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peeling boiled eggs?

Hello Everyone,
I need some advice on the best way to peel hard boiled eggs?
I made some hard boiled eggs to make scotch eggs and when I try removing the shells, part of my egg always seem to stick and break off. I even bought some eggs and let them sit in the fridge for a week before cooking them, since I heard older eggs peel better. That did not help. Any advice would be great. Thanks.

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    1. Let them sit at room temp, preferably in a cardboard container (as opposed to styrofoam)

      Rinse (or submerge) in cold water immediately after taking them out of the boiling water.

      Crack and peel

      1. I am steaming mine now. I steam them in a pot (with a cheapo metal basket ) with the lid on for about 14 minutes, then put them in ice water. The shells just fall off and there is a bright yellow yolk with no grey ring. Perfection.


        7 Replies
        1. re: sedimental

          I've had excellent success adding the eggs to boiling water and lightly simmering for 14 minutes before allowing to immediately cool down in cold tap water. Adding some ice will likely help.

          1. re: sedimental

            Yep me, too. Since reading this thread however long ago that was I am no longer shy of doing hard boiled egg dishes. I follow the instructions given in the thread and have perfect yellow yolked easy to peel eggs every time. I only ever steam hard boiled eggs now.

            1. re: sedimental

              I just tried steaming them for the first time yesterday and they peeled beautifully. The yolks did have a bit of grey, but that was my fault, I was in the middle of something when the timer went off, and let them go about 5 minutes too long. I used a bamboo steamer over a stainless steel pot, with the water going at a strong boil the entire time. This was my first try at steaming, but I'll definitely be using this method again.

              1. re: sedimental

                once i read that thread last year, I have never done them any other way. It works like magic and so simple!

                1. re: sedimental

                  I just started steaming. Unequivocally, the best method ever. Fresh eggs, old eggs. I steam for 16 minutes, then run water over the eggs so cool enough to peel. No ice,no waiting...perfection.

                  1. re: sedimental

                    sedimental and others, thank you for sharing you switched to steam. Because of reading the comments here and in your link to the other CHOW thread decided to try to steam some eggs. As an experiment, I poked a hole in the big end of some older eggs with a plastic thumb tack. Then steamed nine eggs today for 13 minutes (with a good boil the whole time with steam coming out of lid). Once cooked with the lid on my steamer I lightly shook them to break all the shells (thinking to get the cold water under shells immediately after cooking). Then immediately put eggs with cracked shells in a bowl of ice water. As soon as cool enough to handle pealed each and put back into the bowl of ice water. They were the easiest eggs I ever recall peeling. Each shell quickly came off in one piece. Cooked perfectly with no green line inside on the yolk. Here are a couple pictures of my steamed 'hard boiled' eggs today:


                    I almost can not believe it. If this repeats, disregard what I said a week ago below about boiling eggs because I switched to steaming eggs from now on.

                    1. re: smaki

                      it's cool isn't it!! I couldn't believe it either.

                      And I never poke a hole in them. So, try it w/o doing that and see if it still works for you. It does for me. One less step! And it seems to make NO difference whether the eggs are fresh or old. They all have worked the same for me.

                  2. I find that they peel best when they are hot, and that I have to crack the shells all over right away, and that I have to fill their pan with cold water and peel them under running cold water.

                    1. Mine go straight from the stove to the prep sink next to the stove. I immediately run cold water into the pot, crack/peel the eggs under warm running water.
                      Never let the eggs cool down.

                      1. My mother was raised on a commercial egg production farm and the only cooking advice she ever gave me was to use older eggs for making hard boiled eggs, fresh eggs are hard to peel.

                        1. Make sure the eggs are "old" when you boil them, and peel them under running cold water.

                          1. sometimes we get fresh, free-range, home raised etc. from a neighbor and they do not peel well. the membrane inside the shell is too thick. they're great for anything else but for hard-boiled a commercial egg works better.

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: hill food

                              hill food - just curious if you had tried steaming them? My eggs are the plain old grocery store variety, but I came across the steaming tip on this blog: http://fresh-eggs-daily.blogspot.com/...

                                1. re: gmm

                                  gmm, this is going to sound foolish I know~blog didn't say lid on or at what burner temp (low/med/hi) to steam

                                  1. re: iL Divo

                                    I start on medium high then turn down to medium or so. Lid on the entire time. Turn the burner up high enough so that steam is coming out the lid the whole time while cooking. Get it boiling and steaming before you add the eggs. Be sure you have enough water in the bottom to not run out in the 6-15 minutes you steam them (a dry pan half way through does not work). Hard boiled for me is 13 minutes. And depending on your steamer do not put in too much boiling water so that it bubbles up into where eggs are being cooked.

                                    1. re: iL Divo

                                      Lid of the steamer on - to trap the steam in, med to med-high for the temp. You need to have a steady blast of steam going the whole time. My bamboo steamer fits perfectly over one of my stock pots so I fill it about 1/2 full of water. She says 20 minutes in her blog, but I think that's too long, 15 min should be plenty for large eggs.

                                2. Put eggs in pot with cold water. Add salt, lots of salt!!!! Bring to boil, turn to simmer for 15 mins. Dump out hot water and add cold water or better iced water. Easy to peel and no funny gray/green line.

                                  1. DO NOT DO THE FOLLOWING!

                                    I recently had a bad experience with peeling eggs that were boiled to make deviled eggs for a party. After boiling and cooling eggs a day in advance, I put them in the refrigerator unpeeled overnight. That was a real bad idea. The membrane between the shell and the white fused the shell to the white thus making the clean peeling of the eggs without taking big chunks out of the white impossible due to the extended duration of exposure to cold temperature, and making the eggs useless for deviled eggs. I had boiled 18 eggs.


                                    Do as the others have posted prior to this one. I usually follow the same procedure as stated by others who have had success in peeling eggs.

                                    5 Replies
                                    1. re: ChiliDude

                                      Prick the large end of the egg with a sharp pointed paring knife or ice pick prior to cooking. It takes seconds to do and makes the peeling immeasurably easier.

                                      1. re: chasamark

                                        Thanks for reminding me of that trick. Unfortunately, the eggs that I buy never seem to have an expanding air sac even after being in the fridge for 3 weeks. I have no clue how the purveyor of the eggs prevents that phenomenon. I have been buying the same brand of eggs for a year now and it is always the same...no expansion of the air sac.

                                          1. re: Kholvaitar

                                            +1, I use a plastic thumb tack to put a hole in the big end. I start them in cold salted water with a little vinegar enough to completely cover eggs. Covered bring to a boil ASAP on medium high. Take off heat and keep covered for 13 minutes (do not take lid off). Drain leaving eggs in pan. Cover and shake them and be sure to break all the shells. Put COLD water on them (often use ice - if no ice I let them sit in the sink under cold running water). Peal under cold faucet water. Seems to work for me.

                                            1. re: smaki

                                              I used to use a finger-prick device that phlebotomists and diabetics used to get blood for a glucose test. They've made them so much safer that it's useless for multiple prickings, but it was a little like a push pin only the point was shorter and sharper. It's important not to insert your pointy device too far- you just want to get the air cell, not the egg behind it.

                                      2. Easiest way is to steam them - see other post
                                        Second easiest way is to start in cool salted water and bring to simmer, continue to simmer for 10 minutes - drain but leave eggs in pan - Shake pan up and down lightly cracking all of the eggs - fill pan with cold water. Peel in 2-3 minutes, many of the eggs will have the shells following off due to the water getting in through the cracks, also if you don't have time to peel right then just refrigerate and peel later, the shells will not stick if you have cracked the shells and allow the water to get inside.

                                        1. I've tried this method and believe it or not, it works like a charm.


                                          1. First of all, NEVER BOIL AN EGG!. Eggs should be gently hard cooked. Next, if your eggs are very fresh they are going to be very difficult to peel. You can age eggs by 1 week if you leave them at room temp. for 24 hours, sometimes 48 hours is best. Add a drop or two to a pot of water. Add the eggs gently and bring just to a boil and turn the heat to the lowest setting or off. Cover, and leave them alone for 15 mins. drin and give the pot a good shake to crack the shells. Add ice cubes and cold water to cover and let stand another 15-20 mins. Peel. Sometimes if a shell still sticks I find a small birds beak knife to be a help.

                                            Boiling eggs, toughens the white and causes the green sulfurous ring to form around the yolk. NO BOilNG!

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: Candy

                                              I agree — gentle cooking. I just bring the water to a boil, then turn down the heat nearly to off with the lid on for a couple of minutes, then completely off. I let sit for twenty minutes, covered, in the hot water. Then I cool them down with fresh water and refrigerate them.

                                            2. I don't know where I picked this up, but I put my eggs in cold water on the stove to boil. Just when it starts to boil, I take the pot off, leave the lid on. And wait....set the timer. 10, 11, 12 minutes or whatever. Cold water and peel, 10 minutes has always given me a soft centre. 12-13 give me just hardboiled. Depends on the size of the egg, I usually use extra large.

                                              6 Replies
                                              1. re: realtorav8tor

                                                I cooked them basically the same way as you. For soft boiled I leave them in the hot water for 1 1/12 minutes and quickly take them out of shell.

                                                But I have to admit to sometimes having difficulty peeling them. Could the only reason be that I use fresh eggs?

                                                1. re: MsBees

                                                  Used to do this way. Try steaming instead. For the same time you like. I find even new eggs when steamed slip out of their shells. See above.

                                                2. re: realtorav8tor

                                                  I've tried using putting eggs in cold water and bring to a boil, but this has consistently yielded eggs that are difficult to peel, even under cold water. What I've found to be much easier is the opposite, placing eggs in simmering (not boiling!) water and letting it sit 7-10 minutes, and then taking out to cool. Peeling becomes very easy, and I can get a runny yolk if I want.

                                                  1. re: bairice

                                                    +1, cold water to boil hard to peel.

                                                    1. re: bairice

                                                      Seriously. Really? I need to try this out now...

                                                      1. re: LMAshton

                                                        Steam is the best way I've found. After cook as desired be sure to crack them all before put in cold water (so the water gets under shells) then peel. I lightly shake my steamer when hard boiled with lid on to break shells before put into ice water (for soft boiled be more gentle and break each shell individually by hand after cook). There is a picture above of my steamer with hard egg results posted 2/15/13.

                                                  2. Slow (sous vide or steam) and they fall right off. Fast, immediately dunk in cold water or, if you live in a warm climate like I do, 50% ice and 50% water. The contraction of the eggs is quicker than the shell and an easy release.