More Tips for Perfect Boiled Eggs

Boiling eggs seems like such an easy thing to do . . . but it can be hard to get them perfect.  So here’s a few more tips!

Fresh Eggs

If you’ve ever tried to peel really fresh eggs, you might have ended up with something that looks more like a moon rock.  I know I have — and who wants to make deviled eggs from that?

Eggs do peel better when they’re at least a week old.  But we don’t always have the luxury of waiting — or you may not know how old they were when you bought them.

Cheap insurance is to add 1/2 teaspoon baking soda to the water. Cook them as usual and the shells are much easier to peel.

Special thanks to Wendi who left a note on my article about how to avoid the dreaded green line on hard-boiled eggs and told me this.  I got some very fresh eggs from a nearby farm and tried cooking some with and without the baking soda.  It works!

As a side note, I wondered if it was just the sodium and tried using more salt than normal in the water . . . those eggs were every bit as hard to peel as with nothing.  I’ve also heard that adding vinegar to the water would help with the peeling . . . don’t bother trying that one, either.

The final tip I’ve seen is to use a needle and poke a tiny hole in one end of the egg before boiling it . . . I broke three eggs trying to do this so can’t really say if it will work.  I’m not going to try it again.

Using Old Eggs

If you boil older eggs, they’ll peel easily.  The trade off is that often the yolk won’t be nicely centered — not a problem if you’re making egg salad or potato salad, but not great if you’re slicing the eggs for a garnish or making deviled eggs.

This used to really be a problem since my eggs on Que Tal were frequently a month or more old.  And I never remembered to flip them every few days (see Which Way Up for a neat way to help remember — obviously from a reader!).  Then I learned a way to re-center the yolks . . .

Simple solution — lay each egg on the counter or in a bowl and spin it on its side.  I do it a couple times, moving the egg between times.  The yolk will center itself with the spinning.

No Green Line

If you don’t already know the secret, be sure to read my article on avoiding that nasty green line on hard-boiled eggs.

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11 Comments
  • M Tyler
    Posted at 07 December 2012 Reply

    Boiled eggs:
    For efficient use of stove fuel when boiling eggs, bring water to a boil and then turn off the fuel. Keep covered to hold in the heat. Adjust holding/cooking time by egg temprature, egg to water ratio, when eggs are put in the water and desired hardness. Try adding just 10 minutes to your normal (boiling) cooking time. An added advantage is that you don’t need to watch for boil-overs as long and you can use the burner for another pot while the eggs get cooked.

  • Frances
    Posted at 30 September 2013 Reply

    I also start the eggs in cold water, bring them to a boil, then cover the pan and set aside. Not only is this efficient for fuel use, it also makes timing not an issue……whether you leave them in the water for 15 minutes or overnight, doesn’t seem to matter.

    My mother taught me to poke a hole (using a safety pin or needle) in the large end of the egg – this allows water under the shell and air to release…..I guess…..anyway, it really does seem to help prevent “moon rock” eggs and makes them easy to peel.

    I’m going to try the baking soda for added insurance, though!

  • LisaMarie Gauci Takacs
    Posted at 17 September 2014 Reply

    Love the baking soda idea, I will try it next time. As for making had boiled eggs “sans” the green, I have made them this way for years- but, I only let them “soak” off the boil for 12-13 minutes. Works like a charm! Thanks for all your tips. We just finally realized our dream and purchased a sailboat and are making way towards selling it all and cruising! Your site has been a WORLD of information, I LOVE it!

  • Kerry Rackliffe
    Posted at 19 September 2014 Reply

    Carolyn ….you are wonderful!

  • Vivienne
    Posted at 07 September 2017 Reply

    Boil eggs for around 8 minutes. Take out and cool. When peeling eggs always tap eggs first at the wide end, where the air bag is (for the embryo when it started to breathe on its on). This gives you a perfect starting point for peeling without all the annoyance and the skin getting in the way.

    I have no idea why people find this so difficult. I always have perfect hard boiled eggs, no green line, no green yolk. Never had a problem – can start in hot or cold water, doesn’t matter, just 8 minutes (ten if you like). Remember of course if you put a fridge-cold egg in hot water it will split, so better to start with a room temp egg.

  • Heidi Snell
    Posted at 07 September 2017 Reply

    Thanks for the tip, eggs can be a precious commodity when traveling. I can’t wait to try the baking soda tip. I would like to add, adding vinegar to the water before boiling heals any cracked eggs such that the white does not continue leaking during the cooking. It certainly lessens the cleanup mess.

  • Dave Skolnick (S/V Auspicious)
    Posted at 07 September 2017 Reply

    Just for the record, vinegar–as you say Carolyn–affect the ease of peeling hard cooked eggs. What vinegar does is rapidly coagulate the white in the event that a crack forms in the shell. That plugs the crack and reduces the mess.

  • Eugene Dakins
    Posted at 07 September 2017 Reply

    Try using an egg separator, works great , had one for years.

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