Kitchen Confidence

The Best Way to Peel Hard Boiled Eggs

by • January 16, 2014 71 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.

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

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

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Comments (71)

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about 1 month ago Ruth Kraus

First of all, prick the eggs with an egg pricker on the WIDE or FAT end of the egg. That's the side where there is a bit of space between the shell and the membrane. Theoretically, it stops the eggs cracking whilst being cooked. When I peel them (under cold running water) I always crack that "fat/wide" side first. Usually works. Sometimes it's frustrating and doesn't work and some egg white breaks off.

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about 1 month ago jc

6 minutes in a pressure cooker and you get perfect hb eggs that peel easily.

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about 1 month ago cloroxat

JC…you're dead on. I go 4 min. after it starts to jiggle, turn off the heat and let it sit 4 min. under pressure. Depressurize, then ice, or cold water 'til cool. Shell usually comes off in two pieces, sometimes, nearly in one piece….but….too many people are afraid of pressure cookers, and that's too bad.

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about 1 month ago Linda

I put a small pin head hole in egg before boiling. Usually prevents cracking. After boiling drain and run cold water over them. When cool drain water and shake the eggs around in the pan till they are pretty cracked. They peel very easily after that. If you save the unpeeled eggs, just roll them on the counter till they crack. Then peel

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about 1 month ago Grace

I steam my eggs. They peel slick even a month later. Much better than boiling them. I have not tried the oven method yet.

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about 1 month ago oregon cassie

Place your boiled egg in a jar with a lid & water. Shake for a few seconds. Shell peels right off. Kids love to help with this method.

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about 1 month ago Scott Moore

I've seen people do that with a coffee cup....over the sink with your fingers over the top to prevent excess water loss. Pretty neat looking.

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about 1 month ago Linda

These ideas are great if you plan on using your eggs right after you boil them. If I have older eggs, in order to use them up I will boil a batch and then put them back in the refrigerator to eat over the next few days. I find them hard to peel. Is there a special trick to peeling boiled, x-days old, shell on eggs? Thanks.

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about 1 month ago Scott Moore

Linda........do you have a pressure cooker? I have three and use them ALL the time. So many people think they're dangerous, but all you have to do is ensure that the little pipe upon which the jiggler rests is clear of debris. If that's clear to vent, they're never any problem.

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2 months ago wallace taale

Yes+,+this+does+work+as+Mom+showed+us+how+some+60+years+ago+....

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3 months ago klipster

The best tip I've ever learned for peeling an egg is to use a teaspoon to slide on the inside of the shell with the concave face of the spoon facing the egg...

I imagine if you did this underwater as suggested in this tip, it would be even smoother...

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3 months ago Grace

Years ago I watched a 'World Champion Egg Peeler'. He cracked both ends of the egg, then rolled it onto a hard counter top, cracking the whole shell. He then quickly peeled the lot of them. I use this method with about 98% success.

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about 1 month ago Rosa Lee Gibbons

I crack the shells that way also. Then I start at the large end where there is usually a small air pocket, hold the egg under running water, insert the bowl of a teaspoon between the membrane and the egg and the shell come right off with about your same rate of success. Plus it is faster to me than peeling it with my fingers.

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3 months ago Alicia

I tried this. Also tried the baking them in the oven method that's also on this site. I'm going back to my old way.

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8 months ago cloroxat

I've worked this problem for years. the best and most reliable method is to put your eggs in a pressure cooker on a rack that suspends the eggs just a 1/2 " above the bottom of the cooker. Close 'er up and turn on the heat. As soon as the little rocker on top starts to jiggle, let them cook for four minutes. After four minutes of cooking (jiggling), turn off the fire and let them rest.
After four more minutes with the fire out, remove the pot to the sink, run cold water over the pot to depressurize it. I promise you that every egg you cook this way will peel mostly in one piece, or at most two pieces. I've run dozens of dozens through, old and young eggs, and they all peel perfectly. you might get a little green around the yolk, but not much…just try it…..

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10 months ago Bet

I tried steaming them after reading about it here and on another food website that rhymes with Mysterious Beets, lol. Steam for 12 minutes and then put into ice water. It worked perfectly. Thanks for all the tips!

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3 months ago meg

What rhymes with mysterious beets?
Why is out a secret? Serious eats?
They cite Alton Brown here all the time.

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11 months ago Shirley

smg
I found this on the computer and copied it down to save. I found it the other day and thought I would try it. Put the eggs in a pan and cover with tap water and
add 1 tsp. baking soda. I bring the eggs to a boil and remove from heat and
cover with a lid for 15 minutes. Pour the hot water off and let them sit in cool
tap water. Peel. they came out perfect.

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11 months ago willie4u

I draine the hot water from the pot. Then I use the back of a table spoon and crack all the eggs on all sides. I then run very COLD water in a bowl and put all the eggs in at the same time--make sure enough water is in the bowl to cover the eggs completely! Wait 20-30 mins to let the cold water separate the shells from the inner egg. Then you can almost always peel the shell away in one long peel! Works every time for me!!

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11 months ago Jerry

I also peel them under running water. The water pressure helps the shell release from the egg. I also I break the shell all over. It seems to help.

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11 months ago Mildred Lantz 73years old

I boil 2 dozen eggs at a time. Put eggs in a large pot of cold water, bring them to a rolling boil, turn the fire off, cover the pot with a tight fitting lid ,set the timer for 20 min. When timer rings pour off hot water, run cold water over eggs for a few min. pour off cold water, now shake the pot up & down till all the eggs are cracked ,cover the eggs with a little water, the shells just roll off. Also no green rings inside the egg.

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11 months ago Janice

I boil my eggs for 10-15 minutes depending how many I have. I place them in a bowl with cold water (you can add a few cubes of ice). Wait 10 minutes. Crack each egg on the ends and roll them on a cutting board (hard surface). Start peeling on the round end of egg. I usually pinch the shell and it comes right off in a strip.

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11 months ago samsung

by the way, starting with salted water is good as the salt permeates the eggshell and membrane to some extent making the eggs somewhat pre salted and pricking the large end makes them rounder... also be mindful never to overcook, usually 10 mins. is more than enough... when cooling do so in the same pot of salted water, first adding extra salt and stirring for a moment to disiolve and the adding crushed ice until you have cold water. do this in the sink or a basin as you will have some overflow with the melt and then allow eggs to sit until cold in the ice bath. then refridgerate until needed and they stay sterile in the shell until peeled. best peeled at cool room temperature for eating whole, peel cold for egg salad.

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11 months ago samsung

i learned by watching the movie "Angel Heart" and seeing Robert Deniro gently crush the shell by rolling it and then peeling back the shell in a strip around the egg... many friends impressed at the dinner table when served unpeeled hard-boiled eggs...

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11 months ago cherrylipgloss

I drain the hot water carefully out of the pot and immediately dispense crushed ice into the pot. Let sit for about ten minutes or until eggs are cold. Crack and peel easily.