No Green Line on Hard-Boiled Eggs

By Carolyn Shearlock © 2011 • all rights reserved

Hard boiled eggs with no green line

Bright yellow yolks from farm-fresh eggs and NO GREEN LINE!

Got green hard-boiled eggs?  Learn how to keep the yolks yellow . . .

While cruising, we’d often take hard-boiled eggs as a snack on hikes and shore excursions, and I’d also use them in salads or leave a couple out for Dave to munch on in the middle of an overnight passage.  One day, I took some along to share with friends on a snorkeling expedition.

Taking a break between dive spots, we peeled the eggs and bit into them. As we did, Katy sort of stared at her egg and I asked her if there was a problem.  “Well, no . . .well, sort of,” was the answer I got.  “How in the world do you manage to do these without any green on the yolk?”

I laughed and said it had  taken me years to learn the trick.

As I was growing up, my dad loved potato salad — boiled potatoes and eggs, with a mayo and mustard dressing.  At least once a week in the summer, my mom would make a big bowl.  Almost always, the eggs had some green on the outside of the yolks.  Sometimes I’d notice that other people’s hard-boiled eggs didn’t have that green bit, and I just assumed it was something about the type of eggs Mom bought (we bought them fresh from a farmer).

Then one day when I was 20-something, I was at a friend’s house as she was boiling eggs.  And she did it totally differently than my mother had.  Of course, I asked her why she did it the way she did.  “Well,” said Phyllis, “I don’t like green egg yolks.”

My mouth dropped open.  So it wasn’t something about the eggs — it was how they were cooked!

Here’s the secret:  That green layer forms when the yolk reaches a temperature over 158 degrees Farenheit.

My mom had always made hard-boiled eggs by putting them in a pan of water, bringing it to a boil, and letting them boil for 10 minutes or so.  That’s almost certain to overcook the eggs and cause the green line to form.

The Better Way to Boil Eggs

The correct way to “cook” eggs — I’ve learned not to call it “boiling” them — is to put the eggs in a pan with just enough water to cover them, cover the pan, bring it to a boil over high heat, and turn the fire off as soon as the water begins boiling.  Leave the lid on and just let the pan sit there for 15 minutes for large eggs, 18 for extra large and 19 for jumbo.  Time it from when the water begins boiling.

At the end of the time, pour the hot water out and pour cool water back over the eggs to stop the cooking.

Two notes:

  • putting the eggs into room-temperature water and then bringing it to a boil results in far fewer cracked eggs than putting eggs into water that’s already boiling — and the timing above assumes that the eggs were in the water as it came to a boil; and
  • eggs are much easier to peel if they are not extremely fresh.

Not only are hard-boiled eggs done this way more appealing just as a snack, they also look gorgeous in salads.  Deviled eggs are also a brighter yellow and not muddy-looking!

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  1. Candy Ann Williams on Facebook says:

    I ALWAYS have pretty yellow hard boiled eggs now thanks to you!! Thanks again! (this tip REALLY works great).

  2. :)

  3. Sara Peterson says:

    I learned this last year. Use your steamer pan and steam the eggs for 15 minutes and then cover with cold water. The shells (even fresh from the hen house) slip off and there are no green/grey lines at all. Who knew? Anyway it works like a charm.

  4. When you “boil” eggs just add 1/2 tsp baking soda to the water and even fresh eggs will peel with ease

  5. Great tip. This way of cooking the eggs has another bonus, it uses less gas than leaving the gas on to keep the water boiling for 5 minutes when the eggs are in the pot!

  6. I’ve been boiling eggs since I was 14(31 now) I’ve learned that sea level plays a role on how fast water boils and at what temperature it boils. 2nd eggs should be at room temperature not cold and need not be old if you get them from the grocery cooking them the next day is just fine. I put the eggs into cold water, make sure it covers the whole eggs, turn it to high heat and for my cooktop I leave them there for 12 minutes, water will boil after 5 minutes and they will boil for the other 7 minutes in normal outdoor temperature, if it’s under 30 deg F then your tap water will be very cold and you will have to cook the eggs for another minute. when the timer runs out I get a deep dish with cold water and a immediately take the eggs from the boiling water and drop them in the cold water, they stay there for another 5 to 10 minutes. after that I crack the shell, all of it into tiny pieces (without peeling) then I start from the bottom (fat side) pinch the shell and at the same time break the white lining under it and make sure I peel the lining while also lifting the shell. if the lining doesn,t come up the shell will get very hard to peel. so really you peel the lining not the shell. result ,no green line, yellow yolk, no nail pinched white, no leftover shell. perfect.

  7. Lyn Baily says:

    I put eggs in to a pot of cold water, bring to boil, turn off an leave until cool. I often do the night before I know I will need them or early morning for later in day. I hadn’t given the green ring much thought but this way no green ring.
    Lyn – SY Osprey

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