Wednesday, October 17, 2012


How to Boil Eggs

For something as theoretically simple as boiling eggs, there are too many articles online about how to do it. There should only be allowed one or maybe two articles, because then dumb people like me spend hours looking it up, and it turns out people get really particular about the little tweaks, and say different things, and it's too confusing, and the eggs somehow end up boiled wrong or not boiled at all. Why can't there be One Right Way to do it that everyone agrees on? In any case, here's one way to do it.

1. Google "how to boil eggs."

2. Read about boiling eggs for hours, for days. Some people like salt, some people use vinegar, some people keep the heat on, some people take it off, sometimes it's for 12 minutes, sometimes for 15, some people put the eggs in when the water is cold, some people say to do it once it's boiling, some people put a pin prick at the end, some people, some people, some people. Hot water, cold water, covered, etc. Why? Why so many ways? Who reads about it, and decides to change the main recipe? They're just boiled eggs! Why! Why are they doing this?!

3. Buy pre-boiled eggs at Trader Joe's for months, and feel totally fine about it until you get one batch that has some shell in it, and you eat a little shell, and now you always have to wash them and check for shell, which is a drag. 

4. Google it again, and pick a website at random, and boil them that way. Crack one once they're done, and see that it's completely molten in the center. Try boiling them again. They are still molten, somehow (!?). Throw them all out, because you don't want soft-boiled eggs. Do soft-boiled eggs keep in the refrigerator? Well, this is all for deviled eggs anyway, so it doesn't matter. Stupid eggs. No, eggs are wonderful. It is me who is stupid. It is me who is stupid.

5. Google "how to boil eggs" again. The hyperlinks to so many sites are already purple, because you (I) have been to them before, many times. Again, there are so many. Who thinks their method of boiling eggs is so special and perfect that it warrants inclusion in the already overcrowded field of How to Boil Eggs tutorials? In fact, if you think about it, people who write How to Boil Eggs tutorials are actually making it harder for people who don't know how to boil eggs to learn how to boil eggs. :-O

6. Pick one and follow it. End up with well boiled eggs, but it's so difficult to get the shell off, even though you put them in the ice bath at the end. Why is it so complicated? Make deviled eggs. Buy eggs at Trader Joe's going forward; none have the shell problem again.

7. Write a letter to your congressperson about removing some of the How to Boil Eggs tutorials from the internet, in the interest of actually helping people to boil eggs.

8. Write a How to Boil Eggs tutorial that isn't actually one, in an effort to draw attention to this problem! Like a wolf in a sheep's clothing — a campaign against egg-boiling instructions dressed up as an egg-boiling instructive.

9. See? This was annoying, but very important. It's like those telephone poles that're supposed to look like trees, so the birds aren't frightened, or whatever it is those pole costumes are supposed to do. This will exist in the egg-boiling world until the problem is SOLVED.

189 Comments / Post A Comment


10. Move to a city at 7,000 feet where water boils at a slightly lower temperature. Start all over.


@laurel hahahaaaaghghg


@laurel YES. I boiled 4 eggs yesterday for egg salad, 12 minutes. Three eggs barely done, one molten. When is Alton Brown going to do an hour long show on high altitude cooking?


I was very pleased to find this site.@j

Beatrix Kiddo

I'm already OK with my egg-boiling method, but Edith, did you figure out the best way to keep the shell from sticking? Is it better to let them cool slowly or plunge them into an ice bath when they're done?

Edith Zimmerman

@Beatrix Kiddo Oh my god I have no idea.


@Beatrix Kiddo The secret is to use not-too-fresh eggs. The ones straight from the farm (like, less than a week old) have the clingiest membranes, but you're not getting those at a grocery store. What also helps is putting freshly cooked eggs into a bowl of cold water and changing it out every couple of minutes until the eggs are no longer warm to the touch.

(Why do I have so many opinions about eggs? Who am I?)

Leon Tchotchke

@dinos This is only like barely related, but I had a hell of a time convincing my wife that eggs don't go bad in two weeks and in fact KEEP FOR A REALLY, ALMOST TERRIFYINGLY LONG TIME. I finally won her over though (mostly by making breakfasts when she didn't think there was anything in the fridge BUT LOOK THERE'S THESE OLD BUT STILL GOOD EGGS!!!! :O) and now I can keep eggs around!

Lustful Cockmonster

@Beatrix Kiddo Also, time. If you can boil your eggs ahead of needing them (24 hours is good 48 is better, etc etc until infinity/rotten boiled eggs) the shells will come off more easily. Also peel them under water.

Clarification: YOU don't have to be under water, but your hands/the eggs should be.


@Lustful Cockmonster

/cancels bathyscaphe order.


@dinos See, but but but. I have made hard-boiled eggs all from the same container of two-week-old eggs, and some peeled as easily as a song and some were determined to thwart me to the bitter fucking end.


@frigwiggin Eff eggs. Which is to say, I have experienced that same thing and just blamed bad spirits or whatnot. Most of the time, the old egg/peel cold method works.

But the eggs in your carton are not all necessarily the same age, especially if they're from a large processing plant, via the grocery store.

Anyway! Lustful Cockmonster had a good suggestion about cooking eggs ahead of time and refrigerating them once they're cooled. Eggs are usually peeled at least 24hrs after cooking, chez dinos, because no one can eat 50 eggs in one sitting and I rarely make hard-boiled eggs for a crowd, except for Halloween, when I am making Black Widow Eggs.


Claire Lovell

@Edith Zimmerman I have literally never had a problem with the Fannie Farmer recipe: http://goo.gl/tC64K


@dinos "clingiest membranes" :/


@dinos I learned this trick the other day when I cracked an egg in the pan and it was suspiciously watery... you can tell if an egg is still good if you put it in a cup of water and it sinks to the bottom... the older they are the more air is in them (somehow?) so if they're old & non-edible they will float/bob in the water. Science! Eggs!


@drinkmyperfume That's probably because the decomposition produces gas, which causes them to be more buoyant. Possibly?

Daniel Mesonero Kromand@facebook

@Beatrix Kiddo My dad always insisted that it comes from putting in the eggs when the water is still cold. Instead try it when the water is boiling.
It works for me now, but then I might also be using old eggs?


@Daniel Mesonero Kromand@facebook

Every time I put eggs into already boiling water, they explode. Does this not happen to you?

fondue with cheddar

@drinkmyperfume Unless you put salt in the water, then they all float!

Ham Snadwich

@Beatrix Kiddo - Learn to enjoy shell. Problem solved.


@Beatrix Kiddo BAKING SODA in the water. I've read all about it but haven't tried it yet. Someone be the guinea pig?

lavender gooms



If the shells stick then peel them under running water. If you can manage to slip even just a little water under the membrane the whole thing really will come off smoothly; it takes a little patience to remove tiny bits of shell.

I don't wish to make Edith unhappy by reading more about boiling eggs, but I went for many years in her condition of anger and confusion and now am totally serene about hard-cooking eggs. Main reason for confusion: Starting temperature matters just hugely. An egg that is cold from the fridge won't cook to a hard state according to the instructions of most of these geniuses. BUT there is a way around this problem.

If you start them cold and don't heat them at a super high heat, AND if you can manage to be in the kitchen when the water begins to boil (not from the very first bubbles but from when there are plenty of bubbles) and then set a timer for ten minutes, and then take them off and cool them under running water, you will have perfect eggs every time. Slower, sustained heat means that even cold yolks will arrive at an okay temperature by the time the water boils.

The good thing about doing it yourself this way is that the yolks will be a glorious golden color with none of those icky green rings around them.


@Barnhouse YES! This is exactly the way I do them. Perfect eggs, golden yolks, no green rings.


@lemonadefish If you poke a little hole in the butt of the egg before you boil it, the egg won't explode. A pin prick is fine. Also I don't really know how long to leave eggs boiling, so I do 20 minutes to be on the safe side. This feels wrong though, like I'm ruining them somehow, even though they taste fine.


@Leon Tchotchke In Belgium, eggs aren't refrigerated in supermarkets, and I suspect they're not refrigerated at home either. They probably still keep for an almost-terrifyingly-long time.


10. Never ever eat boiled eggs. Enjoy a delicious, trouble-free, omelette-filled existence.

Jolie Kerr

@JanieS: 11. Just Never Eat Eggs, Seriously, They Are Revolting


@Jolie Kerr Really, I happily eat meat but I can't deal with eggs, they freak me out. They're chicken menstruation.


@JanieS 12. Never eat boiled eggs, they are funky. Just fry it. Eggs are creepy if you think about it too much but they are a nicely satisfying cheap protein so I've come to a shaky accord with them (the smell of boiled eggs is the worst.)

Jolie Kerr

@shantasybaby: 13. No, Really, I Mean It: Eggs Are Revolting In Any Form* And You Should Not Ingest Them Ever

*excepting in baked goods. But not soufflé because eeew egg taste. And oh God get that French toast away from me you monster, going and ruining perfectly good maple syrup like that.

Jolie Kerr

14. Have You Ever Wondered What Death In A Shell Tastes Like? Eat An Egg.

Beatrix Kiddo

@JanieS But flipping omelettes is troubling!


@Jolie Kerr Going for brunch and the only dish that doesn't come with eggs is French toast so you're stuck eating a fruit cup. #eggproblems


@Beatrix Kiddo Never worry about how your omelettes look - just put more cheese on them if they go wonkus when flipped.


@Jolie Kerr I don't even know how to talk to you; it's like you're speaking Farsi.

Jolie Kerr

@JanieS تخم مرغ خلقت شیطان

up cubed

@Beatrix Kiddo You just have to have the courage of your conviction. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-OP08hW602U&feature=fvwrel


@Jolie Kerr I'm sure that's meant to be Farsi, but it GoogleTranslates from Arabic to: border rubbed created demon.


@JanieS NAW son, google translate tells me that's Persian for "eggs, evil creation."

saul "the bear" berenson

@Beatrix Kiddo I never flip omelettes! Seriously, never! Just get the pan really hot and cook your omelette super fast on high heat and it's fine.

Ten Thousand Buckets

I don't do an ice bath, but I run cold water over the eggs in the pot until they're coolish.

Turn the water off. Make sure there's a little bit of cold water in the bottom of the pot with the eggs. Put the lid on the pot and shake (mostly side to side, but a bit of up and down is ok too) the crap out of the whole thing. The shells should be well cracked now, and the membranes torn in a couple places per egg. Peel. If enough water hasn't made its way under the membrane of a particular egg, try peeling it under a bit of cold running water.


you guys, this is like the one cooking thing I actually know how to do(...because my husband's mother taught me, but still)! I think a lot of the confusion stems from the fact that some techniques (e.g., any "bring to a boil & then let sit"-type process) work better with gas ranges & some work better for electric.

this produces consistently wonderful hard-boiled eggs on my electric stove every time:

fill pot with not-freezing-cold tap water (no salt; it helps keep your pasta from sticking but is essentially wasted in eggwater)

put in eggs (unrelated, but NB: if they float, throw 'em out; they're rotten)

turn stove to high

once it starts REALLY boiling (I believe this is called a "rolling boil"), start a timer for 8 minutes; if it's not quiiite at a rolling boil yet, set it for 10.

once time's up, remove from water with a slotted spoon & put IMMEDIATELY into ice-cold water (like, literally, nestle those eggs in a mixture that's 75% ice cubes).

once shells feel cool to the touch, crack & enjoy.

it's also worth noting that older eggs are better for boiling because they peel more easily. I usually transfer our scragglers at the end of a carton into a bowl, but I've also totally written "OLD" on whole cartons. I've also--to conserve space--combined two ages into one carton with a dividing line between them & labels above each section, but this method always makes me feel bad for the "OLD" eggs.

dj pomegranate

@nonvolleyball This is almost exactly how I do it and it is truly the best way! Except here is my variation: as soon as it starts REALLY boiling, I turn the heat off and let them just sit in the hot, post-boiling water for 8 minutes. I do this because I prefer the yolks to be juuuuuuust a little tiny bit molten.


@nonvolleyball I second this technique, with a couple of quibbles too small to mention. I've never tried the "turn off the heat" technique, because I don't trust it.


Faintly Macabre

@KevinQ I do the "turn off the heat" technique and it works perfectly!


@KevinQ I don't like the results as much as the heat-on technique. The one time I got grayish yolks was the one time I cooked the eggs with the heat off.

Charismatic Megafauna

Hello, hello? Has the world moved on without me?!

If you'll pardon the self-promotion, this is perhaps my best work ever:

Charismatic Megafauna

@Charismatic Megafauna
Okay, spoiler alert if you don't want to click through:
"The secret is: your steamer basket. Steaming your eggs over a boiling water with the lid ajar for 20 minutes (drop them in ice water immediately after that) will give you perfectly hard-cooked eggs. It is also widely believed that this method results in shells that are easier to peel off, which is nice if you’re using really fresh eggs."

Charismatic Megafauna

@Charismatic Megafauna
Also, before anyone notes it, I confess to having willfully ignored the entire point of this post and jumped in with a big fat #5 violation.

Proposed addition to the Awliverse: a Wirecutter-style site dedicated to egg cooking tutorials. Not just boiling but all the other methods, too. For each, a single, best method is identified (or, ahem, "curated.") Preliminary title suggestion: "The Eggtimer?"

Valley Girl

@Charismatic Megafauna That SO needs to be the name for the Awliverse food hack vertical.

Charismatic Megafauna

@Valley Girl
I genuinely envy your ability to deploy the phrase "food hack vertical." This is why I am not successful in business! You hit the nail on the head!


I too have MANY ISSUES attempting to boil eggs, and many purple hyperlinks :(

It is supposed to be easy but it is not.

fondue with cheddar

@katiethegreat Me too. If I have learned one thing from this post, it is that I need to go to Trader Joe's.

evil melis

when i was a lad
i ate four dozen eggs
every morning, to help me get large

now that i'm grown
i eat five dozen eggs
and i'm roughly the size of a barge

evil melis

that song is really sad if you write it out slowly and in italics




@evil melis I'm especially good at expectorating, and dammit, I like me!

evil melis

more beer?
what for

nothing helps


@evil melis I'm especially good at expeeeeeectoraaaating!

evil melis

"Another village," Gaston announced happily. "Remember, no one can know that we're brothers. They wouldn't understand." Le Feu choked back a sob.

evil melis

Gaston wasn't perfect by any means, Le Feu would readily admit, but no one else had shielded his tiny, warped body from their mother's blows when she drank and mistook him for the Devil.

evil melis

Gaston: When I was a lad I ate four dozen eggs every morning -

Le Feu: Sometimes I could have the shells to make a paste!

Gaston: If I didn't need them.

Le Feu: If Gaston didn't need them.

dj pomegranate

@evil melis as a specimen, yes, i'm intimidating


@evil melis

Lefou, I'm afraid I've been thinking
A dangerous pasti-




The peeling thing has nothing to do with how you chilled the eggs and everything to do with egg freshness. The longer an egg sits after collection, the more air permeates the shell, seeping in between the membrane and the shell (which makes it easier to peel after boiling). Fresh eggs are always a nightmare! Easy trick, though: ADD A PINCH OF BAKING SODA to your egg-boiling water. It's sneaky and awesome!

My boiling method (which I know you weren't askin' for, but I'm givin' anyway) is to set eggs in a pot, cover with cold water, and bring to a boil over high. Once the water is boiling rapidly, I cover the pan, turn off the heat, and set a timer for ten minutes. Drain, cool eggs in ice water, and enjoy a perfectly cooked egg. Works every time and I never get that nasty green ring around my yolks.


I can boil eggs perfectly, because I do it the Martha Stewart Way and she always does everything perfectly. ALWAYS.

But I hate peeling them so much that I just buy the ones at Trader Joe's. Plus, I don't even really like hard boiled eggs very much.


@punkahontas That's how I do it, too, although don't tell Martha that if 12 minutes turns into 20 or so, absolutely nothing changes.


@punkahontas No timers required! It's foolproof. And I think keeps the yolks from getting that green outer tinge, too.


I don't really like them that much either.
Poach me some eggs and we will talk, though. Don't forget the hollandaise.


All of those posts lie. They are written by sadists who want you to fail as it fills them with fiendish glee. This is the truth. I bet they laugh about it and toast their perfect hard boiled eggs together whilst imagining us weeping over our gooey messes.
I relate to this post.


When I was younger my mom had this egg poker sort of thing that put a tiny little hole in the shell. I believe the theory is that it let a little bit of water in, which would help separate the shell from the egg, making it easier to peel. I just put this on my grocery list because that thing was awesome, and my eggs are consistently hard to peel (even when they are old!)


@KeLynn Do you have to use a special poker? I always just used a thumbtack!


@KeLynn The idea is to prevent the eggs from cracking in the water by releasing some of the pressure. It works. My mom has one of those things too, but a thumbtack or the tine of a fork works just as well.


Also, nothing is creepier than calling eggs "shell eggs." USDA, you are grossing me out.


But how do you make a mayon-egg?

fondue with cheddar

@Brunhilde It's so cute.


I love that an article about too many ways to boil eggs has contributed to EVEN MORE WAYS TO BOIL EGGS


@mangosara related: hardboiled eggs are gross.

Reginal T. Squirge

Right. What you said.


You people buy pre-hard boiled eggs?? I can't even.

(Do you also buy the "microwave baked potato" that is just a potato in a plastic bag? Or is that too much work?)

Reginal T. Squirge

I just cut to the chase and buy all my food pre-digested.

Valley Girl

@stuffisthings I have an excellent baked potato microwave technique but I still love those little shrink-wrapped ones. So handy. The sweet potato ones? The best!


I just googled "how to put in an intravenous food drip" and THERE ARE SO MANY WAYS. I'm just going to lie on the floor and slowly starve to death.


@stuffisthings Right? THis is a THING? I am completely flummoxed that you would buy pre-cooked (and presumably pre-peeled??) hard boiled eggs.

In the interest of full disclosure, I do not live in easy distance of a Trader Joes, but I feel this would have trickled down to Kroger at some point??? Most of the really awesome ideas (read: FROZEN CROISSANTS) do.


@angermonkey I've seen them at not-Trader-Joe's, I think maybe at Hannaford (in New England). I was horrified. People, this is the easiest thing in the world to cook. The markup on pre-boiled eggs must be insane.


@pinecone Honestly, the price at trader Joe's isn't too bad. I think I might have considered buying them for a second. I think the frozen steel-cut oatmeal is a but more upsetting, since it's about 3 dollars for 40 cents worth of food.


@stuffisthings I remember when I was a kid, one of the elderly relatives who came to our Passover seders would bring a big vat of hard-boiled eggs he'd bought at the same deli as the gefilte fish. Horrors. (Now my dad gets stuck with the task, and since he also makes a couple of tortilla de patata for the meal this means approximately a bazillion eggs in the fridge.)

RK Fire

@pinecone: Actually, the only reason why I've ever bought pre-boiled eggs is because they cost exactly the same as a dozen uncooked eggs. It just seemed like a no brainer at the time.

On the flipside, I hate the smell of boiled eggs. :(

fondue with cheddar

@stuffisthings I'm on board with this. Food is so hard.


@stuffisthings This is like the prepackaged pancake mix that requires you to add milk and an egg. Marketing types must be cackling all the way to the bank.


@stuffisthings Has anyone ever tried microwaving eggs? Will it work? Is this a thing?


@Pyxis I feel they would almost certainly explode.


@Apocalypstick You are correct, I once tricked my brother into doing that because I am a mean sister.


@AnnaBarenina I once got my brother to stand on the end of a rake to see whether it would really flip up and hit him in the face like in cartoons. It did. Tom & Jerry tell the truth, but I am a dreadful sister.

fondue with cheddar

@Apocalypstick My dad did that to demonstrate to us that we should never try it! He knew what was going to happen though, so he put his hand in front of his face to protect himself.

It's amazing that all of us who watched Tom & Jerry when we were kids didn't turn out racist. There were a lot of racist cartoons back when they made, but man...that was one of the worst.

Reginal T. Squirge

I love how this thread has just turned into 500 more ways to boil eggs when that was the exact problem in the first place.


@Reginal T. Squirge I spent part of my insomnia this week reading this profile (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/14/magazine/cooks-illustrateds-christopher-kimball.html) of the founder of Cook's Illustrated and the horror of trying to make the perfect soft boiled egg each and ever time in order to disseminate the truth to his readers. The word egg has lost all meaning.


So a few months ago a friend of mine decided to have a Mad Men themed going away party. I volunteered to make deviled eggs, thinking it would be the easiest thing in the world. The night before the party I drank a bunch of whiskey then decided to make the eggs. I managed to hard-boil them, but trying to peel eggs while drunk is a disaster (especially when I've never done it before). I ended up with egg salad, which I didn't bring for fear of there being shell inside. Whiskey and deviled eggs only mix once the eggs are made!

fondue with cheddar

@ohmy The last time I volunteered to make deviled eggs I screwed up so royally that ended up buying potato salad on the way to the barbecue instead.

I also ended up with a dozen eggs' worth of egg salad. I ate it twice a day until the thought of eating eggs made me sick. Then I threw the rest away.


@ohmy If you think peeling them while drunk is hard, try doing it with DTs. Shells everywhere!

Faintly Macabre

Eeedith, the SimplyRecipes recipe is the best one! I've been using it for a few years and it always works! (Also, it probably uses the least electricity and requires the least precision.)


In "A Room with a View" (a book I have memorized) Cousin Charlotte couldn't boil an egg, either.
Obs egg-boiling fails are the short path to spinster-dom and hankering after LESBIAN WRITERS like Miss Lavish.

evil melis

Cousin Charlotte couldn't do fucking anything.


I once read this Enid Blyton book where there was a girl who was pretty and successfull and really wanted a good career but OH MY GOD SHE COULDN'T *EVEN* BOIL AN EGG.
Don't worry - she got her come-uppance.


Bake them in the oven: http://www.thekitchn.com/a-trick-for-easter-eggs-bake-instead-of-boil-168380


I will not write a website about how I put them on the stove in whatever temperature water comes out of the tap, take a shower and start getting ready for work, and then take them off the stove at some point before I leave. However I always wind up with hard boiled eggs, so perhaps there is an audience for my method.


I don't know if anyone read the strangely long profile of Christopher Kimball and Cook's Illustrated in the Times magazine over the weekend, but the reporter followed a CI writer on her quest for the perfect soft-boiled egg. One thing she ended up doing was vigorously shaking each egg to get the yolk consistently into the center. I feel like this would be very useful for deviled eggs, right???

However, this method was not actually published, as too many testers said their eggs exploded when shaken. I'm still going to try it though!


@Megoon I was just going to post that! I am sort of a CI neophyte and loved the hell out of that profile, even if I'd never want to be friends with Christopher Kimball.

I've never had a soft-boiled egg (my preferred egg is over medium) but I'd like to try the shaking thing, too.

miss buenos aires

@Megoon I read this! And the more I read about soft-boiled eggs, the grosser they seemed. It's like when words lose their meaning through repetition. (Is that called semantic satiation?)


Did anyone else have to carry around a boiled egg in an empty margarine container for a week in junior high, to simulate having a child and teaching us responsibility??

Maybe this was a Catholic school thing. Catholic schools are weird.

Pocket Witch

@lora.bee At my school, we had to take home--and keep until the following day--these devilspawn dolls that cried, and figure out whether they wanted to be fed, changed, or just held.

I was twelve or thirteen, and before then, I'd never really thought about having children. That night was when I started being vehemently ALL ABOARD THE NOPE TRAIN TO FUCK-THAT VILLE with respect to motherhood.


@Pocket Witch Those sound like they would teach me way more than a boiled egg in a container! Which I promptly put in the bottom of my backpack and squished to a pulp.

I think I learned more about what it would be like to be a parent by having a Tamagotchi.


@Pocket Witch My school too! Ours had a magic chip of some kind inside that recorded how long you let it wait before you fed it, whether you held it upside down, etc. One of my friends "killed" hers somehow by taking it in a convertible and her boyfriend hacked into it and brought it back to life.


@lora.bee my school did this but with raw eggs. Way more responsibility than with hard boiled.

sudden but inevitable betrayal

@lora.bee My school did...I had hard-boiled twins, and then my dog found them and ate one, and I came up with a really sad story about how a dog attacked us while I had the babies in a stroller and I only had time to grab one baby.

fondue with cheddar

@Chrestomanci We did it with raw eggs, too. I had twins, and one of them got a crack. I just glued more hair on.


@lora.bee The other class did but we were denied as the nun who taught my class clearly wasnt up on the latest teaching methods. I was strangely jealous though I remember my mother ranting on about how fourth graders were too young for this simulation.


@lora.bee My school did this with hollowed out eggs. The first day with mine I put my thumb right through the bottom of it while trying to glue on clothes. If you pretend this was a real baby it is pretty horrifying.

@sudden but inevitable betrayal: that is the funniest/saddest thing I've read today. Dogs! Eating everything always!



But sometimes you DO hold real babies upside-down! How old are these dolls supposed to be?


@sudden but inevitable betrayal you had to Sophie's Choice your eggs!


what, no one is mentioning The Food Lab? Everything you ever wanted to know about boiling eggs, via science!

fondue with cheddar

@Lorelei@twitter I love this. I will try it before I run off to Trader Joe's.


I've become too sensitive over the issue of perfect eggs. I grew up with rubbery hard-boiled eggs with the greyish-edged yolk, and I will die with them, and that's that.

I tried watching a bit of Heston Blumenthal's egg-making techniques, but I got way too upset over all the talk of the perfect scrambled eggs. If you need a spoon to eat your eggs, then what you have made are not scrambled eggs, sir, but lumpy custard. And of course you think they're sooo goooood, because it's mostly composed of cream and butter. Just let me have my dry, fried, Tapatio-doused breakfast in peace.

Okay, see, now I'm all worked up again.


I just bought some farm eggs at the last farmer's market of the season. Haters to the left, IT'S GONNA BE AN EGG-STRAVAGANZA UP IN HERE!


@Amphora Also you can roll them between your hands or on a flat hard surface to loosen the shell. And don't bother with ice baths, just put them in a pot of cold water, heat it to a boil, turn it off, cover the pot, and come back they're cool enough to handle.


@Amphora I am gonna turn into a damn egg


My preferred method is to bring eggs to a boil, turn off the heat, cover and let sit 12 minutes. Then I dump the hot water, shake the eggs around to crack the shells, and let them sit in an ice water bath until they're completely cool. In my experience, there's always going to be one or two eggs (out of a dozen) that doesn't peel nicely.


How do you ("accidentally"!) make the yolk molten and the white solid? That is delicious. I will take 80 posts about that.


@Bloodrocuted My mom does it by putting the egg in the pot with water, bringing it to a boil, turning the heat off while putting toast in the toaster, and when the toast pops up the egg is done. I think you need a magic toaster, though, because mine often gets undercooked that way.


@MilesofMountains Oh no, I make toast in a pan. How long is toast in a toaster?

hahahaha, ja.

@Bloodrocuted: To get the solid white / soft yolk, I've had good luck with putting an egg or two into boiling water (enough to cover the eggs) over high heat for 7ish minutes.


@hahahaha, ja. Mmmmm, thank you!


@Bloodrocuted Put the eggs into cold water & wait till it boils. Turn the heat off, cover the pan, & wait for about three and a half mins (this is indeed a good time to make toast). Fish out, crack, & enjoy!


Or, OR! You could do like I did and throw one of these egg timer thingies in the water with the eggs, and when that sucker is black, they're done! And they taste like hard boiled eggs! And they're $7: http://www.amazon.com/SCI-Scandicrafts-Inc-Egg-Timer/dp/B0000CFGB5

jonathan gold@twitter

I once talked to a famous Japanese cookbook writer who confessed that her husband liked to eat a special kind of boiled egg - an onsen egg, traditionally cooked in a hot spring, where the white becomes like blancmange and the yolk barely sets - every morning for breakfast. I commiserated with her, starting to say that it was a dreary task for such an accomplished cook, and she interrupted:

``No, no,'' she said, ``You don't understand. I have been cooking this egg for 35 years, and I have only gotten it right twice.''


Wait wait wait, is the "eggs are still good as long as they sink in water" thing really true? Because I perpetually wind up throwing out an egg or two that expired a week or two earlier ...


Eggs last for a very long time. When they expire at the store, they take them into the back and change the cartons, and keep selling them. Yours are probably still fine!

sudden but inevitable betrayal

@cherrispryte It's true! Junk the floaters, keep and eat the sinkers, no matter what the expiration date says.


@lemonadefish REALLY?! MIND. BLOWN.

Shirley Temple Of Doom

I'd like to recommend Mark Bittman's How To Cook Everything app for all your cooking needs. May be the only app that has taught me anything practical. Besides my horoscope app.


@Shirley Temple Of Doom You just single handedly talked me into getting a smartphone.

Oh, squiggles

Question: "Why can't there be One Right Way to do it that everyone agrees on?"

Philosophical answer: because we are humans?

Real answer: because you searched for boiling eggs, and when you want to get an easy to peel, evenly cooked in its own shell egg, you shouldn't boil. Steam them. Some experimentation is needed to learn how long to steam for the correct level of done-ness, but 15 mins should be a good starting point. Boil water until it is really steaming, place eggs in the metal basket/colander, cover with lid, start timer. You can do a cold bath if you want, but that is just to make them easier to peel immediately.

Diaphanous Gown

This may be a stupid question, but...why can't you just put an egg in boiling water and leave it for a really long time? Boiled is boiled, right? It's not going to get harder the longer you leave it.

Note: I have never hard boiled an egg.

sudden but inevitable betrayal

@Diaphanous Gown I wonder this, also.

Bus Driver Stu Benedict

The longer they're hot, the more chance the yolk has to become green.


@Bus Driver Stu Benedict Yep. Supposedly if you over cook them, you will get a green ring aroung the yolks. I don't care. I boil the shit out of my eggs. The few times I've followed the BHG instructions & took them off the heat, the yolks weren't cooked all the way through.

Aileen Jeffries

@Diaphanous Gown Yes, you can over cook them. When the yolks turn a greenish gray, they're overcooked and won't taste as good and will smell more sulfurous.


I boil the shit out of my eggs. The few times I've followed the BHG instructions & took them off the heat, the yolks weren't cooked all the way through....gold ira company


i just figured out that i'm allergic to eggs and i fucking love eggs and everything about this post made me so sad.


Put the eggs into cold water & wait till it boils. Turn the heat off, cover the pan, & wait for about three and a half mins (this is indeed a good time to make toast). Fish out, crack, & enjoy!

Bus Driver Stu Benedict

All this, and not one mention of Harold McGee? What has become of this world...

Bus Driver Stu Benedict

What I'm saying is that cooking eggs yields readily to scientific experimentation.


@Bus Driver Stu Benedict Possibly the best video ever made.


WHY IS NO ONE MENTIONING ALTON BROWN? He is my technique guru. Hence, fill electric kettle with water and eggs. Turn on. Once the button pops (from boiling), set timer from 13-15 minutes, depending on how cooked you like your yolks. Dump hot water, fill with cool water for a few minutes, then eat (or put in fridge.)


@Stevie I pre-wrote a really smug comment in notepad while I waited for this page to load on my crappy internet in which I DROPPED THIS SECRET. I am shocked no one has replied? No one else has even mentioned the SECRET? You have just given the people the answer and they are ignoring you, going on and on about steaming and vinegar and blablabla. Anyway, cheers! I clink my perfectly boiled egg with yours.


@halfheartedyoga THANK YOU! [CLINK/CRACK] I felt like I was speaking into the void.


STEAM YOUR EGGS!!! Seriously, steam them. For like 15 minutes? 12? 18? I don't know, more than 10, but less than 20. Peeling them is a DREAM!!! And buy a steamer pot because they are the best.


Edith, are you me? After all the purple links I decided to call my mom and just ask her. She laughed and laughed and explained to me how to boil water. Not what I asked. I asked how long dammit. How long?! Then she told my entire extended family at Thanksgiving that I didn't know how to boil eggs, because I am simple.


This is me, except with egg poaching. Lost my poached egg mojo a year ago and am now serving up small bits of watery white and a completely separate half-cooked yolk on toast.

It's disgusting.


"PRE-BOILED EGGS"?? Oh, America.


This website knows all about eggs! I use their method for hard boiled eggs: http://www.incredibleegg.org/

Aileen Jeffries

I grew up with chickens and no refrigeration and have chickens now so I consider myself something of an eggspert. As others have mentioned, the peelability of an egg is due to its age. If you're buying eggs from a store like the poor chickenless soul you are, it seems likely there'd be eggs of different ages in the same carton. Also, I have no idea why you'd prefer hard boiled eggs over softboiled. Soft boiled eggs are sublime. Stick an egg or two in water, turn the burner on. Get it up to a roiling boil, turn off the heat but keep the lid on. Put bread in the toaster. When the toast is ready, so are your delectable eggs.

Randy Reiss@twitter

Boil a pot of water, put eggs in boiling water for 20 minutes, after 20 miutes place eggs in bowl of ice water so they shrink just a little bitinside the shell making for easy peeling.

That recipie took me a lot of googiling as well, so don't feel too bad.


I can't read the comments yet because this wet stuff will continue to come out of my eyes as I read and it is making it difficult to read it fast enough. I just boiled four eggs a few days ago and while doing so I thought I would mess it up. Ended up with eggs that, when peeled, lost half their mass due to shell-stickage. Resolved to try to find precooked eggs again as they always shell pretty nicely. *Bonus* I am moving to Germany where the hard boiled eggs are dyed bright pink, green and yellow and now that I think about it, have a weirdly colored spotted inside.....


Soft boiled eggs!! So easy, and more delicious.


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