How to Cook the Perfectly Boiled Egg


Eggs. They’re nutritious, delicious and cheap! Cooking them properly is quite simple, provided you know the secrets.

A perfectly boiled egg has a yolk that is set all the way to the center and it is clean, beautiful yellow color with no hint of ugly green where the yolk and white meet. A perfectly boiled egg slides smoothly away from the cracked shell.


Prick the shell. Us a push-pin or needle, push it right into the large end of the uncooked egg, in about 1/4 inch, and into the egg itself. This will pierce the tiny air bubble (present in every egg) that in an un-pricked egg expands as the egg is heated and cracks the shell. This tiny hole allows an escape route for the air.

Simmer method. Because this is a tedious process, the maximum number of eggs that should be boiled at one time is twelve. Bring a pot of water to boil. Lower the prepared eggs into the boiling water and bring the water back to a simmer and set the timer: 12 minutes for large chilled eggs and 13 minutes for extra large ones. Keep the water at a low simmer that produces small bubbles and a very slight movement among the eggs.

Coddle method. Some great cooks prefer to coddle eggs rather than simmer because the results are more reliable. Place the chilled eggs in a pot of cold water (6-7 cups for 1-4 eggs and an additional cup for each additional egg). Bring the water to a full-rolling boil, remove from heat and cover it. Set the time for exactly 17 minutes (or 18 for jumbo or extra large eggs).

Foolproof peeling of hard-cooked eggs. Tap the egg gently so as to break the shell in e many places all around the egg. Start peeling the egg by first placing it under a small stream of cold water and begin removing the shell from the large bottom side. If the shell is resistant and wants to take part of the white with it, simply drop three eggs at a time into boiling water, wait 10 seconds and immediately transfer them to ice water. This will expand and contract the shell quickly and will release the shell easily.

No more ugly green ring. This change of color occurs when eggs are allowed to remain warm after proper cooking. A chemical reaction between the yolk and the white occurs, causing this discoloration. The way to prevent this is to chill the eggs as quickly as possible. Once the eggs have completed cooking, quickly pour off the hot water and add a tray of ice into the pan, quickly filling with cold water so they are completely covered.

Store cooked eggs properly. Cooked eggs should be submerged in cold water in an uncovered container and stored in the refrigerator. They will keep for several days this way without loss of flavor, nutrition or texture.

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12 replies
  1. Anne
    Anne says:

    Mary, you didn’t mention my new favorite! See your Aug 13, 2013 article on eggs. You put them in a muffin pan one to each, then bake them in the oven at 325 for 25-30 mins., cool them and you have really nice eggs!!

  2. Lynn
    Lynn says:

    That’s “leave” on the stove not live on the stove, wasn’t able to edit after I posted, sorry, though I had proof read it.

  3. Lynn
    Lynn says:

    I steam my eggs, I think it was Alton Brown that did this, put at least 6 eggs in a metal steamer basket, put the basket over boiling water with the lid on, I don’t let the eggs touch the water, steam about 5 minutes then turn of the heat, and live on the stove another 15 minutes or so, then peel, the white is never rubbery, just tender and delicious.

  4. Susie
    Susie says:

    A cousin showed me a great way to peel eggs. Take a teaspoon (flatware, not measuring), make a crack in the shell and slide the spoon upside down under the shell. The curve of the spoon follows the curve of the egg and the shells are easily removed. It’s a real thumb saver if you’re peeling a lot of eggs.

  5. Tiffany
    Tiffany says:

    I always get distracted while waiting for the water to come back to a simmer, and how many bubbles count as a simmer, if it got to boiling instead of just simmering how much time do I adjust for that extra heat. After too many not so perfect eggs I learned about a better solution for measuring the cooking time of a perfect hard boiled egg. It is a kitchen gadget that sits inside the pan of boiling eggs and reacts to the heat of the water and displays just how cooked are those egg insides. A little money spent for no more runny under cooked or rubbery over cooked eggs. Now, that is money saved.

      • Diana Brannan
        Diana Brannan says:

        That makes three of us. Proofreading is a lost art. That being said, I just cover the eggs with water and go from there. I don’t measure the water… I do use the bring to boil method, cover and remove from the heat. I am not concerned about the green ring whatsoever. I also don’t immerse the cooked eggs in water in the frig. I just put them in a bowl so everyone knows they are hard-boiled and can grab one when wanted.

        I will try the method of pricking the large end to release the membrane and see how that works.

      • maxhalberg
        maxhalberg says:

        Diana, these articles do get proofread. However both Mary and I are human, and the occasional error gets past us, whether in editing or upon posting to the blog itself.

  6. rachel
    rachel says:

    another good way to cook boiled eggs – specially if you want a lot for a party etc. Put eggs into the bowls of a muffin tray and put in the oven at around 150 degrees for 15 mins. leave to cool = lovely boiled eggs.

    • Diana Brannan
      Diana Brannan says:

      I have never even heard of putting them in the oven to bake instead of boil, simmer, whatever. Interesting.


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