How to Boil an Egg

Believe it or not, there's more than one way to boil an egg. Here's the method I use to boil an egg and why.

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Fresh eggs are what everyone hopes to be buying at the grocery store, but in fact fresh eggs are the hardest eggs to peel. Still, I’ll take the hard to peel fresh eggs any day over older eggs. When buying your eggs, the best you can buy are labeled “organic pasture-raised”. These are eggs from chickens that are truly free range and have access to the outside. They are fed organic feed, no antibiotics, soy or corn and as a result the eggs have superior nutrient value.

It’s true  you can boil an egg one of two different ways. Some people like to put their eggs in a pot of water, bring it to a boil, turn the heat off as soon as it comes to a boil and then time for 5 minutes. Others prefer to boil the water in the saucepan first, then add the eggs and then start timing depending on the degree of doneness you’d like. It’s no surprise that I’m a believer in the second option. It’s more precise and gives you more accurate results. What if, after all, you don’t see when the pot of water starts to boil? Suddenly your timing is all off. Here’s my chosen method.

Instructions for boiling large eggs:

  • Bring at least 2 quarts of water to a boil.
  • Lower the eggs into the water carefully with a slotted spoon or mesh basket.
  • Let the water boil for 20 to 30 seconds (or return to the boil) and then lower the heat to a bare simmer.
  • For soft-boiled eggs, remove the eggs after 6 minutes.
  • For hard-boiled eggs, remove the eggs after 11 minutes.
  • If you are serving the eggs warm, run the eggs under cold water until they are cool enough to handle. Tap the egg gently on all sides on the counter to crack the shell and peel.
  • If you are preparing the eggs for a future cold serving (egg salad or deviled eggs), let the eggs sit in ice water until completely cool. Then tap the eggs gently on all sides on the counter to crack the shell and peel.

Quick Notes:

  • Boiling your water before adding the eggs to the pot gives you more accurate timing for boiling your eggs.
  • Reduce the water to a simmer so the eggs run less risk of cracking against each other or the side of the pot.
  • Shocking the eggs in cold water not only makes them easier to peel, but stops the cooking and will prevent overcooking the eggs.
  • The fresher the egg, the harder it is to peel.
  • Organic pasture-raised eggs are the best to buy.

Boiled Eggs

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Comments (10)Post a Reply

  1. What is the name brand and where did you buy the mesh basket you used to lower the eggs into the pot of boiling water? Thank you.

    1. Hi Beverley,
      That was a Cook’s Essentials mesh basket from QVC. I’m not sure if it is still available, but you could check.

    1. Hi Michelle,
      Yes you can! In fact, when you pressure cook eggs, they are much easier to peel. Put them on a rack in the pressure cooker and add 1 ½ cups of water to the cooker. Cook on high for 6 minutes and then do a quick release. Cool the eggs so that you can handle them under running water and then peel.

    1. Well, yes and no. Yes, it can be done in a pinch – about 250ºF for 15 to 17 minutes – however, I don’t find the results to be as good as boiling them in water. They can cook somewhat unevenly and be harder to peel. BUT… it can be done.

    1. You should be able to use it in a pressure cooker. Just make sure it fits without scratching the interior of your pressure cooker pot and I would try to use a rack underneath it to create a little space between the basket and the bottom of the pot.

  2. Now that I have a pressure cooker, will not hard boil eggs and other way. They are always perfect.
    Glad to know about the soft boiled eggs tho! Appreciate that since I like soft boiled eggs for breakfast or sometimes dinner.

  3. Hi Meredith, checked with QVC baskets are no longer available. Guess you need to design your own with a matching stock pot.

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