Kitchen Confidence

The Best Way to Peel Hard Boiled Eggs

By • January 16, 2014 • 44 Comments

Inspired by conversations on the Food52 Hotline, we're sharing tips and tricks that make navigating all of our kitchens easier and more fun.

Today: How to peel your eggs perfectly, every time.

The Best Way to Peel Hard Boiled Eggs

The best kitchen tips are passed along from friends, or parents, or -- if you work in an office with an always-bustling test kitchen -- from colleagues. 

And such is the case with eggs. We all learned to cook them from someone, somewhere; they're personal, universally-loved. But make no mistakes -- they can be finicky, and, when hard-boiled, a real trip to peel. 

Recently, one of our developers, Beatrice, saved us all in the kitchen with her trick for peeling boiled eggs, gleaned from the kitchen of Blue Hill where she was but a young stage. We felt wiser. Enlightened. Our deviled eggs were already getting better.

Here's the best way to peel a boiled egg, no blowing required.

The Best Way to Peel Hard Boiled Eggs

The Trick
Cook your eggs however you like -- slightly older eggs will help your peeling efforts, but using them is not necessary -- and cool them down. Fill up a separate, clean bowl with room temperature water. Once the eggs are cool enough to handle, submerge them, one at a time, and use the edge of the bowl to crack them. 

Once cracked, the water helps to gently separate both the membrane and the shell from the white, making your job easier, and the world a better place.

Now: continue to peel like a champ underneath the water. Make the most perfect-looking eggs; impress your friends. Just don't forget to pass this tip on. 

The Best Way to Peel Hard Boiled Eggs

We want to know how you peel an egg! Tell us in the comments. 

Photos by James Ransom

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Tags: eggs, hard-boiled, peel an egg, how-to & diy

Comments (44)

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9 days ago Anita

Oh, sorry! You put the vinegar in the water in which you cook the eggs.

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9 days ago Anita

However you cook them, and however you peel them, the addition of a teaspoon or so of plain, white vinegar makes the peeling job even easier.

Stringio

13 days ago Frances Chute Quinn

i peel them under running water from the faucet...it works. kind of the same idea. i crack them all over first, then peel under the faucet.

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13 days ago Tom Hedges

Boil the water before putting the eggs in. That's all there is to it and it works every time. Shells often come off in two pieces.

Stringio

18 days ago Dave Andrews

boil our eggs...empty the hot water fill with cold water...the water will take on the moderated tempreture of the hot eggs...turn on luke warm water gently roll eggs between your palms under the tap water back and forth...the shells slide off almost in one piece

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28 days ago James Trenda

I think I saw this being done on Iron Chef America once (or maybe it was an episode of The Next Iron Chef). And I think the chef was Michael Chiarello. I've been doing it that way ever since. But I think the real key to peeling a hard-boiled egg is how it is cooked. I learned the pinhole trick from a friend who read Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything cookbook. For those unfamiliar with this technique, you simply get your water simmering first. Then carefully tap (I use the end of a butter knife) the blunt end of a thin needle until the pointed end pierces the shell. I leave the eggs in the carton for this. And you're supposed to pierce the broad end of the egg, so flip them over, if necessary. Then carefully lower the egg(s) into the simmering water. Cook for 12 minutes, uncovered. Then immediately plunge into a prepared ice bath for 5 minutes. Peel the eggs in the ice bath. I have the least amount of problems when following this technique.

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3 months ago PaulaE

My miracle method, found somewhere online: Boil water first, lower to a high simmer, slip eggs one by one into the water from a large spoon. Adjust to a low simmer, cover and cook for 11 minutes. Run cold water into the hot water for a bit, then drain most of the water out of the pan. Put the lid back on and shake vigorously. I mean REALLY vigorously. You'll find that most of the shells have come off almost completely. I then rinse each egg in running water to get the small bits of shell off. Works like a charm, and the yolks are sunny yellow.

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28 days ago James Trenda

Hmm...I've heard many different methods. "Shake vigorously...". This one is new to me. I might have to give that a try just out of plain curiosity.

Open-uri20140220-27495-1k6hp5o

3 months ago James A. Morris

Eggs ARE personal. I prick the air bubble end with a thumbtack so as to have an egg shaped egg without the flat end. Then plunge them into boiling salted water returning to the boil and shutting off the fire and letting them sit for 15 minutes. Then I roll the eggs while still warm to crack the entire shell and peel them under a trickle of cold running water.

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28 days ago James Trenda

Salted water, eh? Interesting!

Mug

4 months ago Ileana Morales | a little saffron

I peel my eggs the same way! So much easier in a bowl of water. The shell comes off more easily and in bigger pieces.

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4 months ago Mike

I usually plan to peel as soon as they are cooked. I put my eggs in a full boil pot of water straight from the refrigerator. This puts a crack in the shell allowing water inside the shell. When cooked I dump all the hot water out, run cold water until they are easy to handle and the shells all but fall off.

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6 months ago Susan

This is the only way I've found to peel fresh-from-the-chicken-this-morning (or even last week) eggs. The cracking and submerging makes all the difference.

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6 months ago SFchef

How do I make hard boiled eggs that wont get stinky in the lunchbox when its opened?

With-giant-tomato

6 months ago MRubenzahl

My guess is you're overcooking them. I use a pressure cooker (which makes them easy to peel) and there are a billion methods.

The one most experienced cooks seem to use doesn't actually boil them. Place in cold water, bring to boil, turn off. Leave for ten minutes (some say 12 minutes, some say less - experiment). Then cool in an ice water bath.

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6 months ago shoestringmama

Genius! Worked like a charm even on the wickedly fresh eggs we're lucky to get.

Stringio

6 months ago Christina Pearson

We just started steaming our eggs, and old or fresh, they peel amazingly well.

Stringio

6 months ago Jenny Green

I've always found it easier to peel eggs if they can rest overnight in the frig after cooking them.

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28 days ago James Trenda

Haha, ain't nobody got time for that. Actually, that saves lots of time the next morning! Good tip.

Stringio

6 months ago Christiane Kang

I boil my eggs with 3 spoons of salt. Wash them down in cold water once ready, doesn't matter if it's soft boiled or hard boiled and then just peel away. No need to soak them under water or nothing. The shell should slide right off, sometimes even in one single pull. :)

Stringio

6 months ago Blonddee

Once cooked and cool, crack the shell and start the peel. Then stick the bowl of a teaspoon under the shell, turn the spoon around, under the shell and voila.

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28 days ago James Trenda

Wow, never heard of that one before! Good tip. I might try this next time.

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6 months ago PaigeBakes

That's how I peel them learned from trial and error in making large quantities of deviled eggs!

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6 months ago MRubenzahl

My comment on baking soda was overly terse. Here's the experiment I did.

I had two batches of eggs, one old, one fresher, and boiled three batches. One in water; one in a low dose of baking soda (1/2 tablespoon, if I recall correctly) , one in a higher concentration (3 tablespoons?). The higher concentration was truly awful. It affected the taste of the eggs and in one egg that had a crack, it was nasty!

There was no difference in the difficulty of peeling any of the batches. I know many, many others report success, including outfits I trust.

Now, here's an important fact: Several articles I have read, including in Cook's Illustrated, have reported huge variability in ease of peeling. J. Kenji Lopez Alt reports of the Cook's Illustrated experience (he was there at the time), "Not a single (method) worked perfectly every time - some eggs just seem stubborn no matter what you do to them - but the most consistent method was to shock them in ice water immediately after cooking, then peeling them under cool running water." So I think my experiment needs to be done on a much larger sample before I condemn baking soda.

Here is America's Test Kitchen / Cook's Illustrated's method: http://www.youtube.com...

And Serious Eats tacked the topic with the usual thoroughness: http://www.seriouseats...

And again, I use the pressure cooker, and the shells come of practically by themselves.
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Kse

6 months ago Kenza Saadi

Thank you! Now this is really useful. I have shared it with friends.
Kenza. (http://figandlemon.wordpress...)