Ask Amelia Tips

How to Easily Peel Hard Boiled Eggs

pasture eggs

Question: Do you know of any tricks when boiling eggs, so that the shell peels off easily, rather than taking most of the egg with it?  When I boil eggs, I bring the water to a boil, then turn off the gas heat, and set the timer for 16 minutes.  The eggs are cooked perfectly without being overdone.  Then I cool them in cold water.  Sometimes the eggshell peels nicely, but more often than not, it doesn’t.

Answer: I often struggle with this too.  It’s so frustrating when you peel an egg only to be left with the yolk!  Here are some tips to try:

  • Older eggs have more air between the shell and the membrane, so the easiest way to solve this problem is to boil eggs after you’ve had them a couple weeks.  If you boil eggs that are fresh from the market, the chances of a good peel are low.
  • Cold eggs are easier to peel than warm ones.  So if you can boil eggs the day before you need them and store them in the fridge overnight, you may have more luck.
  • Add 1-2 tsp of salt to the boiling water.  This doesn’t solve the problem completely, but it does help quite a bit.
  • Peel eggs under water.  I usually just peel them in the pot after I’ve filled it with cold water and they’ve sat in there awhile.  This makes the shell easier to separate from the membrane.
  • I’ve heard that microwaving a boiled egg for 15-20 seconds makes it easy to peel.  I’ve never done this, so I’m not sure how it affects the “perfectly cooked” aspect, but it’s worth a try. Just don’t microwave it for too long or it will explode – really!
  • Sadly, I’ve found that cheap, conventional eggs from the grocery store are much easier to peel than organic, free-range eggs that have been sustainably grown.  Probably because they’re not as fresh, and the nutrient content of the egg is different.  Still, not a good enough reason to change good buying habits — as buying humanely raised eggs is incredibly important for human, animal, and environmental health.  Here’s a guide to finding humanely produced eggs.

2 Comments

  • Reply
    Sy Ellin
    September 1, 2012 at 12:03 pm

    I only eat the white of hard boiled eggs. I have found that cutting the egg in half then scooping the white out with a spoon works extremely well. Whack the side of the egg to get the cut started.

    • Reply
      Amelia
      September 1, 2012 at 3:13 pm

      Interesting idea – will try!

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