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There’s Only One Right Way to Hard-Boil Eggs

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HARD-BOILED EGGS are deceptively difficult to cook.

Maybe it’s because everyone has their one special “trick” to get them to turn out perfectly. “Use week-old eggs,” you’ve probably heard. “Try adding baking soda to the water,” is another. “Use this ridiculous-looking mini-spaceship thingy,” say companies that are trying to sell you something you don’t need.

The real truth is that hard-boiled eggs are not difficult to cook—you just have to know the one right way to make them.

And that way isn’t flashy. It involves zero secret ingredients and not one useless cooking contraption. You don’t even need to wait around a whole week for your eggs to get old.

Which means if you have a few eggs in your house, you can turn them into creamy-yolked, tender-white hard-boiled eggs right now.

Frank Proto, former director of culinary operations at the Institute of Culinary Education, shows you how to do it, step by step.

1. Start With New Eggs

    Conventional wisdom states that eggs that have been sitting in your fridge for a week or two are easier to peel. Maaaaybe that’s true, but fresh eggs are also less likely to have that weird green ring around the yolk when hard-boiled. Plus, if you follow this method, peeling won’t be a problem.

    2. Go Big

    As in, your pot. You want a cooking vessel that’s wide enough for all the eggs to rest in one even layer inside without overcrowding and tall enough for at least an inch of water to cover them—both factors that lead to even cooking (and easy peeling).

    3. Keep it Simple

    Don’t poke the eggs with a pin, presoak them in vinegar, or even add salt to the water—although eggshells are porous, flavors won’t have time to penetrate an egg during a few minutes of cooking.

    cooling freshly boiled eggs under cold running water after cooking

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    Just add the eggs to the pot, submerge them completely in cold water, and then add one more inch. Transfer the pot to a burner and turn the heat to high.

    4. Boil and Chill

    Prep an ice bath: a big bowl, 1 tray of ice, lots of cold water. When the water in the pot boils, remove the pot from the heat and set a timer for 10 minutes. Any longer and you’ll risk a sulfurous yolk. When time’s up, plunge the eggs into the ice bath.

    5. Peel Out

    Next, adjust your faucet until you have a thin stream of cold water and peel the eggs under the stream.

    how to make perfect hard boiled eggs

    Mohd Kafii Isa / EyeEm

    Once the water gets under the membrane of the shell, an egg peels easily. Place them on a paper towel to dry. Then store—or eat up.

    6. Shake to Season

    Hard-boiled eggs are bland and boring, you say? Take a zip-top bag, drop in whole peeled cooked eggs, add a few shakes of seasoning (Old Bay, BBQ rub, everything bagel), seal the bag, and give it all a little shimmy. The eggs will pop out evenly seasoned and totally unboring.

    A version of this article originally appeared in the December 2022 issue of Men’s Health.

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