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How a Few Hard-Boiled Eggs Can Save Your Work Lunches

November 18, 2014

As a defiant response to Sad Desk Lunches, the Food52 team works to keep our midday meals both interesting and pretty. Each week, we'll be sharing our happiest desk lunches -- and we want to see yours, too.

Today: Boil a few eggs tonight -- you'll be halfway to lunch for the rest of the week.

Hard Boiled Egg

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Here’s how to stave off lunchtime boredom: Go to the store and buy a dozen eggs. Boil them. Return the eggs to their carton, label them assertively to ward off peckish coworkers, and store them in your office mini-fridge. Voila: There’s your ticket to dependably satisfying lunches. 

Hard-boiled eggs have a lot going for them: They’re a breeze to cook. They last forever. They’re cheap, versatile, and straight-up delicious. Plus they’ve got enough protein to get you through your 3 PM conference call, or give you the motivational push you need to finally make it to that hot yoga class you’ve heard so much about. 

Here’s how to enjoy hard-boiled eggs for lunch every which way, without feeling like Cool Hand Luke.


Boil it Just Right 

Go the lazy route: Gently slip your eggs into boiling water and let them go for 7 minutes, which will result in a semi-firm, bright-orange yolk with just enough gooey give. Be sure to time your eggs exactly, so you don’t end up with a runny middle or -- even worse -- a chalky, grey yolk. You could also follow this method, but that requires a little bit more diligence and a larger attention span than I possess.

More: Never mangle a hard-boiled egg again -- here’s our trick for the perfect peel. 

When you bring your eggs into the office, be sure to pack some salt (extra points for the fancy stuff) and freshly ground pepper in a little baggie or tupperware. You might as well start stashing some of both in your office drawer -- a sprinkle will bring a little spark to your reheated soups and last night’s leftovers. You can even wrap your eggs and seasoning up together in bundles of parchment, so they're ready to eat at a moment's notice.

Buvette Eggs

Serving Suggestions

Plate hard-boiled eggs alongside hummus or baba ghanoush and vegetable slices, and you’ve got one of those excellent lunches that feels good and is interactive and snack-y and can also hang out on your desk for a few hours if the mini-fridge is too packed.

More: If regular old eggs are too plain Jane for you, try giving them a spicy Chinese twist.

You can also use your eggs to bolster salads (like this one) or add them to soups. Or make hard-boiled eggs the stars of the show, and turn them into an egg salad or potato salad.

Potato Salad

Hard-boiled eggs are also there to add heft and protein to sandwiches (and save you from the threat of another humdrum ham and cheese.) I like to fan sliced eggs on top of bread with a spread of refried beans or hummus; layer them on a baguette on top of avocado, kale, and Caesar dressing; or tuck them into a Mediterranean-inspired pita sandwich

If I leave you with one thought, let it be this: When in doubt (or in a crunch for time), hard-boil. You’ve got lunch.

How do you eat your hard-boiled eggs? How do you boil them in the first place? Tell us all your eggy secrets in the comments, please. 

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • stephen wong
    stephen wong
  • funstuff2
  • Windtryst
  • anniette
  • creamtea
A kitchen scientist and dog-lover. Someday I want to have you over for dinner.


stephen W. April 5, 2015
My mother used to make a White sauce add diced left over eggs.I think she said this was Eggs Goldenrod. After I married (and widowed) I made the eggs goldenrod over toasted english muffin and flash fried 3 slices of thinly sliced Genoa salami. With a hot cup of coffee I thought this was a great breakfast.
funstuff2 March 28, 2015
Smash up your hardboiled egg, smash up a small avocado, mix them up with some fresh salsa, spread it on your favorite bread or use it as a dip with your favorite crackers and you have a simple, cheap & smashing lunch!!
Windtryst November 25, 2014
Annette, that sounds so good! I just smash mine with the potato masher.
anniette November 25, 2014
1)Thinly sliced with the HB egg gizmo, and sandwiched with good bread, butter, salt, black pepper. 2) Halved and piled with tapanade. 3) Made into egg salad by carefully slicing the HB egg with the gizmo, turning it and slicing in another direction, then slicing at a third angle, to make a pile of small strips. Annoint with Hellman's, a tiny squirt of baseball mustard, and season generously with Old Bay. Mix well and scoop up with Triscuits. 4) use the same ingredients: eggs, Hellman's, tiny bit of baseball mustard, Old Bay, to make great devilled eggs. Sprinkle heavily with more Old Bay.
creamtea November 18, 2014
I heat them in the pan with the water just to a simmer. Take off heat cover and let sit for 12 minutes, then plunge into ice water. Eat them with harissa or Aleppo pepper or sliced over a romaine salad with anchovies, lemon, garlic and olive oil.
Catherine L. November 19, 2014
YES! Plunging into ice water is a good idea -- I usually just put mine under a running tap of cold water for a few minutes but that's more efficient and environmentally friendly. Also, that salad sounds divine.
Windtryst November 18, 2014
But they stink up the office!