Essential Skills: Hard Boiled Eggs


Learning how to boil an egg may sound like silly child’s play, but knowing how to properly cook an egg is foundational in taking your home cooking skills from mediocre to outstanding. Hard boiling an egg is by no means difficult, but many people overcook them and end up with rubbery egg whites, chalky egg yolks that suck every last drop of moisture from your mouth when you attempt to eat them, and an unsightly grey coating around the yolk. You can avoid all of this with a few easy steps.

First, always start the eggs and the water in which they will boil at roughly the same temperature. In other words, if your eggs are straight from the refrigerator, don’t drop them straight into hot water. When you drop cold eggs into hot water, the outer part of the egg will fully cook before the yolk has time to catch up, and by the time the yolk is cooked, the whites are rubbery. Starting everything at the same temperature allows for even cooking, so place the cold eggs into a pot, cover with several inches of cold water, and then bring to a boil.

Second, once the water is just barely boiling (really, closer to a fast simmer, right when the bubbles are transitioning from small simmer bubbles to big boiling bubbles), cover the pot and remove it from the heat. That doesn’t mean that you just turn off the burner- you need to actually take the pot off of the hot burner and then let it sit for eight minutes. After eight minutes, drain the eggs and plunge them into an ice bath (or go the lazy route like I do and just run them under cold water until they are no longer hot). This will stop them from cooking any further.

One last thing: old eggs peel more easily than fresh eggs, so it’s perfectly fine to let them get close to the expiration date before you cook them. The reason? A thin membrane exists between the egg shell and the egg white that sticks close to the white on fresh eggs; with age, the membrane pulls away from the white, making it easier to get underneath it. When peeling the eggs, get under this membrane, and the shell should come off with ease.

As in the photo above, you should have supple egg whites and a creamy, sunshine-yellow yolk with no trace of grey around the edges. From here, all they need is a sprinkling of Maldon or even kosher salt and maybe some freshly cracked pepper. Enjoy!

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