Kitchen Hacks

How to Hard Cook Lots of Eggs at Once

April  1, 2015

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: A genius alternative to hard boiling eggs that results in the creamiest, most perfectly hard cooked eggs every time.

Are you making deviled eggs or dying eggs for Easter weekend? We had a hunch. Instead of finding a pot big enough to boil zillions of eggs, guestimating when they might be ready, and subsequently precariously fishing them out of scalding water, there's an easier way: Wet a towel and turn on your oven. 

Alton Brown is to thank for this genius solution—and though he admits it might seem a little crazy at first, trust him. All you need to do is wet a kitchen towel so it's just damp (make sure to wet the entire rag). Lay the towel on the center rack of your oven (remember, trust him). Line up as many eggs as you please on top of the towel, making sure they're not touching. The metal rods of the rack serve as little nests for your eggs, and the towel is there to protect the eggs from getting discolored by the racks.

Turn on your oven to 320° F and let your eggs bake for 30 minutes. Then, pull the rack out and grab the four corners of the towel to create a little cradle for the eggs. Carry the towel with the eggs out of the oven and transfer the eggs to an ice bath. Let them chill out until you can handle them. Dry them off if you're making Easter eggs, or peel them if you plan to eat them. Alton says the oven method makes the eggs harder to peel, but we didn't have any problem at all. 

More: The best way to peel eggs.

Possibly the best part of this whole operation is the texture of the eggs: They're creamier than if they were boiled—maybe the best hard cooked eggs we've ever had. We have a feeling you'll be making a lot more hard cooked eggs now, so here are some ways to eat them (besides from your hand, with a generous sprinkle of salt and pepper, of course):

  

Virginia Willis' Deviled Eggs & Potato Salad

 

  

Bacon and Egg Salad Sandwich with Dukkah and Peppery Greens & Roasted Asparagus with Chopped Egg and Torn Bread

 

  

Bagna Cauda Toasts with Radicchio, Egg, and Avocado & Egg and Eggplant Sandwich

What are your favorite ways to use hard cooked eggs? Let us know in the comments!

First image by Bobbi Lin; asparagus image by Eric Moran; eggplant sandwich image by Emily Vikre; all others by James Ransom.

87 Comments

Steven W. March 20, 2018
Honestly I am amazed people are making 5, 6, 7 dozen eggs for Easter. It's horribly wasteful unless you plan to pickle them straight after the hunt. It's just so many eggs! I have never known anyone to do this. Must be just me.
 
jennifer March 20, 2018
We have a large family - and the only eggs that go to waste are the ones that don't make it through the hiding, hunting, basket treatment (and those that are sacrificed are a treat for the dogs.) Potato salad sandwiches for a week!
 
jennifer March 21, 2018
I mean, of course, EGG salad sandwiches!!
 
Dawn K. March 20, 2018
I have done this using a muffin tin instead of a towel. Aside from a few being slightly scorched from touching the metal, they were fine.
 
jennifer April 15, 2017
Third year running, have used this method successfully. Cooked 7 dozen eggs at once, none of them cracked. Haven't eaten them this year, but from years past, I know they're probably cooked perfectly. Easter is the only time I use the oven method for cooking eggs - when you have to cook a bunch of eggs at once, it can't be beat.
 
Cucinzia July 16, 2016
Okay everybody, can we just quit with the one-upsmanship of hard cooking an egg? Do this: place 6-12 eggs in a pot to fit. Add water just to cover. Throw in a handful of salt. Bring to a boil. Off the heat(off the burner) cover and rest for 10min. Pour off hot water, shake pot to crackle eggs. Fill pot with cold water or plunge them into ice water and peel as they cool. Perfection every time. Shuddup!
 
Pisanella April 14, 2017
Hurrah!
 
JohnSkye July 16, 2016
what's "this method"????
 
Edward F. July 16, 2016
I tried to cook 44 eggs using this method so I could peel and pickle. Just about every one of them cracked. 44 eggs wasted! I'll just boil them next time as usual although I'll have to wait a few days now for my girls to lay enough!<br />
 
Edward F. July 16, 2016
I tried to cook 44 eggs using this method so I could peel and pickle. Just about every one of them cracked. 44 eggs wasted! I'll just boil them next time as usual although I'll have to wait a few days now for my girls to lay enough!<br />
 
Scoobs July 4, 2016
For people with a Sous Vide machine that's the easiest and truly fool proof. Also, you can select the texture.
 
I U. June 22, 2016
This is a good recipe for BBQ Chicken too because after trying it I burnt my house and chicken coop down.
 
Christina T. May 18, 2016
This article exceeds the level of trust I am willing to extend to the internet.<br /><br />As well as any ability I don't have to successfully transport eggs across the kitchen in a blazing hot towel assuming I haven't burnt the house down yet.
 
KellyDC May 1, 2016
For those paying 49c for a dozen eggs, PLEASE consider how those chickens live. You might find yourself willing to pay more for chickens who are responsibly raised and allowed to live a decent life. Price shouldn't be the only consideration, and just because you can doesn't mean you should.
 
jennifer May 1, 2016
Yeah, you're absolutely right., 51 weeks of the year we buy our eggs from a wonderful local family. They do it ALL right - cows, poultry, sheep, goats, pigs - all fed organically, predominantly grass fed, (except for the chickens, which are, at least, rotated around the fields daily but also supplemented w/ feed.) We purchase our eggs from them exclusively...$4/doz. - our beef and milk, too. But when Easter rolls around and we want to dye eggs, we like to do white eggs and we need a lot as we have a large family. So we do the evil thing one week a year. We buy a gross of cheap, white eggs. Now I guess we have to feel guilty about that.
 
Cucinzia March 26, 2016
Yeah, what about it? To preheat or not to preheat?
 
bobbieliz March 26, 2016
If one puts the eggs into a cold oven, such as an electric like mine, the broiler also comes on to heat the oven quickly...with that kind of heat coming directly on top of the eggs, one might expect eggs to crack...Thusly, "to preheat or not to preheat?" I think I'll be safe, and preheat. Sometimes cooking techniques are given precisely for a reason, so I asked the question.
 
jennifer March 26, 2016
I did not preheat my oven when I did this. According to Ali in comments made a year ago, you are supposed to turn the oven on AFTER the eggs are in it. I followed these directions, and I had perfect eggs for dyeing, not one cracked. I was able to cook four dozen eggs at once, and then I just went ahead and put another three dozen in for the second round even though the oven was already warm. I removed the eggs with tongs and replaced the towel and by that time, the oven had naturally cooled off a bit for the second batch, but was still not stone cold. Anyway, the second batch with the somewhat preheated oven worked fine, too. When time came to peel the eggs after Easter, I had no way of knowing which eggs came from which batch, so I think either method works fine. All of our eggs were perfectly cooked.
 
bobbieliz March 26, 2016
Thank you so much for this information...and I think I'll be brave and just "fall with the door into the house" as the saying goes, and make 12 the first time!
 
jennifer March 26, 2016
You're welcome - we just picked up eggs at Target for .49c/dozen - so we're going all out again this year! Luckily, everyone likes egg salad :)
 
bobbieliz March 26, 2016
.49 a dozen? You could get many dozen for future. Have you read about how one can rub the egg with mineral oil (other oils mentioned) and then just store them out of refrigeration in a cool dry place? Probably can Google this.
 
HalfPint March 25, 2016
I cook a lot of eggs in a slow cooker, no water. Set on high and cook ~2 hours. Easy and no fuss.
 
chris H. March 25, 2016
How, exactly, does one make "dying eggs"? Are they different than "living eggs"?
 
jennifer March 25, 2016
Funny! dying=dyeing=applying dye to eggs. Depending upon your source, either dying or dyeing is correct - though 'dyeing' is definitely makes thing more clear.
 
bobbieliz September 14, 2015
I do not want my eggs to explode, so I ask this...the directions do not say to pre-heat to 320, so should I really put the eggs into the oven and THEN turn the oven to 320? Or was "Preheat" accidently left out.
 
Egyptian123 September 9, 2015
KB, Thank you for taking the high road. I'm 66 years old. I'm sure that I'm older than you are. That's why I thought it rude. Kindest regards........
 
KB September 9, 2015
You're not older by much, only a few years! Still, I didn't mean to be rude.
 
Egyptian123 September 9, 2015
That was just rude.<br />Kindest regards...
 
KB September 9, 2015
I apologize for I did not mean it to be rude, only helpful.
 
Egyptian123 September 8, 2015
This is a mute point for me, I never need more than 5 eggs at a time.
 
KB September 9, 2015
Moot... ;) (In the common phrase moot point, moot means (1) of no importance or (2) merely hypothetical. This is where moot most often gets confused with the adjective mute, which means (1) refraining from making sound or (2) silent.) <br /><br />Anyhoo, my favorite way to fix eggs is to poach them, which takes just a few minutes, faster than scrambling...one pot, one slotted spoon, one towel (paper or cloth). No muss, no fuss. Done!
 
Jerry April 23, 2015
Spooning the egg out of a halved egg is nothing new. My Mom did it that way when I was growing up in the 60's. I've never had a problem with the best old energy saving method, boiled! lol A gentle (not rapid) boil for 8-10 minutes, start the timer as soon as the boiling starts. Followed by a 5-10 minute ice-water bath is the trick to great eggs that peel perfectly every time. I'll be done eating my eggs and gone for the day while some people are still staring in their oven window and at timer waiting for their half hour baked eggs! GENIUS!
 
jennifer April 23, 2015
GENIUS! I usually boil or steam our Easter eggs - and invariably have a cracked one or five. I decided that I'd try baking them this year. I cooked six dozen eggs in a flash, and not a one cracked or broke. And, because I don't like peeling dyed eggs anyway (no matter how careful you are, dye gets on your fingers and all over the egg), I decided I didn't mind sacrificing a bit of egg. There was no way we were going to eat six dozen, anyway. I put each egg on my cutting board, used my sharpest knife with the thinnest blade (I used my boning knife) to cut the eggs in half, then with a gloved left hand, held each half and spooned the egg. I didn't end up wasting as much as I'd feared. They yolks were super creamy (and no grey or green ring - just beautiful, buttery yellow,) and using this method meant that the ration of yolk to white in the egg salad was higher - best egg salad we've had! (and had, and had, and had.) Oh, and as a side note, I did a bit of an experiment. On one rack I put the eggs on the sides, and on the other I put them up on their end. Both cooked the same - the ones cooked on their end did have slightly more centered yolks. As a bonus, because I planned ahead, I just popped dinner in the oven afterward and took advantage of all that heat. Win, win, win.