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Hard boiled eggs

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  • Kevin in SF Dec 9, 2004 02:45 PM
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What's the deal with hard boiled eggs when you try to peel one and the egg shell is stuck to the egg? Does that mean it's over cooked or sat around too long?

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  1. I find that egg shell sticking occurs when one doesn't cook the eggs long enough (although you are talking about hard boiled eggs and not soft boiled, which is what I usually make).

    1. A hard boiled egg that is difficult to peel may be due to one of two reasons (that I know of). 1) Egg was cooked at too of high heat, i.e., boiling water. 2) Egg was too fresh.

      1. Shells tend to stick when eggs are very fresh. To peel well you need eggs that are a little older so either plan ahead or choose eggs that have the soonest sell by date.

        Do not boil your eggs. Put them in a pot with cold water to cover. Add a dash ov vinegar. This keeps the egg white from threading all over if you have a cracked egg. Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce the heat to the lowest setting and set your timer for 15 minutes. When the time is up drain off the water, cover the pot and give it a good shake to crack the shells. Then cover the eggs with ice and cold water to stop the cooking quickly. In about 20 minutes they should be cool enough to peel easily. This method will produce a tender white and no green ring around the yolk. The yolk will be creamy and smooth.

        10 Replies
        1. re: Candy

          In my experience, the size of the egg influences the time. XL is 18 minutes, L is 17 minutes in my home, but off the electric burner.

          Before putting the eggs in cold water, insert a pin in the round (vs. pointed) end of the egg, I use a push pin, just through the shell. This helps prevent the egg shell from cracking due to pressure buildup while cooking.

          1. re: Alan408

            I use large eggs and a gas range. 15 mins. is just about perfect. I've never bothered to do the push pin thing,I know it works but I've rarely had an egg crack from too much internal pressure.

            1. re: Alan408

              The push pin technique in the round end before cooking also makes the egg rounder when cooked because the air pressure there is then released. It's not just for safeguarding any cracking.

            2. re: Candy

              >>"Immediately reduce the heat to the lowest setting and set your timer for 15 minutes."

              I would turn the heat off completely. But then again I like my egg yolks creamy in the middle.

              If I put the eggs in simmering water, I'll let it go for 10 minutes tops in simmering water. (But this is not the preferred method.) Then proceed as usual: crack the eggs in cold water.

              1. re: mod'ern

                I like my firm cooked eggs with a firm (that is non-runny) *orange* yolk, and a tender but firm white. Medium-boiled, as it were. Put the eggs in cold water, bring to a boil and turn the heat off; remove after 8.5 to 9 minutes and put in very cold water.

              2. re: Candy

                when you say smooth and creamy, I assume you mean with a set, but not dry, yolk. How long for a soft-boiled egg, i.e. perfect for dipping toast soldiers in?

                1. re: jsmithson

                  Start with eggs at room temperature, that is important.

                  Use enough water in a sauce pan to cover the eggs by ~1". Bring the water to a simmer, add room temperature eggs, simmer for 1 minute. Remove from heat. And depending on how close to the equator you are: let set in a covered sauce pan for 4-6 minutes.

                  Or, put your cold eggs in cold water, bring to a boil, and boil for 3 minutes. AKA 3 minute egg.

                  1. re: Alan408

                    Thanks - How does the equator change things? do people on the equator have to cook their eggs for longer, or shorter, than people closer to the poles?

                    1. re: jsmithson

                      The equator reference was an attempt at a joke.

                    2. re: Alan408

                      >>"And depending on how close to the equator you are: let set in a covered sauce pan for 4-6 minutes."

                      Equator? No chance that that would have any meaningful effect on the science of cooking. Perhaps you were thinking "sea level".

                2. It might be the cooling down method too, it really helps to cool them instantly in a bowl of ice water.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: coll

                    This works for me. Drain out the hot water, submerge eggs in very cold water for about 10 minutes to form a "jacket of steam" between the egg and shell. Then peel under running water to wash away the eggshell rubble.

                  2. My mother, may she rest in peace, worked for chickens for many years. 1st, we had our own and she concurrently worked in a chick hatchery also for many years. they produced thousands of chicks and eggs. Her belief was that a fresh egg is no good for boiling. The shell and membrane will cause consternation and a pitted/broken egg.

                    1. j
                      jennyantepenultimate

                      If the other suggestions don't work for you or you just don't want to bother changing your cooking method, try peeling the eggs under running water after thoroughly cracking the shell until it is in tiny pieces all around. The water will help you peel by getting under the membrane and preventing the pock-marked look.