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Hard-Boiled Eggs... Getting On My Nerves!

I buy the eggs at the store, leave them upside down in the carton at room temp for 2 days (Discussion about this method earier this year--tried 2 days instead of 1 this time.).

Then, I prepare them per Shirley Corriher... The eggs are gorgeous--no gray around the yoke--perfect!

Problem: They are still impossible to peel--HELP!!!

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  1. Here's what works for me: As soon as the eggs are finished, I pour off the boiling water, then I dump ice cubes + cold tap water over the eggs while they're still in the pot. Then I take the eggs and rap them all over against the sink so that the shell is cracked all over. Finally, I peel them under running cold water. *Usually* the peel slides right off. But some eggs are just recalcitrant!
    I wonder if anyone has a completely foolproof method?

    3 Replies
    1. re: fauchon

      After drainning the simmered, not boiled eggs, I put the pan lid back on and shake the pan vigorously to crack the eggs all over. Then cover with ice and water and allow to stand about 10 miinutes. I peel under running cold water and put them back into the ice water as soon as they are peeled to chill thoroughly

      1. re: Candy

        Yep...this works! The fresher the egg...the harder to peel.

        1. re: melly

          This method will work even with FRESH eggs?

    2. I agree that the ice cube/cold h20 method is helpful, but I think time is really the only foolproof method. Give 'em a couple days, they'll peel right off.

      1. I thought the trick was using old eggs??

        3 Replies
        1. re: yayadave

          Agreed. At least one week. Leave in the fridge, then do the rest as you would. Old eggs always peels easily.

          1. re: OnceUponABite

            I guess the theory of leaving them at room temp for a day wasn't enough time to "age" them (took it to two days--guess it still wasn't enough time.).

            1. re: Funwithfood

              You aged them just fine. Peeling is another story. I concur with the posters who have suggested that once you've cooked the eggs to perfection, run the pot (and the eggs) under cold water until they cool down, then break the eggs and leave them under water for a minute or two. Eggs which have been hard-cooked, and then cracked and allowed to sit in water, even for a brief time, are much easier to peel.

        2. I thought the trick was to peel them under water.


          1. As someone who has eaten 2 hard-boiled eggs every day for over a year now, I can tell you that it comes down to two types of eggs....those that WANT to be peeled and those that don't. All the tricks might make a difference but none are foolproof.

            2 Replies
              1. re: JaneRI

                Agree. I feed my dogs boiled eggs (along with other things), and so I peel quite a few myself. Some seem to have a defective, very thick and non-detachable membrane. When you get one of those, there's no help for it. It seems that more expensive eggs peel better. I buy organic eggs for myself, and I have never once had that problem with them. For the dogs I buy less expensive eggs in larger quantities. Sometimes I get a good batch, sometimes I get a bad batch. I have a theory that boiling them right side up helps, but not sure yet.

                I should add that when peeling, if the membrane doesn't break on its own, I break it with my nail and peel it away with the shell. As mentioned above though, sometimes this simply isn't possible and that is when it all goes to hell.

              2. Age your eggs-- it helps.

                1. The flat side of the egg (as opposed to the pointed end) has a little air bubble. I find that a good place to start peeling (after doing the crack n' roll to break the shell all over) because it means you're less likely to accidentally jam some shell into the egg. From then on as long as you pull away from the egg and never push into it, you should be ok.

                  1. For hard-boiled eggs, I'd recommend eggs that are ~2 weeks old.

                    1. while on atkins i did two dozen hard boiled eggs a week and they were always fresh. i too took the eggs immediately after boiling and ran them under cold water and while they were still "hot" cracked them all over in the sink but found that starting at the fatter end gave me 22-23 easy eggs and only 1-2 shell-stickers.

                      1. I think the trick to getting the shells to peel easily is to get some fluid (in this case water) between the shell and the egg sack covering the egg itself. By using older eggs (some dehydration/shrinkage is involved), quickly cooling the eggs(shrinkage again, away from the shell) and cracking (to get moisture in under the shell) you can get that 'lubricant' in and though I know knaught about physics, it seems to me that there's hydrolics involved in the moisture "pushing" the shell and egg sack apart. Ice water bath seems to do it for me most reliably.

                        Done right, and this seems to be hit or miss as Jane RI says, the shells separate quite willingly from the shell IF that moisture is fully distributed between the shell and sack. If the sack had not separated evenly, you get peel-resistant eggs.

                        I subscribe to the Julia method for cooking, which is to bring water to boil, add eggs, return to boil, remove pan from heat, cover for 15 minutes, then proceed with icing and cracking.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: toodie jane

                          Hey, toodie jane! I was just today thinking that I hadn't noticed your posts lately.

                          Re: the Julia method. One thing I heard was to put the eggs in cold water and then start to heat them. This keeps the eggs from cracking when they hit the boiling water. Using this method, you bring them to a boil, then cover them and turn the heat off and let them steep for 11 minutes, then shock them.

                        2. I always add a shot of vinegar to my water, and use old eggs -- I never have a problem peeling them.

                          1. I puzzled over this for a long time, as I had the same
                            experience. I was buying fresh eggs at the farmer's market,
                            cooking them perfectly, and then having a really tough time
                            peeling them.

                            It happened that my wife and I were at a state fair in the
                            mid-west one summer, and were talking with a chicken farmer,
                            who explained the problem: Our eggs were too fresh. If
                            you want hard boiled eggs that are easy to peel, you should
                            let them sit a couple of weeks in the fridge.

                            Egg shells are porous, and over time the egg white will
                            evaporate through the shell. Older eggs have had some of
                            their egg white mass evaporate, hence they do not cling
                            to the shell as much.

                            As a side note, the same principle enables you to tell how
                            old an egg is. If you submerge eggs in water, the amount
                            of air within the shell will cause one side to rise. Thus,
                            you can tell relatively how old one egg is versus the
                            other, by how vertical it is at the bottom of a pot
                            of water.


                            1. We have a small flock of "City Hens" in our backyard her in Austin, TX and get lots of fresh eggs. Hardboiling and peeling was a disaster until another hen owner told us the trick: Instead of boiling, STEAM the eggs in a steamer basket for 30 mins. Then shock the eggs in a bowl of tap water with lots of ice cubes (we use a whole tray). The eggs are easy to peel after that. It works.

                              1. For those who cook their hard boiled eggs the night before, and
                                have them for breakfast/lunch the next day (Not everyone eats their hardboiled eggs on the spot!!)

                                Just run them under hot water or sit them in a bowl of hot water for a few minutes, and they come right off. It's the whole heat expands things law of physics...

                                1. What's ageing eggs all about? Is it only about peeling them? My friend and I were confused as to why they don't refrigerate their eggs in the supermarkets in London. We thought it seems unsafe. Just curious.

                                  1. One other trick is to heavy salt the water you boil in. We use fresh laid eggs, and never have peeling issues.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: mattrapp

                                      I agree I use salt in my water and never had a problem.

                                    2. Once eggs are done,flush with running tap water 30 seconds.
                                      Place egg on it's side on your bench top.Place your palm flat on the egg softly and gently start rolling the egg from your palm to your finger tips and back again.Continue doing this softly adding pressure to the egg until egg shell is completely crushed but its contents still intact.The shell should come off reasonably easy.

                                      1. Are you starting the eggs in cold water? I always bring the water to a simmer, then add the eggs (carefully), simmer for about 13 minutes. I never get gray yolks, and never had a problem peeling them. Shells always come right off.

                                        1. I use the Julia method as somewhat confused above:

                                          eggs in cold water
                                          over HIGH heat water to a boil
                                          keep an eye on the eggs-once they START boiling quickly cover and REMOVE from heat for 12min.

                                          immediately, place eggs in running cold water(or, ice water I suppose) for several minutes- until cool to the touch

                                          refrigerate eggs, or if peeling that moment:

                                          tap lightly all over with a spoon to crack the shell, gently roll egg between palms to loosen up the shell, delicately pry shell and membrane from egg under running water

                                          the method's pretty near infallible: young eggs are more difficult to peel vs. older eggs

                                          I virtually never get green or grey sulphurous yolks with the above method.

                                          1. Your eggs are too fresh.

                                            Buy older eggs.

                                            1. I've seen my Mum peeling boiled eggs at lightening speed.

                                              After they are boiled, she lets them cool off in cold water. Then she cracks them and rolls them on the draining board so that they are cracked all over.
                                              The smart part is that she slides a teaspoon just under the shell, loosens the shell away from the egg, and the shell just sort of slides off.


                                              Just don't tell my Mum I said so.


                                              1. Is ageing American eggs outside of the fridge safe? I was under the impression that the processing that store-bought American eggs go through leaves their shells porous to bacteria, and thus unfit for warm storage. They don't have this problem in Europe, of course.

                                                1. As to the safety of unrefrigerated egg storage, I worked in Alaska in the fishing industry for about 22 years and at the beginning of the salmon season, we'd buy many cases of eggs to last the season which spanned several months. We'd always keep them on deck, covered with a tarp and never had a problem with them. This was in the Summer months and even though the temp. was cool (70s) most of the time, it would occasionally get into the 80s. It seems that the only place you find eggs in the refrigerated section of the grocery store is here in the U.S. and Canada. Not so in Europe, Asia, Central or South America. I've never been to Africa so I can't say for certain about there. Although I've been to Australia, I didn't do any grocery shopping so I don't know if they refrigerate eggs there or not.

                                                  Also, I read that when peeling hard boiled eggs, after cooking and shocking them in ice water, if you start at the blunt end and use your thumb to peel them instead of your fingers, that helps to ensure an intact finished product.
                                                  Hope this helps.

                                                  1. I've cooked eggs perfectly, then chilled them and later observed gray perimeters around the yolks. It appears as though chilling hard boiled eggs causes the dreaded gray circle...?