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Sunday Cooking Lesson: Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs

Sunday Cooking Lesson: Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs - A Family Feast

A few days ago, we shared a delicious recipe for deviled eggs – and as part of that post, we also promised you a Sunday Cooking Lesson on making Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs!

When you’re making recipes like egg salad,  deviled eggs, or our spinach salad – cooking the eggs correctly is a very important step in an otherwise very simple recipe!  If you cook the eggs too long – the yolks will get tough in texture and turn a greyish-green color.  If you don’t cook the eggs long enough – the insides can be a little too soft!  And sometimes, no matter how hard you try, hard-boiled eggs can be difficult to peel.

Today’s Sunday Cooking Lesson will show you a few tricks of the trade to make perfect hard-boiled eggs that are perfectly cooked and easy to peel!

First of all, you want to start with fresh, raw eggs that have been brought up to room temperature. Bring a pot of water to a boil (you want the eggs to be fully covered with water as they cook, so choose a pot that is large enough to hold however many eggs you are cooking) and add in a few tablespoons of white vinegar.*  The vinegar helps breakdown the tough inner skin so the shell peels right off when you are done cooking the eggs.Sunday Cooking Lesson: Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs - A Family Feast

(*Note: This lesson cooks 6 eggs in approximately 4 quarts of water with two tablespoons of vinegar.  Adjust the amount of vinegar if you are cooking more eggs in a larger pot with more water.)

With a spider straineror other slotted spoon, gently place eggs one at a time into the water, being careful not to drop the eggs so quickly that they crack when they fall to the bottom of the pan of boiling water.

Boil the eggs for exactly five minutes.

Sunday Cooking Lesson: Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs - A Family Feast

Then turn the heat off under the pot and let the eggs sit in the hot water for exactly 15 minutes.

Sunday Cooking Lesson: Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs - A Family Feast

Pour the water out of the pan. Then shake the pan (with the eggs still inside) vigorously to crack shells.

Sunday Cooking Lesson: Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs - A Family Feast

Start running cool water into the pot of cracked eggs.  With the water still running, peel the shells off each egg.

Sunday Cooking Lesson: Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs - A Family Feast

Dry completely on paper towels before using in recipes such as our Deviled Eggs or Classic Egg Salad or our Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing.

Sunday Cooking Lesson: Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs - A Family Feast

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  1. Great Sunday Cooking Lesson post, Martha! That vinegar tip is an excellent one. We’ve been doing that for years using an AllRecipes.com recipe. I really like your added tips for cracking the shells and using running cold water to easily peel the eggs for recipes. The step-by-step photos are beautiful and all of your recipes using hard-boiled eggs look scrumptious! Thank you for sharing. 🙂

  2. Some great tips. I don’t add vinegar to mine, but I will now! Your deviled eggs are so pretty, btw! I also need to check out your egg salad recipes – I love a good egg salad.

  3. Boil water, add eggs, boil exactly 11 minutes, then immediately run cold water over eggs. No vinegar necessary. Works every time. Cold water is the key!

  4. Do you cover with a lid during the 15 minute sitting time?

  5. Do you count the five minutes from when the eggs are put in or from when the water returns to a full boil?

    • Hi Lissa – Great question! Because we used a large pot of water and room temperature eggs, when we placed the eggs into the already-boiling water, the water still stayed at a strong simmer and we started our 5 minutes from the time we put the eggs into the pot. If your water needs time to come back to a boil, I would start the 5 minutes from the time that the water is back up to a boil. Hope that helps!

  6. My family loves my deviled eggs but sometimes when I am ready to serve them they have a nasty smell. It doesn’t last long and they taste good but I really would like to know how to get rid of the odor.

    • Hi Billie – I’ve read that the smell you are referring to is the sulfur from the egg white reacting with the iron in the egg yolk. The method that we use – with white vinegar in the water – should help prevent some of that odor. Also – overcooked egg yolks can result in a stronger smell as well. So, making sure that you aren’t over cooking the eggs should also help!

  7. Love, love, love this article. Have used this many times to make the perfect hard boiled eggs. One quick tip I learned from my aunt is to take a tack and punch a hole in the rounded bottom of each egg. The whole is small enough so the egg whites won’t leak through. Doing this will help expel gases from the egg that create the stinky egg smell.

  8. Robin Hagadone :

    These are perfect every time! Never over cooked or green. Thanks!

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