Perfect Easy-Peel Hard-Boiled Eggs

I feel a bit like I’ve been holding out on you. Maybe, just slightly, cheating on you. Well, not on you. But on my tried-and-true hard-boiled egg method.

I posted it a couple years ago, and it’s the only way I boiled eggs until I saw Sally post about an absolutely no-fail method for boiling eggs and I knew I had to try it just to compare. I was pretty certain my method would hold up.

But I was wrong. This slightly different (but still extremely simple) way of making hard-boiled eggs is perfect. Every single time. And that’s not an exaggeration.

I’ve been boiling eggs this way for months and months now and have never had an egg that didn’t peel easily and almost magically.

Perfect Easy-Peel Hard-Boiled Eggs

Even fresh eggs peel perfectly. EVEN FRESH EGGS! Sorry to shout, but if you have ever tried to peel a fresh egg that’s been hard-boiled, you know this might be hard to believe as you hold the remnants of chunky, pitted egg whites and shards of peels in your hands.

Before we got chickens, I heard many, many chicken owners say that if I wanted hard-boiled eggs, I’d have to save some eggs for weeks before trying because fresh eggs just don’t peel.

But I’m happy to report, they do peel! And quite easily. So if you’re gearing up for deviled egg season, egg salad sandwich season, or if you just eat hard-boiled eggs by the dozen each week for breakfast and lunch like we do, then you should definitely give this method a go.

One tip I’ll mention specifically is to make sure you get under the membrane that sits between the shell and the egg as you peel. I’ve found it helps to tap the larger end of the egg on the counter and start peeling from there – there’s often an air pocket that helps the peeling get off to a good start.

Perfect Easy-Peel Hard-Boiled Eggs

Even though I’ve changed my allegiance to a different hard-boiled egg method, I’m fairly certain this is the one I’m sticking with now and forever. Hard-boiled eggs that are this easy to peel make me ridiculously happy. I hope they make you feel the same way!

Perfect Easy-Peel Hard-Boiled Eggs

Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs {Works for Fresh Eggs!}

Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs {Works for Fresh Eggs!}

You can boil as many eggs as your pot will hold - just make sure they stay in an even layer and aren't too tightly packed together.

If using smaller or larger eggs (than the large eggs called for), adjust the time as needed.

Ingredients

  • Water
  • Large eggs (storebought or fresh)

Directions

  1. Fill a pot of water halfway and bring to a boil.
  2. Gently lower eggs into the water (enough for an even layer). A strainer or slotted spoon works well for this - try to get them into the water as quickly as possible. Make sure the water covers the eggs by at least an inch. If not, add more hot water.
  3. Bring the water to a gentle simmer and start timing for 12 minutes. Take care not to let the water come to a rolling boil or the egg whites can be rubbery and tough; keep it at a gentle simmer.
  4. Fill a bowl with ice water.
  5. Remove the eggs from the water with a strainer or slotted spoon or carefully drain the water from the pot.
  6. Dump the eggs into the ice water and let the eggs sit for 5-10 minutes.
  7. Take the eggs out of the ice water and peel immediately, tapping the large end of the egg to start the peeling and making sure to get under the membrane while peeling. The peeled eggs can be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator for several days.
http://www.melskitchencafe.com/perfect-easy-peel-hard-boiled-eggs/

Recipe Source: from Sally at Good Dinner Mom

79 Responses to Perfect Easy-Peel Hard-Boiled Eggs {Works for Fresh Eggs!}

  1. Catherine says:

    My no-fail method is to steam the eggs. 10 minutes to perfect hard-cooked eggs (4 minutes if you like them soft-cooked like my husband does), and you don’t have to wait for the water to boil. Super easy! But now I might just have to do a side-by-side comparison with this method. It is egg season, you know!

    • OrMtnMaid says:

      I use the steam method also on my “fresh” eggs. I put them from fridge to cold steamer, then turn on heat and never have a fail or a cracked egg. I also put immediately into ice water. Not cold…..Ice. Time varies on elevation and egg size.

    • CJ says:

      I agree. Steaming is the way to go. 🙂 I just got that tip from a dear friend of mine who is an experienced chicken farmer last week.

  2. Nicole says:

    Have you tried them in the instant pot? I did this last week, and I’m not sure I’ll go back. I put seven eggs on the rack it came with, added water underneath, set it for manual 6 minutes at high pressure, and then after a 6 minute natural release I quick released the pressure. I couldn’t believe how easy the eggs were to peel. True, you can’t do many eggs at a time this way, but the fact that I could walk away for 18 minutes was heaven.

    • Liz says:

      I converted to the instant pot steaming also. I had a boil and ice bath method that worked but as you say: set it and walk away with IP. And re volume, I haven’t tried it, but when I was researching how to do it found a family of 10 loading the instant pot with 3 dozen eggs. (http://ourtravelingtribe.com/2015/01/rv-kitchen-tips-instant-pot.html)

    • Amanda says:

      I wanted to chime in on the instant pot eggs. I used to steam my eggs and they were very easy to peel. Doing it in the instant pot? Even easier to peel. Also, no waiting for water to boil. Because I’m at a really high altitude, I do 8 minutes high pressure with a quick release, and then into an ice bath. They are a dream to peel. I put my steamer basket in the bottom of the instant pot and add about a cup of water. I usually do about a dozen at a time. Works great!

    • Sheriece says:

      Ditto this! Instant pot eggs are life changing. So fast and always fall out of the shell, even fresh eggs.

    • Mel says:

      I have made them in the instant pot but haven’t converted fully because when I boil eggs, I’m usually doing a dozen or more; wish I could fit more in the instant pot!

      • Dana Ticknor says:

        Mel, we are the family in the post mentioned above (thanks for the shout out Liz!!!).
        We make 3 dozen+ eggs at a time (8 kids still at home) in our Instant Pot! We do not set them in silicone cups like some do, just pile them in on the trivet and walk away. 🙂 I don’t ever ice bath them – with 8 kids I generally forget about them, so we just pull them out later and throw them in the fridge.
        If it’s high maintenance, I don’t do it, so you know the IP method is easy peasy! 😉

        • Mel says:

          Hey Dana! Thanks for chiming in on the InstantPot and the eggs! I’m going to have to try it since my big hang up with hard-boiled eggs, so to speak, in the InstantPot is/was the capacity. And also, I think you are amazing for living in an RV with such a big family!

        • Liz says:

          You are welcome Dana! I found you looking not only for egg instruction, but also to see if folks were using the Instant Pot in rvs as I often travel in my motorhome and wasn’t sure about the power usage. Maybe we’ll cross paths sometime “on the road”!

      • Sheriece says:

        I never do less than a dozen in my instant pot. The first time I did it, I made little tin foil dividers for each egg thinking they might jiggle around and crack each other. But ever since then I’ve just piled them on a metal steaming basket and called it good. Haven’t had a problem yet. I do extra large eggs, 8 min, quick release.

    • myra says:

      what is the instant pot? sounds like a pressure cooker…

    • Peggy says:

      That’s what I do too. After taking off the stove, immediately drain them and swish against the sides of the pan to crack the shells. Peel while running under cold water.

      I used to do the added step of pricking the air-end of the shell before cooking for easy removal but if you crack the shells immediately, you don’t need to. They actually make a shell pricker for this or you can use a heavy sewing needle.

    • myra says:

      that’s my method too. what i like about it is if i am doing other things and don’t turn the heat off immediately they still turn out great. or if i leave them in cold tap water for up to an hour (again because i’m involved with something else) still perfect.
      what i’ve added to make them peelable is 1 tsp-1 Tb of salt depending on amt of water in pot. works great and no salty taste or other effect to delicious eggs.

  3. Jamie says:

    I’ve been using this method ever since I saw it on Sally’s site a year ago! Even my small kids can easily peel their own eggs which is heaven for me. It really does work awesome. The eggs almost slip right out.

  4. pat says:

    alternate method and a neat trick for quick peeling
    I have always done the cold water start with very good results- cover eggs with cold water, place on burner on high. As soon as it comes to a boil – cover and remove. Wait 13-15 minutes (depending on size of eggs (large-jumbo). Use the ice bath as Mel suggests.
    Steaming is my preferred method as boiling can make eggs rubbery. This is my favorite method if you have a steamer basket. Eggs can be fresh and should be cold from the refrigerator.
    Bring one inch of water to rolling boil in medium saucepan over high heat. Place eggs in steamer basket transfer basket to saucepan. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and cook eggs for 13 To 15 minutes depending on size (large to jumbo). When eggs are almost finished cooking, combine two cups ice cubes in 2 cups cold water in a medium Bowl using tongs or spoon transfer eggs to ice bath. Let sit for 15 minutes.
    Now this is the fun part. Instead of using a bowl for your ice bath, use a plastic container with a tight-fitting lid. Once the eggs are chilled, pour half the water out and, holding the lid in place, shake the container vigorously using a vertical motion (the eggs will hit the top of the container) until the shells are cracked all over about 40 shakes. Peel and use as desired. The shells practically fall off the eggs.

  5. Kelsey says:

    I saw this method on Pinterest and have been using it for a few months now. It absolutely works!!

  6. Mollie says:

    I have been steaming mine for a while now – they come out perfectly cooked and also easy to peel. But I think I might try a side by side with this method. I have tried again and again in the instant pot, but they always come out over cooked – I hate the when the yolk gets even a tinge of grey! I finally decided it’s not worth it for something I can do on the stove just as quickly. Thanks for this tip!

  7. Cheryl says:

    Steaming is the only way to boil eggs, no waste, so easy to peel.
    Fill a large pot with 1 inch of water. Place metal steamer insert inside, add eggs to steamer basket, cover, bring to a boil over high heat, cooking 10 minutes for soft boiled or 20+ minutes for hard.

  8. Heidi says:

    When I first saw your post I thought for sure you were talking about doing them in the pressure cooker. They always peel and you don’t have to babysit them as much. My preferred method for sure.

    • Mel says:

      I agree that pressure cooker eggs are great – but I always boil way more eggs than can fit in my pressure cooker so it kind of falls short that way for me.

  9. Ellen says:

    that’s funny! I just discovered this method on Monday, and almost squealed with excitement! I’m pretty immature and easily satisfied like that:)

  10. Charles says:

    Mel,
    Check out Julia Childs method. She puts 6 eggs in pot of cold water , cover , set timer for 17 minutes and bring to a boil , once they boil turn off heat or reduce to simmer for the remainder of time . After 17 minutes transfer the eggs to a bowl of ice water for a minute or so. Bring the water to a boil again and return the eggs to the boiling water for 30 to 60 seconds , remove and return to the ice water. The contraction and expansion seems to free the egg membrane and aid the peeling process . I also make a pinhole in the bottom of the egg before cooking , this releases the air and helps prevent cracking.
    The eggs are cooked perfect every time . Also boiling eggs on too high heat usually turns the yolk dark grey around the edges.

  11. Kate | HappyForks.com says:

    Mel, how do you store eggs? Do you keep them in a fridge or just in a room temperature? I keep eggs in the fridge and always boil them from cold water. I’ve always thought it’s a temperature difference between egg and water that causes egg cracking. I am just wondering if your eggs crack sometimes while following this method and if easy peeling is caused only by dumping eggs into the ice water for certain time or the initial water temperature matters as well?

    • Mel says:

      I’m sure there are a lot of factors that contribute to easy peel eggs but this method seems to work for me with minimal cracking of eggs. I do keep my eggs at room temperature most often since they are fresh eggs that haven’t been washed yet but I’ve used this method on cold eggs from the refrigerator with great results, too. Sometimes if I’m using eggs from the fridge, I put a teaspoon of white vinegar in the boiling water – that way if an egg cracks, the egg white doesn’t ribbon out throughout the pot.

  12. Diane says:

    Oh my goodness, this works! Just tried it on 7 eggs, and they all peeled without so much as a chunk or dent! Thank you so much! Love your blog!

  13. Rachey says:

    I swear by the Mark Bittman way: bring water to rapid boil, poke a hole in the air pocket of the egg and put the eggs in and keep it boiling for 13 minutes. I’ll have to try this method too.

  14. Brianne says:

    Just wondering why you say to peel immediately? Will the easy-peel not work for saving them in the fridge? I like to have some boiled eggs on hand but wasn’t sure if you kept them unpeeled in the fridge? Thanks! I love your site and cook from it at least 4-5 times a week.

    • Melanie S says:

      I had the very same question. Anyone able to answer on this?

    • Stacy says:

      I want to know the same thing. Can we hard-boil the eggs and peel them a few days later? We want to dye some for Easter so we won’t be peeling them right away. Will they still peel easily a few days later?

      • Mel says:

        Yes, it should work. Sally at Good Dinner Mom, where I saw this method, doesn’t peel her eggs right away (and they still peel easily); I’ve found I like to peel them right away but this should work just fine for decorating eggs.

  15. You darling! Thanks so much for featuring my recipe and for doing a much better job with your photo tutorial. <3

  16. Ashlee says:

    I’m also wondering if this works for eggs to decorate, and peel later….

    • Mel says:

      Yes, it should work. Sally at Good Dinner Mom, where I saw this method, doesn’t peel her eggs right away (and they still peel easily); I’ve found I like to peel them right away but this should work just fine for decorating eggs.

  17. Jim says:

    A faster method, and also makes extremely easy to peel HB eggs from fresh eggs – the pressure cooker method. Done in 10-11 minutes total, from starting to heat to ready to peel. I won’t go back to a regular open pot again for this.

  18. Paige says:

    It’s so fun to read everyone’s egg boiling methods because everyone does it so differently! I always throw my eggs in a pot with cold water and pour salt in it, and then boil it on high on the stove. Once the water starts to boil, I let it boil for one minute, then I turn off the heat, cover the pot, and let it sit there for 10 minutes. I then remove the eggs from the pot and run cold water on them until they’re cooled (although your ice bath probably wastes significantly less water, I’m going to start doing that), and mine come out amazingly perfect every time!

    Paige
    http://thehappyflammily.com

  19. Barb says:

    Looking forward to trying this method. Its been hit and miss for me with what works and what doesn’t.

    • Barb says:

      Mel– just got done trying this and it worked so amazingly.
      Really couldn’t believe it if i hadn’t tried it. I totally agree with you its the best way to go. I suppose the debate will rage on about what is best, but I tend to stick with what works for me. Thanks for posting this. I don’t remember ever hearing of this method before.

  20. Tanya M. says:

    From one chicken lady to another.. thank you!! 🙂 My fresh eggs are always such a pain to peel!!

  21. Beverley says:

    Mel. thank you for this it explains a lot and now this is my new way of boiling eggs xoxo

  22. Mamalala says:

    You really should try your eggs in an Instant Pot. Perfect every time.

  23. Linda Biek says:

    Great tip!! Thanks.

  24. melanie says:

    YES Mel! Pioneer woman cooks her hbe’s this way too and I discovered her post about them a few months ago…..and perfect every-single-time!! 🙂

  25. Rita says:

    It worked! It really, really worked! I have chickens and always dread making hard boiled eggs because of the peeling issues. This worked perfectly for me, thanks!

  26. Aysha says:

    I like your method but .. ! We have had chickens for 4 years now and I know how tough they are to peel but all you need is a little lemon juice in the water with the boiling eggs… Works great… No extra dishes to have to clean, no extra appliances (i.e. a pressure cooker)! I don’t measure. I just put a splash in (maybe a tablespoon) right in when I put the water in the pan!

  27. Michelle says:

    This worked amazingly!!! I am sold! 🙂 Thank you for sharing!!

  28. Jessica says:

    Thank you, thank you! I always have such a hard time peeling eggs but using this method, seven of eight came out perfectly intact. I’ll take it!

  29. Danielle says:

    Any ideas on how much time to let them cook if you want soft yolks? I’m kind of obsessed with soft boiled eggs these days but they seem a lot harder to peel. Wondering if this method would help.

    • Liz says:

      Danielle, Before I had an instant pot, I “steamed” eggs when I wanted soft boiled:

      Put a small amount of water (maybe 1/2 inch) in a pan and bring to a boil over medium head Set egg(s) in pan and cover. I use a little pan that has steam vents in the lid. I go 6-7 minutes for cooked white and runny yolk but I’m at 3300 feet so you might have to experiment.

      Immediately run under cold water just until you can handle. They should peel easily.

      Instant pot steaming for soft boil is 4 minutes and quick release for me.

    • Mel says:

      I unintentionally made soft yolk eggs the other day when I didn’t set the timer – guessing, I think it was right about 9 minutes but you might try googling (or Liz’s advice is great) for a better measure.

  30. Elizabeth says:

    I was a little skeptical, because I’ve tried using so many “no fail” techniques, but this one actually worked! And with super fresh eggs! Thanks for sharing!

  31. Julia says:

    For the first time in I don’t remember, I peeled a half dozen eggs, in a row, without uttering one naughty word. All eggs fully present and accounted for. Thank you so much.

  32. Julie says:

    Almost half of my eggs cracked 🙁 I just read through the comments and realized I should have brought eggs go room temp? Maybe that would have helped?

    • Mel says:

      I’ve used both cold eggs and room temp with minimal cracking – I think a lot has to do with how quickly they are added to the water. I kind of ease them in gently using the strainer. But yes, using room temperature eggs may help even more.

  33. Alyssa says:

    Just curious…you say to peel immediately. Is that necessary? What about leaving them in the shell to dye them for Easter?

  34. Kat says:

    All my eggs cracked. I wouldn’t be so bummed but they are for dying Easter eggs. I’m going back to your old method which has been my go-to for years. If I ever end up with fresh eggs in my life, I’ll try this again.

    • Mel says:

      Oh shoot, Katherine – so sorry to hear that!

    • Kat says:

      I wanted to add a note that even though they cracked, I have never had eggs peel so easy in my life! It was amazing. However I also noticed that some of my eggs were cooked perfectly (with the slightest dot still soft in the middle) while a few were overcooked (with the yucky gray ring). Not sure why they cooked differently. Maybe I’ll try combining methods next.

  35. Amy says:

    I used this method for my boiled eggs today. (Easter). I was making deviled eggs, and I always boil way more eggs than I need because when I peel them, I lose so many. Usually, anyway. I was just using Egglands Best eggs I had bought at the grocery store the day before, so not farm fresh, but every single one peeled perfectly and easily! I have tried the “bring to boil, turn off, put in cold water” method, but it did not work so well for me. This was great, and I know this will be life changing because now I will be able to get protein in my kids more easily. Thank you so much!

  36. Kim says:

    I hard boiled our decorated eggs using this method last week, and they turned out really well! Forget about peeling; we just loved the taste! The yolks don’t have a gray ring around it, and my husband has commented how much he likes the texture of them.
    Some of your recipes have been favorites for years (orange chicken and adobo chicken tacos come to mind). A few weeks ago, I went through all your archives and printed off dozens of recipes to try. So I’m having a Julie + Julia experience with you, only Mel + Kim. (KimMel?) We’ve liked everything so far, and added many to our favorites collection. Thank you so much for all your cooking through the years, and moreover for taking the time to post them. You are helping me keep my New Year’s resolution of making dinner! Does it make me sound like a total freak to say that I fantasize about you one day publishing a cookbook? In the meantime, I’ll hold my reams of printed recipes close to my heart. Keep up the great work!

    • Mel says:

      You are so sweet, Kim! Thanks for making my day with your comment (plus, I love that you love the hard-boiled eggs; it’s my favorite way to make them!).

    • The gray ring is caused by a chemical reaction between sulfur (from the egg white) and iron (from the egg yolk). The reaction is usually caused by overcooking and results in formation of ferrous sulfide at the surface of the yolk. This is why controlling cooking time and cooling the eggs quickly afterwards is so important.

  37. Beth says:

    This method is life changing. Seriously, works like a charm. Thanks for sharing!

  38. Megan says:

    I finally got a chance to try this method today, and holy moly, or worked! I have the worst luck peeling eggs and I was shocked that I was able to peel EVERY egg with no problem, thank you!

  39. Jennifer says:

    I’ve been baking my eggs in a muffin tin recently, but they can be really hard to peel. I’ve wanted to try this since you posted it. Finally did today… Amazing!! The shells just came right off and they are cooked perfectly. Woo hoo! I did have some cracking but I read through the comments and I’ll try to ease then into the water more slowly next time and maybe try vinegar too. Thanks for sharing this!!

  40. Jen M says:

    I love how easy these are to peel, but mine crack every single time! I’m going to try bringing them to room temp before I cook them next time and see if that helps.

    • Mel's Kitchen Cafe Admin says:

      Hey Jen – Mel doesn’t have access to internet right now so I’m helping her out with comments for the next few days. Darn. I am sorry they are cracking for you. You will have to report back after you try bringing them to room temp if that solved the cracking problem.

  41. Jennie P. says:

    Why did I wait so long to trust you on this? Amazing and honestly, life-changing! We eat so many eggs and I’m usually not all that nice about sharing my stash of hard boiled eggs since I’ve put my blood, sweat and tears into peeling them. Now, with the fresh from the farm (and hopefully soon my coop) eggs I can make hard boiled eggs as much as every one wants! Thank you.

  42. Heidy A says:

    This is our new favorite method! Thanks!

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