I have a confession to make. I’m a total egghead. That is to say, I love eggs. They’re the ultimate versatile food. Remember that scene in Forrest Gump where Tom Hanks’ new army buddy rattles off everything you can do with shrimp? Well, I’m kind of like that with eggs.
Eggs Are Awesome
From salads to starches to veggies, eggs are my go-to when I want to add a punch of tasty protein to a dish.
Hungry for a snack? There are few things more satisfying than opening your refrigerator and grabbing some pre-made, properly-cooked, hard-boiled eggs.
Yet so many people don’t cook them properly.
It only takes 10 minutes and you’re just boiling water. What’s so hard about making hard-boiled eggs?
Why Is It So Hard to Hard-Boil?
The overcooked eggs in breakfast buffets and delis all over the city prove that simply dropping eggs into boiling water isn’t a recipe for success. It is a recipe for rubbery egg whites, green yolks, and shells that are impossible to peel.
Cooking the perfect hard-boiled egg requires precision and attention to detail.
Long ago a New York Times article showed me the most reliable method for producing the delicate yolks and soft whites that we all love. I experimented and made some minor adjustments of my own over the years, but the basic steps have remained the same.
Here’s my 10-step system for achieving hard-boiled bliss:
The Perfect Hard-Boiled Egg in 10 Simple Steps
Place eggs in a large saucepan. No crowding. Allow for ample space between eggs so the temperature is consistent and the eggs cook evenly on all sides.
Fill the saucepan with water that just covers the tops of the eggs. Do not overfill.
Throw a handful of kosher salt into the pan. This raises the boiling point a bit. There’s evidence that salt prevents the eggs from cracking, possibly due to the elevated boiling point. My go-to is Morton’s.
Turn your burner flame to medium full. Finding the right setting is more art than science and you’ll have to experiment with your own stove to find what works best for you. Too high and the eggs will heat up quickly and their shells may pop. Too low and the eggs will cook slowly, creating a rubbery consistency to the egg whites.
When the water comes to a robust boil, set your timer for 5 minutes.
What is a robust boil? When you see little bubbles starting to form on the eggs, you’re getting close. When your eggs are hopping around and it sounds like they’re all tap dancing in the pot, you’re there.
Do NOT put a lid over the pan at any point in this process.
After 5 minutes immediately remove the saucepan from the stove. Place the saucepan into the sink and run cold water directly into the pan. Do NOT dump the boiling water out, simply add cold water so that the temperature gradually cools.
Jeremy here with a quick side comment. Instead of running the water for 5 minutes, consider dumping the eggs into a separate pot that’s half water, half ice. Same results, but you’ll conserve water.
Julie here with a quick rebuttal. First of all, stay off my blog. Second, the whole point is to gradually cool the eggs, not flash freeze them. Giving your eggs the Ice Bucket Challenge is a great way to ruin their consistency and make the shells harder to peel. If you’re so keen on saving water, try taking shorter showers.
Continue to run water until the water in the saucepan is cold.
Allow your eggs to sit in the cold water bath for 10 minutes before removing.
My favorite part. The taste test while they’re still warm.