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Apr 3, 2007 10:20 PM

Hard Boiled Eggs

My wife & I have tried just about every method known. We still can't perfect this simple culinary task. Any suggestions? Do the type of eggs matter? Tap vs. filtered water? Does the pot matter?
For the record, we buy XLarge (Vegetarian Fed) Brown Eggs from Trader Joes.

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  1. I'm not sure what your problem is, but often times the best hard boiled eggs result from older eggs, not fresher.

    I boil water (tap), add my eggs, put on the lid, take off of heat, then let sit for 15 minutes. Never a problem, and as I said, peeling is easiest with the older ones...

    2 Replies
    1. re: Emme

      The air sac at one end of the egg gets larger as the egg gets older. Perhaps this is why they are easier to peel.

      1. re: sweetie

        Ya learn something every day! Thanks sweetie!

    2. Here's what you do-
      Put your eggs (cold, straight from the fridge) in a pot and fill with cold water from the tap.
      Bring to a boil uncovered, then turn the flame off. Cover and let sit for 10 minutes. Peel + enjoy.

      This will give you lovely bright yellow yolks, every time.

      25 Replies
      1. re: sueshungry

        Just a coupla tweaks to this, Bring pot with eggs to boil. Take off heat, COVER pot and let sit 17 minutes, Use a timer. Plunge eggs into icy water and peel.

        1. re: maria lorraine

          Maria Lorraine,this is my method, too...also, for easier peeling because I am all thumbs, I gently "Crack" the eggshells before the cold water plunge. It makes them easier to peel, I find. Usually works perfectly, with nicely done yellow (not discolored) yolks.

          1. re: thegolferbitch

            Totally agree and it is most important that you NEVER boil an egg

            1. re: Candy

              Why? Hasn't been any problem for my hard boiled eggs.

              1. re: LindaWhit

                When you cook an egg, hard or at a high temperature it toughens the white. If you bake an egg baked custard pie, like lemon meringue at too high a temperature you will get something called synuresis, in other words weepiness and a wet pie. Unless you are making an omlette which wants to be cooked hot an d fast, low gentle temperatures are the way to go. The whites are tender the yolks will be creamy but firm.

                Have you ever tried the French method of scrambling eggs in a double boiler over simmering water? It takes a good half hour to prepare but they are the creamiest most delicious custardy scrambled eggs ever.

                1. re: Candy

                  Thanks C.

                  Will give the french method a whirl this weekend.

                  1. re: jfood

                    Be really patient and stir and stir and stir. The reward will be worth it. Usew some good butter in there too.

                  2. re: Candy

                    I haven't prepared scrambled eggs the "French way" - only because I'm usually way too hungry to wait!

                    And if you're cutting up the hard boiled egg for egg salad into small bits, I'm still not seeing the "tender white" reasoning. The whites hold together, and the yolks are firm, but not runny, when I cook hard-boiled eggs my way.

                  3. re: LindaWhit

                    Also, egg yolks tend to get discolored when you boil them, and the discoloration is a sulfur compound, which gives some hardboiled eggs that funky smell and taste.

                    The method described by sueshungry above is an excellent method and will avoid this.

                    1. re: Mr. Cookie

                      Interestingly, the Boston Globe's Food section yesterday (4/4/07) just had a whole article and recipes on hard-cooked/soft-cooked eggs.


                      Lots of links at the bottom of the page for more info as well.

                  4. re: Candy

                    I'm with LW, why not. I've been boiling them for 30 years (well not the same batch) and they never have a problem.

                    1. re: jfood

                      If it's good enough for jfood and Mrs. jfood, it's definitely good enough for me! :-)

                      1. re: LindaWhit

                        Thanks LW. Here's my secret to egg salad. I am a purist and only add Hellman's and S&P. But there was a problem I could not put my finger on. Then the Jfoods are with friends in Amagansett and doing a little shopping. The wife knows i like kitchen gadgets and pointed to that egg cutting thing. I thought it silly but could not figure out why. Then the lightbulb went off.

                        My normal method was de-shell, throw the whites and yolks in a bowl, hellman's S&P and mix. The whites got desroyed. So I split the task. I placed all the yolks in a bowl and mixed in the Hellmans and the s&p to a wonderful creamy sauce. Then I "diced" the whites to give them a texture that I could feel on the tongue. Lastly I folded the diced whites into the yolk mixture. This gave me the flavor I love, the creminess of the yolks and the firm texture of the white.

                        BTW, how unfortunate it was that Mrs Jfood made too many hard boiled eggs for Passover (I love that woman) and when I got home from work last night I had egg salad on Matzah. What a great app. :-))

                        1. re: jfood

                          I use the egg slicer as well - Slice 'em lengthwise, hold all the slices together as I remove the egg from the slicer, and then put it back on and dice them horizontally - so I get little squares/rectangles of egg white. But I do it to the whole egg - so the yolks get a bit chopped.

                          Then a gentle fold with *just enough* Cain's or Hellman's mayo, definitely S/P, and sometimes finely diced celery, with other seasonings to whatever whim I might be having. (Sandwich Sprinkle from Penzey's is always nice!)

                          And Mrs. jfood must love you as much as you love her, to make too many hard-boiled eggs. Nice coinky-dink and lucky you! :-)

                          1. re: LindaWhit

                            see now i love the rustic mismatched chunks of egg. funny how we're all so different, kind of a good thing me thinks. :)

                            1. re: lollya

                              I very much agree with you lollya! Otherwise, we could just eat a pill that would fill us up and be done with it. :-)

                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                I use my pastry blender for egg salad.

                                I like the idea of separating the yolks from the whites and adding the dressing to the yolks.

                                1. re: mamaciita

                                  Pastry blender is fun for chunks. I've also had some fun results with using the big holes on the grater for both egg and dill pickle.

                2. re: maria lorraine

                  agree with this method completely, but i've been reducing the steep time. am down to about 8 minutes and the yolks are very fluffy.

                  1. re: hotoynoodle

                    Agree - though I'm about at 12 minutes - will try reducing it some more!

                    1. re: MMRuth

                      I do 6 minutes, then drain and put in cold water. That works as well. After you drain them from the cold water (I let the cold water run over them for a minute), shake the pot so they bump into each other, which starts the cracking of the eggs.

                    2. re: maria lorraine

                      And my differentiation is bring eggs to boil from cold water, set timer and soft-boil for 10 minutes, then remove from heat and submerge the eggs in cold water until able to peel them.

                      Agree with the slightly older eggs as easier to peel.

                      1. re: maria lorraine

                        this is julia child's HB egg recipe...after trying it out, it became my standard as well...crack eggs and peel from the rounder end first, under running water...try to get under that thin membrane for ease...for deviled/stuffed egg recipes, i make a hole in the egg prior to cooking using a push-pin type thumb tack...for some reason the yolks come out in the center of the egg

                        bon appetit!


                        1. re: kleinfortlee

                          Does the white not seep out of the little hole when you cook the eggs?

                    3. What is the problem? Can't get them hard? too hard to peel? color of the yoke? cracking?

                      Old eggs peel easier.
                      A small hole in the shell can reduce cracking. Letting the eggs warm up before putting them in hot water may also help.
                      Discolored yoke is a sign of overcooking and/or too high heat. Cool them right away.

                      I buy the least expensive XLarge eggs at TJ. I tend to cook the last eggs in a box, right after getting a new one.


                      1. It seems as though there are various paths to get to the finish line regarding the creation of hard boiled eggs, but I feel that one thing needs to be stated regarding the handling of eggs after they are finished being cooked, and it is essential to facilitating the peeling off of the shells.

                        Once the eggs are cooked, either submerge them in cold water that hopefully also contains ice cubes, and let them sit there for a few minutes. I don't make ice cubes in the colder season, so I just let them sit in a sauce pan of cold water for about five minutes. It is amazing how easy the shells just separate from the egg. Shirley Corriher, the food scientist guru, I'm sure, could explain the chemical reason for this process.

                        I have found that if I don't let the eggs cool off enough, the shells stick to the whites, and as I am pulling off the shell, I wind up pulling off some of the whites.

                        Even though the eggs are sitting in a bath of cold water, the egg itself still stays warm.

                        There may be some other way to separate the shell from the egg easily without the cold water bath, but I find that with patience, this method works every time.

                        Also, if you overcook the eggs, you will find various colors forming around the edge of the yellow yolk (green?). I think Shirley Corriher mentioned somthing about the buildup of sulfuric acid in the process. She goes into detail about the chemistry of this process.

                        1. I always poke a tiny hole in each end before cooking.