DIY Food

How to Peel Hard Boiled Eggs Perfectly, Every Single Time

No cracks, no dents—deviled eggs never looked better.

September 19, 2019
Photo by Bobbi Lin

The best kitchen tips are usually 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, they're nostalgic, and also pretty genius. But make no mistakes—they can be finicky, and, when hard-boiled, a real pain to peel.

Enter one of our own, Blake, with his trick for the perfect way to peel a hard boiled egg, gleaned from the kitchen of Blue Hill where he used to work. We tried it immediately, and tested it a whole bunch of times, and we've never looked back. What followed was a whole new world—and some massively upgraded deviled eggs.

So, here, without delay, is the absolute cleanest, most pain-free way to peel a hard boiled egg, no blowing or wooden cane required.

How to peel hard boiled eggs

-Cook your eggs however you likeslightly older eggs will make it easier to peel, but using them is not necessary.

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Top Comment:
“I've always sprinkled a healthy dose of salt in the water before boiling the eggs, and then an ice bath when they're finished. Then, they peel like a dream.”
— Cathryn

-The next step is to cool the eggs down in an ice bath or a bowl of chilly water, where they should stay a full five minutes or so.

-Once they are cool enough to handle, fill a clean bowl with room temperature water, and submerge them, one at a time.

Photo by James Ransom

-Using the edge of the bowl to knock them, you can now start cracking the shell.

-Once cracked, the water helps to gently separate both the membrane—that attaches itself with a vice-like grip to the egg—and the shell from the egg white, making it so much easier to peel.

Presto! The world's shiniest, smoothest, pearliest eggs to impress your friends with. Just don't forget to pass on the tip.

This post originally ran in 2014. We've refreshed it now because this skill will never go out of style.

Have another way to perfectly peel an egg? Let us in on your secret in the comments below!
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Kenzi Wilbur

Written by: Kenzi Wilbur

I have a thing for most foods topped with a fried egg, a strange disdain for overly soupy tomato sauce, and I can never make it home without ripping off the end of a newly-bought baguette. I like spoons very much.


David S. December 4, 2020
I find the best way to peel hard boiled eggs is to put them in cold water in the saucepan straight away after cooking, drain the water out leaving a little in the bottom once cooled and then shake the saucepan, bouncing the eggs off the sides. The whole shell becomes cracked all over and in most cases, after some shaking, the shell falls off in a couple of pieces. If not, you can almost wipe the shell off. This is efficient and quick If boiling a number of eggs.
marianne December 3, 2020
Use room temperature eggs. Put water in pan and let it come to a rolling boil. Lower eggs into boiling water with a spoon. Boil eggs for 8 minutes. Remove from heat and leave eggs in pan to cool. No need to put them in ice. Just peel them after they cool. This has never failed for me. You can also take them from pan and refrigerate if not needed right away. They still peel perfect. I have tried many other ways and this way has worked every time for me. Learned it from one of the cooking shows on YouTube.
FrugalCat December 3, 2020
I didn't read all 170 comments, but here's my (grandma's) trick. Crack the egg, then roll it around on the counter while applying a little pressure. Shell just slides off.
Mary A. February 23, 2020
Steam for 13 minutes. Submerge in ice water and crack. Shell will just peel off.
Mary A. February 23, 2020
This works for older or very fresh eggs.

Michele K. February 23, 2020
All eggs peel easily when they’re older. The difficulty is with fresh egg right from the coop. I’ve tried every technique and have never found a way to peel them well.
BayouBlssm December 3, 2020
I have laying hens & had the same problem until I saw how to steam eggs. Bought a cheap folding steamer insert. After steaming, even same day fresh eggs, the shells almost slide off after cracking. Perfect eggs. It still amazes me every time!
Liz December 9, 2020
How long do you steam them?
Mary A. October 21, 2019
Start by steaming or pressure cooking eggs and then dumping into ice bath. You have to have fast, hot heat to make them peel clean.
Beth October 21, 2019
Never tried pressure cooking eggs. How long would you pressure them in an Instant Pot?
Mary A. October 22, 2019
I use a stove top pressure cooker and it is six minutes.
Arthur Q. January 17, 2020
I use Instant Pot with the 5-5-5 rule. 5 mins HP, 5 mins NR, 5 mins dunk in cold water. Crack shells all around, it slid right off.
Ann A. June 28, 2019
I hard cook eggs in cold water, brought to boil. Turn off heat and let eggs sit for 10 minutes. I prefer to lift out the eggs with a slotted spoon and air-cool. This method ensures that the foods eggs are safe to be held at room temp. Air-cooled hard cooked eggs are not "potentially hazardous foods."

Later I store the eggs in the refrigerator until ready to use.

I tap the large round bottom of the egg on a hard surface to break the shell. Because this is where the air cell is located, I roll the egg from bottom to top several times, moving air to the top of the egg. Then I slip a small spoon into the bottom of the shell and slide the spoon to the top and/or side of the egg. I repeat this several times. The egg will be perfectly peeled. Back into refrig or immediate preparation.
Voi S. June 28, 2019
Gee, you just wrote a manual about how to boil and peel eggs.
Cathryn June 1, 2019
I've always sprinkled a healthy dose of salt in the water before boiling the eggs, and then an ice bath when they're finished. Then, they peel like a dream.
lorraine June 12, 2019
Oh wow! I never put in cold water after they boil in the salt water. Will try this. How long do you usually boil your eggs? I do 6-8 mins
Marilyn V. February 6, 2020
That is the way I think June of almost all my life
Deanna April 4, 2019
I use a teaspoon, it slides easily under the skin of the shell. Fool proof, always works. I showed my daughter and she was blown away.
Lori J. March 19, 2019
I feel my eggs under running coldish water!! Works every time! I also add salt to the boiling water, not certain how this works or not, but it doesn't seem to hurt!! ;)
MLa February 21, 2019
I believe I have finally cracked the How-to-get-an-easy-peel problem. One day I decided to take a leaf from the recipe for tea eggs (cook eggs 6 minutes to hard boil, remove from water, crack shell all over lightly with back of spoon, add tea, soy & star anise to water, put eggs back in and boil some more). There's never, ever a problem peeling tea eggs. So I now boil the eggs, take them out of water, crack all over lightly with back of spoon, return to water for some more boil time. Let them cool - in cold water or not. And peel. Easy.
Brandy T. February 2, 2019
I always put eggs on cool water, and heated them with the water. Do not do this. Don't. Let water boil, add eggs. Cook, and drain immediately under cold water. When eggs have sat in cold water enough to be cold throughout, crack and roll over counter to create as many cracks as possible, and place back in cool water bath. Do this to all eggs, and start shelling with the first one. You'll see the shells start to slide off, i had a few that i split the shell in the middle and slid the top and bottom off. Tried the eggs in cold water to boil yesterday, those shells were horrible. Cold water cool, shell splits, and continued cold water immersion is key
Dm November 12, 2018
If you don’t have an egg piercer, use a safety pin. Poke a hole in the round end and drop in simmering water. You will see a little albumen come out which is the path the water takes to travel along the shell. It makes it almost full proof to peel easily. Learned this years ago on one of Julia’s shows.
Elaine H. November 9, 2018
Old eggs are always easy to peel, but fresh eggs are impossible! I struggled with this until I found out that if you lower your eggs into boiling water, they shell comes off easily.
Denise T. September 13, 2018
Haha! I've been doing it this way for years! It's so simple and easy!
Don T. January 16, 2018
Easier way is to just boil them, shut off the heat and let it cool in it’s own. Then crack the shells by gently bouncing them on the counter a few time. Then peel them. I just did. 5 seconds per egg.
Shae T. December 12, 2017
There are no hard and fast rules for preparing eggs and tell that it is ready. Only you have to follow the ideal procedure of cooking to get the desired result.

Gently place a layer of eggs in the saucepan
Keep enough space between them
Pour water into the saucepan up to an inch above egg
Put some salt to avoid cracking of shells
Heat it up for about 12 – 15 minutes
Turn off the burner
If you want more check the below link:
GayleK70 August 10, 2017
I use my rice steamer and then the jar with water and lid method after cooling the eggs in ice water. 99.9% effective
Karen July 9, 2017
I've found the easiest way to get eggs to peel easily, regardless of how fresh they are is to steam them. I put them in my electric veggie steamer for 15 mins if the steamer is already hot, 25 mins if using a cold steamer. When they're done, I throw them into a pan of ice water until they've cooled enough to handle them, and peel with no problem. A pan with a steamer insert works just as well. If you do it this way, put in 1 inch of water and your steamer insert. Cover and bring to a boil, then add the eggs. Cover and cook for 12 mins. Works like a charm.
Beth June 29, 2017
How about if you want to keep the cooked eggs for several days before peeling them? They're harder to peel then, is there any special way to do it?
John P. August 24, 2018
Throw into a pot of very hot water. Let sit for a minute & peel. It all has to do with the contraction of the membrane, but I haven't figured it all out yet.
Lori J. March 19, 2019
Crack the shells on the inside edge of the sink, put egg under cold running water, and peel with ease!! Works every time!! Good luck!