OK please, don’t leave. Hear me out. I know this is not the MOST exciting post ever (well, unless you’re super nerdy about food like me, in which case this is VERY exciting!), and I also know you’ve probably tried already a million ways to hard boil the perfect, easy to peel egg only to be disappointed and frustrated, standing over the trash for what seems like hours trying to peel that accursed egg and ending up with a lumpy, ripped up mess instead. We’ve all been there.
Which is why I NEED to tell you about this super secret, super awesome, 100% fool-proof way to make boiled eggs that are easy to peel Every. Single. Time.
And if you happen to be making deviled eggs for Thanksgiving tomorrow (I sure am!), this method will help you remain calm in the face of egg peeling. Because no one likes to be angry on Thanksgiving, especially as a result of sticky egg shells!
Here’s what you’ve probably tried in the past. You’ve tried adding the eggs to cold water, bringing them to a boil for a certain amount of time, and letting them sit covered. You’ve tried adding baking soda to the water when you are boiling. You’ve tried an ice bath to “shock” the eggs back into the shell. You’ve tried this nifty as-seen-on-TV “Eggstractor” to peel your eggs. You’ve tried using old eggs, new eggs, brown eggs, white eggs. Nothing seems to work.
The simple secret to making easy to peel eggs is adding a special ingredient to the water when you are boiling them. Are you ready? This is going to sound weird, but I promise it works…
OLIVE OIL! Or canola oil. Or vegetable oil. Or any other kind of oil. Just add a tablespoon or so to the water and you’ll get easy-to-peel eggs EVERY time! (Shout out to my husband’s Aunt Sandra, who first told me about this trick in the comments on my Sriracha deviled eggs post. This is LIFE CHANGING!)
Here’s the thing about eggs: their shells are porous. Over time, if left unused, air will actually seep into the eggs and the inside will dry out/evaporate. In fact, to test if your eggs have gone bad, you should submerge them in water; if they float, they have gone bad, since air has gotten inside. The porous nature of the eggshells is what causes this method to work: the oil seeps inside the shell right in-between the egg white and the shell/membrane, causing a slippery barrier that makes peeling the egg extremely easy.
Here’s the rundown:
- First, boil water (enough to completely submerge the eggs) with a tablespoon of olive (or other) oil.
- Once the water is boiling, reduce the water to a gently boil. If it’s too vigorous, the eggshells may break.
- Gently add the eggs one at a time using a spoon to the water.
- Set your timer to 13 minutes. This is the magic number for hard boiled eggs that aren’t overcooked (you won’t get a gray line around the yolk) but are 100% solid. For medium boiled eggs, try ten minutes, and for soft boiled, try anywhere from 2-5 minutes (depending on how runny you want the yolk).
- While the eggs are boiling, prepare an ice bath with plenty of ice and water- enough water to cover the eggs and enough ice (about one tray’s worth) that it will stay cold for a long time.
- At the end of the allotted time, spoon the eggs directly out of the boiling water and transfer to the ice bath. I’m actually not sure of this is necessary in terms of the eggs being easy to peel, since it never helped with other boiling methods I’ve tried before. Some people swear by it for this reason, but I like it because it cools the eggs down to where you can handle them almost immediately, rather than waiting.
- After about 5 minutes in the ice bath, remove from the water and either store in the fridge, or peel.
- When you are ready to peel, roll the egg on the counter to crack the shell and start the process, and peel under running cold water. The water helps rinse off any lingering tiny pieces of shell and makes it a bit easier to peel.
Some people say that using old eggs instead of new eggs helps with them being easy to peel- I have not found that to be true, at least with this method. Old or new eggs work with this.
Well there you go! The best kept secret for boiling perfect, easy-to-peel eggs. Do you have any other fool-proof methods? Leave them in the comments below :-)Print
How to Make Perfect, Easy-to-Peel Boiled Eggs EVERY Time!
Adding olive oil to the water ensure perfect boiled eggs EVERY SINGLE TIME! Because the eggshells are porous, the oil seeps into the shell and creates a barrier. The eggshell just slides right off every time!
- Prep Time: 2 mins
- Cook Time: 18 mins
- Total Time: 20 mins
- eggs (however many you want!)
- water (enough to completely submerge the eggs)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil (or other oil)
- Bring water and oil to a gentle boil in a pot large enough to lay the eggs in one layer.
- Add the eggs one at a time gently to the boiling water using a spoon.
- Boil for 13 minutes for hard boiled eggs, 10 for medium, and 2-5 for soft (depending on how runny you want the yolk).
- Meanwhile, prepare an ice bath with about a tray’s worth of ice and enough water to completely submerge the eggs.
- Remove the eggs with a slotted spoon and place immediately in ice bath.
- Allow to sit for 5 minutes in bath.
- Peel under running cold running water (or store in the fridge for up a week until you are ready to eat!)