Kitchen Confidence

The Best Way to Peel Hard Boiled Eggs

By • January 16, 2014 • 31 Comments

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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.

How to Peel an Egg from Food52

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.

How to Peel and Egg from Food52

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. 

How to Peel an Egg from Food52

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

Photos by James Ransom

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

Comments (31)


7 days 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.


9 days 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.


11 days 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.


2 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.


3 months ago SFchef

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


3 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.


3 months ago shoestringmama

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


3 months ago Christina Pearson

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


3 months ago Jenny Green

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


3 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. :)


3 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.


3 months ago PaigeBakes

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


3 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:

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.


3 months ago Kenza Saadi

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


3 months ago Duane

boiling water 10 minutes with salt pour out and cold water then peel underwater


3 months ago Cherry Walker McDonald

Boil water then add eggs. Boil gently for 10 mins. Place saucepan with eggs under cold water & run till cold, tipping hot water out as you go. take eggs out one at a time, knock on hard surface to crackle all over then return to cold water in pan. Then peel each egg, easy peasy. Once an end piece of shell has come off I roll the egg between my hands so water runs between the membrane and the egg. This makes it very easy to peel.
Don't leave eggs in cold water, or any water for too long before you peel them. You will have a grey edge to the yolk. Nothing wrong with that but personally I don't like it visually.


3 months ago Celeste Ruberti

I steam my eggs. Old or new, doesn't matter. Steamer basket, put em in when water is boiling. 10 minutes, take them out, and you're done. No ice water, cool down, nothing. They'll be PERFECTLY done when they cool and peel like a third degree sunburn. Try it!


3 months ago Stacey

How do you peel a soft-boiled egg?


3 months ago MRubenzahl

Same methods work, in my experience. But now I use the pressure cooker for soft boiled, too, and again, the peels come off without effort.


3 months ago MRubenzahl

I cook my eggs in a pressure cooker. They peel like magic. The shells just about fall off. Even if the eggs are fresh.

My article on this:


3 months ago Katherine

Posts like this fascinate me. I always assumed that everyone peels eggs (and satsumas) in the same way. Cool egg in a bowl of cold water or howevere you prefer. Tap gently on a flat work surface to cause the shell to break and fragment. Roll gently using the palm of your hand against the work surface. This loosens the shell whilst it's still attached to the membrane and then it just peels right off. Just like when you peel a satsuma!


3 months ago Maria Finkbeiner

I tried adding a tsp of baking soda to the cold water before boiling. It worked great!! Since it was only my first time trying...I will surely try it again. For now, I'm happy with my perfect looking deviled eggs!