How to peel hard-boiled eggs

Everyone has that one tedious kitchen task they hate. Maybe it’s cutting onions (so many tears) or unwrapping candies for a favorite cookie. For me, it’s peeling hard-boiled eggs. I always dread removing the shell because no matter how hard I try, I never can get the perfect peel. That means my deviled eggs never look as flawless as I want (though I can recommend some delicious takes on the appetizer).

Lucky for me, our Test Kitchen has three easy methods for removing the shell with flawless results. That means no more ugly eggs and no more frustration! And I can cross this task off my list of most-dreaded. Let’s start at the very beginning: getting the perfect hard-boiled egg.

How to cook (and peel!) perfect hard-boiled eggs

To make eggs that are easier to peel, our Test Kitchen experts recommend not boiling your eggs at all. No, not even with a bit of vinegar or baking soda (our experts found these cooking hacks didn’t help at all). Instead, place eggs in a steamer basket inside a pot. Fill the pot with water up to the base of the basket. Heat your water, and once it begins to boil, set a timer for 14 minutes. When time is up, remove the eggs from the basket and plunge into an ice bath to stop the cooking process. This should yield perfectly hard-boiled eggs.

Test Kitchen tip: Older eggs peel easier. If your eggs are reaching their use-by date, they’re just perfect for hard boiling. Psst! There’s a simple trick to telling how to tell how old your eggs are.

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Method 1: Get cracking

Instead of picking away at your egg under cold tap water, try rolling a hard-boiled egg back and forth on a hard surface until the shell is completely cracked. It should look like a mosaic before you even begin to peel. Once totally cracked, start peeling from the large end of the egg—it will help separate the membrane from the egg’s surface. To make things even easier, peel under cold running water.

Method 2: Shake it up

This method is less than traditional, but it gets results! To remove the shell, place a hard-boiled egg in a mason jar with about 1 inch of water inside. Make sure the jar is tightly sealed and start shaking.

As you shake, the egg will crack and the water will help loosen the shell. After a few seconds of jostling, the egg shell should be falling off.

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Eggs are a tremendous ingredient to add to just about any meal. Since they can be prepared in so many ways, read on for more information on the versatile treat.

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Water Can Determine If An Egg Is Still Good.

If you place an egg in a tall glass of water and it sinks, then it is safe to eat because it means that the yolk is still heavy. Egg yolks shrink as they age and this creates air bubbles. If the egg floats, then it is time to throw it out.

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Egg World Records

Howard Helmer, a former American Egg Board representative holds three Guinness World Records for omelet making. Helmer has won for making 427 omelets in 30 minutes and has made the fastest single omelet taking 42 seconds (from whole egg to omelet). He has also completed 30 omelet flips in 34 seconds.

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Eggs Can Stand.

It is said that during the vernal equinox around March 21when the sun crosses the equator, making day and night equal everywhere, it is possible to stand an egg.

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Expiration Dates Aren't Exactly Right.

The expiration or sell by date on an egg carton doesn’t necessarily determine when an egg will go bad. The best by or use by date will better assess the quality of the eggs.

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Spinning Can Determine An Egg's State.

You can spin an egg to tell if it is raw or hard-boiled. Since the hard-boiled egg is filled with solids rather than liquids it will spin easily. A raw egg will wobble because the liquids are still present.

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Eggs Are A Good Hangover Cure.

This is due to their high content of cysteine, which helps to break down the cause of the hangover, acetaldehyde. Eggs also help to get rid of the toxins that alcohol leaves behind.

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Eggs Come From Other Birds.

Chickens aren’t the only birds who lay eggs. Eggs can come from emu, goose, ostrich, duck or quail.

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Eggs Aren't Only White.

Chicken eggs come in more colors than white and brown. Different breeds of chickens produce different colors. Some eggs can even appear blue, blue-green, reddish brown or speckled.

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Hens Lay A Lot Of Eggs.

An average hen can lay 250 to 279 eggs per year.

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Good Source Of Vitamin D

Vitamin D is generally associated with the sun, but you can get 10 percent of your daily intake by eating an egg.

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Synthetic Eggs Are On The Rise.

A San Francisco start-up is trying to make egg-less mayonnnaise and other egg-less products.

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Eggs Have A Lot Of Pores.

Eggs have 7 to 17,000 tiny pores on their shells. They also can absorb odors in the fridge, so make sure to keep them in the carton.

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Yolk Color Is Determined By Diet.

The plant pigments in a hen's feed affect the color in the yolk in a certain way. Natural yellow or orange substances like marigold petals can be used to enhance the color of the yolk.

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Most Eggs Come From...

China! In China, approximately 160 billion eggs are produced a year, while the US produces about 65 billion eggs a year.

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Eggs Contain Almost All Essential Vitamins.

Eggs have all the essential vitamins you need except for Vitamin C, and they also contain all the essential proteins and minerals that your body needs.

Image Credit: Getty Images

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Method 3: Use a Spoon

To start, give the egg a good crack on a hard surface. Then carefully insert a spoon between the shell and the egg and rotate until the shell is completely separated. The shell should peel off easily, with minimal mess.

That’s all it takes for pain-free peeling! Now you’re ready for a classic egg salad or, if you want to get fancy, a beautiful nicoise salad.

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