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Boiled Egg Frustration - Peeling

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Is there a trick to getting the shell off? Sometimes mine comes off nicely. Other times it tears away a large part of the egg white. I am guilty of using different methods to boil eggs (i.e. boil then shock, bring to boil then let sit for a while, etc) but have not scientifically attempted to determine which of these methods results in an easy to peel egg. Please help!

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  1. Use older eggs - the white shrinks with time away from the shell. Always start in cold water, bring to a boil, cover, remove from heat and let stand 12-15 depending on desired hardness. Immediately hit with cold water and begin to peel under the faucet. I've rarely had a problem.

    One further tip if making deviled eggs: lay the eggs on their sides for a bit - this will better center the yolks.

    7 Replies
    1. re: alwayscooking

      To make eggs 'older', leave out on the counter overnight.

      1. re: alwayscooking

        Now that's a slick idea; never thought of.

        1. re: c oliver

          My favourite chowhound tip ever :) Grocery store eggs usually peel well after 12 hours on the counter, but farm-fresh eggs may need even more time out of the fridge. Works like a charm every time!

          1. re: c oliver

            Most of the world does not refrigerate their eggs. When we are on our boat the eggs are on the counter (unless is is hot) - but that is just me - most people leave them out. Some oil them. But think of it, that egg is mighty warm when you snatch it from beneath your hen. And yet still edible.

        2. re: alwayscooking

          this is to alwayscooking...........
          when do I lay them on their sides? before cooking, after, surely not during

          1. re: iL Divo

            I've read that spinning them raw, right before cooking, centers the yolks too. If memory serves, Cooks Illustrated once said to refrigerate the container on its side overnight to center the yolks before cooking.

            1. re: greygarious

              wow spinning them raw before cooking centers the eggs? < who knew? that's amazing if it works. you mean the cardboard container that the eggs come in to lay that on it's side? and then what? < > hard boil now?

        3. I find it's easiest to peel under cool running water. I usually tap the egg on the counter then peel straight into the sink with the water running

          3 Replies
          1. re: cheesecake17

            I run cold tap water into the pan til it's all cool, add ice cubes, crack the shells all over and let set for 5 minutes. Then peel.

            1. re: c oliver

              i remove the eggs from the pan with a slotted spoon or pour off the water into the sink (keeping the eggs in by covering the pan nearly all the way with the lid), and drop them immediately into a waiting bowl filled with cold water & plenty of ice. i've found it uses less water than running the tap, and cools/shocks the eggs more quickly. plus, as i'm peeling them, if any shells stick, a quick dip/swirl in the ice bath helps with removal.

              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                Good idea re saving water. I do the same with dipping back in the water if they get stubborn.

          2. Have you tried running cold water over the egg just before peeling? Seems to always help for me...others have said that the freshness of the egg is a factor, but for me, that has never mattered.

            8 Replies
            1. re: Val

              i've done comparative experiments (at home and in grad school Food Science classes), and in my experience, age is indeed a factor. really fresh eggs are damn near impossible to peel cleanly no matter what you do - prick with a pin, run under cold water...doesn't matter. older eggs release the shell much more easily.

              this topic has been discussed *at length* here on CH...

              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/344040
              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/429631
              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/314929
              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/289177
              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/542093

              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                Thanks for the comprehensive answer! If I had only suspected the egg thing was giving so many good cooks a run for their money, I would have searched for it before posting.

                1. re: sasha1

                  There was a trick sent in from a reader to Cook's Illustrated that seems to work well if you are not in a hurry and have the time to prepare the eggs beforehand.

                  After removing the eggs from the heat source, draining the hot water and cooling them.....roll them on the counter to crack the shells and return them to a pot or bowl of water. Let them sit in the water for an hour or so in the refrigerator.....the egg shell practically peel themselves.

                  1. re: fourunder

                    I was just about to suggest the roll and crack method. The exception is, however, that I don't soak them in water. If you do a sufficient job of rolling and cracking until you see fine lines all over the egg, the shell slips off quite easily.

                    1. re: LTL

                      I just roll my eggs while pressing down, and the shell comes right off

                      1. re: LTL

                        no LTL they really don't, I did that 3 batches ago, and the mess was everywhere. I followed what someone else said that mentioned doing this too.

                        excuse me for contradicting you, really not my purpose, but this is why I keep coming into these threads to pray I get help with the peeling process that seems to usually elude me.

                        I'm not a young little new cook any longer, I've been doing this all my life. never gave a drop of thought about making hard boiled eggs let alone peeling them, but I don't know why sometimes it works, other times, it doesn't. I always, for years and years, used to put my eggs into hot water to hard boil, my memory is that the eggs used to come off easier, but then, not being 20 anymore my memory may be a bit shifty ;(

                      2. re: fourunder

                        well fourunder, this is one I've not tried, all the other ideas I have and still no luck, but I have time to try this. next time I need to be able to peel eggs, I'll try this. I haven't tried to steam the eggs either in an egg steamer as someone over at another thread suggested. gad, why is this soooooooooooooooo difficult? aaaargh

                      3. re: sasha1

                        happy to help :)

                  2. The longer you wait after making hard boiled eggs the easier it can be to peel. It's usually most difficult right after they've cooled. I usually make them a day ahead of time or in the morning etc. I'm too impatient to wait...so it's easier if I do it and then forget about them. Anyway...good luck.

                    9 Replies
                    1. re: A2hungry

                      Many authorities say that a boiled egg does not last as long in the fridge because boiling removes a protective layer. I have not noticed this, personally. I keep a few boiled eggs in the egg box (marked with felt-tip and turned upside down)

                      And I guess everyone knows how to tell if an egg has been hard-boiled?

                      1. re: Paulustrious

                        "And I guess everyone knows how to tell if an egg has been hard-boiled?"

                        I assume you mean by spinning it? A hard boiled egg spins and a raw one wobbles around.

                        1. re: Sooeygun

                          yup

                        2. re: Paulustrious

                          Crack it over a bowl. If it is hard-boiled, nothing will fall into the bowl.

                          1. re: ozhead

                            too clever . . ..

                          2. re: Paulustrious

                            you're right, back in the day, we just hard boiled eggs for later use, not immediate use. maybe that's why they peeled easier. now I tend to make them when I need them, which was 20 minutes ago.

                            always marked the HBE with a pencil and an X on top of the egg. brings back fun memories, thanks for reminding me................... :)

                          3. re: A2hungry

                            this is kind of in line with what the other person mentioned about making them and sticking them in the frig for a while........as with my comment to them, I'll try this, thanks for help

                            1. re: iL Divo

                              one last thing in case you haven't tried it - *if* you can plan ahead, leave the eggs out on the counter for at least half the day or even overnight...it makes a huge difference.

                              i feel your pain, iL Divo, peeling hard-cooked eggs is my #1 least favorite kitchen task.

                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                o ILY goodhealthgourmet, thank you, I always have time to plan, just as with everyone else probably in here, things are always done last minute, I need to take more time too simply breathe.........hahah

                          4. Peel away a dime sized portion of the shell at the pointed end of the egg. Peel away a quarter sized portion of the shell at the wider end. Hold the pointy end up to your lips, while cupping the egg loosely in your other hand. Blow into the pointy end. The egg will shed its shell & come out into your hand.

                            9 Replies
                            1. re: Rmis32

                              I am SO trying this tomorrow with my daily hard-boileds. I eat them mid-morning at my desk, so whether it works or not it should be an entertaining show for my officemates.

                              1. re: Cebca

                                Cebca, did it work? LOL I've never heard of this method of peeling eggs, and I'm dying to know if it did (or if you just entertained your officemates!)

                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                  Well, I was all set to stun and impress everyone with my grand feats of egg-deshelling, but sadly, this did not work. So instead, I sat at my desk with my cheeks all puffed out, blowing uneventfully into a mostly-shelled egg. The instructions seem pretty basic so I can't imagine what I could have been doing wrong. Too bad, this could have been a cool party trick - the breakfast equivalent of tying a knot in a cherry stem with my tongue.

                                  1. re: Cebca

                                    I tried and failed with 3 HB eggs I made to test this method. If the egg hadn't already cracked down the side before I blew, it did as the air pressure hit it, and I could hear the air coming out.

                                    1. re: greygarious

                                      well im glad to hear im not the only egg blowing failure. or the only one who got really excited to check it out.

                                    2. re: Cebca

                                      Sorry you had no luck with this method. Works for me 80% of the time. Check out http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iILabI...

                                      1. re: Rmis32

                                        It also works better if you add a tsp of baking soda to the water when boiling.

                                2. re: Rmis32

                                  Could you possibly imagine the outrage if all food establishments used this method for their hard boiled egg application? :o)

                                  1. re: Rmis32

                                    sheesh, now I gotta make just one to see how this fun idea works........wowow

                                  2. Agree with posters - egg age has a lot to do with it as does immediate cold shock after cooking. If you have a lot of eggs to peel.....place a layer of them back in the pot, with a bit of empty space...and swirl the pot around and around..back and forth..this will crack the shell off - sometimes all the way with older eggs - or with fresher eggs it will still be necessary to peel. I then rinse them to enure all the egg shell bits are off.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: coastie

                                      This method is closely what I actually the reader's tip to CI to be.....but instead of the word "swirl". for some reason I recall....shake back and forth, to crack the shells and store in water.

                                      1. re: fourunder

                                        I do the boil, shock in cold water - then i use a spoon to get under the cracked shell, and easily peel away. the spoon helps a lot.

                                    2. I have always added salt to my water, is that usual? Always drain and put in ice cubes, never had a problem (well, two or three times with really fresh eggs). I also learned the trick, like alwayscooking said, about laying them on the counter first if I'm going to do stuffed eggs - works like a charm.

                                      4 Replies
                                      1. re: bayoucook

                                        So I don't get this, do you lay them on their side before boiling them and then place them in the pot on their side as well? or do you do this after boiling (but I assume the yoke can't move at that point)? How does this work?

                                        1. re: Cebca

                                          It takes awhile for the yolks to move so when they go in the pot, they cook before they move back. Another way to do this is to store the eggs narrow end down.

                                          1. re: Cebca

                                            I guess the yolks center themselves and stay that way when you put them in the water. I don't know how it works, but it does.

                                            1. re: bayoucook

                                              I've also read the suggestion of laying the raw egg on its side, then spinning it to center the yolk right before it goes into the water.

                                        2. Another key aspect of easy peeling is to NOT boil the eggs. Keep the water just under a boil, the water should be simmering instead. This makes a much better finished egg, and it's easier to peel as well. The yolk & whites come out perfect.

                                          6 Replies
                                          1. re: pacheeseguy

                                            How long do you simmer?

                                            Does anyone but me dislike running or dipping a cracked egg under/in water. I think it makes the texture of the white a little watery even after drying them off.

                                            Even worse is when an egg cracks when cooking and all that water gets in the egg. Ick.

                                            I with the slotted spoon directly from water to ice water bath and then drying and refrigerating once cooled.

                                            1. re: rworange

                                              My notes are at home, but I'm pretty sure it's 12 minutes at simmering.
                                              Using this method, I no longer have to do the running water method of peeling.

                                            2. re: pacheeseguy

                                              You don't need to simmer the eggs - just cover and pull from the heat. The eggs are less rubbery IMHO.

                                              1. re: alwayscooking

                                                Don't quite understand your comment. You do need to cook the eggs. I'm suggesting simmering instead of boiling.

                                                1. re: pacheeseguy

                                                  The do cook - bring to a boil from cold water and then immediately cover and pull from the heat.

                                              2. re: pacheeseguy

                                                I found my recipe on this, and again, the secret is the simmering, they don't get overcooked.

                                                Here’s how to make perfect hard boiled eggs every time

                                                Place your eggs in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Place the saucepan on the stove on medium to high heat and bring the water to a boil. Once the water starts to boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer
                                                the eggs for 7-8 minutes.

                                                Then remove the eggs and quickly place them in iced water. If the hard boiled eggs are left too long in the hot water, a green film forms around the yolk. Cooling them quickly in iced water prevents this film from forming. Cooling them quickly will also cause the hard boiled eggs to shrink slightly in the shell, making for easier peeling later.

                                                If you’ll be eating the eggs right away and you want them warm, only leave them in the iced water for 10-15 seconds before peeling.

                                              3. Get the Eggstractor!
                                                http://www.eggstractor.net/

                                                (The infomercials for this always used to crack me up, especially the "before" shots with people tearing their hair out and cursing over their boiled eggs.)

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: Pia

                                                  geeze if this thing worked that'd be a miracle. but reading the instructions there's a lot of work and betcha it doesn't work either, wonder if there's a guarantee

                                                2. Lesson from Jacques Pepin re H/Boiled eggs that works very well for large numbers of eggs (i.e. deviled eggs, church social egg salad)

                                                  1) to prevent dimpled ends (for deviled egg presentation) due to air bubbles in older eggs, pierce end w/map pin/paper clip. Air will escape in tiny bubbles as egg heats up.
                                                  2) when cooked, drain pot & rattle eggs vigorously in bottom to crack shell into small bits then cover w/ice water. Rapid cooling prevents that nasty green look & the sulfur smell & cold water will seep into space between shell & contracting white making peeling easier.
                                                  3)Peel around the 'equator' of the egg, then pull off the 'poles', using water to remove any stray bits.
                                                  4)as long as the whites are intact (no cracks) they can be stored under cold water in fridge for a few days by changing water daily. (soft poached eggs can also be cooled & stored in the same way, overnight, to avoid the rush for a brunch crowd. after just a few seconds in just below boiling water to heat, you're good to go.)

                                                  CD
                                                  NYC

                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: seedyone

                                                    I used to hard-cook a dozen eggs every week, and since I take Jacques Pepin's advice as gospel, I would puncture the large end with a thumbtack beforehand. Although he and many other experts say this prevents cracked shells, I was getting 4-6 cracked ones per dozen. Eventually I read somewhere else that doing this can create a hairline crack which expands as the egg heats - so I stopped, and my percentage of cracking dropped at least by half. It also seems like the local poultry farm eggs, which have very hard shells, crack more often if punctured than do the thinner-shelled supermarket eggs.

                                                    1. re: seedyone

                                                      As I mentioned earlier, this gives the white an ugly watery texture. Water touching egg white = ick.

                                                      Out of all of these tips, the one that just works the best is rolling the egg on the counter. After reading that in this thread I tried it out on some eggs I bought at a farm that had been laid the day before according to the farmer.

                                                      I just boiled the way I normally do. When ready, I just poured off the hot water and filled the pot with cold water to stop cooking. I placed the eggs in the fridge to continue the cooling.

                                                      When ready to eat, I rolled the egg. Spanking fresh eggs ... no problems. No more frenzied ice baths or changing the water a number of times.

                                                      Thank you to the people who mentioned that. Works for me.

                                                      1. re: seedyone

                                                        I tried this method. I had a million pieces of the egg white all over the counter because it obliterated the fragile whites inside the hot egg............this method really didn't work for me at all.......

                                                      2. 1. Put eggs in cold water in pan.
                                                        2. Bring to a hard rolling boil. Cover.
                                                        3. Turn off the heat.
                                                        4. 20 minutes later place eggs in fresh COLD water.
                                                        5. Crack the shell as much as you can by tapping then rolling the egg on a hard surface, and WHILE THE EGG IS UNDER WATER start to rub the crackled shell bits sideways. You'll get a rip in that under skin, and the shell will come off easily.

                                                        Works every time. I do hundreds of HB eggs a week.

                                                        10 Replies
                                                        1. re: KiltedCook

                                                          20 minutes after a hard, rolling boil is a long time - those eggs would be much too well done for my liking.

                                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                            Agreed, when I've forgotten the timer and they sit that long, they are rubbery.

                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                              They also get the sulpher ring around the yolk and it changes the flavor as well as the texture.

                                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                jfood does 12 with this method. He thinks it's Bittman's method from How to Cook Everything, but he could be wrong.

                                                                1. re: jfood

                                                                  12 minutes is perfect for a medium egg. Boil, pop the lid on, let it sit in the hot water with no heat under it.

                                                                2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                  I do 17 minutes (I think it was JC's technique) and no problems including the greenish tinge.

                                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                                    i do 12 minutes with large eggs, and they're perfect every time. they come out *just* cooked, with creamy whites and moist, slightly crumbly yolks. mmmm....

                                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                      Another vote fo.r 12 minutes. I started off doing 20 mintues ... from an old Betty Crocker cookbook. However, 12 gives some error time so the eggs don't overcook.

                                                                  2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                    I'm a member of the "Seven Minute Club", but then, I'm a softie.

                                                                    I try for a yolk that is just set to yellow on the perimeter, grading to orange in the soft center. The whites are also less rubbery.

                                                                    For deviled eggs, of course, let them sit longer in the hot water.

                                                                    My peeling tips: Old. Centered via laying box on side. Shocked in ice water. Then crack by rolling. Then start your thumbnail entry at the fat pole, where there is an air pocket. Most important: Look for the way the underskin comes off. Roll the underskin with your finger. Do under icewater bath or a small stream of tap water. The underskin is paramount.

                                                                    1. re: FoodFuser

                                                                      I have an electric stove, so when the eggs come to the boil, I turn off the burner, but leave the pot on the burner. Then it is 8-9 minutes depending on how long it was before I noticed that they were boiling.

                                                                3. Yup. Old eggs, put the eggs in the same temp water that they are (sitting out - room temp or fridge - cold) - it keeps them from cracking.
                                                                  Salt the water - keeps the egg white from oozing out of cracks.
                                                                  Bring the eggs to a boil then slap a lid on the pot and turn the heat off. Let the eggs lie in that hot water for 15 minutes (large).
                                                                  Then empty the hot water and fill the pot with cold water and ice - that makes that annoying membrane stick to the shell instead of the egg so you can peel it easier.

                                                                  1. Peeling the egg has nothing to do with any type of technique or special boiling tactics. If you want to shell an egg perfectly every single time hot or cold, old or fresh, then boil it in distilled water. The shell is porous and there is a chemical reaction with the minerals in water...the harder the water, the more difficult to peel. Don't believe me...go pick up a gallon of distilled water and boil some eggs tonight. They shells fall off like buttaaaa....

                                                                    1. I found a way to avoid all this. I just made egg salad, great recipe by the way, for sandwiches and never peeled a single egg. How is that possible you might ask?

                                                                      I simply opened up two cans of hard cooked quail eggs bought from my local Asain market, drained, and started mashing! Talk about simple. Stirred in the other ingredients after mashing. Wala! Egg salad!

                                                                      Yeah, yeah. It's a little more expensive making it this way. But you can avoid all the processes it takes to make hard cooked chicken eggs. Especially if your making egg salad for sandwiches. Oh and here's the recipe for "Egg Salad Sandwich (the only one I'll eat)"

                                                                      http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/...

                                                                      11 Replies
                                                                      1. re: crt

                                                                        If jfood could offer one suggestion to your recipe since it is one of the few that actually uses the word texture. And to jfood this was a bugaboo for years.

                                                                        After you de-sheel the eggs and before you mix in the mayo try the following:

                                                                        - Cut the eggs in half and place the yolks to the left and whites to the right
                                                                        - Add the mayo to the yolk bowl and mix to the correct consistency and flavor. jfood likes it very smooth
                                                                        - Take the whites and dice them to your desired size, whether small, medium or large
                                                                        - Add your other ingredients.

                                                                        The reasoning and why jfood developed this method was to have the smooth texture and the piece texture together. As he added the mayo in his old one bowl approach the whites seemed to suffer from over mixing the mayo. In the two bowl approach, jfood addresses the correct level of mayo inclusion without the collateral damage to the whites.

                                                                        Jfood would be interested in your opinion if you give it a whirl.

                                                                        TIA

                                                                        1. re: jfood

                                                                          jfood, i like this method. it definitely makes for a creamy, well-blended "dressing" to coat the whites. just one question...what happens if you place the yolks to the right & the whites to the left? ;)

                                                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                            jfood has never tried that but he would have to be real careful not to blend the mayo into the whites and triy to dice the yolks. :-))

                                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                              It only matters if the chicken was left-handed (footed).

                                                                            2. re: jfood

                                                                              Wow - that makes so much sense (a comment on me not you!)
                                                                              I try it for lunch tomorrow.

                                                                              1. re: jfood

                                                                                I've always done it this way - minus the rt and lft...as Jfood says the texture just can't be properly attained if all done at once.

                                                                                1. re: jfood

                                                                                  As we continue to perfect the perfect egg salad, please consider this:

                                                                                  I'm a member of the "multi-texture" club. A pastry cutter is my preferred tool for chopping whites, as it yields a ragged product that grips the binders. http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1436/1...

                                                                                  Half of the yolks are homogenized with mayo, microdiced celery, ground celery seed and ground dill seed ( the secret weapon), fish sauce, scant onion powder, and cracked white peppercorns.

                                                                                  Whites, and half the yolks, are vigorously and joyfully attacked with the pasty cutter to yield a variety of textures.

                                                                                  Fold to incorporate, adding dried or fresh dillweed.

                                                                                  As to mise en place, I have found that a north to south arrangement of yolks and whites is equally successful to the east to west/left to right. I would however caution readers to consider the Coriolis effect when making their individual decisions.

                                                                                  1. re: FoodFuser

                                                                                    That's interesting. I was thinking about using a pastry cutter when using hard cooked chicken eggs to make the egg salad. I don't know about this 'separating' idea with the quail eggs though.

                                                                                    As far as adding dill seed, fish sauce, celery seed, you suggest, like the author of the recipe who was going to add fried shallots but thought better of it because it was overpowering the eggs and chives, for me those too just sound to overpowering. I kept mine simple just like the author, adding only finely chopped celery and the chives seasoned along with some sea salt and fresh milled pepper, the fist time I made it with hard cooked chicken eggs. However when I used the quail eggs I seasoned with a light sprinkling of garlic salt, along with a sprinkling of adobo seasoning and the milled pepper. Wow! That combo really seemed to bring out the essence of the eggs while letting subtle taste of the chives still come through.

                                                                                    1. re: crt

                                                                                      Why not just use an egg slicer? Slice the egg one way, turn it around and slice it the other way and then into the bowl. Egg whites then stay in small pieces, and the yolks don't get all mashed. I lightly "fold" the mayo into the egg white/yolk mixture, and it doesn't smoosh up the cooked yolks as much as mashing with a fork.

                                                                                  2. re: jfood

                                                                                    Once someone on this board mentioned they made egg salad by separating yolk from white. They smashed up the yolk and then mushed the white on the small part of a hand grater. I tried it and liked it a lot; just had a problem scraping my knuckles. Now I have a "cut resistant glove" and I'll try it with that next time.

                                                                                    Give it a try!

                                                                                    1. re: walker

                                                                                      One word: ricer

                                                                                      It depends on the kind of texture you like but I put the whole eggs through the ricer. One squish and it's done. If you really want the yolks creamy, do them first on the fine hole, cream with the mayo then switch plates and do the whites. If it's just me and I'm only doing one egg or two, then I just smash the whites against the tines of my fork, one way then the other, peanut butter cookie style. The yolk gets mashed with the back of a spoon in the bowl.

                                                                                      But I'm still following the great egg debate as I've not been making hard boiled egg based recipes as I too have fought this shelling battle. I wonder about the hard/soft water comment. Our area has extremely soft water, so much so that anyone who is salt sensitive hypertensive needs to drink filtered. So that "ought" make our egg shells peel off, unless too much of anything is what the problem really is. 'cause I'm here to tell you they don't.

                                                                                      Curious bit if info, the amount of calcium and minerals a bird uses to make an egg is breed specific and is a fixed amount. There is technically the same amount of shell produced for large, medium and small eggs, it's just spread thinner for large and thicker for small eggs. So I can definitely see that the heritage chicken eggs are going to have different shell thicknesses than commercial egg laying birds. And that shell thickness will probably also affect how the eggs age and boil. Sounds like a research dissertation project for someone at Texas A&M's poutlry science department to tackle.

                                                                                2. A few notes ...

                                                                                  Fresh eggs are hard to peel. To test freshness Put egg in bowl of water. If it lays on its side. too fresh, floats to the top ... too old. Stand up right, perfect.

                                                                                  Second, eggs should be not cold when boiling. You don't need to let them sit out all night, but not cold. I just give them 15 minutes or so.

                                                                                  Put eggs in a pot with cold water and bring to a boil, make sure the eggs and are covered by at least an inch or so of water. Once it boils cook 3 minutes longer. Turn off and remove from heat and cover. 8 minutes later, done! Rinse under cold water and peel.

                                                                                  It works every time, no gray eggs, no peels that stick.

                                                                                  And yes, turning the eggs on their sides or upside down help to make perfectly centered deviled or even hard boiled eggs.

                                                                                  Put eggs in room temp or tap water bring to a boil and turn off. Leave 8 minutes then peel. Never a sticky egg or whites that won't come off.

                                                                                  It honestly works!

                                                                                  8 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: kchurchill5

                                                                                    Your 2 different sets of instructions are contradictory. If starting in cold water, why should it matter if the eggs are still chilled? First you want to start in cold water, which will take longer to come to a boil than in your second set of recommendations. Then you want them to continue boiling for 3 minutes, followed by 8 minutes off heat. That's a considerable difference in overall heating time and temperature than starting in tepid water and an 8-minute bath with heat turned off as soon as water boils. Also, it makes a difference if you leave the pot on a turned-off electric burner or a turned-off gas one.

                                                                                    There are SO many methods aimed at preventing the sticking problem that it's clear nothing works 100% of the time. If it did, there wouldn't be dozens of posts every time someone asks. But I am intrigued by the distilled water idea - got to try that one.

                                                                                    1. re: greygarious

                                                                                      GG

                                                                                      The distilled water idea had me referencing books and the web to understand if it would work and why. Distilled water doesn't have minerals so smtate's statement that the eggs react with them is invalid. Although, I do wonder if the hardness of water somehow makes it more difficult to boil egg - so the distilled water would help.

                                                                                      Still searching and hope to hear from anyone with a deeper knowledge of food chemistry.

                                                                                      1. re: alwayscooking

                                                                                        In smtate's defense, since I have not yet tried this (and to give it a good test it should be done with fresh eggs), I interpreted the claim to refer to an interaction with the minerals in tap water, implying that without them, there's no sticking problem.

                                                                                        1. re: greygarious

                                                                                          Yep - I read it incorrectly.

                                                                                      2. re: greygarious

                                                                                        Not icy water just chilled cold. Don't ask me why. It just works The water doesn't have ice in it to me cold is cooler than room temp chilled. cold. I can't tell the reasoning or any explanation. It just works. I never make then differently.

                                                                                        I take eggs out 10 or a few minute longer I put the eggs in cool is you want to call it that bring to a boil, cook 3 minutes, remove from heat, cover and 8 minutes later done. Maybe just some crazy recipe but it works. I have never had a gray yolk of egg shell that stuck. And look at google this post or a similar one appears over and over and over. The times may vary but pretty close.

                                                                                        Just try it, it works. I really care less about the reasoning or the scientific end of it no offense. I just know it works. And if all I want is a good egg. That is what I get. No salt, nothing fancy, just a good egg. I had to make 500, yes 500 deviled eggs for a party once. Not one egg shell that stuck. I cooked them all that same way and not in one pot trust me.

                                                                                        It just works, use it if you want.

                                                                                      3. re: kchurchill5

                                                                                        K

                                                                                        Although jfood is not disputing this process, he took a fresh (OK they were store bought but the same day) and kept them in the fridge. Took them directly into a pot, filled with cool tap water, brought to a boil, turned off heat and let sit for 12 minutes, dumped water, filled with cool tap water. Whew that was tiring.

                                                                                        And he peeled 12 perfectly smooth eggs from this batch.

                                                                                        Who knows why but jfood has never bought into the old and room temperature process.

                                                                                        1. re: jfood

                                                                                          I do agree with you and have done the same thing many times. I have also done it and it didn't work. It is like anything. Now and then something may not work. I just let them set a bit. But I totally agree, I have put them right in the pot and no problem. I'm sure I have had room temp egg stick too.

                                                                                          I still remember the pot roast that I cooked the same as always, never tough. But I swear nothing would of made this tender. Sometimes they just stick, don't work, not tender, or just don't work. Who knows.

                                                                                          1. re: jfood

                                                                                            I did 4 this way this morning. I'd always done 17 minutes (per Julia Child, I believe) but 12 was perfect. The rest of the technique is what I've always done, except after cracking them all over I let them sit in the ice water for 5 minutes. If they become recalcitrant, I peel them under the water but usually not necessary. We're moving out of this house tomorrow morning so I'm fixing egg salad sandwiches for breakfast so we don't have to do any cooking.

                                                                                        2. All this talk about flash cooling hard cooked eggs. It's not going to make the egg any eaiser to peel. That process is solely to stop the cooking process in it's tracks prevent the outside of the yolk turning green/grey. If you're looking for an easier peel the process is to bring a carton of eggs home from the market and let them sit in the frig a week even two. Why does this work? Two things happen when an egg reaches this age: 1.) The egg becomes more alkaline and 2.) the air pocket at the end of the egg gets bigger as air is absorbed through the porous shell. The combination of these factors magically makes the egg shell easier to remove. Also first crack the egg on the larger round end and then either roll it over the counter or in between your hands to crack the rest of the way before starting the acutal peeling process under a faucet of running water. Will every egg peel perfectly using these tips? Of course not, but just about. Nothing is 100% all the time.

                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: crt

                                                                                            " Also first crack the egg on the larger round end and then either roll it over the counter or in between your hands to crack the rest of the way before starting the acutal peeling process under a faucet of running water"

                                                                                            This is exactly how jfood does it with same day eggs from the market. And never a problem, at least within your nothing is 100% criteria.

                                                                                            1. re: jfood

                                                                                              Seriously. Rolling on the counter is enough. .

                                                                                              The best tip in this thread was just to roll the egg on the counter first. Since I've been doing that no problems.

                                                                                              There is no need to stand on one foot while emitting a piercing scream while standing under a shower in a tub of ice cubes peeling an egg laid during the last full moon ... or whatever detailed proceedures to get the egg to peel.

                                                                                              Roll it. Old, just laid, anyway you cook it ... it works. Thank you to the people who suggested that.

                                                                                          2. I read on this thread where someone had a tip about piercing the egg with a paper clip for easier peeling. At least, according to the American Egg Board, "Piercing shells before cooking is not recommended. If not sterile, the piercer or needle can introduce bacteria into the egg. Also, piercing creates hairline cracks in the shell, through which bacteria can enter after cooking." I had read that a long time ago at their website, and remembering it, thought I'd share.

                                                                                            1. THis thread reminds me of parenting an infant: once you find a ritual that gets the rugrat to sleep through the night, it becomes sacrosanct and you do deviate an inch to the left! I never consistently succeed in perfect eggs, which is why egg salad is so much more sanity saving than stuffed eggs in my house.

                                                                                              1. To be or not to be. Boiled or hard boiled egg(s). Neither. The correct term is 'hard cooked egg(s)'. Just a little cooking terminology triva.

                                                                                                7 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: crt

                                                                                                  Alas, for many hard-boiled is the correct term.
                                                                                                  The correct METHOD is hard-cooked, so people should use the right words.

                                                                                                  So that leaves the question -- are detectives still hard-boiled?

                                                                                                  1. re: crt

                                                                                                    so when you order two fried eggs and they spray that quick release crap on the flat-top before cooking do you send them back and say, "i ordered two fried eggs, not two siliconed eggs."? :-))

                                                                                                    Two weeks ago at an Embassy Suites (free breakfast), jfood stopped at the bread area onhis way to the cooked to order area to grab two pats of butter. When he handed the butter to the cook and asked him to cook the eggs in the butter versus the spray can, he saw a smile from ear to ear. Actually tasted pretty good.

                                                                                                    1. re: jfood

                                                                                                      Good story; great idea.

                                                                                                      1. re: jfood

                                                                                                        Jfood is brilliant.

                                                                                                        1. re: aggiecat

                                                                                                          thanks, but he views it as well seasoned.

                                                                                                        2. re: jfood

                                                                                                          ditto jfood "IS" brilliant :+))

                                                                                                          1. re: jfood

                                                                                                            Oh yeah. Butter and eggs have always been a perfect match. That's all I use. That's all I've ever used. It's all that needs to be used. Well except for bacon fat! Oh fond rememberances of staying at my grandfolks house. Grandma would crack those eggs into a pan that had just fried up a load of bacon. YUM!

                                                                                                        3. Here are some videos on peeling hard boiled eggs. They all seem to work well.

                                                                                                          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ldZsFw...
                                                                                                          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=toM0SH...
                                                                                                          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p_iD7o...
                                                                                                          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M7v1m6...

                                                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: Hank Hanover

                                                                                                            I've had very little trouble since I switched to steaming the eggs.

                                                                                                            1. re: Pzz

                                                                                                              I'l have to try it. I tried the trick of blowing them out... It didn't work for me.

                                                                                                              1. re: Pzz

                                                                                                                Ok, I'll bite. How long does it take to steam a boiled egg?

                                                                                                                1. re: rworange

                                                                                                                  Steaming eggs seems to work best when they're in one layer and not stacked or piled up. Of course, it depends on the number of eggs, their initial temperature and size. That said, bring the water to a vigorous boil (with the eggs above the water enough that they don't get splashed) and remove a test egg after about 15 minutes or so to check for doneness. I've found that this approach hasn't been very fussy and I've gone past half an hour with good results.

                                                                                                            2. I just concluded an experiment. I wanted to test the effectiveness of steaming eggs to hard cook them.

                                                                                                              I used 4 large eggs that were 5-6 days old and right out of the refrigerator. I pierced each egg at the large end with a needle so excess gas could escape.

                                                                                                              I started a pan with 1.5 inches of water to boil. When it was boiling I put the eggs in the steamer insert and put the insert into the pan and put the lid on. I set the timer for 15 minutes.

                                                                                                              When the 15 minutes had passed I cracked two of the eggs in a pan to shake them. I then put all 4 eggs in an ice water bath for 5 minutes.

                                                                                                              At the end of 5 minutes I peeled 1 of the eggs that had not been cracked with no problems. I put the other egg that hadn't been cracked back in hot water for about 20 seconds and peeled it with no problem.

                                                                                                              I peeled 1 of the precracked eggs and peeled it with no problem. I took the last precracked egg and dipped it in hot water for 20 seconds and peeled it with no problem.

                                                                                                              The yolks were hard all the way through (I wanted to make deviled eggs out of them so I didn't want even a little softness in the center.) and there was no green layer around the yolk.

                                                                                                              Conclusion: precracking and or dipping them in hot water didn't seem to help and in fact seem to make them slightly harder to peel.

                                                                                                              Ok... I have to endorse steaming eggs so that they are easier to peel.

                                                                                                              9 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: Hank Hanover

                                                                                                                I, too, steamed some for 15 minutes (no piercing involved) and found the eggs (pretty fresh) peeled easily. I kept a few in the fridge for a couple of days and found I had the grey/green ring around the yolk. (I had cooled them off in water with ice cubes, first.)

                                                                                                                Should I try steaming for less time to avoid this or is it inevitable if they are saved in fridge? There was no ring on the one I ate immediately.

                                                                                                                1. re: walker

                                                                                                                  My understanding & experience is the undesirable greenish ting can be avoided by swirling the hot eggs in the pot, before they tighten up, to crack the shells. Then immediately submerge them in ice water so the cold liquid can seep in between the shell & the whites. They should then rest until they completely cool, minimum 15 Min. but 30 is better.

                                                                                                                  To hold: from the shelled eggs select only those that have intact whites (no cracks or 'scars') & keep them submerged, under fresh cold water. Changing the water everyday they should be good for about 3 days.

                                                                                                                  1. re: seedyone

                                                                                                                    Gee ... no. Here's Harold McGee's eplanation of the science behind that ring.

                                                                                                                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7984...

                                                                                                                    So having to swirl, crack or and submerge the eggs for days ... no.

                                                                                                                    That is not to say that in doing all that doesn't work, but it's kind of overkill.

                                                                                                                    My initial guess would be that the eggs weren't submerged in ice water long enough or quickly enough.

                                                                                                                    1. re: rworange

                                                                                                                      And the shell was left on trapping the lingering gases.

                                                                                                                      This is from your linked reference quoting H.McGee: "Then plunge the cooked eggs immediately into cold water. ...Finally, peel the eggs promptly: this also helps pull the gas away from the yolk."

                                                                                                                      Pardon me, but the swirling is to crack the shells to enable quick cooling when the ice bath quick cools.

                                                                                                                      The submerging, once shelled, is to hold the eggs if they are not being used immediately. This method also works for poached eggs but only overnight as they are not hard cooked.

                                                                                                                      1. re: seedyone

                                                                                                                        I dislike cracked eggs exposed to water. it makes the white softer and icky to me. However, I just barely tolerate whites no matter how the egg is cooked ... fried, scrambled (shudder), etc. So it is why i don't like water contacting the white. Just doing the plunge and cool without cracking seems to work fine for me and the hardboiled eggs will last a week or two.

                                                                                                                        Never thought about eating a soft-boiled egg the next day though. How do you reheat it/

                                                                                                                        1. re: rworange

                                                                                                                          "To use them hot, place the eggs in a strainer, lower them into boiling water for approximately 1 minute, drain, and serve immediately. "

                                                                                                                          http://www.allfood.com/script/rec_d.p...

                                                                                                                  2. re: walker

                                                                                                                    Quite frankly, I used my eggs immediately so I am not sure. When I boiled eggs I would use a 10-11 minute time limit. When steaming I was worried about not getting an absolutely hard cooked yolk so I went to 15 minutes. I had seen threads on Chowhound where people were getting the slightly dark very very center. It seemed to me like it might be underdone.

                                                                                                                    All I know is when I peeled them immediately they peeled easily. I wonder if that woud change if I refrigerated them a day or two and then tried to peel them.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Hank Hanover

                                                                                                                      My refrigerated steamed eggs (maybe 3 days) still peeled easily but I had the gray/green ring then, not when they were first done.

                                                                                                                      1. re: walker

                                                                                                                        The discoloration is caused by a gas given off by sulfurous compounds in the yolk that get trapped by the shell.

                                                                                                                        From above entry:"...the undesirable greenish ting can be avoided by swirling the hot eggs in the pot, before they tighten up, to crack the shells. Then immediately submerge them in ice water so the cold liquid can seep in between the shell & the whites. They should then rest until they completely cool, minimum 15 Min. but 30 is better.

                                                                                                                        To hold: from the shelled eggs select only those that have intact whites (no cracks or 'scars') & keep them submerged, under fresh cold water. Changing the water everyday they should be good for about 3 days."

                                                                                                                        Using the above method, get the shell off as soon as you can after cooking.