How to Hard Boil an Egg

In the past, I’ve always felt like its a crap shoot when I try to hard boil eggs.  How long should I cook them?  Do I boil the water first and then add the eggs, or add the cold eggs to cold water at the start?  Are there any tricks that will make them easier to peel?

As I usually do when I have a question like this, I turned to Google, and found a set of simple directions that worked beautifully for me.  I am reposting the directions here, but you can find the original at

  1. Sort the eggs. Place them in a bowl of salt water—if the egg floats it has gone bad and should be discarded. Place the fresh eggs gently in an empty pot. Be sure to do so one by one to avoid breaking the egg. Similarly, do not place more than four layers of eggs in the pot.
    • To prevent cracking of the eggs, place folded cheese cloth on a bottom of a pot (on a table, not a hot stove.)
    • If you accidentally crack an egg, add salt or vinegar to the water. This may help the proteins in the egg white coagulate faster, thus plugging the cracks in the shell.

    Sort the eggs


  2. Fill the pot with enough cold tap water to cover the eggs completely. There should be about 1 inch (3 cm) of water over them. Although it increases cooking time, be sure to use cold water. This will help keep the eggs from overcooking. Likewise, do not place cold eggs in a pot of hot water, the shells will crack immediately and the egg will run. Place the pot on a stove and turn it on. Cook the eggs on medium heat; if boiling is too intense the eggs can jump and break.

    Use Cold Water


  3. Add a pinch of salt to the water. This will make the eggs easier to peel because, as mentioned earlier, the proteins coagulate and firm up, making the white easier to separate from the shell. Eggs that are slightly less fresh are also easier to peel because their higher pH strengthens the membrane. This can be simulated by making the cooking water more alkaline with a half teaspoon of baking soda per quart of water.

    Add a pinch of salt, the eggs will be easier to peel


  4. Put on a lid. Bring the water to the point of boiling over high heat. From here, there are two main schools of thought regarding how to get a perfectly hard boiled egg. The following method assumes you started with cold, refrigerated eggs. See the video below for the other method.

    Put a lid on the pot after the water boils


    As soon as the water boils, turn off the heat, but keep the pot on the warm stove. Do not remove the lid. Leave the eggs in the hot water for ten to fifteen minutes.[3] It is important you do not start the timer until you turn off the heat. Too much time will make the eggs discolored and smelly, while too little time will cause them to be runny.

  5. Stop the cooking process.To see, if the egg is hard boiled, whirl it fast on a table. If it turns fast, it is hard boiled. If it turns slowly, it is soft boiled. Chill the eggs by placing them under cold running water or in a bowl of ice water. After that, immediately remove them from cold water and set aside or store in a refrigerator. Chilling the eggs helps to separate egg shell from the egg. However, this effect is lessened if you leave the eggs in cold water for too long.
  6. Put the eggs in cold water to stop the cooking process


  7. Peel the eggs when they are cool enough to handle. It’s easier to peel them under cold running water. Roll egg on a flat surface to crack the shell slightly prior to peeling. Start peeling from the thick end of the egg. There is a slight indentation under the shell there that will facilitate the peeling process. Once you crack the shell, be sure to grab the membrane directly under the shell as well. Doing so will make peeling will be a lot easier. Some people say that really fresh eggs are harder to peel, so try boiling eggs that you have had for a few days.

    Try peeling the eggs under cool, running water

One comment

  1. Jeff (Shirley Husband) says:

    My wife Shirley and I place the number of eggs desired in a pan of cold water and set the timer for 20 minutes
    then you will have a perfectly cooked eggs.

    Here’s the breakdown 10 minutes to heat the water, then 10 minutes to cook them.

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