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Dec 15, 2013 05:40 PM

hard to peel boiled eggs

What's with these things? I use the same method and sometimes they are near impossible to peel. I end up throwing them away in frustration. I've heard that the fresher eggs are hard to peel I've heard that you need to run them under cold water, all kinds of tricks. But I start them with cold water, bring to a boil then let stand for 10 min. Normally they turn out just fine, but every once in a while I get a batch where you cannot peel them without peeling off most of the white.

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  1. Probably due to freshness, leave them out on the counter for a day or two and you should not have a problem.

    1. I buy super fresh eggs and have pretty much given up on boiled eggs - peeling the shell inevitably peels all the white off too. I'm sure some will post some magical solutions, but none work for me. Save old eggs for boiling. You can check the freshness by looking at how they float in the water, older egg will have a larger air pocket and float, older eggs will sink, middle aged eggs stand on an angle.

      2 Replies
      1. re: fldhkybnva

        Assuming you go to a farmer, have you tried asking for older eggs? Failing that... We often buy 2 dozen, one for the fridge for regular consumption, one goes on the counter for several days until we get around to boiling them.

        1. re: julesrules

          Counter, never thought of that. I do try to keep eggs of several ages around. I buy them from a farm which distributes at Whole Foods. I will buy others on sale and use them for boiled.

      2. I get fresh eggs daily. I have my own chickens. I make hard boiled eggs with eggs laid the same day.
        Steam them. Steam them for about 13or14 minutes. Plunge them into ice water. Crack the shells a little when you toss them in the ice water. Let the ice water get under the membrane.
        Peel when cool. The shell will stick to the membrane (not the egg white) and often peel off in one single "sheet", leaving a shiny, perfect egg.

        2 Replies
          1. re: sedimental

            Of course the answer to hard to peel hard cooked eggs (never boil them) is to steam them.

            After learning to steam eggs, I don't know why anyone eould use any other method.


          2. After you have boiled the eggs, plunge them cold tap water, or even ice cold tap water for a few minutes. The cold water will shrink the eggs just enough to allow smoother peeling.

            Let the eggs sit in the cold water bath for at least 5 minutes.

            I've heard too that fresher eggs are harder to peel. But the cold water bath should help you peel even fresh eggs.

            13 Replies
            1. re: sueatmo

              It doesn't help. I've always used that method. Baking soda in the water helps, but not always enough. I'm switching to steaming next time, from all good reports.

              1. re: mcf

                I'm shocked, mcf. I works about 90% for me. I don't even worry about it. Occasionally I get a hard to peel egg, but in the vast majority of cases, after a cold shock and a little time in the water, they peel fine.

                I boil my eggs. I place them in cold water and turn on the fire. I bring to boil on high, and lower the temp to about med or so to finish.

                Do you buy special eggs? Like super fresh organic eggs?

                1. re: sueatmo

                  I do buy only pastured eggs, but I have tried buying the oldest or just keeping them to or past the sell by date. I put mine into cold water, bring to a boil, turn off the heat and cover for 10-13 minutes, depending on egg size. I dunk in cold water, load it with ice.

                  The baking soda hint worked like a charm for me a couple of times, then failed me once.

                  1. re: mcf

                    I have no idea if this makes a difference, but I boil my eggs, reducing the heat after the water comes to a boil. I've never used baking soda or vinegar.

                    If I have a fail, it will generally be one egg of the batch that I boiled, not the entire batch.

                    1. re: sueatmo

                      It could be the method. I think higher heat = tougher protein, maybe it shrinks away from the shell more?

                      1. re: mcf

                        Honestly I don't know. I don't keep the heat high for very long.

                        I've been boiling eggs this way for my entire lifetime. But the cold water bath came later; I can't remember why I started doing that. Possibly I just figured it out on my own? I just boiled eggs this way a week ago. The eggs peeled fine.

                        1. re: sueatmo

                          I asked because the difference for me is that I don't boil them at all, just bring to a boil, then turn off the heat for 10 or more minutes covered, depending on egg size, large -jumbo.

                          No grey ring, tender, golden orange or dark yellow yolk. And a botched up white outside. :-)

                          1. re: mcf

                            If you don't boil them too long they don't have the gray ring, which I am not fond of either.

                            Just like cooking rice or frying an egg, there are a bazillion ways to boil eggs. No one taught me how, so I am totally self taught. But steaming eggs sounds like an awfully lot of trouble.

                            1. re: sueatmo

                              We have one of the pasta inserts for an 8 quart kettle. I put a couple inches of water in the kettle. It boils in just a few minutes. Then I turn the heat to medium, put the eggs in, and set the timer for 13 minutes. The pasta strainer with the eggs then goes into an ice water bath in the sink for 5 minutes. After that they go on a kitchen towel to dry. I never hard cook fewer than a dozen eggs. Then they get peeled and used right away, or they go back into the carton, marked with a Sharpie and go back into the refrigerator. Waiting for a saucepan of water to boil is more trouble to me than using this method. Give it a try sometime.

                              1. re: John E.

                                I had to give up my steamer when I changed pans, so I don't have an insert any more. I almost never boil that many eggs though. And now that I have induction, boiling water is very fast.

                                However I am noting your method for Easter time!

                              2. re: sueatmo

                                Well, you can have an awful lot of trouble trying to peel, or you can set your eggs inside a little steamer basket... :-)

                                I suspect that wanting very tender, unboiled yolks makes the eggs softer and harder to peel, too.

                                1. re: mcf

                                  The thing is, I don't boil many eggs at a time ever. If I want a soft yolk I get pretty good results using the micro.

                                  I think steaming sounds pretty good when I need lots of eggs for coloring this spring. But mostly, what I am doing works well for me. Except for at Easter, I can't remember when I've boiled more than 4 eggs at a time, and mostly it is fewer than that.

                                  1. re: sueatmo

                                    If you want easy soft cooked eggs from the microwave I suggest this technique. Wrap 2 eggs in regular aluminam foil. Place them each in a coffee mug and cover with water. Microwave on high for 6 minutes (1800 watts). Then unwrap and eat as any other soft cooked egg. The water keeps the foil from arcing.

              2. That's weird. It should not be this difficult. Aside from the ice water method mentioned, try this:

                Boil the egg.
                Take it put and crack it a bit. Don't make big cracks, but make like cracks all around the egg.
                Bring it back to the boiling water again (~1 min)
                Take it out and put it in cold water for 1 min or so, or until it is cool.