Perfecting Hard Boiled Eggs

Eggs steaming.jpg

I am about to make an embarrassing confession. You’ve probably all heard the idiom, “She can’t even boil an egg.”  It is not a compliment. It refers to someone who is a really lousy cook.   I’ve never understood it because I am a good cook who has never been able to properly boil an egg.  Oh I can boil one all right, I just can’t get the damn peel off without tearing off half the white. It is obvious that whoever made up that saying knew nothing about cooking.

I have tried every conceivable way to boil an egg to get them to easily peel.  I’ve started them in cold water, in boiling water, cooking them off the heat, on the heat.  You name it. I’ve tried it. I’ve even left them in the fridge for weeks because I’d heard  that old eggs peel easier.  That helped a little, but for the small amount of success, it didn’t pay off.  The only constant was that I always took them off the heat and put them into a bowl filled with ice water.

It looks like I’m not the only one with this problem, because in the last 2 months three national food magazines have articles on how to boil eggs so the peel slips right off.  Cooks Illustrated even has a report card on Eggs Peelability.  Mine fit in the Mangled category. Mangled describes the eggs as well as my frustrated brain.

I tried this new, simple technique and am so excited that I can’t stop boiling eggs. Old ones, new ones, they all peel the same. I have 24 in the fridge right now. If you can relate to my egg peeling miseries, here’s a discovery that will have you boiling eggs everyday until the sheer joy becomes common place.  It’s simple.  Instead of boiling the eggs in water, steam them.

  • Choose a saucepan in which the eggs will fit in a single layer. Fill with 1-inch of water. Bring water to a boil.
  • Add a steamer basket and arrange eggs in it in a single layer.
  • Cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook for 13 minutes.
  • Using a slotted spoon, transfer eggs to a bowl filled with cold water and 3 hands full of ice cubes.  Leave eggs for 15 minutes and then drain. They can be used immediately or refrigerated.

If you don’t have a steamer basket, you don't need to run out and buy one. You can boil the eggs in 1-inch of water and they will still peel perfectly.  You don’t even need to peel the eggs right away. They will peel just as easily after being refrigerated for several days.

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