Few things bring me as much kitchen frustration as a badly boiled egg. They can go wrong in more ways than one, but by far the worst is the egg that states that it is perfectly happy living in the shell, and will fight tooth and nail to keep from parting ways with its thin, crackly home. The end result of that situation is an ugly, pock-marked egg that took two hours to get the shell bits off. Those eggs are salvageable, except for those two hours you’ll never get back, if the goal was egg salad, since you can relieve your frustrations by chopping the little jerk up. If, however, you were planning on serving deviled eggs, it’s all over. Despite perhaps being the world’s most perfect food, there’s something depressing about a deviled egg that looks like the surface of the moon.
I’ve tried all the “tricks” for boiling eggs. Putting them in the water at different times, baking soda, ice baths. The results have varied wildly. Thankfully, all the experimentation has led me to my own foolproof method, which I discovered, of course, on accident.
Perfectly Boiled Eggs
- Fill a saucepan with 1 1/2” of water. Cover. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
- Gently add the eggs one at a time with a slotted or wire spoon. If they bounce off the bottom of the pot they may crack, so try to roll them off the spoon into the water. If one does crack, just continue to cook it. It will make a mess in the water, but will still be usable for egg salad or a snack.
- Partially cover the pot with the lid, leaving an opening for the steam.
- Set the timer! Ten minutes is perfect for snack eggs, egg salad, and deviled eggs. Much longer will be too much. The giveaway of an over cooked egg is the gray ring around the yolk. Five minutes is perfect for a nice runny yolk to feed to babies.
- When the timer goes off, move the pot from the stove to the sink. Tip the boiling water out while rinsing the eggs with cold water. Rinse just long enough to cool the eggs enough to handle.
- Here’s the magic step: Peel the eggs while they are still warm. Tap the side of the egg just once or twice. Pull off a few small pieces of shell with the side of your thumb so you have access to the thin membrane that lies between the egg and the shell. Pinch the membrane to tear it, then use the side of your thumb again to peel off the remainder of the membrane and shell together. (Caution! Did one of your eggs crack in Step 2? This egg will probably have a pocket of boiling hot water inside the shell. Drain carefully before peeling!)
- Voila! You should now have a lovely spread of perfectly peeled eggs ready for snacks, salads, and deviling!