Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.
Not sure if this is the very best way but what I like to do is gently tap the egg around its "equator". Then I peel back the shell under running water. The water helps push off the thin membrane between the egg and shell and keeps it clean.
Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.
I second what Amanda said, thats the way I always peel a hard boiled egg and it works every time.
Yes, cooking it first is the key...
Beyond that, I know it seems like running water is a waste, but I do find it helps. I also think that running them under cold water immediately after boiling helps.
It also helps if your eggs are a bit on the older side. I think in South Africa most of our produce gets to us faster than at a typical American supermarket, and I'm guessing the same is true for eggs, but I find I have better results if I use eggs I purchased a week ago than the ones I purchased that day. There is some actual science behind that. McGee might have something on it.
I also agree but I also find it's a temperature issue as well. I find eggs peel the easiest after sitting in an ice bath for five minutes after coming out of the pot.
Something I've tried is adding baking soda to the cooking water when boiling eggs. I haven't done a comparative test, but it definitely seemed to help last time I made boiled eggs.
I've been waiting to see the technique I use -- probably the way my mother did it. Roll the hard boiled egg around to crackle the shell. Then, if the egg is cooked right and not too fresh (as above), I start at the end where there's a hollow space, and the shell usually comes off easily.
And for soft boiled eggs is there a best way. I like to use soft boiled eggs in salads, but it is so difficult to peel them cleanly. I have tried most of the techniques mentioned above, and using the ice bath I get about half the eggs peeled nicely.
I roll the hard boiled eggs on the counter to crack the shell all around. Then I take a long handled tea spoon and slip the spoon (bowl first) under the shell at the large end. The spoon will lift the shell all around and come off cleanly. Works every time for me.
Chris is a trusted source on General Cooking
As innoabrd said, the key is that the eggs can't be extremely fresh. When eggs are too fresh, the membrane sticks tightly to the shell, and they are hard to peel, even under running water. As they age, the membrane pulls away from the shell, and then all the methods everyone has described work fine.
My dad has taught me that adding a teaspoon of salt to the boiling water makes the eggs easier to peel. A small amount of the salt seeps through the eggshell's pores and "compacts" it slightly during the cooking process. I guess it makes up for aging in a way.
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