Hard-cooked eggs discussion

Okay, in the last 15 years I’ve rarely if ever been able to get a perfect boiled egg. I’ve used EVERY “guaranteed” method. Either the yolk has a green ring around it or the peel wants to take half the white with it. Most annoying, although the Instant Pot method has come closest, but there was a green ring, guess I’ll cook it for a coupla minutes less next time.
Anyway, I was going to have fried eggs for breakfast yesterday but didn’t, and when I remembered them the eggs were room temp so I decided to boil them. I stuck them in a little covered saucepan on the smallest burner and turned on the heat. Did a couple of little chores for maybe 5 minutes, went back and looked, the water was boiling like mad. Turned it down to the lowest setting and left it for a couple more minutes. Went back, the water was still at a full boil, so I turned off the heat and moved the eggs to a bowl of ice water, thinking they’d be rubbery and olive green around the yolk edge with the shell sticking like mad to the white.
They were perfect. Peeled like a dream, perfectly cooked, no green edge on the yolk. Not that I’m not glad they turned out so well, but dammit! I’ll never be able to recreate that.


I used to curse like a sailor whenever I peeled hard boiled eggs until I came upon Serious Eats recipe for steaming them. They come out perfect every time; no green yolks, no chalky yolks, no rubbery whites, easy to peel. Also, you start with cold eggs so no need to wait for them to come to room temperature.


Yayyyy! I love egg threads!

I think yours makes a lot of sense, and seems practical.

I was going to put eggs in my pad Thai yesterday, but didn’t, so I happened to make three boiled eggs this evening using Julia’s method, similar to the OP, that sort of worked out great! This first one was pristine!

The second of three was not as nice, and way more pockmarked.

Fortunately not a problem for ham salad.

Trying to keep all my egg cooking resources linked together.


Cooking hard boiled eggs perfectly, no problem. Peeling them is a different story. I’ve tried most methods suggested on foodie sites but I’ve found there is no sure fire method. Older eggs do peel easier most of the time. Shocking in ice water does help…sometimes. Start in hot water, cold water, steam, sous vide, start with room temperature or cold eggs doesn’t seem to make much difference. I steam for 11 minutes then into ice water. I think because I like my hard cooked egg yolks “medium rare” creates a problem.

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For ramen, I like the 6-minute boiled egg with oozing yolk. I find tossing the egg in a big cold ice bath after cooking in medium heat water and leave the eggs to cool down completely at least 10-20 minutes in room temperature. Most eggs were peeled perfectly.


I cheat with an Egg Central. I plunge them in ice water and they often peel in one piece.

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I get our eggs from the farmer down the road so I know they’re always very fresh. I’ve never had a problem with green rings or difficulty peeling tho it’s said that older eggs are easier to peel.
I do use a silly little countertop egg steamer maybe that helps.


Jacques Pepin has you put the cooked eggs into a saucepan and jostle the pan hard for a couple of seconds, so as to crack the shells. Immediately add cold water and ice. He says this loosens the membrane that makes the white want to adhere to the shell, AND prevents the green ring. He says the ring happens because the sulfur in the white migrates away from the heat as the eggs cook. But when the shell is cracked, the outermost cooked white cools instantly, with enough time for the sulfur to backtrack and escape into the water. I don’t know if this is scientifically accurate, but it works.


My hard and fast 2-part rule, never fails is:

(a) if I’m just making egg salad or something else needing chopped up eggs, they peel beautifully;


(b) if I’m making deviled eggs or something else needing a nice presentation, the membranes never let go and I end up with eggs looking like @shrinkrap’s pockmarked egg photo.

The end.

More seriously, I’ve bought eggs set to have the “sell by” date near the date I want to make nice looking eggs, tucked them away in the basement fridge so the kids don’t get at them so they’d be officially “older” when used. Didn’t help (only tried twice, though, maybe 3rd times the charm?).

I’ve got the Cuisinart steamer (gift from MIL) and that seems as random as anything else, with respect to whether the eggs peel nicely or frustrate the heck out of me. But it’s never given me a green ring.

I’ve tried all the peeling methods I’ve read about including the roll-em-on-counter, Pepin’s bang-em-around-in-pot (mentioned upthread) and peeling results seem random.

For cooking now I mostly I follow the “steam 14 minutes” method (steamer basket in covered pan, I mean) or the “bring to boil, cover, remove from heat and let sit 13 minutes” method. Both seem fine and no green rings, again, though, completely random as to peelability batch to batch. (The time is for XL, probably would reduce by 2 mins for large?)

For this past Easter I wanted to make 24 nice deviled egg pieces so I needed 12 nicely peeled boiled eggs. I boiled 24 just in case.

I got 11 nicely peeled eggs and one that didn’t look too bad that I could hide the defects.


That’s basically how I do it. When I pull the steamer basket out of the pot I shake the eggs vigorously to crack the shells then I plunge into the ice bath. Never get a green ring and occasionally the shell comes off easily.

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How long is the cooking cycle in this machine? Is it adjustable? Like I wrote earlier, I like medium rare yolks in my hard boiled eggs. Thanks!

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It is all controlled by the amount of water. I’m quite happy with the results and others who suggested it to me were as well. When filling to the hard boiled line the time is in the neighborhood of 8 to 10 minutes (I think??).

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Here is a medium boiled (110 ml). It actually took almost 10 minutes so hard boiled is longer than I said earlier. Thirteen minutes to boil, peel, and photograph. I forgot I had set the timer.


Steaming works for me as well. I use my rice cooker which has a steam basket. Refrigerator temp eggs, 18 minutes from start to finish then cooled in an ice bath.


Wasn’t expecting people to be having so much trouble cooking eggs in water…

Here’s my method. Heat water to boiling point in a kettle. Put the boiling water in a saucepan (ideally stick handle). Let the water come to the boil again in the pan (say 1 minute). Put the eggs in and some salt.

I cook them between 5-7 minutes on a medium high flame, depending on how runny I want it to be. When the timer goes off, I hold the pan under cold running water and slowly let all the water out of the pan in the sink. Usually this takes 30 seconds and then the eggs will be cold enough to be held in your hands again. Give each egg a light knock on your cutting board, and start peeling.


I don’t think most have problems cooking eggs; for me it’s about being able to peel them easily, or at least predictably. Every time I think I’ve mastered it, just when I need it most, I get a reminder that I’m not “all that”.

I’ve had the most success with steaming and the Instant Pot.

Here’s a “gift” link to Kenji’s article in the NYT; How to Hard Boil Eggs

“I have bad news: There is no way to guarantee eggs that peel 100 percent of the time. But if 87 percent or higher is a number you can work with, let’s crack on.”


I agree, I can cook them its the peeling that’s a problem. I get my eggs from a farm stand so they are fresh but I always age a few to boil. My issue is all the peeling techniques are for immediate peeling! I am making HB eggs for what will be lunch during the week or a breakfast on the go, so they will be boiled and then in the fridge for a day or three. I peel them as I am ready to eat them so they last longer.


I read Kenja’s write up sometime back - I was surprised, and totally absolutely disagree with his statement that an ice shock does not help. I’ve been ice water shocking hard cooked/boiled eggs for decades - and for me it is extremely rare that there is ever any ‘damage’ to the white.

by ‘ice shock’ I don’t mean cold water. for 2-3 eggs I pour out the cooking/boiling water, refill with cold water and immediately add many ice cubes. 10-15 minutes they’re ready.
larger quantities I use a spider to fish out the still-at the-boil eggs and plunk into large pot with a lot of ice cubes. for large quantities, add more ice cubes as they thin out…

one theory to why the ice shock works: the eggs are still cooking. ‘steam’ / water vapor is still ‘coming out’ of the white/yolk, the ice water/chill causes the water vapor to condense on the inside shell membrane, thence acting as a lubricant.
50 years worth, thousands of them . . . looks like:

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Me too, except for the rare damage part. It’s not that damage for me is common, but it’s not rare. I did this with the batch with the " the pock marked one". Two of them came out without obvious damage.

if the ice has melted in 10-15 minutes, that’s insufficient ice…
I recall only two eggs in the last 20 years that refused to peel cleanly.

do you poke a hole in the big end prior to boiling?