How to Cook Hard-Boiled Eggs

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close up of hard boiled eggs
Learn how to make hard-boiled eggs the right way!

How to Cook Hard-Boiled Eggs is one of the most common questions we get here on Platter Talk. Thinking that most people know how to cook a hard boiled egg is an assumption that we all too often make in error. Although many of us think that we know how to do this seemingly simple cooking task, it is common to cook a hard-boiled egg poorly without even realizing it.

two hard-boiled eggs being peeled
Why are some hard-boiled eggs easier to peel than others? Read on!

How to make them

Throwing some eggs in boiling water and sort of forgetting about the time is easy. That’s because a hard-boiled egg will look pretty much the same on the outside if it cooks for 10 minutes or for 30 minutes.  Just like people, it’s what’s inside the shell that tells the true tale.

A cross-section of a hard-boiled egg
When over-cooked, hard-boiled eggs have a gray-green rim around the yoke.

An overcooked egg is tough and the yolk will be dense and hard. The white can emit an unpleasant odor, leading one to question the freshness of the egg. The deeper the rim, the more overcooked the egg.

Today, you’re going to learn how to cook Hard-Boiled Eggs
and get the BEST results!

A cross-section of a hard-boiled egg
When cooked properly, hard-boiled eggs have an even-colored yoke, not soft yet not overly dense.

A hen’s body temp is about 105℉.  Why do you need to know that? Because it will help you to understand why peeling a hard-boiled egg is sometimes difficult and sometimes a breeze.

A chicken and an egg
When it comes to hard-boiled eggs, the chicken most certainly came first.

When an egg is first laid, there is a membrane-lined shell with an egg sack inside, which is contained by its own membrane. They’re almost the same size except for a very small air cell inside separating the two membranes.  As the freshly laid egg cools down to room temperature, the liquid inside the egg sack contracts and pulls away from the shell, separating the two membranes.

As the egg further ages, carbon dioxide and moisture from the liquid escape through the porous shell. Air passes to the inside of the shell, adding more space between the inner and outer membrane. This is the reason why it’s so difficult to peel a fresh egg when hard-boiled. There isn’t enough air between the two membranes of the egg sack and shell. When you try to peel the shell from the egg, the white sticks to the shell-like glue. One can end up throwing a good portion of the white-out that is adhered to the shell.

A hard-boiled egg with chunks taken out of it
Who wants to prepare a pickled or deviled egg that looks like it was hit by a train?

To avoid this dilemma, use eggs that have been stored in your fridge a week to 10 days. This will ensure that an ample air pocket and membrane separation has occurred, allowing for a smooth peeling process.

Want some uniform, centered yolk eggs? About 24 hours before cooking your hard-boiled eggs, open up the carton and flip the small end up so it’s facing the top. Place carton back in the fridge. This helps the yolk center before cooking. With this step, when you slice your cooked and peeled egg in half (for deviled eggs, perhaps) you should have a beautifully uniform, bullseye and centered yolk.

hard boiled egg
A centrally-placed yolk with an even and uniform color and texture makes for a perfectly hard-boiled egg.

Now for the actual cooking:

This is pretty easy too. One just needs to pay attention to the TIME and TEMP. No, you don’t have to get your Taylor thermometer out. You only need to be able to read the clock or set a timer

  • Choose a pot of your choice of size that has a matching lid.
  • Place only enough eggs to make one layer inside your pot.
  • Next, pour enough cool water over the eggs to make the depth of water one inch or so over the top of the eggs.
  • Turn heat to high and wait for water to come to a rolling boil. That means large bubbles form and cause visible movement in your pot of eggs and water. The temperature is now at 212℉.
  • At this point you are ready to cover the pot and remove from heat.
  • Now starts the count down. Eggs should stay in covered pot for the following minutes:
  • Extra Large -15
  • Large -12
  • Medium -9
  • While you’re waiting for the eggs to cook, place ice in a bowl of water.
  • As soon as the eggs are ready, place the drained eggs in the bowl of cold water and let them stay there until completely cooled down. This stops any carry over cooking, eliminating the chance of the tell-tale green ring around the yolk. 10 minutes should easily do the trick.

To peel, pull an egg from the water and gently tap it against you kitchen counter in 3 or 4 places, rotating as you do so. Once this is done, the shell should come right off. If you place the shelled egg back in the water bath it will help eliminate any small pieces of shell that might still be stuck to the egg.

3 hard boiled eggs
Follow these easy steps from Platter Talk and make the BEST hard-boiled eggs.

Hard-boiled eggs may be kept refrigerated for up to a week. You can keep them in the shell and peel as needed or you may place peeled eggs in a container and cover with water. If you are storing the eggs in water, keep them tightly covered, changing the water daily.


Sometimes hard-boiled eggs end up in the same container as raw eggs. How to tell the difference? A hard-boiled egg, when placed on a flat surface on its side, will spin longer than a raw egg.

Fun Fact: Make your eggs in a rice cooker! Find out here: How to Cook Eggs in a Rice Cooker.

hard boiled eggs with bacon strips
We love our Eggs, almost any way here on Platter Talk!
a chicken
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Meet the Platter Talk Guys

Dan & Scott split their time between Wisconsin and Southwest Florida and are dads to six boys. Good food runs through their veins, and they love showing others how to cook easy recipes.

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  1. Bookmarking this! My eggs always come out weird. Don’t tell, but I sometimes buy them pre-cooked and shelled…

  2. I love trying new ways to cook a hard boiled egg! I love how detailed you were in all your information!

  3. This was actually very informative and helpful so thank you!!! I have been considering getting a couple chickens so we can have fresh eggs so this will come in handy.

    1. It sees like everyone is raising chickens now for eggs! And why not? One less thing to pick up at the store, one more thing to pick up in the yard- LOL

  4. I think everyone has “their” method of boiling eggs. Good tip on the peeling of eggs. I’ve also heard that if you push a pin through the bottom and then boil, it makes it easier to get the shell off…

    1. Very interesting. The only time I used that method was to blow the egg out of the shell for a colored Easter egg tree. Perhaps I shall try it. Thanks

  5. There’s much more to cooking the perfect egg than many people think isn’t there? Fascinating read.

  6. This is absolutely fabulous…I can’t tell you how many times my boiled eggs look like that mangled one 😉

  7. Guys, this is a great post. Truly informative. Great pics. I made a similar post a long time back and it gets a lot of play and I hope yours does too.