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Mar 31, 2008 02:06 PM

Perfect hard boiled eggs

One of my pet peeves is having a hard boiled egg that has green on the yolk. I would almost prefer to have the yolk under done rather than over done. I use to know how to do this, but have lost the piece of paper with the method. I think you put the eggs in the pot, cover with water, bring to boil and take off burner. But what amount of time do you leave them in for. Last time I did it, it was a bust. Can someone help, please?

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  1. I put the eggs in cold water - covered by about an inch of water, bring to a boil, remove from heat, cover for 12 minutes, then submerge in cold water.

    9 Replies
    1. re: MMRuth

      I do the same thing, except turn the heat off, leave the pot on the heat, covered, for only 10 minutes. *shrug*

      1. re: afoodyear

        The time I use does depend on what I'm using the eggs for - for eggs for egg salad or devilled eggs, I use 12 - for hard boiled egg halves for a salad, I would probably also use 10 minutes.

        1. re: afoodyear

          how long in the cold water before you peel? are they peeled warm or cold or very cold or hot or?

          1. re: iL Divo

            I pour off the hot water and shake the pan so that the egg shells crack against each other. then I put cold water in and some ice for 5 minutes then peel. I put the eggsin a plastic container under water.

        2. re: MMRuth

          So, 12 minutes for a large egg right? Or maybe 11. Do you bring it to a boil over high heat or med-high? I seem to remember something about not using high heat, but I could be wrong.

          1. re: danhole

            I use high heat, but the minute I see bubbles, I take the pot off and cover. I'd suggest experimenting w/ the minutes to see how the yolks turn out in terms of what you want. Also, at the end of the day, some eggs just do "behave" differently.

          2. re: MMRuth

            how long in the cold water before peeling tho?

            1. re: iL Divo

              You should be able to peel right away, as soon as they feel coolish. Roll in the sink to crack and then it should pop right off. One trick is to use your oldest eggs for hard boiled, the newer ones don't peel too well.

              1. re: coll

                Yes, I also use old eggs when possible. A trick I learned, maybe here, is if you only have newer eggs, place them upside down (smaller end) and leave them on the counter overnight.

                For me, the ice water time varies, and sometimes I just put the boiled eggs in the fridge, other times I need to peel them right away. I do peel them under running cold water usually.

          3. I do exactly what MMRuth does. I believe 12 minutes is also the amount of time Cook's Illustrated recommends.

            14 Replies
              1. re: kalenasmith

                I think 15 minutes is too long for a large egg.

                1. re: MMRuth

                  I agree, I think the egg board is probably going overboard to make sure that there's no way the egg could be undercooked. Like the suggested meat temperatures the government recommends.

                  1. re: farmersdaughter

                    Also from the AEB:
                    Sometimes there is a greenish ring around hard-cooked egg yolks. It is the result of sulfur and iron compounds in the egg reacting at the surface of the yolk. It may occur when eggs are overcooked or when there is a high amount of iron in the cooking water. Although the color may be a bit unappealing, the eggs are still wholesome and nutritious and their flavor is unaffected. Greenish yolks can best be avoided by using the proper cooking time and temperature and by rapidly cooling the cooked eggs.

                    Occasionally several concentric green rings may be seen in hard-cooked egg yolks. A yolk develops within the hen in rings. Iron in the hen's feed or water as the rings are formed may cause this coloring.
                    Sorry guys, can't help myself....hubby is in the egg business. :)

                    1. re: kalenasmith

                      thats right, the green ring effect is caused by sulfur. What you can do to avoid this, is take a pin and prick a small hole on the bottom of the egg. There is an air pocket on the bottom of every egg. If you poke a very small hole and be very careful not to prick to deep to pierce the inner membrane (which would cause the egg to shoot out the hole in a stream), when you boil the egg, the sulfur and excess air will be forced out of the hole and voila, no more green membrane.

                      1. re: pandadero

                        Pricking the shells is helpful in letting air escape (and thus preventing cracks), but the sulfur in in the yolk. If you overcook a priced egg, it'll still develop a green ring around the yolk.

                      2. re: kalenasmith

                        well no apology needed, you and hubby helped me understand it more, thank you

                      3. re: farmersdaughter

                        But if people eat soft boiled eggs then why would it matter if it is undercooked?

                        1. re: pamd

                          The egg board sticks its fingers in its ears and shouts "LA LA LA" when people talk about soft cooked eggs. ;)

                          1. re: Morganna

                            I have a question...I have heard that the bacteria is actually on the outside of the shell (due to chicken feces) and the contamination comes when the shell is broken and comes into contact with the egg's interior contents. Therefore, if the egg is fully cooked any contamination will be eliminated.

                            If that's correct, wouldn't soft-boiling an egg take care of the contamination, even if the yolk is still soft? Wouldn't the boiling water take care of any bacteria?

                            1. re: rweater

                              If you poke around on the internet, you'll find that the instances of individuals being made ill by eggs is incredibly low. Yes, it's true that the outside of the egg, if washed off, and the egg has no cracks to allow in the contamination, should be just fine. So long as your eggs come from healthy flocks, not cooking them "fully" (to the temp recommended by the USDA) is a minimal risk to a normally healthy human adult. The risks increase a bit for children, the elderly, or others with compromised immune systems. I don't have the figures handy, but food borne illness from eggs is a lot less prevalent than it is from poorly handled turkey and cross contamination (as in people not keeping their not yet cooked foods away from the foods they'll be serving raw or mostly raw).

                              I always prefer researching this stuff myself so I can make intelligent decisions regarding the risks I'm willing to take for my own food consumption. I have no problem eating runny eggs. :D

                        2. re: farmersdaughter

                          yep, agree with that statement because the egg board has to cover their bums so to speak about the possibility of anyone getting sick, yea, the timing is wrong, you're bound to get green/blue ring if that long

                          1. re: iL Divo

                            Actually, according to the CDC website (google) contamination today usually occurs from bacteria in the hens' ovaries and the contamination occurs before the shell is produced. Certainly external contamination can occur but it is not the most common. This is an old thread and I do not want to get into the political, etc. discussion of the "real" risk of salmonella from clean, well -cared for hens who can run around. Only point is that contamination is not usually external to the shell.

                      4. re: kalenasmith

                        thanks Kalena for that link.
                        Jeffrey Saad didn't mention how long to leave the eggs in the cold water either.
                        his time was a bit different also for the sized eggs you're using, like I can ever remember if they're mediuim or large or ex lrg.
                        also I wonder if his first or second attempt always turned out or if the actual peeling on that video was a switch out..........

                    2. What I've always done, even though it appears to be heresy, is once the water boils, to place the eggs in the boiling water and keeping it over the heat for 11 minutes. For what it's worth, it's the method that Jacques Pepin uses (or at least cites in his autobiography), which I didn't realize until I read his book last summer. I've never had a problem with green-rimmed yolks.

                      I've tried the off-the-heat method, and for whatever reason it's never worked for me.

                      7 Replies
                      1. re: jacinthe

                        So place the eggs, cold, into the boiling water? Any time I've ever tried this, the eggs have cracked horribly.

                        I put the eggs in the pot w/about 1/2 in. water to cover, bring to low boil over medium heat. Once low boil is happening, I cover the pot, take it off the heat, and let them sit for 10 min. This is for large eggs . . . I'd go 11 min. w/an extra-large egg . . . .

                        1. re: gansu girl

                          When I make soft boiled eggs, i try to use room temp eggs, and I do put them into boiling water for only five minutes. They don't crack, but cold right from the fridge eggs seem do for me, as well.

                          1. re: gansu girl

                            I've rarely had a problem with cracking eggs - but, I do use a wooden spoon to gently slide the eggs, straight from the fridge, into the water.

                            1. re: gansu girl

                              Since this thread has been revived, I'll point out that Jacques Pepin says to avoid cracking, puncture the large end with a thumbtack before putting the cold egg into boiling water. At first I missed the boiling part and did it with cold eggs going into cold water - and got LOTS of cracking, many times. Once I realized he meant boiling water, the eggs remained intact. He also says that to prevent the green ring, don't overcook, and DO roll the eggs around in the empty pan after pouring off the boiling water, so that the shells are cracked before going into the cold water. He says the sulfur will move toward the cold, so the cracking allows it to escape. Contrary to what pandadero writes, I do get green rings with pricked eggs if I skip the cracking part.

                              I think the 12 minutes is a sound interval, but not foolproof. For one thing, nobody mentions the amount of water or number of eggs. The temp of a 2qts of water will drop faster than that of 4 qts. Put 8 cold eggs in that 2 qts of boiling water and it will take a bit longer than if you do 1 or 2 eggs in the same amount.

                              1. re: greygarious

                                I watched jacques pepin do a live demonstration on all different ways of cooking eggs. Im not sure which one of his books you are reading but when I saw him, he recommended boiling the water, adding the pricked egg, turning off the heat and letting the eggs sit in the water for 9-12 minutes, depending how soft you like the yolks.

                                I did forget to mention the egg cracking. He basically drained the hot water and shook the eggs around in the empty pot until the shells cracked. He said at the time that it was merely to help the shells pull away from the egg for peeling once the cold water is added, but I suppose it could also aid in releasing the sulfur. I've never had any problems with green ringed eggs with this method.

                                You're definitely right about the amount of water and eggs. It is really important. Too many cold eggs will definitely drop the temperature significantly. When I saw Jacques Pepin do it, he was using a 2 quart saucepan and 2 eggs. If you are turning off the heat, you want a fair amount of water so the eggs dont drop the temp of the water too much. If you're arent sure, you can just pop a thermometer in the water and adjust the heat source accordingly.

                                1. re: pandadero

                                  The info I cited was from one of his TV shows, and is the same as what you reported, so I think you misread my post.

                            2. re: jacinthe

                              thanks jacinthe, when I get home in a few days from work, I'll stop by TJ's on the way and pick a couple dozen eggs and try the methods mentioned here. the eggs will get eaten in one way or another I'm not worried about wasting eggs.......................did he say anything about cold water bath and how long to leave in there before peeling?

                            3. I like Alton Brown's method, which calls for steaming the eggs rather than boiling them. His argument is that boiling is a violent environment which can cause cracking. Put a steamer basket in a pot with water in it, bring the water to a simmer, add the eggs and steam for 14 minutes. Give them a 5 minute rest in an ice bath and they're ready to be peeled.

                              Here's a question--does the age of the egg have anything to do with the likelihood of getting a green-tinged yolk? I have a feeling that using fresh eggs is key to avoiding the unpleasant color and odor.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Velda Mae

                                Yes, I understand that the green show age. Eeeeuuuu! Farm fresh never have the evil green ring. Ring around the yolk!

                              2. Of course, Harold McGee goes into great detail in On Food and Cooking.
                                I've used the bubble-less simmer method and have been very successful.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: GilbyEast

                                  very intersting, but I tossed my steamers out years ago when the fad seemed to lift and I'd be hard pressed to keep a thermometer handy for dousing in the gently boiling water too, so not sure about that persons feasibility