My boys love hard boiled eggs, and so do I. Since eggs are a healthy, high-protein, real food snack we’re in luck. I’ve been teaching my boys basic cooking skills since they were in kindergarten. I think knowing how to boil eggs, i.e., how to make a hard boiled egg, or a soft boiled egg (same thing, less time), is a basic kitchen skill that is important to have. Although the boys have been preparing scrambled eggs perfectly for over a decade, I had not yet transmitted a superior process to them for making hard boiled eggs.
After much trial and tribulation, with dozens of batches of eggs, over several weeks, I can assure you that this tutorial will teach you how to make the perfect hard boiled egg. And now my boys have this knowledge as well.
How to Boil Eggs
- Use a medium sized pot (I use this 4 quart pan )
- Add 3 inches of water to the pot and bring to a boil
- Gently lower eggs into boiling water with a spoon
- Reduce heat to medium, so that water is simmering
- Cook for 15 minutes for hard boiled eggs
- Remove eggs from water with a spoon, allow to cool on a plate for 5-10 minutes
- Crack shells on counter and peel eggs
The first method I tried was to place the eggs in the pot, add water, and then together bring the eggs and water to a boil, letting them simmer for the cooking time. Using this method, the cooking times were not very consistent or reliable, and the eggs were extremely difficult to get out of their shells. I also experimented with bringing the eggs to a boil in the water and then turning off the heat to allow the eggs to cook. Again, cooking times had too much variation and the eggs were quite a challenge to peel. There were other experiments too, though I won’t go into each and every one. Suffice it to say that the method I landed on, i.e., bringing the water to a boil, adding the eggs to the pot, then simmering the eggs for 15 minutes, is a sure winner.
One other piece of the “how to boil eggs” puzzle that I studied is how to get the eggs in and out of the water. Many recipes for hard boiled eggs recommend using a slotted spoon for this. Truth be told, I don’t own a slotted spoon. I use a regular ol’ large spoon from my flatware set to get the eggs in and out of the hot water.
The next piece of the puzzle was finding the easiest way to remove the eggs from their shells. So, what is the best way to peel a hard boiled egg? Contrary to my initial thoughts, the winning method did not involve a cold water bath. Simply removing the eggs from the boiling water, and setting them on a plate to cool for five to ten minutes was the most fool proof method. This cooling time is literally to allow the eggs to come to a temperature where you can safely handle them without scorching your hands.
Just in case you have other ideas for ways in which to cook eggs, I have compiled the handy dandy chart below. You can make everything from three minute eggs (serve in a cup, eat with a spoon) to hard boiled eggs, and then some in between.
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Finally, make sure to set a timer when you make hard boiled eggs so that you do not overcook them! When that happens, the yolk gets a nasty greenish grey ring around its outside, and the white becomes rubbery. No bueno. The best way to prevent over cooking your hard boiled eggs is to watch the timer, and remove the eggs from the hot water as soon as it goes off.
So now you know how to boil eggs! Hard boiled, soft boiled, there you go! What will you do with your hard boiled eggs? If you’re looking for deviled egg recipes, try my Deviled Eggs, and stay tuned next week for my Guacamole Deviled Eggs! The boys are big fans of both and regularly devour batches after school.
I will try this method. Your advise has always been great. I do add a tablespoon of baking soda to the water. It makes the shell come of easily. When I am cracking the eggs, I crack the large end first. My grandmother believed that the little pocket of air in the large end is then pushed to the small end loosening the egg from the shell.
FA, thanks for the comment. If you try my method, I hope you’ll let me know how it goes.
My family takes the eggs out of the water and places it straight into a bowl with ice water in it. It stops the eggs from further cooking within the shell while they cool, and seems to make peeling them smoother.
I love this method, thank you! As far as how to get the eggs in and out of the water, a spoon works for a small batch, but I have a 9 qt pot with a steamer basket that I use for larger batches. I make sure to fill the pot with enough water to cover approx. 3″ above the bottom of the basket, then remove the basket until the water is boiling. It does take a little longer to bring the water to boil, but I like the convenience of using the basket to get all the eggs in/out at once.
Rob, thanks for your fantastic comment and also for sharing your amazing method here!
Should you start with cold or hot water when hard boiling?
Mae, it shouldn’t make a difference either way :-)
Hi Elana Thanks I will try your method. I live in the tropics and store everything, as well as eggs, in the refrigerator. Does your recipe use room temp eggs or cold ones? Thanks
Libby, it shouldn’t make a difference. I take mine straight out of the fridge since it’s one more step to have to plan ahead and let them come to room temperature.