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Updated on January 18, 2012


Occasionaly I have a craving for a nice hard boiled egg or, better yet, a deviled egg. The hard part seems to be getting the shell off of the egg, easily. The usual scene is 1. You hit the egg against something hard. 2. You try to pull off one of the broken shell parts. 3. It sticks or worse yet it comes off with a chunk of egg on it. This lens has some remedies for this.

Procedure #1

Place the eggs in a pot of COLD water. Be sure there is at least an inch of water above the top of each egg. Our well water is icy cold and roughly the same temperature as an egg taken from the refrigerator, but if your cold tap water is not as cold, let the eggs sit in the cold water for about five minutes, then replace that water with more cold water. The idea is to equalize the temperatures of the eggs and water so that both the water temperature and the egg temperature start out the same. (If you just put refrigerator-cold eggs in water warmer than they are, the water will heat up faster than the eggs and the eggs may crack. Some people add a teaspoon of salt or vinegar to the water when they are cooking eggs. This supposedly helps keep the inside of the egg from oozing out if an egg shell cracks. I do not use either salt or vinegar, because I have found that starting with the eggs and water at the same temperature prevents the eggs from cracking as they cook.)

Place the pot with the eggs and water over high heat until the water comes to a full boil. IMMEDIATELY take the pot off the heat and cover with a tightly-fitting lid. The eggs will cook from the heat of the water. The eggs do not need to be, and should not be, boiled. Overcooking eggs causes the iron in the yolk and the sulfur in the white to combine, and this is what makes that ugly greenish color around the yolk.

Let the eggs sit in the pan in the hot water for 12 minutes for medium eggs, 15 minutes for large eggs and 18 minutes for extra large eggs. This timing is very important.

Drain the eggs and fill the pot with cold water. I like to empty and re-fill the pot several times to make sure the heat of the eggs doesn't heat the water back up again. You can also put ice cubes in the water. The water should be very cold. Letting the eggs sit in the cold water until the eggs are completely cooled helps the papery membrane stick to the shell, instead of to the egg, and makes the egg easier to peel.

Let the eggs cool completely. To peel the eggs, gently tap the large end of the egg against a hard surface like your kitchen counter. This should crack the shell. Turn the egg and crack the other end. The shell should peel off very easily.

Hard boiled eggs in the shell can be refrigerated up to one week. Hard boiled eggs out of the shell should be used right away.

The Easy Way - Video

The baking soda is optional, but if you choose not to use it, be sure to move the eggs to cold water (use ice) immediately after boiling. Blow from the tip to the broader base for faster de-shelling.

Another Procedure.....

One Particularly Easy Way:

You don't boil the eggs. You steam them. Yes. That's the entire secret. Take the eggs out of the fridge about 20 minutes before you start to steam them so that they come to room temperature. Plop them in a steamer basket, make sure there's a good amount of water in the pot (just to the bottom of the steamer basket), and steam the eggs, covered, for 25 minutes or so. Cool and then refrigerate.

So there. That's the secret. The next party I have to go to, I'm making deviled eggs.

My Best Egg Photos

I was shooting some photographs for an online Stock Photo company a couple of years ago and thought this might put you into an egg appreciation mode. Here they are:

And then there was this one............:)

Here's Another Approach....... - by Miss Freya Friedman

Firstly, it's MOST important that after the hard-boiled eggs have finished boiling, that they be immediately rinsed in and then left to soak in very, VERY cold water -- the colder the better, icy is best. This insures that the shell will separate from the albumen (the thin film that separates the shell from the egg) allowing us to peel the egg. THEN, I find that the best way to peel a hard-boiled egg is to tap both ends on a hard surface, breaking the shell on both ends and then laying the egg on its side on the hard surface, simply and quickly rolling it gently but firmly against the hard surface which causes many, many tiny and larger cracks to form through the shell and then it's ready for easy peeling.As an added extra... I find the wisest way to hard-boil eggs is to put all the raw whole eggs (as many eggs as you like as the number of eggs you will be boiling has nothing to do with this cooking method) into a pot that has a tightly, snugly fitting cover of its own -- then cover all the eggs, filling the pot, with cool or lukewarm tap water until there is more than one-inch of water covering the egg that is on top of all the eggs in the pot. Then, on a high-flame, bring the water to a full, rolling boil... the very minute the eggs reach that full, rolling boil, remove the pot from the stovetop to a nearby waiting trivet and IMMEDIATELY put the cover on the pot completely covering the pot TIGHTLY and allow the eggs to continue to cook in the hot water (right on your tabletop, yes, without any flame underneath it) still in the pot for EIGHTEEN minutes. After the 18 minutes, remove the cover and bring the pot to your kitchen sink, gently and carefully pour out the still very very hot water and refill the pot with the coldest water you can get your tap to produce. Let the eggs just sit in the very cold water for a minute or two and then refill the pot again with more of the coldest water you've got. And you will have perfectly hard boiled eggs (which will also be remarkably easy to peel -- THAT is the secret to easy egg-peeling, immediately rinsing the cooked eggs with the very coldest water you can). I got this egg-boiling method from the old Betty Crocker cookbook and I was happily amazed to realize that it really works -- PERFECT hard-boiled eggs EVERY single time -- and NEVER any soft uncooked spots inside the eggs either. It's just great. Sincerely, Miss Freya Friedman



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    • jnstewart profile image

      John Norman Stewart 4 years ago from Cottonwood, CA

      @anonymous: You are very welcome. Thanks for stopping by the lens. :)

    • jnstewart profile image

      John Norman Stewart 4 years ago from Cottonwood, CA

      @SusanDeppner: Hi Susan: I'm actually getting a craving after reading your comment. Thanks for stopping by the lens. :)

    • jnstewart profile image

      John Norman Stewart 4 years ago from Cottonwood, CA

      @RetroMom: You are very welcome. Thanks for stopping by the lens. :)

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 4 years ago from Arkansas USA

      Gosh, I'm hungry. I'm also glad I read this page and will try your method, which is similar to mine except for the colder water starting out. I probably heat my eggs too slowly, too. Looking forward to trying this - and eating the results.

    • RetroMom profile image

      RetroMom 5 years ago

      Thanks for the tips.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Great ideas with the eggs. I always put my eggs in the pot before boiling them. I thought that I was the only one who did that. Thank you for the other tips, they will go to great use.