How To Make Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs, Every Time
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Eggs are a phenomenal source of protein, fat, and other nutrients, including choline and the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin. They are so good for you that you can easily eat one dozen eggs per week, which is actually a simple and cost-effective way to add valuable nutrition to your diet.
The best way to consume eggs, provided they come from a high-quality source, is to not cook them at all, and I highly recommend eating your eggs raw.
You can prepare them anyway you like them. While less “well done” eggs are still preferable (such as poached, soft-boiled, or over easy with very runny yolks), a hard-boiled egg makes a fine snack or source of protein for your meal.
Each egg contains about six grams of protein. When I eat hard-boiled eggs in my salad, I typically use about four of them. The problem with hard-boiled eggs is that they can be time consuming to peel, and you might even end up removing pieces of the white with the shell.
There’s also the issue of cooking – not enough time and your yolk will be runny; too long and the white will turn rubbery. If you’ve ever wondered if there’s a better way to cook and peel a hard-boiled egg, keep reading.
9 Secrets to Achieving Hard-Boiled Egg Perfection
The Food Lab column recently featured some excellent tips for creating the perfect hard-boiled egg, from cooking to peeling.1 These tips are the result of the author’s careful observations while boiling thousands of eggs in various carefully controlled conditions to determine what works best. Here’s a summary of what to do, with each step explained in detail below:2
“Lower your eggs straight from the fridge into already-boiling water, or place them in a steamer insert in a covered pot steaming at full blast on the stovetop. If boiling, lower the heat to the barest simmer. Cook the eggs for 11 minutes for hard or 6 minutes for soft. Serve. Or, if serving cold, shock them in ice water immediately. Let them chill in that water for at least 15 minutes, or better yet, in the fridge overnight. Peel under cool running water.”
1. Older Eggs Work Better
Freshly laid eggs are more likely to stick to the shell when you try to peel them, so if you get your eggs direct from a farm (which I highly recommend), you may want to let them age for a couple of weeks before hard boiling them. If you buy your eggs at the supermarket, this is a non-issue since most will sit for 30 days or more before being packaged and consumed.
2. Eggs May Be Straight from the Fridge or Counter
It doesn’t matter if eggs are cold (right from the fridge) or room temperature when you start the cooking process.
3. Boil the Water First (or Use Steam)
A hot start is the most important factor in creating an easy-to-peel hard-boiled egg. This is because egg white cooked slowly (while cold water is heating to a boil, for instance) will bond more strongly with the membrane inside the eggshell. According to the featured article:3
“A hot start produces easier-to-peel eggs. And it doesn’t matter whether that hot start is in boiling water or in a steam-filled pot or pressure-cooker. They’re all strikingly easier to shell than those started in a cold pot.”
4. After A Quick Boil, Turn The Heat Down To A Simmer
In rapidly boiling water, the egg will cook from the outside in, which means the egg white will cook faster, possibly getting rubbery or tough. To get the best of both worlds (tender whites that are still easy to peel), plunge the eggs into boiling water for about 30 seconds, then turn the heat down to a low simmer for the remainder of the cooking (11 minutes total for hard-boiled, six minutes for soft-boiled).
5. Try Steam Cooking
An even more foolproof method may be to steam your eggs. Boil a half-inch of water in a pot, then place your eggs on a steamer insert. This results in eggs that are gently cooked, so there’s no need to turn the heat down as with boiling.
6. Avoid Pressure-Cooking or Baking Your Eggs
Pressure-cooked eggs use higher temperatures than steaming or boiling, which tends to result in tougher, rubbery whites. Baking eggs in an oven has also recently become trendy, but the featured analysis found eggs cooked in an oven were hard to peel, off-colored, and unpredictable.
7. Shock Your Eggs In Ice-Cold Water After Cooking
When your eggs are done cooking, shock them in a pot of ice water. This will lead to a perfectly rounded bottom (getting rid of the “dimple” that’s often found on the bottom of hard-boiled eggs). According to the featured article:4
“When you pull the hot egg out from the pot, the yolk and white have yet to firm up completely… By shocking it, you very rapidly cause the steam that has built up inside that air pocket to convert to water, instantly dropping to about .5% of its original volume. The still-malleable boiled egg moves in to fill its place.
Let the egg cool slowly, on the other hand, and by the time that steam has cooled sufficiently, the egg is already basically set in its shape. Instead of the egg moving in to fill that space, air is drawn in through the egg shell.”
8. Chill Your Eggs Prior to Peeling
The cooler the egg, the firmer its structure will be, making it far easier to remove the peel without causing craters in the white. Ideally, chill the eggs in an ice bath for 15 minutes or in the fridge overnight prior to peeling.
9. Peel Under Running Water
The final step in the perfect hard-boiled egg? Crack the egg gently all over its surface, then peel away the shell under running water.
A Quick Trick for ‘Peeling’ an Egg Without Actually Peeling It
If you want to try a different method from the running-water trick mentioned above, Tim Ferris (author of the great book, The Four Hour Work Week), demonstrates how easy it is to get to a hard-boiled egg without having to peel it. Doesn’t get much easier than this… just be ready to catch the egg when it comes out!
- Cover the eggs with water and boil on low for about 12 minutes.
- Cool the eggs by placing them in cold water with one teaspoon of baking soda and ice. The baking soda raises the pH level and reduces adherence. If you choose not to use baking soda, be sure to move the eggs into cold water with plenty of ice immediately after boiling.
- Crack the top of the egg and remove a small piece.
- Crack the bottom (wide end) of the egg and remove a small piece.
- Hold the egg in your hand and blow vigorously into the narrow end of the egg, which will expel it out the wide end.
Article was originally published at DrMercola.com. Republished here with permission.
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