By Layla Khoury-Hanold for Food Network Kitchen
Layla Khoury-Hanold is a Food Network contributor.
Hard-boiled eggs are essential to making poached eggs and egg salad sandwiches, plus they make a satisfying portable snack. But boiling eggs is the easy part. Peeling hard-boiled eggs can be frustrating, especially when it takes a long time or you find yourself removing large chunks of cooked egg whites as you continue. Here’s how to peel a hard-boiled egg perfectly, plus our top tips for easy peeling.
Image of La Bicicleta Vermella / Getty
How to peel hard-boiled eggs step by step
Step 1: Dip hard-boiled eggs in an ice bath
Once your eggs have boiled to the desired doneness, use a slotted spoon or strainer to transfer the eggs to the prepared ice bath. Let them soak for about 2 to 3 minutes until they are cool enough to handle but still warm.
Step 2: Gently crack the egg
Tap the egg gently on the countertop, creating a pattern-like mosaic all over the shell.
Step 3: Roll the egg
Carefully and gently roll the egg between your hands to help loosen the shell. Note that if you’re peeling softer hard-boiled eggs, you’ll want to skip this step because eggs are more fragile and can tear.
Step 4: Start peeling at the large end
Start peeling at the largest end of the egg — there’s an air pocket here that will make it easier to start the process. Remember to gently lift and peel off the thin film underneath the shell that surrounds the egg whites.
Step 5: Use cold water for extra support
If you’re still having trouble peeling, hold the eggs under cold running water while you peel them, or soak them in a bowl of water to help loosen the shells.
How can you peel hard-boiled eggs easily?
Start with slightly older eggs
To make hard-boiled, easy-to-peel eggs, use store-bought eggs, which are slightly older than farm-fresh eggs. Fresh eggs on the farm have a lower pH, making them harder to peel. The older the egg, the easier it is to peel (but you should use up all the eggs by the sell-by date).
Add Baking Soda
Baking soda is said to be able to raise the pH of eggs and thus make them easier to peel. Add 1 teaspoon of baking soda to the pot of eggs, as in Perfect poached eggs formula.
Cook eggs in boiling water
Eggs put in a pot of boiling water and cooked will be easier to peel (instead of boiling through cold water and then boiling). Gently lower each egg layer into the boiling water so there is no risk of bumping into each other and cracking the shell.
Shock them in an ice bath
Prepare a bowl of ice cold water and transfer the hard-boiled eggs to the ice bath immediately after cooking. Leave them until they are cool enough to handle but still warm, about 2 to 3 minutes.