Electric or Microwave Egg Cooker. A good egg cooker will do several things for you:

  • Precisely Regulate the temperature
  • Have its own Timer
  • Allow you to Poach Eggs as well as boil them

Removing the Egg from the Shell

By following the steps below the egg should almost fall right out of the shell for you.
By following the steps below the egg should almost fall right out of the shell for you.

Give the Egg a Cold Water Bath

If you are not putting the eggs in the fridge to eat later you should quickly cool the eggs in a cold water bath before trying to remove the shell. When it cools the egg contracts and separates from the shell making it much easier to peel.

To make a cold water bath fill a large bowl with ice and some water. If you want it really cold add some salt, which lowers the freezing point of the water and makes it super cool. Let the eggs sit in the cold water bath for 5 minutes.

Removing the Shell

Boiling an egg is easy, any one who can boil water can do it. But removing the shell can be harder and much more frustrating.

Give the egg a solid tap on the top and the bottom of the egg against the counter or another hard surface. Use the sink for your first egg, If you are not sure if they were cooked long enough. That way they it is not cooked through yet and the yolk pours out, you will have an easy clean up.

Next, roll the egg firmly along the counter. Push hard enough to further crack the eggshell, but not so hard that you squish the egg inside.

Once the eggshell has been fractured all the way around you can start peeling. If you are lucky, you will have created a large fissure, which the egg will easily slide out from. If you have troubles peeling the eggshell off the egg, run it under some cold water while you peel it.

Having Troubles with your Eggs?

Cracked Shells

Most shells break when you drop them into hot boiling water. But even when you add the eggs to the pot before heating egg shells can still crack while cooking. To further prevent egg shells from cracking you can take a pin and poke a hole in the top of the egg. This will remove the stress from the shell as it boils and keep it from cracking. Since there is only one small hole the egg inside will not leak out.

Another thing you can do to help with the clean up if you do have a break is to add some vinegar to the water. This will help bind the egg, so when it leaks out it stays stuck to the egg instead of the pot.

Green Yolks

When you overcook your eggs the a green ring will develop around the outside of the yolk. You can eat the green yolk, but it will not be dry and powder instead of having a nice creamy center like a properly cooked hard boiled egg.

To solve this problem just reduce your cooking time by a minute or two. To find the perfect cooking time for your stove you can cook several eggs and remove them at different time intervals, (10, 11, 12, 13 minutes for example), to determine the perfect timing for you and your stove.

Also make sure that you are immediately cooling your eggs. Your eggs will continue to cook until you cool them.


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    • samanthamayer profile image

      samanthamayer 6 years ago from New Zealand

      Thank you, I have to try this! I can never get soft boiled eggs right.

    • mljdgulley354 profile image

      mljdgulley354 6 years ago

      Great step by step hub. The method you describe is what I use for boiling eggs. It's great for 1 or 2 eggs or a whole dozen.

    • stone soup profile image

      stone soup 6 years ago from Ocean Shores, Washington

      This is the method i have been using for years (or similar, I don't time it after taking it off the burner, just let them sit for a bit then check the first one by running under water until easy to handle). Most of the other methods left me with green yolks, yuck! I do have an easier time peeling right after they are done and just cool enough to handle. I also put a pinch of salt and/or a drop of vinegar that seems to help with the peeling.

      Thanks for the informative hub and readers: this really is the best way to hard boil eggs perfectly!

    • Marlena Oechsner profile image

      Marlena Oechsner 6 years ago from Wisconsin

      Excellent hub! I have read many recipes that say otherwise and have then ruined the eggs. My grandmother-in-law recommends boiling water, then dropping eggs in using a spoon (to prevent burns). Boil for 13 minutes and then give them and ice bath for another ten. I never thought about the different egg sizes needing different boiling times though, so thanks for the pointers!