The perfect hard boiled egg – Simple. And easy, really. But the perfectly peeled, smooth egg that is critical to tasty Deviled Eggs? That’s another story. Let me start with the end and work back. Getting that peel that just sort of “pops off” after that first crack of the shell. That feeling of success when you know you won’t end up with a pecked-at looking egg that can’t possibly be used in your grandma’s classic Deviled Egg recipe. Ugh… Been there done that. And I’ve tried all the suggestions for getting the perfect peel. Add vinegar; add baking soda; roll the egg to crack the shell and then blah, blah, etc., etc. You know them all. These methods almost never worked for me. You neither? Well, here is the secret… finally! I have been so excited to share a method with you that actually works. You can have perfectly cooked, bright and yellow, hard boiled yolks, and creamy, tasty egg whites, that peel easily every time.
Here’s the way to get that easy-to-peel-shell:
Place your eggs straight out of the fridge into a pot of already rapidly boiling water, using a spoon to lower the eggs into the water. What?! Yes, I said cold eggs into boiling water. Stay with me. Once you place the eggs in the boiling water, the boil will reduce since the eggs are cold. Keep at high heat until the water boils rapidly again and let boil for 30 seconds, then turn the heat to just a simmer. This requires keeping most burners set at medium since the cold-start eggs will dramatically drop the water temperature (the eggs will just kind of move around like jumping beans in the slow simmering water), and continue in the pot for 12 minutes for hard boiled eggs (to use this method for soft boiled eggs, simmer for only 6 minutes). **Cook’s note: Once in a while, an egg might crack when it’s placed in the boiling water. To prevent any of the egg from oozing out of the shell, add about 1/2 teaspoon white vinegar to the water before heating to boil. When I do this, the cracked egg cooks perfectly just like all the others in the pot.**
Starting in the boiling water will help the shell separate from the eggs sooner, but you must turn the heat down to the simmer if you want your egg whites to be tender and not rubbery.This may require you to adjust the dial up or down a bit in the first few minutes until you’re sure the simmer will continue. After the eggs have slow-simmered for 12 minutes…
Quickly run ice cold water over your eggs while draining out the hot water. Do this until only cold water is left in the pot. This will stop the eggs from cooking any further. Let the eggs sit in the cold water for 15 minutes to cool (you can add a few ice cubes to make them cold if using immediately), or refrigerate overnight. Peel under cool running water. Whether you peel them right out of the pan or the next day doesn’t matter. Either way, they peel easily.
The picture above says it all. The egg on the left was cooked using the method I just described. The egg on the right was cooked from the typical cold water start. The egg shell on the left just slipped right off. I never was able to get the egg on the right peeled without pulling the egg in half and ruining it for Deviled Eggs.
One important note: Super-fresh eggs are hard to peel no matter what method you try. If, like me, you have a few backyard chickens (as seems to be a rapidly growing trend), you’ll want to and save your eggs for at least two weeks (a month is even better) before cooking. However, store-bought eggs do sit around for a while before they make it from farm to grocer so they’re already not extremely fresh when you purchase them. But it doesn’t hurt to think ahead and buy your eggs at least a week or two ahead of Deviled Egg Making Time. **Update: As an experiment, I just tried this method on a fresh egg from one of my chickens. Though it was a bit harder to remove the shell then my other eggs, I was still able to do so without damaging the egg white.**
There you go, this method consistently creates silky, just-right hard boiled eggs with easy to remove shells.