DIY Food

How to Peel Hard Boiled Eggs Perfectly, Every Single Time

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

January 19, 2022
Photo by Mark Weinberg

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 perfectly cooked hard-boiled 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 perfect hard boiled egg, gleaned from the kitchen of Blue Hill where he used to work. We tried his method 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, egg salad, and protein-packed snacks.

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

Peeling the perfect hard boiled egg starts with cooking eggs, of course. Cook your eggs however you like—in a pot of boiling water with a splash of vinegar, a squeeze of lemon juice, a teaspoon of baking soda, or a pinch of salt. All of these additions help make it easier to peel boiled eggs. Slightly older eggs will make it easier to peel, but using them is not necessary. After all, we have to work with what we have. Another pro tip? Start with water that’s already boiling. I know it seems treacherous, but it will make it much easier to peel hard-boiled eggs. “I have noticed the egg white sticks to the shell when I start from cold [water]," says Jason Hua, executive chef at The Dutch. J. Kenji López-Alt explains this phenomenon on Serious Eats: "Slow-cooked egg whites bond more strongly with the membrane on the inside of an eggshell."

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Once the eggs are fully cooked (set a time for 10 to 12 minutes), the next step is to cool the eggs down in an ice bath or a bowl of very chilly water, where they should stay for a full five minutes or so. Set a timer. Do not disturb. I know you’re hungry and anxious, but the eggs will be better off if you just leave them alone.

Once they are cool enough to handle, fill another clean bowl with room temperature water, and submerge the eggs, one at a time. Using the edge of the bowl to knock them, you can now start cracking the shell. Do this gently, so as to not break the freshly boiled egg entirely in half.

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.

From here, discard the eggshells or, better yet, compost them—they’ll turn into fantastic fertilizer. Then slice the boiled eggs and add a sprinkle of flaky salt for a sneaky snack, dice them for potato salad, or slice them for a Niçoise salad.

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

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.


Beth April 20, 2022
This isn't about peeling eggs, but about an amazing trick my daughter did with coloring Easter eggs. She hardboiled them, peeled and cut them in half, popped out the yolk. Then mixed up some water and food coloring, several blue, pink and green, and dropped in the whites. After a few minutes, they were dyed several different beautiful shades. Then she made deviled eggs -- what a gorgeous presentation!
selenaoh123 April 20, 2022
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(( subway surfers))
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"subway surfers":
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selenaoh123 April 20, 2022
[ subway surfers]
Michael April 15, 2022
Cathryn April 6, 2022
How can I get out of this discussion? I commented on this 3 years ago and it’s still popping up every Easter. I think I know how to make eggs that peel easily now. Thank you!
Beth April 6, 2022
Well, just delete the email. You don't have to open it.
deb April 6, 2022
i completely agree! sometimes i just leave the site after navigating all the pop up ads!
they are annoying and confusing!
is there any way you could put up an add free read so we can just look at your site?
many sites have a little cursor (?) to push to avoid ads. please! they are so plentiful now, these ads!
mary April 4, 2022
Or, just use a small, thin spoon to remove the shells from the egg; just slip it inside the shell and spin it around the egg and the shell comes right off. Fast, simple.
Foodie April 4, 2022
I've read literally dozens of articles about boiling eggs--either hard or soft but NO ONE EVER SAYS WHETHER you need to start with eggs right out of the refrigerator or at room temperature, which surely affects the cooking time. Does anyone know?
Robyn April 4, 2022
Always straight out of the fridge. Place in a pot of boiling water, carefully. Simmer for 12 minutes for hard boiled. Then with a slotted spoon, place eggs in an ice bath for about 7 minutes. Crack & peel under running water.
Kathy S. April 4, 2022
I once used hot water from cooking pasta to boil eggs and discovered that even farm fresh eggs peel easily with this method. Just heat the water until close to simmering and drop the eggs in, you will be amazed at how easily they peel
Patricia April 4, 2022
I refuse to purchase the merchandise advertised when I'm trying to read and learn something from this site. Please stop putting ads in front of the articles. I do approve of this unexpected "nice" music, however. But, we are all overloaded with advertising. If it doesn't stop, I will discontinue using this site and shop elsewhere. Thank you.
funnyvalentine April 4, 2022
How do you think the site is funded? By ads.
Patricia April 4, 2022
As a former radio broadcaster and marketing director for a university theatre dept, I believe wholeheartedly in the value of advertising. However, it needs to be sensitive to the demographic being targeted. When it overtakes or blocks out the view of the people on this site, for example, it can defeat its purpose in a heartbeat, because there are so many other options for the consumer to go to these days. This is one of my favorite sites but I'm not averse to looking beyond it to find what I need.
Toni Z. April 4, 2022
I agree with stopping the pop-up ads because it means more work when trying to print/save a recipe or article on a flash drive for later printing (with your copyright still preserved on each page) instead of cooking with my PC open, ripe for damage from cooking.
Beth April 3, 2022
My husband gave me one of those microwave egg cookers for Christmas, and it works perfectly. Only cooks up to 4 eggs at a time though, so not good for a large plate of deviled eggs. It's basically the steamer method, just a little water in the bottom, microwave on high for 10 minutes, let sit for 10 more, then open and cool with ice water. Saves heating up the stove or any other appliance.
isw April 3, 2022
To whoever wrote your e-mail teaser: it's "die" (as in "dice"); not dye (as in Easter egg).
Terry B. April 3, 2022
lol...feel better now?
Lissi April 3, 2022
I believe that the die is cast, while the dye is set. (Yes, the common idiom suggests that the die has been cast, but, Easter is coming soon, and we do dye eggs.)
Julia P. April 4, 2022
I was just about to write the same thing, Lissi! Yes, I believe the email teaser was referring to coloring or dyeing eggs.
gpark April 3, 2022
So many comments. All proposing a different method. None based on science. Certainly the article has no science in it. I tried many methods over time. The only that results in cleanly peeled eggs is the steaming method - steamer basket over boiling water for 13-14 minutes (depending on room or refrigerator storage) for well done yolks. Pop them in ice water until cool enough to hold. Smash against the side of the sink and peel. The temptation is to peel them still too warm or too big of pieces of shell (tears the whites). In my experience, those are the only reasons to have hard to peel eggs.
kdenton April 3, 2022
I find steamed eggs peel perfectly every time. Fit a steamer basket over a small amount of water. Add 6 or so eggs in basket (depends on size of basket). Heat water. When steam appears, put the lid on and lower heat so water is simmering. After 10-15 minutes (depends on number of eggs), remove eggs and put into a icy cold bath. Peels slide off after about 15 minutes.
Nancy H. April 3, 2022
I follow NYT advice: steam (for my taste 11 minutes), take out and let come to room temp and then peel. Absolutely NO need for the ice bath if you have the time for them to come to room temp naturally. Has worked every single time since doing this way.
tonifla April 3, 2022
I tried this method & it worked well
funnyvalentine April 3, 2022
I always use my instant pot for boiled eggs. It's easy; five minutes under high pressure, five minutes of releasing, into cold water for five minutes.
The shells slip off.
tonifla April 3, 2022
Oh I have to try that method
ladyDee29 April 4, 2022
I must try this method as well. thank you.
orit R. April 3, 2022
Air-fry at 270F 12-15 minutes depending how hard/soft you want it. Best method when you need to make lots of them for Passover or Easter. They peel easier when cook that way but you can still use the water method (definitely to cool them down) LOVE MY AIR-FRYER….
ustabahippie April 3, 2022
Oh dear. Now I must buy another appliance to peel eggs? Thanks for the suggestion tho.
ustabahippie April 3, 2022
I wish there were a way to peel eggs without using water. I’m in a serious drought in CA.
Beth April 3, 2022
You can, just let them come to room temp after boiling/steaming, then crack all over. You may have to pick off a few pieces of shell, and they may not be as pretty as if the shell came off easily, but they taste just as good.
Foodie April 4, 2022
Exactly what I was thinking (OR). But I do use gray kitchen water for outdoor plants and am waiting for OR legislation to allow gray water use from laundry and dishwasher.
khouria1130 April 5, 2022
If you have an Insta pot it uses so much less water than the boiling method! And the shells peel off so easily 😊
Karen April 3, 2022
I steam the eggs in a tall 6” pot.
Put cold water under steamer and place eggs in basket.
Bring water to a boil on high.
When simmering reduce temperature to low and simmer for 5 minutes.
At this point eggs will be jammy.
For more done eggs remove pot from heat and let sit for a few minutes.
When ready run water over eggs so you can touch them.
Peel and enjoy.
The entire process takes less than 10 minutes.