Absolute Best Tests

The Absolute Best Way to Boil Eggs, According to So Many Tests

My kitchen will never, ever smell the same.

March 30, 2021
Photo by Ella Quittner

In Absolute Best Tests, our writer Ella Quittner destroys the sanctity of her home kitchen in the name of the truth. She's mashed dozens of potatoes, seared more Porterhouse steaks than she cares to recall, and tasted enough types of bacon to concern a cardiologist. Today, she tackles hard-boiled eggs.

Humans have been boiling eggs for a very long time.

By some accounts, it all began with egg roasting about a million years ago. This likely evolved into egg boiling around 5000 B.C., thanks to the invention of pottery. And more recently than that, boiled eggs are thought to have cropped up in Ancient Rome, where wealthy patricians served them as an appetizer course called gustatio. (Apicius, a collection of Roman recipes compiled sometime between the first and fifth century A.D., corroborates this with recipes for seasoning and topping boiled eggs.)

So it's no surprise that when one Googles "best way to boil an egg” in 2019, one must contend with a cool 65 million results.

On the first page alone, certain guides would have you lower your eggs into simmering water, to cook for eight minutes. Others would like you to steam them in a basket several inches above the water line. Some sites make chimerical promises ("perfectly, every time") while many get straight into the mechanics: the equipment, the slotted support paraphernalia, the ice bath of it all.

Join The Conversation

Top Comment:
“Which method yielded the best results? Unsure after reading the entire article.”
— Aleyeh

The official recommendation of the American Egg Board—known beyond its eponymous cause for a rabble-rousing role in the "Just Mayo" labelling scandal—is to bring the eggs and water to a boil, then remove the pot from heat and cover to let steep for 9 to 15 minutes, depending on egg size.

Food52's own endorsements have ranged from the "bring to a boil then cut heat and cover" method to "10-minute boil + ice bath" to "c'mon, just use an Instant Pot."

Which brings us to 5:45 a.m. a few Fridays ago, when I found myself standing in front of eight cartons of eggs and every slotted spoon in my home. In the freezer lay two XXXL bags of ice. On my countertop was an Instant Pot, one of those nefarious-looking sous vide wands, a whole bunch of stockpots, and, for reasons not germane to this blog post, a breakfast cookie.

I knew what I had to do: Spend an ungodly amount of time boiling egg after egg, according to the Internet's most-touted methods, all in pursuit of the truth. What is the best way to boil an egg?

And while the results were far from fully conclusive, one thing's for certain: My apartment hasn't smelled the same, since.

Photo by Ella Quittner

The Setup

In a world where so very much is out of my control, I relished in exercising a few simple constancy factors for these experiments:

  • Size and brand: I purchased dozens and dozens of the same generic-brand, large eggs from the supermarket below my apartment.
  • Age: I used eggs that were all roughly the same “age”—as in, they were all purchased the same day (with a few weeks to go on their expiration date) and left to sit in the refrigerator for a week.
  • Temperature: For each boiling test, the egg-subject was at room temperature. (Dropping cold eggs into hot water can make them crack.)
  • No funny business: I skipped baking soda and vinegar in the water, based on Sarah Jampel's prior tests.
  • Ice bath for peeling: Each egg was transferred immediately from its cook method to a large ice bath, where it sat a full five minutes before I peeled it under water.

Method #1: Standard Boil


Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil. Use a slotted wooden spoon to gently lower in an egg. Boil, uncovered, then immediately transfer to an ice bath to cool before peeling.


Let cook in boiling water for 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, or 13 minutes.

Why Science (Okay, the Internet) Says It's Best:

Eggs should get a hot start (whether boiling, steaming, or pressure cooking) because "slow-cooked egg whites bond more strongly with the membrane on the inside of an eggshell"—aka, they're easier to peel—according to Serious Eats.

Ease of Method:

Straightforward to execute. Very no-fuss, requiring no special equipment. At one point, I did need to fiddle with the flame to maintain a boil.

Ease of Peel:

Encountered almost no peeling issues. "These tests'll be a breeze," I thought, giddily—hours later, fingertips raw and somehow simultaneously burning and icy, I looked back on this moment and laughed darkly.

Egg Results:

In all eggs, the whites and yolks had a pleasant texture—no rubbery whites, here. The six-minute egg was an especially creamy specimen, if you're into a soft-boil. In one (the eight-minuter), the yolk weirdly sank down to the bottom of the white, though this didn’t affect anything other than appearance. Overall, this was the most straightforward method with the best bang-for-your-effort-buck results.

Method #2: Standard Simmer


Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil. Turn down heat until water is at a rolling simmer. Use a slotted wooden spoon to gently lower in an egg. Simmer, uncovered, then immediately transfer to an ice bath to cool before peeling.


Let cook in simmering water for 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, or 13 minutes.

Why Science (Okay, the Internet) Says It's Best:

You want to keep egg temperatures lower than what a full-on boil for the whole cook would produce (rubbery whites, chalky yolks)—Serious Eats swears by a hybrid version of the simmer and the standard boil, where eggs are lowered into boiling water and left for 30 seconds, before the temperature is turned down and eggs are cooked, covered, at a low simmer for 11 minutes.

Ease of Method:

Easier said than done. Maintaining a "rolling simmer"—at least, in the uncovered way I was testing—is a hands-on endeavor. That said, no special equipment is needed.

Ease of Peel:

Peeling was breezy, as with the standard boil set. The only exception was the six-minute egg, which was of course less cooked than its standard-boil counterpart, and required a very delicate hand to avoid jabbing a thumb into its tender white.

Egg Results:

No immediately discernible difference in texture or flavor of eggs than with the standard boil set—except that, like the aforementioned six-minute guy, each egg was of course slightly less cooked than its standard-boil counterpart. The 13-minute egg had a strangely shaped air pocket dent at its base.

Method #3: Steam


Add a couple inches of water to a large pot. Place steamer insert inside, well above the water line. Cover. Bring water to a boil over high heat. Remove cover, add egg, cover, and steam. Immediately transfer to an ice bath to cool before peeling.


Steam for 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, or 13 minutes.

Why Science (Okay, the Internet) Says It's Best:

Steam supposedly cooks the eggs more gently, yielding a creamier texture. There's less risk of cracking since cold eggs never hit hot water, and they're apparently easier to peel because they avoid a big temperature jump.

Ease of Method:

Straightforward to execute. Requires a steamer insert (or tight-fitting colander) and a fitted lid, though unlike the boil-and-steep method, does not require transferring a heavy, hot pot.

Ease of Peel:

Overall, the most difficult test batches to peel. Had to wrestle with lots of shell bits stuck stubbornly to tender whites, ultimately resulting in torn whites during the final extrications.

Egg Results:

Despite peel-stage drama, these were the Platonic ideal of a boiled egg: the whites silky as pudding, the yolks luxuriant and velvety as a Laura Ashley Christmas dress.

Method #4: Bring to a Boil, Turn Off & Steep


Add eggs and cold water to a pot—have at least an inch of water above the eggs. Bring water to a rolling boil, uncovered. Once a boil is achieved, cut the heat, cover the pot, and move off of the hot burner. Let egg steep in water for prescribed time, then immediately transfer to an ice bath to cool before peeling.


Let steep for 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, or 13 minutes.

Why Science (Okay, the Internet) Says It's Best:

"Starting with cold water lets you heat the egg more slowly, which keeps the whites from getting rubbery," says the Exploratorium.

Ease of Method:

Straightforward to execute. Only slightly fussier than the standard boil and standard simmer, as it requires a fitted lid, and movement of a hot and potentially heavy pot mid-process.

Ease of Peel:

Peeling these test batches was an emotional roller coaster. Some were perfectly fine (my note on the eight-minute egg reads, insanely, "a true pleasure to peel—like slipping off your jacket in the park on the first sunny day of the season"), and others, like the 11-minute egg, were a nightmare.

Egg Results:

The eggs themselves had a wonderfully consistent texture throughout the whites of each. The longer-steeped yolks got chalky-tasting after the 10-minute steep mark. The eight- and nine-minute eggs were oddly misshapen, which is a purely aesthetic criticism.

Photo by Ella Quittner

Method #5: Instant Pot


Pour one cup of room temperature water into an Instant Pot. Set the egg on a steamer insert. Seal and cook on low or high pressure for specific increment of time, at specific pressure level. Immediately transfer to an ice bath to cool before peeling.


  • Low pressure for four minutes, instant release
  • Low pressure for seven minutes, instant release
  • High pressure for eight minutes, instant release
  • Low pressure for 10 minutes, instant release
  • Low pressure for five minutes, five minutes natural release
  • High pressure for five minutes, five minutes natural release
  • Low pressure for 12 minutes, instant release
  • High pressure for two minutes, 12 minutes natural release

Why Science (Okay, the Internet) Says It's Best:

Because using an Instant Pot has the benefits of steaming, minus the guesswork.

Ease of Method:

Second-least straightforward to execute, after sous vide. Owning an Instant Pot is a large barrier to entry. Plus, it takes a while for the Instant Pot to come to pressure, so not a great method if you're pressed for time.

Ease of Peel:

All of these eggs were slightly tricky to peel, but only a few (the high pressure for two minutes + 12 minute natural release, and the low pressure for five minutes + five minute natural release) were a real pain. The eggs for which I'd used the instant release function were more seamless to peel.

Egg Results:

The texture of the eggs was surprisingly more like the standard-boil batch than like the steamed batch. I had no material shape or yolk-sinking issues. For a soft-boil, I'd advocate for low pressure for four minutes + instant release, and for a classic hard-boil, high pressure for five minutes + five minutes natural release (or, if you're worried about peeling, perhaps test low pressure for eight minutes + instant release).

Photo by Rocky Luten

Method #6: Sous Vide


Use a Joule Sous Vide to bring a vessel of water to 194°F. Cook egg. Immediately transfer to an ice bath to cool before peeling.


Cook for 9, 12, 16, 20, and 24 minutes.

Note: There are many ways to sous vide eggs, including the 63°F poached/soft-boil, and the 75°F version. Due to a dwindling supply of eggs, I went with just the 194°F method, which was recommended by Joule's app.

Why Science (Okay, the Internet) Says It's Best:

Precise temperature control should theoretically enable the perfect textures for egg white and yolk.

Ease of Method:

Straightforward to execute if you have an app that correlates to your sous vide tool. As with the Instant Pot, owning the tool itself is a large barrier to entry.

Ease of Peel:

No notable issues.

Egg Results:

In the eggs cooked for a shorter time, the yolks were noticeably richer in texture than most other batches, with the exception of the steamed eggs. That said, not sure it was worth the trouble of procuring and assembling equipment, and waiting for water to come to temperature.

Method #7: Bake


Dampen a kitchen towel and lay it on the center oven rack. Preheat oven to 325°F. Once preheated, nestle egg onto towel so it rests between the rack's rods in a taut towel hammock. Bake. Immediately transfer to an ice bath to cool before peeling.


Bake for 30 and 35 minutes.

Why Science (Okay, the Internet) Says It's Best:

The oven-baked method has been touted on this very site as, "How to Hard Cook Lots of Eggs at Once." (It comes courtesy of Alton Brown.)

Ease of Method:

Deceptively easy to set up, but long to execute, and painful in the end. (See below.)

Ease of Peel:

I debated changing this header to "Debacle of Peel," but I'm a stickler for consistency. I went through so, so many eggs to get to a batch that was actually cooked through enough on all sides to peel. Many earlier tests resulted in big wet spots randomly found in the whites, throughout the peeling process (even if the yolks had already gone chalky). My guess is that my wonky oven environment created too much variability in the temperature to cook the eggs through uniformly.

Egg Results:

The eggs' textures were inconsistent and unpleasant. This method is not worth the trouble.


  • The lowest-maintenance method: the standard boil, which produced delicious, consistent, aesthetically-pleasing eggs.
  • The method yielding the best texture: the steam (perfect peel-ability be damned!).
  • A method that's totally solid and consistent, and great if the only thing in the world you don't own is a timer or watch with second hands: the Instant Pot.
  • The worst method: the oven-bake. (But you knew that, right?)

And one more word of advice: Do not attempt this experiment at home unless you find the idea of eating only gribiche for weeks after to be wildly exciting.

Here’s What To Do With All Those Hard-Boiled Eggs

Easter Bread

Nestle hard-boiled eggs into a pillowy loaf of bread for this Easter centerpiece. (Though technically you won’t want to eat the eggs—they’ll be rock-hard after baking.)

Nori Deviled Eggs

Change up your deviled egg routine by mixing soy sauce and sesame oil into mayonnaise and egg yolks in this recipe from Eric Kim, who notes the inspiration for the recipe comes from something his mom regularly made when he was growing up: “There's really nothing like that nostalgic tangle of nutty sesame, salty soy, yolky egg, and savory seaweed,” says Kim. “At the risk of sounding la-di-da, this is, truly, my Proustian madeleine.”

Nancy Silverton’s Egg Salad With Bagna Cauda Toast

Nancy Silverton’s Genius egg salad features DIY garlic mayonnaise and salty bagna cauda-slathered toast. Now that’s a great way to turn hard-boiled eggs into a meal.

Virginia Willis' Deviled Eggs

For a classic deviled egg, look no further than Virginia Willis' Genius recipe: mayonnaise, mustard, cayenne, and chopped herbs for a bright finish.

Low-Key Niçoise Salad

You know the nicoise, you love the nicoise. This one calls for avocado, tuna, kalamata olives, dill, and lots of hard-boiled eggs, but let’s keep it real: use whatever you like in a nicoise (potatoes, lentils, tomato, radishes)—follow your heart, salad edition.

Japanese 7-Eleven Egg Salad Sandwich

Creamy-dreamy egg salad, pillowy white bread. When in possession of many hard-boiled eggs here’s honestly nothing better than a Japanese-style egg sandwich.

Momofuku's Soy Sauce Eggs

Though technically this recipe calls for 6 minute jammy eggs, who says you can’t make them with hard-boiled eggs? No one! "What I like best is that these eggs can be used in a thousand different ways,” says Christina Tosi, who featured this recipe in her cookbook Milk Bar Life. “They are perfect on their own as a snack, or on an English muffin (eggs Benny setup), in pasta, or cut up and mixed into a salad."

Pickled Deviled Eggs With Smoked Salmon

Not only are beet-pickled eggs the most beautiful snack to look at, when deviled with mustard, mayonnaise, and capers, then topped with a little piece of smoked salmon, they’re a springy brunch centerpiece on a plate.

What method do you swear by for the best hard-boiled or soft-boiled eggs? Let us know in the comments. This post contains products that are independently selected by our editors, and Food52 may earn an affiliate commission.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Mavi
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Ella Quittner

Written by: Ella Quittner

Ella Quittner is a contributing writer and the Absolute Best Tests columnist at Food52. She covers food, travel, wellness, lifestyle, home, novelty snacks, and internet-famous sandwiches. You can follow her on Instagram @equittner, or Twitter at @ellaquittner. She also develops recipes for Food52, and has a soft spot for all pasta, anything spicy, and salty chocolate things.


Mavi December 14, 2022
The best way we find in making hard boiled eggs is to pop a dozen eggs into the stainless steel basket and place into our instant pot with one cup of water, set for 4 minutes cook time, with an instant release. Cool the eggs in very cold water and water to cool. No problem with peeling, and we just store them back into the egg carton, and eat them all week.

I once tried baking eggs, and ended up with brown spots all over the white shells, which rendered them useless for colouring as Easter Eggs, so had to make more again.
AnnieEngman September 21, 2022
I don’t have an interest in preparing food beyond being a grateful eater of others’ skills, and really just relish Food52 as an interior designer, but uniquely read this article’s every last word due to the words themselves (looking up three and committing to cleverly use them in the next day).

I hope you get paid oodles for your brain, Ella Quittner!

(And seeing that the only pinned-atop comment was along the lines of ‘still not sure which method is best’, I’d like to have a stunned word with The Confused.)


- Subscribed Reader, For First Time Ever
Neecie September 13, 2022
My HACK for perfect boiled eggs!!!
I add extra water to the pan every time I make pasta... when it starts to boil I add the pasta and then drop in 5 to 6 eggs and set timer for 12 minutes... The eggs do not drop to the bottom because of the pasta so they boil evenly... when the timer goes off I remove the eggs with a Tupperware egg cup, place in a bowl with ice and cold water and then drain pasta!!! They peel easy and yolks are never green!!! PERFECT 👍 every time!
Jane March 14, 2022
This article is incredibly funny! Who knew so much could be written about boiling eggs? Ella, I can just imagine what your apartment smelled like! Thanks for making me laugh.
I basically take eggs out of the frig, set them on the counter while a pot of water comes to a boil (or put them right into the pot and bring to a boil). Simmer from 10-12 minutes then dunk them into an ice water bath (for 30 minutes or up to a couple hours). Sometimes the shell comes right off, sometimes not so much! If there's a science to this stuff, I don't know what it is. Hey--potato salad isn't judgmental!
Fred R. March 14, 2022
I’m with you. Love those who thrive on complexity, but I just want the stuff inside the shell. Sometimes chunks of white are missing, sometimes not, but its always white and yellow and tastes great. Making a batch of red sauce today from winter tomatoes grown here in Tucson….best to all.
L11 February 17, 2022
I bring water to a boil, plop whatever number of eggs straight out of the fridge straight in, boil for 6-8 mins depending on how runny I want them, pull out the eggs and immediately under cold runny water, use a small spoon, crack the rounder side, and use the spoon to peel the egg.

I don’t know how not many people have heard about the spoon trick. I have never had an issue peeling eggs. It takes seconds, no burnt finger, no need for an ice bath

I don’t put anything in the water, I don’t tend the pot, it’s a very hands off approach.
j7n May 10, 2021
Since forever, I've been cooking eggs simply straight from the fridge in room temperature water. Peeling was a nightmare, but I accepted it as inevitable.

Then I stumbled upon a surprising Wikipedia entry recommending to preheat the water first. I wash my eggs, warm them to room temp, and submerge using a serving spoon. After about 12 minutes I drain them and pour tap water to cool just enough for handling. This solves the peeling entirely.

No other voodoo, never any salt in stainless. Articles on the Web often contradict each other, just as above with both boiling and steaming claiming easier peel. I don't understand the sensitivity to "rubbery" eggs. The white is always denatured hard and cuttable. The center is dry and can absorb fats, if needed, to make it creamy. These are eggs that I know. Maybe always rubbery, but such adjective never occurs to me.
Frank April 1, 2021
For my entire life, I was a cold start, shut off flame at boil, and cover person. About a year ago, I started the Standard Boil method. I haven't looked back. Much easier to control the egg I want. I boil, put in my eggs, after it starts boiling again I count 7 minutes and remove to ice bath. Usually I do it around lunch time and pull 2 eggs out at the 4 minute mark for a perfect soft boiled egg. The 7 minute eggs are ever so slightly jammy. Perfect for me. As a side note, I left them in the ice bath for about 2 hours the other day (was watching a movie and forgot). They were still ice cold but were the easiest eggs I have ever peeled. Shells just came off. I haven't tried it again, but I will the next time to see if the easy peeling repeats.
cosmiccook April 1, 2021
I use the Serious Eats steam method. I find when I let the eggs sit in the ice bath per Kenji Lopez-Alt's recommendation of 15 min. they certainly peel much better than at 5 min. I will have to try longer to see what happens.
wahini November 2, 2020
I have regularly used 3 different cheap electric egg cookers and they make the best easy to peel eggs. I know—it is one more appliance to find room for but they are small and if you often boil eggs (actually these devices steam them) they are worth it. My mother would eat soft boiled eggs for breakfast every day if there were no better ideas so I kept a round metal cased one on my stove top—some have plastic cases that might melt when using the nearby burners and some are rectangular and would take too much room—for years. It had a detachable cord that removed after use and I stored it on a hook nearby to keep it out of the way when using the burners. Most have detachable trays in which to make poached eggs or little “omelets”, too. I have never worn one out either—one was my mother’s and is now 50 years old, one I bought for an aunt who lived past when she could be trusted with a stove top and her assistant could not make soft or poached eggs so I bought her an egg cooker 7 years ago, and one I bought as a dorm warming gift 23 years ago for a family member in whose kitchen it gets used regularly today. I have given a few as gifts to people who later said they were skeptical but now use them routinely. Best “ridiculous” little kitchen appliance ever.
J October 28, 2020
Instant Pot: no, no, no. Hard-cooked eggs are the highest and best use of an Instant Pot. 1) concerned about time to come up to pressure? Use the saute function to pre-heat your water; 2) 6 minutes on LOW pressure, natural release: the pressure thingie will pop up before 10 minutes. If not, release the pressure. Perfect every time. 3) put the eggs into a bowl under running cold water, smash the shells a bit first, and you’ll be able to peel the shells off like socks!
Sharon S. July 17, 2020
I have been using my Instant Pot 2 minutes high pressure, 6 to 7 minute pressure release. The eggs are perfection every single time. I use eggs straight from the fridge and cold tap water. They go into a cold water bath until cool and peel easily every single time. It doesn't matter if I do 4 eggs or a dozen eggs - same time, same results. We eat a lot more eggs cooked this way.
Nick C. July 1, 2020
Thanks for going to all this effort! I'm definitely referring to this from now on.

In the sous vide method, you refer to the 63°F and the 75°F techniques, but I think you meant that in °C? For American temps, you'd be looking at 145°F and 167°F respectively.
Fred R. March 1, 2020
Kind of a hoot where folks give precise timing without considering temperature of their boiling water. I have a friend who lives in Colorado at 9500 feet. I think his boiling time is about two days.
JetPilot August 2, 2021
Nah. We used to go to Breckenridge CO twice a year for skiing. It is also at ~9,500' base where our condo was. Being from sea level Florida at the time, we had to learn how to adjust cooking method for them: use older eggs and let them come to room temp before sticking them in constant rolling boil (uncovered). Then kill the heat and let them sit for 3 minutes in the formerly boiling water. Doing these things also helps make peeling easier. Once we got that down our eggs took no more than a few minutes more than at sea level (~18min total). That's for the large size.
Djay March 1, 2020
I don't have the patience or the time to do any fiddling whatsoever. So, totally straightforward is the way. Eggs from the fridge into a pot of water that covers fully, turn on the flame to high medium and leave it on for 25 minutes to come to a boil and cook. Then, cool under cold running water for a few minutes and into the fridge. Done. Very little problem peeling and almost no attention needed. My second no-attention-needed at all method is to put the eggs into an electric water kettle, covered fully with water and let the kettle come to a boil, shut off automatically and leave the eggs for 14 minutes. Perfect hard-boiled eggs.
Channon C. January 3, 2020
I just read a new idea of baking eggs in shell in oven in muffin cups so they don’t roll around. Remove and ice water shock. If this works and I haven’t tried yet, I just read about it, I can’t imagine anything easier!!
art A. December 12, 2019
I have an egg machine no fuss no mess yum!
circe801 October 12, 2019
what ever. i have been making hard-cooked (boiled?) eggs for most of my life--i am now 58--and only recently have i started to have difficulty peeling them.
steaming is the magic. i put my steamer insert into the pot--heat to a boil. add eggs, reduce to medium, put lid on pot, cook for 12 minutes.
remove from heat, remove insert, drain water, add cold--and a couple of ice cubes.
after the cubes melt, drain water and do the hula with the eggs in the pot--for 30-40 vibrations.
the peels often slide right off while you're doing it.
never fails.
W J. July 1, 2020
The hula method of cracking shells for easy peeling works pretty well -- but just don't try it with soft boiled eggs! The whites will not be firm enough and the yolks still runny so as to cause a pot of broken shells smothered in egg gravy. (Ask me how I know this.)

Tasty? You bet, though only, if one truly wants their soft boiled eggs extra, extra crunchy.

OTH, this method of shaking a pot full of cooked eggs to speed peeling works well with hard boiled eggs as a rule. If you try it, be sure to add a bit of water to the pot along with the eggs and cover with a lid. Then shake vigorously (the pot, not you) for a few seconds.
cosmiccook April 1, 2021
Well you could put some tunes on and shake w the pot lol!!!!
John C. October 12, 2019
I've always steamed my eggs since I heard about it from Serious Eats in 2016 and never once have I ever had a problem peeling a single egg. I always thought that they were easy to peel because they were steamed but maybe its because I use cold water instead of ice water. NYT 2 weeks ago printed the steaming method in the food section but warned against using ice water.
W J. October 12, 2019
Serious Eats Food Lab originator and editor, J. Kenji Lopez-Alt in his book, Food Lab, and now in the NYTimes article just blows this subject of how to boil an egg out of the water -- both figuratively and literally! For the truly interested reader, find that September 23, 2019 NYTimes article and read it. It is the last word on egg boiling. (You have to have a subscription, I think, to view the recipe, but I give you the essence of it below.)

A quick synopsis: Lopez-Alt boiled over 700 eggs from still warm from the chicken to weeks old in the frig. In these experiments, he had multiple people (96) boil, steam, etc. many, many eggs carefully controlling as many variables as possible from length of time, whether starting cold from the fridge, or room temperature, whether starting in cold water or hot, whether adding vinegar or salt to the water, and every combination of cooling from shock to natural cool down, and on and on and on. Not once or twice, but dozens of times for each variable. From a science point of view, he did a thorough investigation in order to corral and contain the degrees of freedom for the overall process.

Of critical importance was the ease of peeling, i.e., whether or not the shell stuck to the white and left the exterior of the boiled egg rough and broken or not. Ease of peeling and taste testing was set up with double blind protocols, so neither the testers nor the supervisor knew before hand how the eggs were cooked. Careful and very extensive records were kept for the whole effort.

In short, there is no perfect method of boiling to ensure 100% ease of peeling, BUT if one is willing to settle for an 87% ease of peeling, do this.

Bring to a boil sufficient water to be about one inch in a pot with the number of eggs to be cooked, place the eggs straight from the fridge into the boiling water and cover. Covering the pot is critical so as to entrap the steam from the boiling water. The fat end of the shell may be pricked before boiling to allow air to escape, if shell cracking is a problem. (In case you missed it, exhaustive testing shows best, but not perfect, results are that you start with frig temp eggs placed directly into a small amount of boiling water and cook covered.)

Depending on the degree of doneness desired, use 6 minutes for soft boiled and 8.5 minutes for "translucent, fudgy yolk," and 11 minutes for hard boiled with just barely firmly set yolk (assumes sea level or near sea level altitudes). He recommends decreasing times by one minute, if the eggs were at room temperature to start.

Drain, peel and eat immediately. Do not shock in an ice-water bath. If using the eggs later, allow to cool naturally after draining, marking the tops of the eggs with a small dot to distinguish these from raw eggs.

That's it.

I have been using this method for several years now after learning of it from Christopher Kimble, when he was still at Cook's/America's Test Kitchen. I find it reassuring that Lopez-Alt's extensive testing supports this conclusion.

Kimble originally touted this method as best for soft boiled eggs to be eaten with the top of the shell removed with one of those top of the shell cracker gadgets, an egg cup, and small egg spoon. Though I must say in that particular show episode, I did not buy then or now Kimble's explanation of why that works. He said that steam is hotter than water and contains more heat. This can be true, but only if the steam is under pressure. A covered pot has only a very slight pressure above room pressure.

Since I had all those things, eggs, top cracker, cups and egg spoons, I found this to work quite well. By extension, I used the same method for hard boiled eggs to be peeled. After draining the hot water, I usually just allow any additional eggs to sit in the pot as I run in tap water in order to cool them just enough to handle. No ice used or needed, if using immediately.

I confess that I do use ice, if the eggs are to be cracked and peeled later, as I want to avoid the "dreaded green yolk" phenomenon. I intend to give the natural cooling method a go based on Lopez-Alt's findings.
elaine S. September 9, 2019
Method #1 was my grandma's method, so I tried it for the first time in many years. As I remembered, the eggs cracked when gently placed in the boiling water, rendering two out of six unusable. And who has time to bring the eggs to room temperature, which might solve the problem, before cooking?
cosmiccook April 1, 2021
If you need quick room-temp eggs you can place them in a bowl of warm/hot water--not boiling hot, just from the faucet.
jareal September 9, 2019
Careful with the microwave method. If you do it wrong you can get hurt. I had one blow up as I bit into it. The yolk exploded in my mouth. I got a fat lip and 2nd degree burns on my lips and gums. I laugh at myself but a child could be seriously hurt.
Dawn C. August 18, 2019
Method 1 EXPONENTIALLY BLOWS! As soon as I lowered my room temp eggs into the rolling boiling water, EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM CRACKED! You wasted a dozen eggs!
Fred R. August 18, 2019
You really think there is nothing else you can do with those eggs....wake up to trying new things.
Jill F. December 10, 2019
No, YOU wasted a dozen eggs!