It All Boils Down to This

Hard boiled eggs…they are a staple grab-and-go protein food for many of us. Simple, fool-proof, a child could do it…right?  In reality cooking the perfect hard-boiled egg is not always what it’s cracked up to be (couldn’t resist!).  Undercooked, overcooked, stinky, rubbery, a peeling nightmare;  for many years I never knew what my efforts would yield.

It wasn’t until a couple of years ago that a tip transformed my egg experience. OK, it’s not THAT exciting but it has saved a lot of frustration.   Now my weekly egg boiling is on auto-pilot and I can put my cooking energy to better use trying out new recipes.


So here are my tips for perfect hard-boiled eggs:

  1. Start with eggs of similar size.
  2. Use older eggs, say a week or so. Here is one case where fresher is not better. The older the egg, the higher the pH or the more alkaline it is. The higher the pH the better an egg peels.
  3. Place eggs in your saucepan then add cold water to 1-1.5 inches above top of eggs. This is THE tip that changed my egg cooking experience.   Use the smallest diameter pan that will accommodate the number of eggs you are cooking. So it you’re only cooking 4 eggs, don’t use a pan with a 12” diameter bottom.
  4. Place pan over high heat (without a lid) and bring to a boil. As soon as pan boils, cover, turn off heat and set timer for 10 minutes for large eggs (play with the time to get the doneness/consistency you like).
  5. While eggs are cooking fill a large bowl with ice and cold water. Once timer goes off, immediately transfer eggs to the ice water bath. Rapid cooling should eliminate that nasty gray sulfur ring. Don’t get sidetracked with doing laundry, watching re-runs of last year’s CrossFit games, etc.  When that timer goes off, get them into the ice!
  6. Once eggs are cool, you can store them and peel as needed or peel all ahead of time. Speaking of peeling…
  7. Two helpful if not perfect solutions for egg peeling issues. Following the tips above you may not even need these but it’s always good to have a back-up plan.
  • Using a pin or sewing needle, poke a tiny hole in wide end of egg before cooking.  This allows the air inside the egg to dissipate and may allow some water to leak in, which usually makes the egg easier to peel once cooked. Downside: might increase chances of eggs cracking open during cooking.
  • Add 1 teaspoon of baking soda to your cooking water. Recommended to me recently by Deanne DeJordy, I hadn’t tried this one before. The baking soda raises the pH of your cooking water.  It may alter the taste of your egg slightly but the tradeoff is that shells peel off with ease.

Hope you find this helpful. See you at the Box.


717 Nutrition Coach