How to Hard Boil an Egg

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For best results, store your eggs in the refrigerator for one week before boiling.
For best results, store your eggs in the refrigerator for one week before boiling. (Image: Lark Gillespie)

Fried, poached, baked, boiled or scrambled -- eggs are one of the most versatile of kitchen ingredients. In culinary mythology, the 100 pleats on a chef’s hat are said to represent the numerous ways you can prepare eggs, according to "Bon Appetit." Hard boiling is just one of these preparation methods. When hard boiling eggs, choose eggs that have been stored in the refrigerator for at least a week as the additional storage time causes the egg to shrink slightly inside the shell, which makes peeling the eggs much easier.

Things You'll Need

  • Large eggs
  • Large saucepan with lid
  • Cold water

Place your eggs in the saucepan. All of the eggs should fit in single layer on the bottom of the saucepan with ample space around each egg. If the saucepan is too crowded, the eggs might bump into each other and crack. If all of your eggs don't fit comfortably in your saucepan, boil them in separate batches.

(Image: Lark Gillespie)

Add cold water to the saucepan until the eggs are covered by at least 1 inch of water.

(Image: Lark Gillespie)

Place the saucepan on the stove and turn the heat to high. Allow the water to come to a simmer.

(Image: Lark Gillespie)

Cover the saucepan and remove it from the burner, which keeps the water hot enough to cook the eggs, but not so hot that the yolks will turn green.

(Image: Lark Gillespie)

Let the eggs sit in the hot water for 18 to 20 minutes.

Remove the lid and run cold water over your eggs to stop the cooking process. Rapidly cooling the eggs also helps prevent the yolks from turning green.

Remove the eggs from the water. The eggs should be cool enough to handle with your hands. Refrigerate the eggs until ready for use.

Tips & Warnings

  • Test your hard-boiled eggs to determine if they're done by spinning them on your countertop. If they are done, they will spin easily. If not, the liquid inside the eggs will make them wobble.
  • To peel your hard-boiled eggs easily, tap them gently all over. Start peeling from the bottom of the egg, and gently work one of your fingers under the membrane that separates the shell from the egg white. For best results, peel the eggs under running water.
  • Improperly cooked eggs can cause foodborne illness. Fully cooked hard-boiled eggs have reached a safe internal temperature. If your egg is not fully cooked, it may not be safe to eat.
  • Keep your hard-boiled eggs refrigerated, and use them within one week. Because hard-boiled eggs spoil more quickly than raw eggs, they should not be consumed after a week.

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