The Food Lab: The Hard Truth About Boiled Eggs
The secret to peeling hard boiled eggs? Well “secret” might be a bit of an exaggeration. Here’s the truth: there is no 100% fool-proof method, and anybody who tells you different is selling something. And I do believe I’ve tried them all, many, many times over. The number of eggs I’ve boiled over the last several years in carefully controlled circumstances numbers well into the thousands, but despite that, the best boiled egg I cooked this year is no better than the best boiled egg I cooked twelve years ago in that Beacon Hill kitchen.
That said, a bit of the old scientific method has helped to greatly increase my success rate. Finding the hard truth about boiled eggs was a tough case to, er, crack.* I can now pretty routinely produce perfectly boiled eggs with clean-peeling shells, and you can too!
Lower your eggs straight from the fridge into already-boiling water, or place them in a steamer insert in a covered pot steaming at full blast on the stovetop. If boiling, lower the heat to the barest simmer. Cook the eggs for 11 minutes for hard or 6 minutes for soft. Serve. Or, if serving cold, shock them in ice water immediately. Let them chill in that water for at least 15 minutes, or better yet, in the fridge overnight. Peel under cool running water.
No baking, no pricking, no tricks, no gimmicks, that’s it.
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