Boiling eggs should be easy right? Only two ingredients are required and one of them is water. (OK, depending on the recipe, there might be a third ingredient, like a teaspoon of vinegar or salt.) Boil the eggs in water, cool them down, and peel.
It isn’t rocket science, and yet… The mind-boggling number of clicks on Simply Recipes’ hard boiled egg recipe suggests otherwise. Boiling eggs is harder than it sounds and our readers want the guidance.
Since it was first published on July 8, 2010, our recipe for perfectly cooked, easy-to-peel hard boiled eggs has been clicked on more than 108 million times. (It’s actually the second most popular recipe on Simply Recipes after banana bread.) So why are so many people returning to these particular instructions for hard boiled eggs again and again?
The Challenge With Boiling Eggs
Hard boiled eggs are difficult to get just right because they’re easy to over or undercook—you can’t peer through that eggshell to see how they’re coming along. The yolks can easily go from runny to perfectly yellow to green and overcooked within minutes.
Hard boiled eggs are also difficult to peel. Egg-peeling strategies abound, from adding a dash of vinegar into the water to keep loose whites from spilling out of any cracked eggs to adding the eggs to already boiling water to steaming them. Every technique has merit, but a hard boiled egg recipe with 108 million clicks is hard to argue with.
Our Method for Boiling Eggs
The Simply Recipes method calls for adding six to twelve eggs to cold water, covering the eggs with one to two inches of water, and bringing the water to a rolling boil. As soon as the water boils, you turn off the heat and add a lid.
In 10 to 12 minutes, you drain the pot and run the eggs under cool water. Or, you slide the eggs into a large bowl of ice water. Once the eggs have fully cooled, they’re easy to peel.
It’s difficult to overcook the eggs using this method. Even if you let them cook a little longer than 12 minutes, they should still turn out well—an amazing grace period for those averse to that dreaded green ring, which happens when the eggs are overcooked.
Smart Tips That Boost the Recipe
As straightforward and hard to screw up as this recipe is, the instructions carry a trove of additional tips to help ensure great results every time.
Did you know, for example, that older eggs are easier to peel than new eggs? Or that cracking cooked eggs slightly and letting them soak in water can make them easier to peel, as the water seeps under the shell? The recipe also accounts for high altitude readers who must contend with different boiling times, and it even offers an alternative for readers dealing with fresh eggs. (Try steaming them!)
The thoughtful instructions speak for themselves, but so do the comments. “I am 70 years old and this is absolutely the best recipe I have ever used for hard boiled eggs in my life,” says one commenter.
Another reader even offered a smart hack for peeling eggs that’s as fun and satisfying as it is useful. Fill a mason jar halfway with water, place one egg in the water, and seal the jar with a lid. Shake the jar for about 10 seconds. When you remove the egg, the shell practically peels itself. I’ve tried this a few times and it’s delightful!
As for me? I love this recipe because it works, yes. I also love it because it’s how my mom taught me to boil eggs and, well, I guess it’s true what they say… Mom knows best.