Easy to Peel Hard Boiled Eggs

how to make boiled eggs that are easy to peel
My tried and true method

I love hard boiled eggs. I’ll eat them with hot sauce or flaky salt. I love egg salad and deviled eggs too. And I love a hard boiled egg in a salad wrap. Because of that, I’ve boiled a lot of eggs!
I’ve tried all the gimmicky approaches short of that kitchen gadget that pops the egg out of its shell in one shot. I’ve boiled them with baking soda, I bought that timer that goes in the water, and I’ve tried the old fashioned way that covers and uncovers the pot for some reason. This method is the one I like best, and that’s because it always works.

This recipe is admittedly a little fussy, but for me, hard boiled egg girl, it’s worth it. The eggs are tender and accurately timed, and best of all, easy to peel.
If you want to know the why’s behind this approach, take a look at the recipe notes. If you just want to eat tasty eggs, head on down to the recipe. This method can be used for any boiled egg cooked for any number of minutes.
Fair warning: there’s no rushing this approach. The eggs must rest for at least 2 hours in the fridge after cooking in order to peel easily.

This post was updated on 4/17/23, and was previously titled “7 Minute Jammy Boiled Eggs.” There is only one change to the previous recipe, which is refrigeration for 2 hours after the ice bath.


Recipe Notes

Why warm the eggs before boiling?

eggs in warm water to temper them before boiling

The purpose of this is to prevent the eggs from cracking when they hit the boiling water. If they’re very cold, the temperature change will cause cracks.

Sometimes even when the eggs have been warmed they crack anyway, and if they do, it’s really not a big deal. A little egg white will come out and cook in the water.

Often when I boil eggs I’ll do it when I’ve just brought the eggs home from the grocery store and they’ve had a little time to warm up already. 


Why put the eggs into hot water?

water at a high simmer/ low boil for eggs

Pictured above: This is what the water looks like when I lower in the eggs.

Eggs lowered into simmering water will cook differently than eggs that are covered with cold water and then brought up to a simmer. Starting the cooking already at a simmer will yield a more tender egg, because it cooks more quickly.


What’s a high simmer/low boil look like?

The temperature of the water will likely fluctuate throughout cooking. These pictures were all taken during cooking, and are all good levels of heat.

eggs in simmering water

Eggs at a simmer.

eggs in high simmering water

Eggs at a high simmer/low boil.

eggs in boiling water

Eggs at a boil.


What’s a spider?

eggs in a spider

A spider is one of my favorite cooking tools. I love it for frying, but it’s also great for scooping large quantities in and out of boiling water like pasta, vegetables, and eggs. It can hold 6-7 eggs at a time! That’s the best part really, how much it can hold, because getting the eggs into the water all at once means they’re all going to cook the same.

If you don’t have a spider, use a mesh strainer or a slotted spoon.


What’s with the ice bath?

boiled eggs in an ice bath

An ice bath is a bowl of ice and cold water.

It stops residual heat from continuing to cook the egg after its been removed from the water, preventing the eggs from overcooking.

If you don’t have ice on hand, move the eggs into the bowl and put the bowl under cool running water until they’re cool to the touch. Then let them sit in the cold water until they’ve cooled completely.

As a bonus, the ice bath also cools the eggs down quickly so they can get into the refrigerator and start their easy-peel cool down ASAP.


Which part of this process makes the eggs easy to peel?

The resting period.

After a lot of trial and error, I’ve concluded that it’s the resting period of at least 2 hours in the fridge that makes boiled eggs easy to peel.
My theory is that during that time the membrane just inside the shell releases from the egg. Maybe from condensation inside the shell? Maybe because the egg contracts from extended exposure to the cold? I don’t know, I’m not a scientist, I just know it always works for me.

If peeling is attempted just after the ice bath, the eggs might peel easily OR they might be a mess. I’ve experienced both situations, and I think it depends on the particular batch of eggs themselves.

The rest of the recipe is just the process that I think makes the tastiest, and most accurately timed boiled eggs.

If you were to use a different approach to boil eggs and then rest them in the fridge for at least two hours, I would hope the resting period would make those eggs easy to peel, but the truth is, I don’t know for sure! If you try a different boiling method, please report back.


The peeling process

This is the best approach to the actual peeling part that I’ve found.

cracking egg at wide end/ air pocket end

The wide end of the egg is usually (but not always) where the air pocket is. Start tapping and cracking here for the area that’s the least likely to have membrane-stick. (That’s what I call it when the membrane of the egg is stuck to the egg white and it all comes off with the shell in a chunk.)

boiled eggs with shells cracked all over

Then continue to tap little tap-taps all over the egg to create lots of little cracks. The smaller the cracked shell pieces are, the more flexible they will be on the membrane when peeling away from the egg.

boiled egg peeling easily

That flexibility means they won’t dig into the delicate egg white.

peeled boiled egg under running water

After peeling, I like to rinse the eggs and pat them dry. Those little eggshell pieces are hard to keep track of, and it’s better not to crunch down on one.

peeled boiled eggs

Easy to Peel Boiled Eggs Recipe

Easy to Peel Hard Boiled Eggs

Tender, perfectly cooked, and easy-peel boiled eggs
Keyword: egg, eggs

Equipment

  • 1 Large pot, big enough for the eggs to be in a single layer and covered by at least 1” of water
  • 1 Spider (recommended), mesh sieve, or slotted spoon
  • 1 Bowl, large enough to hold all your eggs and be covered by at least 1” of water

Ingredients

  • eggs
  • water
  • ice (optional, see ice bath recipe notes above)

Instructions

  • Warm the Eggs:
    Put cold eggs in a bowl and top with warm water by 1 inch. Let sit 15 minutes.
    Alternatively, leave eggs out of the refrigerator to warm on the countertop for 30-60 minutes, depending on the temperature of your kitchen.
  • Boil the Eggs:
    Bring the pot of water to a high simmer/low boil.
    Use a spider to transfer eggs into the water and set a timer. (7 minutes for jammy yolks, 11 minutes for eggs like the ones at the top of this page, 12 minutes for true hard boiled.) Keep the eggs gently moving thru the water for the first 30 seconds. This will help prevent the eggs from cracking. Sometimes they do still crack, and that’s okay.
    While the eggs cook, prepare an ice bath in the bowl you used to warm the eggs. Monitor the water so it stays at a simmer, high or low. You don’t need big jostling bubbles, but its ok if some happen. Stir the eggs 1-2 times throughout cooking.
    When the timer dings, use the spider to move the eggs into the ice bath. Let sit 10 minutes to cool down completely. 
    Put the eggs in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or up to 7 days (if eaten that day).
  • Peel the Eggs:
    Peel by tapping the wide end of the egg first, and then tap all over to create lots of little cracks. Peel. Rinse to remove any lingering shell and pat dry. Hard boiled eggs, peeled or unpeeled, will last up to 7 days in the refrigerator.
easy peel method for hard boiled eggs
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