Perfect Boiled Eggs

Make perfect boiled eggs

Boiling eggs may sound like the simplest thing you could possibly cook, but if you’ve ever boiled an egg you’ve probably run into problems at one time or another. The challenges with boiling an egg generally fall into two categories: cooking the egg, and peeling the egg. Despite following a set of directions precisely you might have found your eggs under/over cooked, or perhaps when you tried to peel the egg it ended up looking like the surface of the moon.

The good news, is that both of these problems are easily resolved with a little understanding behind the science of eggs. Read on and you’ll be boiling perfect oval eggs whether you prefer them hard-boiled or soft in the center.

How to Make a Perfect Boiled Egg

The first thing you have to understand is that the egg yolk sets at a much lower temperature than the egg white (70 degrees C vs 80 degrees C). Since the heat source (boiling water) is outside the egg, the egg cooks from the outside in. In theory this means that by the time yolk is set, the white has also reached it’s higher setting temperature.

The problem is that since the boiling water is significantly hotter than the setting temperature of the egg, it’s very easy to zoom past the desired temperature. Because the temperature is rising so fast, it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly when to stop the cooking to get the egg exactly how you like it. The problem with most boiled egg instructions is that they create a formula (put eggs in cold water, bring to boil, boil for X minutes) assuming you put the exact same size and temperature of egg into the same amount of water in a the same pan on the same stove… Well you get the idea.

The best way to figure out what works for your setup is to boil a dozen eggs and start pulling the eggs out of the water at thirty second increments after about 3 minutes. But who want’s waste that many eggs? Well, luckily I have a friend that produces eggs and I’ve been busy experimenting in my lab to come up with an (almost) foolproof method of boiling eggs.

Since the main problem with boiling an egg is the narrow window of time during which the egg is perfect, I asked myself how I could slow the cooking down to expand that window of perfection. I found my answer in the way I cook my chicken for chicken soup.

Make perfect boiled eggs

This is how I adapted the technique for eggs. Put refrigerated eggs in a heavy bottomed pot and cover with cold tap water so they’re covered by about 1″ (2.5cm) of water. Bring the water to a full boil (100 degrees C) over high heat, and then remove the pot from the heat. Let the eggs cook the rest of the way using the residual heat in the water. As the temperature of the egg rises, the temperature of the water will fall, which will give you a much wider window when your egg is perfectly cooked.

Boiling eggs

Before I give you cooking times for the eggs though, you need to know that there are many other factors that will effect the cooking time of the egg and I’ve outlined some of the major ones below along with what I did in my kitchen.

  • Initial egg temperature - An egg right out of the fridge will take longer to cook than an egg at room temperature. But since room temperature varies by season, and most people have their fridges set to around the same temperature. I decided to develop my method using eggs straight out of the fridge.
  • Egg size - The bigger the egg, the longer it will take to cook. I did all my experiments with large eggs (not extra large or jumbo).
  • Egg to water ratio – The more water you use relative to the number of eggs, the longer it will take to boil and the longer it will retain heat. Too much water and your eggs will cook too fast, too little and the temperature will fall too fast, resulting in uncooked eggs. Ideally you’d measure out a certain amount of water for each egg you’re boiling. But that seems a little extreme for something so simple. I typically use a pot that comfortably houses the number of eggs I’m going to cook (not crowded, not too spaced out), and then cover the eggs with enough water so there’s about 1″ of water above the top of the eggs.
  • Heat retention of the pot you use - Thicker pots, made of denser materials (iron vs aluminum) tend to retain heat better than thinner pots. I used a heavy bottomed stainless steel pot to boil my eggs. If you’re using an electric stove (coil or plate type), you should remove the pot from the stove and put it on a trivet as these types of stoves tend to retain heat long after you’ve turned them off.
  • Heat output of your stove - Some stoves are able to boil a pot of water much faster than others. IH tends to be the most efficient, while electric plate type stoves tend to be the least efficient. If your water take too long to boil, your eggs are going to be sitting in hot water for much longer, which will effect the amount of time they need to sit in the water after you turn the stove off. I used an IH stove for these experiments.
  • Altitude – The boiling temperature of water falls as your altitude rises. If you live in the mountains, this will certainly effect your cooking times, so you’ll need to adjust accordingly. I boiled my eggs at roughly sea level.
  • Room temperature – If you’re in a very cold room, your water will cool faster than if you’re in a warm room. I boiled my eggs in a 24 degree C (75 F) room.

With all that in mind, here are the cooking times for various types of boiled eggs. The times start after the water has come to a boil and you’ve turned off the heat.

Perfectly boiled eggs

  • 2 minutes – The white isn’t fully set and the yolk is totally raw
  • 4 minutes – The white is fully set, but the yolk is thick and runny
  • 6 minutes – The white is fully set, and the yolk is mostly set, but still a little runny in the middle
  • 8 minutes – The white is fully set, and the yolk is set, but tender
  • 10 minutes – The white is fully set, and the yolk is fully set

Remember to transfer your eggs to cold water as soon as you take them out of the pot to stop the cooking immediately. Otherwise, your eggs will continue cooking even after you’ve taken them out of the water.

How to Peel an Egg Perfectly

Make peeling eggs easy

If you do a search on google for “peel an egg” there are literally dozens of purported ways to make peeling an egg easy. Most of them don’t work with fresh eggs, and while aging an egg for 2 weeks works pretty well, who wants to wait that long to make a boiled egg?

How to peel an egg

The good news is, after some experimentation, I’ve come up with a method that works every time, no matter how fresh the egg is. The secret is to put a small crack in the bottom of the egg BEFORE you boil it. The crack needs to extend all the way through the hard shell, but it must not rupture the membrane (otherwise you’ll end up with egg white spewing out of the crack as it boils). I use a small curved object (the end of a wooden pestle) to crack the egg on, because it creates a more predictable circular crack rather than a linear crack that could spread and rupture the membrane.

Easily peel eggs

So why does this work? To understand this, it would help to understand why older eggs are easier to peel than fresh eggs. Unfortunately there is no scientific consensus on why an aged egg is easier to peel than a fresh egg. One thing we do know is that the albumen in a fresh egg contains more carbon dioxide, which means it has a lower pH (more acidic). This leads to one popular theory: that the acidity somehow makes the albumen adhere to the membrane more than an older egg with a higher pH.

As an egg ages, the moisture in the albumen seeps through the membrane and evaporates through small pores in the shell. This is what makes the air pocket inside an egg, and why it grows larger as the egg ages. Here’s where another theory comes into play: that the larger air pocket somehow makes the albumen adhere less to the membrane.

Personally I don’t buy either one of these theories because they don’t fit with my observations. While I don’t have any evidence to prove this (beyond my personal observations), my theory is that the higher moisture content in the membrane of an older egg prevents albumen from sticking to the membrane, making it easier to peel.

Peeling an egg

By putting a small crack in the shell, it allows water to enter the egg and saturate the membrane, mimicking the membrane of an older egg. If any scientists out there want to compare some cross sections of the albumen-membrane interface under a scanning electron microscope it would be awesome to finally put this mystery to rest.

Update: For very fresh eggs, you might find that the bottom of the egg (where the crack is) is easy to peel but the top is still problematic. For these eggs, just crack them all over using a blunt object such as the back of a spoon after they are boiled, and then soak them in cold water for 30 minutes. This should make the shell practically fall off.

Perfectly boiled eggs
Perfect Boiled Egg
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Rating: 4.15
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Whether you like them soft-boiled or hard boiled this recipe will show you how to perfectly boil an egg and then easily peel it.
Perfectly boiled eggs
Perfect Boiled Egg
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Votes: 59
Rating: 4.15
You:
Rate this recipe!
Whether you like them soft-boiled or hard boiled this recipe will show you how to perfectly boil an egg and then easily peel it.
Servings Prep Time
eggs 1minutes
Cook Time
10minutes
Servings Prep Time
eggs 1minutes
Cook Time
10minutes
Ingredients
  • 6 large eggs
Units:
Instructions
  1. Take the eggs from the refrigerator, then tap the bottom of each egg on a curved surface to make a small circular crack through the shell, but do not rupture the inner membrane.
  2. Add cold tap water to the pot until you have 1" of water above the top of the eggs.
  3. Put the pot over high-heat until the water comes to a boil.
  4. Set a timer for your desired doneness (see times above), and turn off the heat.
  5. Remove the boiled eggs from the water when they are done and put them in a bowl of cold water to stop the cooking.
  6. Crack every bit of shell by tapping firmly with the back of a spoon and then soak the egg in cold water for 30 minutes before peeling.

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  • missmochi

    My family has a flock of hens, and I hate trying to peel fresh hard-boiled eggs. The moon surface has nothing on my pitted and mauled egg whites. I will have to try your tiny crack technique!

  • Vinny Merlino

    marc- do you have a lid on the pot at all during the cooking process

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      Nope, no need for a lid.

  • rblumiere

    Add baking soda to the water, this will neutralize the PH

    • http://www.facebook.com/vlvtgrrl Danielle Jacquot

      Does that help them taste different? Or boil better? Or peel better?

    • Kerry Maxwell

      Probably not, more likely it will raise the PH and make it alkaline. Especially since you don’t specify how much sodium bicarbonate. Most likely the water will be fairly close to a neutral PH of 7 to start with.

  • rblumiere

    Making the peeling of the shell very easy!

  • http://twitter.com/babysumo Baby Sumo

    Marc, this is really helpful. Esp the peeling eggs part.

  • http://www.realepicurean.com/ Scott

    I love this article. I’m definitely a number 4 man.

  • Pamela

    I’m a 5 (somewhere between a 4 and six haha)! Great tips!

    -Pamela (from http://pamelas-plate.com/)

  • http://www.facebook.com/folamiii Folami Small

    And this article is yet another example of how much I LOVE your blog! I’m a die-hard fan and LOVE all of your information! FANTASTIC STUFF!!! (You’ll have to excuse me now, I’m about to make some eggs…)

  • wendy

    When I lived in Japan, I bought an tool that pricks the shell of the egg. The top piece has an indentation for the base of the egg, with a hole in the center for a needle to poke through. The base holds the needle and a spring. You hold the egg against the indentation, press, and the needle pushes up into the shell. Have you tried using one of these?

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      Nope, but I have tried the pin pricking method and it also works. The cracking method is just faster and less of a hassle than getting out a pin and piercing the egg (unless you have a tool to do it for you).

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  • Angela

    I’ll have to try your cooking time for my next batch of eggs. I’ve always done the cold water method as you do, but after they come to a boil, I turn the stove off, cover the pan with a lid, and leave the eggs in for 18 minutes. Thanks for sharing.

    • Angela

      I used 10 minutes today, and the eggs turned out great! The yolks were a beautiful yellow and the eggs were tender. Thanks again!

  • K

    Fresh Eggs have more water than older eggs. As the egg ages, water evaporates through the shell leaving a greater space at the bottom or top of the egg causing it to float in water. This may disprove your theory somewhat.

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      I’m not sure I follow your logic, maybe you could elaborate? My theory is that as the water evaporates through the pores, the membrane gets saturated with water making the albumen stick less to the membrane, so I’m not sure how what you said is in disagreement with my theory.

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  • http://twitter.com/boatmobile jewel may.

    This truly was perfect!!

  • Cody

    I’m old enough that one would think one would know how to boil eggs… I’m not sure I’ve ever made hard or soft boiled eggs before this. I used your instructions for egg boiling and must say they came out perfect!! I especially liked the way the shells came off without distroying the egg. Thanks…

  • Johnny

    Doesn’t work. I even used a digital thermometer. 6 Large eggs, stainless steal pan, covered eggs over an inch of cold water, water came to a perfect 212F boil, took pan off heat and waited 4 minutes = over cooked eggs.

    • http://twitter.com/norecipes No Recipes

      Hi Johnny sorry to hear it didn’t work. Did the eggs come straight from the refrigerator? What’s your altitude? When you day “over an inch of cold water” how much over an inch?

      • Johnny

        Straight from the fridge. My altitude/elevation is 171ft. They were covered exactly with an inch of water from the egg. I used a timer to wait 4 minutes and put them in ice cold water right away.

        • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

          Hmm, are you using a gas or induction stove? I’m assuming the pot was not covered at any time? The only thing I can think of is that the amount if time it took your pot to come to full boil was somewhat longer than the time it took mine to come to a full boil which would have led to your eggs sitting in the warming water longer. How overcooked were they? Did they look more like 6 minute eggs or 8 minute eggs?

          • Johnny

            I’m using a gas stove. The pot was not covered, and I put it on my largest burner on the highest heat. The eggs looked closer to 10.

          • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

            Wow, that’s really odd. I used an induction burner for this, but it shouldn’t make a huge difference in boiling times provided you’re using a large burner. How long did it take from the point you put the eggs on the stove until it boiled and you turned the heat off?

  • Travis

    You should have folks submit photos with timing and elevation details so we can work out how to make the perfect egg anywhere.

  • http://www.facebook.com/malhansen Malea Hansen

    Tried this method of boiling eggs and they were absolutely PERFECT. Thank you for all the time and effort you put in to this and then sharing it so the rest of us can have perfect eggs as well!

  • Jennifer

    Do you set the timer after the water starts boiling or when you put it on the stove?

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      After the water comes to a full boil, the set the timer and turn off the heat.

  • Wong Jock Onn

    Dear Marc, Thanks for this. I have two questions, if I may. I normally cook just one or two eggs (for one person). Do I still do it the same way? The other question is that when I boil refrigerated eggs, they tend to ‘burst’, probably because of the stress caused by the quick change in temperature, so I normally boil eggs at room temperature. Any suggestions?

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      Hi Wong, you can cook fewer eggs the same way, but just use a smaller pot. If there’s too much water per egg, it will cook faster as the cool egg won’t lower the temperature of the water fast enough. See the photo above for how crowded the eggs should be in the pan. As for the bursting egg problem, that only happens when you put a cold egg into boiling water. Here, the eggs are going in with the cold tap water and are heated to boiling before the heat is turned off.

      • Wong Jock Onn

        Dear Marc, Thanks again. That is what I did – put the eggs in cold tap water and then heated them, but bursting occurred. I never put raw eggs into boiling water. However, I’ll try again. Thanks, Marc. Best, Jock

        • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

          The problem might be in the way they were cracked before being boiled. The crack needs to be radial, not linear (see the second photo from the bottom). If the crack is linear it tends to spread and will result in the egg bursting.

  • girloftree

    I think you’ve made this more complicated than it needs to be. I have been putting cold eggs in to lightly boiling water, very carefully and continuing to boil lightly for the desired time (14 minutes for fully cooked eggs). I very rarely have any eggs burst. When they are done, I immediately move them to a bowl of cold water to stop the cooking and they usually peel very well, even when fresh. And of course you should not crowd the eggs and should have water about 1″ covering them.

  • George Giblet

    The basic idea is good. However, as you have listed above, there are many factors. It would be more reliable to leave to pot lid on so the water temperature doesn’t drop too much under worst case conditions (eg. cold air, cold eggs not much water). I’d say say just use whatever pot, amount of water and egg temperature you like. If it’s not right this time, next time adjust the time by say 2mins (or use your photo to guess the time difference). That way each person to tune the method to their situation.

  • Chrissy Tan

    Electric kettle – in the morning – fast and no fuss, no need cold water afterwards. Number 1 and number 2!

  • Simon

    Have to say I just tried this, and I guess the variables also have to be whether you cook over gas or electric or take the pan of the hot plate once boiled or leave it there. I followed your instructions to see if I could improve my randomness in the boiling egg field and after 4 mins I ended up with what I can only describe as a seven minute egg (by the power of six). My toasty soldiers had nowhere to be dipped.

    I shall endeavour to adjust my timings in future.

    Much love.

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      Hi Simon, good point. Electric plate/coil stoves retain a lot of heat after you turn them off, so it’s a good idea to remove the pot after you add the eggs.

  • Mnc

    I just tried, but I’ll have to cut a few minutes off to get the same results as you. I knew this might be a possibility, as I had read some comments before attempting, so I fished eggs out every two minutes from very early on.
    I think the problem is, that I don’t have a proper stove but a small 2-plate thing that you can put away. It plugs into the wall, so it can’t draw as many amps. Result is, it takes longer to heat up, so more of the actual cooking happens before the water reaches boiling where I move the pot to the cool cooking plate.

    In your “Before I give you cooking times” section, you should consider putting in a line or two for “time it takes to bring the water to a boil”. :)

    Also, thank you! I’ve wrecked too many eggs, by trying too many different things, without really sticking to anything and changing the variables slightly.

  • Susan Rowald

    How long can you store the cooked eggs with the cracked shell like this? I like to cook our boiled eggs once a week and we pull out from the frig each morning.

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      Hi Susan, I hadn’t really thought about this too much, but it shouldn’t change the shelf-life too much as the membrane should still be intact protecting the egg inside. That said, you might end up with some moisture evaporating through the crack over time, which could render part of the egg dry. Give it a try and see how long they keep.

  • Susan Rowald

    Thanks! I will try it. The method worked great when I cooked a dozen eggs. I peeled them all easily. I usually cook lots more at once though and store them in their shells. I will let you know what happens.

  • Susan Rowald

    Tried your method and was able to keep the eggs in their shells for the week. I didn’t notice any drying out either. So, the storage in the refrigerator for a week in the shells worked fine! Thanks again for solving my boiled egg dilemma ! :)

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      Thanks for reporting back and I’m glad to hear it worked out!

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  • Eric

    THANK YOU RANDOM GUY ON internet for sharing egg wisdom.

    wasn’t “perfect” but it’s clearly a superior technique.

  • Natalie Rivera

    ugh u cant see the picture. it cuts off and u cant click on it. so basically stupid recipe

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      Hi Natalie, what picture are you not able to see? What browser and operating system are you using. I’d be happy to help you with your problem, but I need to know a little more about what the problem is first as the images are not cutting off on my computer.

    • David B

      Natalie… unfortunately, Marc has not optimised his site for viewing on a Nokia 3120.

  • OneLove

    Thanks for this recipe, it work great at the first time I try, but the egg yolk didn’t look like in pic 6. Mine kind of look more like pic 8 but still taste yummy XD.I leave the lid on while let’s the egg rest, is it the problem that mine egg like pic 8 not pic 6 ???

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      Hi OneLove, there is no lid called for in the recipe. By covering it you’re trapping heat, which most likely the reason why it was overcooked.

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  • thavha ya mipfa

    wow. that just looks absolutely amazing.

  • tcp

    Have you ever tried boiling the water first, then add the eggs and remove from the heat? Works really well for hard boiled eggs and takes a lot of variables out of the formula.

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      Hi TCP, the problem with the method you described is that the eggs tend to crack from the sudden change in temperature.

  • Sheath Reaver

    Hi, Since you said at the beginning of the post about egg Yolks having lower hardening temperature than the whites, is it possible to just boil the water to exactly 75 Celsius and it’ll cook the yolks before cooking the whites?

    Thanks, I sometimes boil the eggs but it’ll have Whites runny and yolks hardened, and I’d like to get consistent results on it. What’s the exact temperature for this?

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      Hi Sheath, 75C is too hot, you will end up with a soft boiled egg. See this post about slow cooking eggs: http://norecipes.com/blog/slow-cooked-eggs/ I usually do 63.5C, but If you want the yolk more set you probably want to go about a degree higher. It will take about 40 minutes to cook the egg at this temperature.

  • CC

    Can I use this method even with 100 eggs?

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      Hi CC, I don’t think this will scale well to 100. The main problem is that you would need a much larger pot with a lot more water and the time it would take to bring the water to a boil would be too long (cooking the egg all the way through by the time the water came to a boil). A thermal circulator would be the most reliable way to get consistent results with that many eggs.

  • LH

    I’m so glad I found this post. I’ve been trying to soft boil eggs for years. Now with your method I’m in egg heaven!!

  • JW

    Hi Marc,
    Thanks very much for this article. I first heard of this technique from Heston Blumental, but he wanted fresh eggs (not refrigerated – like mine always are) and his recipe didn’t take into account the many variations and factors you’ve mentioned above. Thanks very much for your efforts. I’ll make sure I use this technique next time I’m boiling eggs. Unfortunately I often also use XL or Jumbo eggs. Perhaps a future experiment might include these variations.

  • illona

    Hi! I tried using this method because my eggs are refrigerated and I hate having to bring them to room temperature first. I have an induction stove-top and using large eggs, pretty much did everything as directed (without the cracking the egg part cuz I don’t care about peeling it), wanting to get a 4 min egg in the pic above where the white is fully set and the yolk is runny, but my eggs keep coming out like the 2 min egg with the white still runny…I tried cooking it for 4 min like directed then another for 6 min and still the same problem…what am I doing wrong??

    • illona

      Forgot to add, I’m about 700 ft above sea level, would that be the problem? If so, how much time would I need to add to this chart?

      • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

        Hi Illona, at your altitude, the boiling point of water is about 1 degree lower than at sea level, but that should not have such a big impact. Unfortunately there are so many variables that can effect the times, it’s impossible to come up with a formula that will work for everyone. Here are my thoughts on what might be happening. Because your 4 minute and 6 minute eggs turned out the same, it sounds like the most likely scenario is that your water is cooling off too quickly and does not have enough heat to cook the eggs through. This could be due to a number of factors such as the ambient temperature in your room, the material with which your cookware is made of, and the amount of water. Since you’re using IH, I’m assuming your using a stainless steel pot? On the off chance that you’re using steel core aluminum, try using a heavier pot as aluminum is an excellent conductor of heat and will cool much faster. If neither that nor the ambient temperature is the culprit, try using a bigger pot with more water.

        The other possibility is that high wattage IH tops can boil water very quickly, it’s possible that the water is boiling so fast the total time isn’t long enough. But if this were the case, your 6 minute eggs should have turned out okay so I’m thinking this is unlikely. If you want to test this you can try and set your stove one or two settings lower than the highest which should make the water take a little longer to boil.

        I hope that helps, and let us know how it turns out!

  • zeitentgeistert

    about 11 months ago, wendy suggested a ‘tool’ used in japan to prick the eggs.
    i am familiar with this from germany and it works beautifully. so: anyone interested in such an egg-pricker should be able to get one on their next trip to europe – no need to travel all the way to japan.

    those still overwhelmed with the task of boiling the perfect egg might consider investing in an egg cooker. after maybe an initial trial, this should pretty much eliminate all guess-work but i would refrain from the microwave versions! (yuck!)

    (german) egg cookers come with small measuring cups for the amount of water needed in the cookers and most of them have a pin at the bottom of said cup to prick the eggs… ;-))

  • Mary Fagan Weller

    My problem is I can not tell when my water is boiling. I stick probe in and it never reaches 100 degrees Celsius. but after 30 mins of trying i take eggs out and it is overcooked. Help!

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      Don’t use a thermometer, because the eggs are a lower temperature than the water the water will take way too long to register 100 degrees. Just watch the water and when it comes to a rolling boil (big bubbles), cut the heat.— Sent from Mailbox for iPad

    • Meg

      your water is boiling when there are bubbles coming out of it. no need for a thermometer! :)

    • vivian

      ngaw so cute, just sitting there at the stove for half an hour waiting for it to hit 100 C :’)

  • Dallasroadie

    Finally, after years of trying with countless ‘recipes’, I’ve achieved the hard boiled egg that I have always wanted. I did 5 minutes, will try 4 the next time.
    Thanks, Marc!

  • Vi

    Thank you so much for explaining the method. I have struggled with boiling the perfect eggs and now I don’t have to be embarrassed anymore for ugly, pocked hard boiled eggs.

  • DaveW

    After unsuccessfully trying Marc’s method i’ve decided to stick to the way I cook them. Tap water about an inch over the eggs. Bring to the boil for 1.5 mins. Perfect runny yolk and whites nicely set. Like to eat my eggs hot so I blanch in cold water crack shells with the back of a spoon and remove shells. I used marc’s method of pricking each egg but it was actually more difficult to remove the shells, probably as the eggs were still hot. I’ll try again next time letting them sit in cold water for 30 mins and reducing the sitting time of the egg from 4mins to 3 mins. I’ll let you know how I get on. Cheers mate

  • cheftin

    thanks a lot for this idea…i just survived our cooking class…cooking an egg is very complicated but u make things easy for me :)

  • missanna

    Let me begin by saying I’ve just cooked the most perfect hard boiled egg ever. Ever. Here is how I improvised on this method: I placed a dozed eggs into a saucepan; it was not heavy-bottomed, just a pan that fits a dozen snugly. I covered the eggs with cold water, like instructed and turned the heat to high. After about 3-4 minutes I began lifting the eggs one by one out of the water with a large table spoon (not the measuring variety, just a large spoon from a standard flatware service) and using a silicone pot holder, I placed the egg into my hand/pot holder and with the spoon, lightly, but briskly tapped the back end of the egg, then placed gently back into the pot. It is easy to see which eggs have been missed, because the ones that have been ‘cracked’ have a tiny jet bubble stream shooting out of the cracked end (a couple had two jets). Anyway, I waiting till it reached a boil, timed exactly 2 minutes, removed from burner, placed a lid on the pot and timed 12 further minutes. I rinsed in cold water and once the eggs were warm I let them sit 10 minutes in cool water with a couple ice cubes. I chose one and it fell out of it’s peel and was – like I said – the. most. perfect. hard. boiled. egg… Ever.

  • Rose Marie

    Marc
    Thank you for your post. It’s funny that you mentioned that in order to peel an egg easier is to make a tiny indentation in the shell prior to cooking. As a matter of fact I have this little device that makes a tiny pin prick in the shell. I’ve had it for years. My mother saw this little commercial in Belgium over 10 years ago, got one and one for me. I have to say that using this little device works wonders. I never thought of making additional holes in the egg to help peeling, but I will definitely use that. Also, with this little hole, I’ve never had any of the white part exit out of the egg while it is cooking. It’s just small enough to allow water in the shell to make peeling easier.

    Thanks for the great post. For the first time, my little device makes sense and I’m ready to peel with even more ease!
    I love your website, it’s got great recipes that I use regularly and wonderful tidbits that have been tested and work.

  • Crawdaddy

    These cooking time recipes read like stereo instructions. Written by someone who could complicate a paper clip. Very simple question – HOW LONG?

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      Hi Crawdaddy, while boiling eggs may seem simple it’s a lot more complicated than just giving a time because there are so many factors that can alter the outcome. Look at the photo of the eggs at different times for the time, but I’ll tell you right now that if you don’t follow the directions chances are they’re not going to turn out as expected.

    • David B

      Crawdaddy… Here is the simple answer that you crave: “3 minutes”

      P.S. Note:

      Things should be made as simple as possible, but not any simpler.
      — Albert Einstein

      For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.
      — H. L. Mencken

  • Jon Dabach

    finally a definitive answer on boiled eggs! Thank you so much!!!!!

  • http://platytera.blogspot.com Christian LeBlanc

    Just right.

  • norma

    The transferring to cold water worked brilliantly, dippy yoke right to the end of my soldiers.

  • billy

    thanks for the info. I’ve been eating alot of eggs because of the ease of it now and have lost five pounds in 2 weeks. great stuff!

  • sarah

    although I disagree with your use of the word theory (vs hypothesis), I highly commend your use of the scientific method. I also think your explanation of the water entering the egg shell but not the membrane may give you your answer…. if the water heats to the point of vaporization… gases take up a lot more space and thus ‘push’ the shell and membrane apart.

    • Samuel

      Either you’re a 5th grade science teacher, or you are in the 5th grade. No one is impressed by you correcting someone’s “scientific diction.” Grow up.

  • HollylouiseHill

    4 minute perfection…thank you

  • Matt

    Easier than breaking the shell: Add a 1/2 to a full teaspoon of baking soda to the water. It will seep into the shell and prevent the egg from bonding to the shell. Works every time and the shell pretty much falls off the egg, no matter how fresh your eggs are. Seriously, wouldn’t you rather eat eggs within a day or so of buying them than waiting a week or two?

  • Mommy3

    Unbelievable! I followed this recipe and got 2 dozen under-cooked Easter eggs! wtf

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      Hi Mommy3, sorry to hear they didn’t turn out. How many minutes did you let the eggs sit in the water after the water boiled? What material was your pot made of and what was it’s diameter? As I mentioned in the post there are a ton of variables that can effect the outcome so it would be helpful to know the details so I can help you figure out what went wrong.

      My guess is that you didn’t use a pot large enough for the number of eggs you were cooking. More eggs means a faster drop in temperature which means you need to have more water in the pot to compensate.

  • Anaslev

    I haven’t even started boiling the egg yet but I’m excited to do so. The amount of work you put into this and the detail you enlisted is impeccable and I just want to show awareness to that before I even test it out. Thank you :-)

  • Lisa Ralon

    Thanks for this post. Love the details and especially the graphic. Made me some perfect eggs! I appreciate it!

    I cooked 2 eggs in a medium pot, and let them sit for 10 min – came out exactly how I wanted.

  • jack

    Does not work…5mins and egg still raw..

  • Catherine

    Big fail…gotta boil not let stand didn’t work for me either…dumb

  • Luvin Spoonful

    I love this article. Perfect eggs – and really interesting reading (who would have thought)

  • tom

    “egg yolk sets at a much lower temperature than the egg white”

    No! This is the wrong way around. Egg whites set at a slightly lower temperature than the yolks meaning if you control your temperature well a longer cooking time will ensure perfectly set whites and lovely runny yolks. reference: http://www.edinformatics.com/math_science/science_of_cooking/cooking_temperatures.htm

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      Sorry Tom, I have to disagree. While the ovotransferrin in the white will set at 155F it only accounts for 13% of the protein in an egg. Ovalbumin on the other hand makes up 55-60% of the protein in an egg white and doesn’t set until 180F(the footnotes in the link you sent confirm this). Yolks on the other hand are fully set at 158 F. The reason why you can have a firm egg with runny yolk is because you’re boiling it in water which is above 180 degrees F, so the albumen (which surrounds the yolk) hits its setting temperature before the yolk has a chance to get that hot.

    • Cole

      You just got schooled son.

  • dale

    Worked perfectly in the hotel kitchenette even! Perfectly gooey yolk on my farmers market duck egg in 5 minutes = best hotel breakfast ever

  • Mojica1211

    Worked awesome.. Haven’t had boiled eggs my way since I was a kid

  • SueZ

    Thank you! Thank you! I’m the designated deviled egg maker for family picnics. I’ve suffered for years from sticky shell syndrome. I tried your technique with half fresh and half not so fresh eggs (it just worked out that way). I THINK I could tell the fresh eggs. I had to be a bit more careful. But no more super glued shells pulling half the egg away. No more screaming in frustration (my husband thanks you, too).

  • Bry

    I just got through giving this a shot in a 3L / 3.2QT saucepan on an open-coil electric range.

    When filled to the 3L line there is about an inch of water above the eggs, so the volume of this pan is pretty much perfect and a few more eggs can still fit on the bottom. I cranked the heat to high and turned it off just as soon as the big bubbles began to show themselves and set my phone timer for 9 minutes.

    After dumping off the water, I doused them in cold tap water up to the max line again and let them sit for a short period. The consistency fell between the 6 and 8 minute references in the article. They are super delicious!

    The pan I used (a cheap t-fal with induction bottom which likely does nothing for this type of stove) is on the lighter side and I may have pulled it off the heat a few degrees C below boiling point, so these are a few factors to consider for next time.

    Thank you for posting, Marc!

  • Didi

    Wow! How did I ever make it to 55 Years old, not knowing this? Thank you for sharing, I will pass it on to my kids and make them believe “mommy” is so clever!!

  • Veronica

    This was so helpful! Thank you!

  • vostro

    After waiting 30 minutes and peeling , the egg will not stay warm anymore…
    but i love eating them warm :(
    any suggestions on how to warm them up again ?

    Thank you for the tricks
    Regards
    -Vostro

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      Hi Vostro, it’s difficult reheating eggs without cooking them more. You could try peeling them after they’ve cooled and then drop them in boiling water for a bit to heat them up, but timing this will be tricky.

    • mark

      surround with sausage mince, then dip in whisked egg and breadcrumbs, then deep fry for 4 to 6 minutes. :)

    • su

      1 boiled egg made wet & added 1/2 teaspoon of water in microwave cup ..heat for 11 – 13 sec in micro-oven depending on how fast it heats up. Listen up for cracking like heating up sound & stop it right then, else It will blast if heated up too much. Or easy way is to water heat on slow flame.

  • nura

    I too love hardboiled eggs and use them in various recipes. Your version of “hard cooked (10 min?) looked undone to me. I like the yellow fully cooked, but the white not rubbery. My method has worked for years- put eggs in cold water, an inch over, bring to boil, boil for 1-2 minutes, take off heat and sit for 17 min. pour off water and add cold water, repeating as water warms up until water doesn’t warm up again). Thats usually twice. I add ice cubes if I am impatient. They are perfectly done in the middle without being tough/rubbery or with any raw spots.Tender and delicious.

    I also learned to poke the little hole (just used a push pin) in the fat end before cooking to help with peeling. Your method looks interesting,Iwill try. For some reason I now forget, I have always added a little vinegar to the water,but I don’t remember why. I have good results, so, I guess there was a reason:)

  • Britni

    Your egg yolks look carrot-orange. Are you using standard chicken eggs from a store, free range or backyard chicken eggs, or another bird egg?

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      Hi Britni, these ones came from a local farm, but this is how all eggs look in Japan. It has to do with what the chickens are fed I’m told.

    • Allie

      It is natural for egg yolks to look carrot orange. If the yolks of your eggs are a shade of yellow it is because they have been grain fed and kept out of natural sunlight in cages. I have kept hens in New Zealand which live outside in my orchard and are fed mostly scraps, but also fallen fruit, insects that they forage and supplemented ground maize. They have both brown and white shells and the yolks are carrot orange.

  • Max

    Best thing since sliced bread…

  • Mayuri

    I have a really quick question: So do we need to wait for the water with the eggs to boil and then set our timer to 2/4/6/8 minutes for our desired doneness OR do we just start the timer right when we put the pot with the water and eggs on the stove??? Thankyouuu

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      Hi Mayuri, please read the post. I’m always happy to help out if you have a problem with the recipe, but if you had read the post your question would have been answered. With eggs, you can’t just use a time because each persons setup is different (stove, pot, etc). That’s why I’ve gone over a list of variables that you need to take into account before you set the timer.

  • Diana

    Do you cook and sit with lid on the pot or without the lid?

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      Hi Diana, no need to use a lid.

  • Joyce

    Please advise on how to get hard boiled eggs with the yolk in the centre. I always have the yolk poping out from the side of the egg white. Yours look so lovely with all the yolks in the centre. I have been asking around in vain for so long. Appreciate your advice….thanks a heap.

    • Allie

      Joyce, if you stir the eggs gently until they have set, say about 1 minute, the yolk should stay in the centre. When stirring, the object is to rotate the egg, not just move it around the bottom. Or if you use the method where you put the eggs in cold water and bring them up to the boil, stir until boiling.

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      Hi Joyce, the most likely cause is that your eggs are not very fresh. In a fresh egg, the albumen is much thicker and surrounds the yolk, this prevents, the yolk from getting too close to the shell, you can test this by cracking a raw egg onto a plate. In a very fresh egg, you’ll see most of the white clump up near the yolk with very little watery albumen that spreads out. In an older egg, you’ll have little to no white clinging to the yolk and almost all the white will run all over the plate.

  • Allie

    Marc, you have some interesting ideas here. Can I point out one other thing? Eggs are best not refrigerated at all. Non-refrigerated eggs last longer than refrigerated ones, and it has something to do with the environment in a fridge making the shell more POROUS to air which breaks down the inner membrane more quickly. This might be what you want if you plan to cook the egg within a day or two, but if you just want to store the eggs safely, then refrigerating is contraindicant. Notice that supermarkets do not normally refrigerate eggs. The only exception would possibly be if you lived in a tropical environment. Also when baking with eggs, they are normally required to be at room temperature, and when boiling eggs, a very cold shell will crack. So people, keep your eggs in a cool, dark cupboard and stop refrigerating them.

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      Hi Allie, thanks for the note, but in the US, all eggs have to be pressure washed before being sold. This removes the protective membrane naturally coating eggs and makes them porous, which is why US EGGS SHOULD ALWAYS BE REFRIDGERATED. I’m assuming you don’t live in the US, but please be careful what you advise people to do without knowing the facts.

      • Allie

        Hi Marc, no I don’t live in the USA and I thought you said you lived in Japan. Remember the Internet is an international forum whether it is .com or not. Not all users of norecipes.com live in the US of A. But good point about being sure of the source of your eggs. If your eggs have ever been refrigerated then you must continue to refrigerate them. I do like your method to cook eggs. This is more or less the way my grandmother taught me. The age of the egg also effects cooking time.

        • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

          Hi Allie, I float around, but most of the readers of this site are based in the US. I realize that there are international readers (which is why I didn’t delete your initial comment), but for most people reading this, what you were advising could make them sick.

  • Keith Fullerton

    Great scientific method for boiling eggs. Unfortunately, I can’t get my chickens to lay the same size egg (although at almost 1 per day per chicken, I can’t complain).
    I was also having trouble peeling them since they are right out of the chicken fresh. My daughter gave my a trick that works though. It is to put 1 Tablespoon of salt into the boiling water. You then chill the eggs in ice water as normal and the shells pop right off. This is much like Matt’s comment

  • ruba

    I love your site, I especially love your egg related recipes… I wish the food network or pbs or someone will give you your own show…

  • Miki

    Hi Marc, this is SO useful. Could you please tell me for how long i can store in the fridge, in their shells, hard boiled eggs that are still a bit soft in the middle (about 8 minutes, according to this chart). It is my favorite way to cook them but i want to be able to have a couple of days window to eat them, so i don’t have to boil them every day! What is the safe storage days in shell in fridge?
    Many thanks!!
    miki

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      Hi Miki, I’m not a food safety expert so I can’t give you advice on that. That said I usually keep boiled eggs in the fridge for up to 5 days in a sealed container.

  • webhill

    Hi! I have a question. A friend of mine recently boiled some eggs using his tried-and-true hard boiled egg method (whatever it is – he does it all the time, it always works fine, he did not do anything differently this time). The eggs ended up with fully set yolks, but runny/raw whites. How or why could this have happened? They were supermarket/mass-market eggs from a grocery store in Texas, USA. Thanks for any information you can provide!

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      This happens because the proteins in the yolk have a lower setting temperature than the whites. Usually when you “boil” eggs, the water is much hotter than the setting temperature for both the yolk and the white, which is why both the yolk and white will set if you boil it for a long time, if you boil it for a short time, the eggs cooks from the outside in, which is why it’s possible to have a fully set white with runny yolk. However if you cook the egg at a relatively low temperature for a long time (between the setting point of the yolk and the white), it’s possible to set the egg and still have a runny white. This is what’s called a “slow cooked egg”. I know you said your friend didn’t change anything, but there had to have been some small variation that made the temperature (ambient temp, temperature of eggs, number of eggs, type of pot, altitude, etc) of his water lower than usual. Without knowing more about your friends process it’s hard to say.

  • Rajesh

    but 30 mins in cold water before peeling.. I want to eat a hot/warm boiled egg, not a cold boiled egg… any suggestions?

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      Hi Rajesh, you could reheat them gently in warm water (about 140 degrees F). This will reheat them without further cooking the egg.

    • Lizzy

      Well what i do is put my eggs in a pot add water. Put them on the stove to cook. When they start boiling I set the timer according to the little chart up there and they come out just like the picture.

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