The Key to Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs

Hard boiled eggs, one of the most basic of cooking skills, remains a challenge for many home chefs.  The yolk comes out a grayish-green, they aren’t fully cooked, the shells are hard to peel; a whole host of problems.

Since spring and Easter seem to be the time that hard boiled eggs make their seasonal come back for everything from egg salad to deviled eggs, I want to share a few quick tips and tricks for perfect hard boiled eggs each and every time.

The Key to Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs Each and Every Time!

  • Old eggs (but not expired old) actually make the best hard boiled eggs.  The taste will be the same, but the shell will peel with ease. This is probably the most critical piece of whether or not your egg will peel well and might take some planning ahead. You can also grab the eggs in the front of the case, as most grocers will have the oldest stock up front.[clear-line]
  • Adding 2 teaspoons of baking soda to cold water before boiling water will assist in peeling. Some folks swear by adding vinegar for the same purpose, but I’ve always had luck with baking soda, so I stick with what I know.[clear-line]

How to Peel an Egg

  • Place the eggs in a single layer in the pot, being careful not to crowd the pot. The water needs to circulate around the entire egg. You may need to do them in batches.[clear-line]
  • Cover with cold water and then bring up to a boil. This way the eggs will come up to temperature with the water instead of being shocked when dropped into boiling water.[clear-line]
  • There are many wives tales for centered yolks.  Some tricks that I have used for success are to sit the egg carton on its side the night before boiling and stirring the eggs while the water comes to a boil, alternating the direction every minute.[clear-line]
  • Remove from heat as soon as the water comes to a boil, cover and let sit for 10-12 minutes.  Many people are worried they will undercook eggs and therefore over boil. Overcooking will result in the yucky colored gray hued yolk.  The color comes from iron in the yolk reacting with hydrogen sulfide in the white.  Please note that the 10-12 minutes is for a large egg. Extra large or jumbo eggs may need to boil for 1-2 minutes before removing from heat. [clear-line]

How to Get Yellow Yolks

  • Immediately immerse in an ice bath to stop the cooking process and also loosen the shells.[clear-line]
  • Shells will be the easiest to remove while they are still warm.  Peeling under cold running water will also assist in separating the shell from the egg and prevent you from burning yourself.[clear-line]

The Key to Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs

I am not the egg whisperer. There are so many factors that go into getting fabulous hard boiled eggs. These are just a few tips and tricks I’ve picked up along the way from my chef buddies. If you have any additional, I’d love to hear them in the comments section!

Now that you’ve made hard boiled, what do you plan to do with them? Here are a few recipes that use hard boiled eggs:





Can’t wait to try this. I’ve tried poking a hole in both ends of the egg then boiling. Didn’t work.

    Jessica at Savory Experiments

    I’ve never heard of that trick! Good to know it doesn’t work, LOL.


Hi! This may be a silly question, but I just want to make sure I do this properly. The instructions say when the water starts to boil, remove the eggs. Is that at a simmer? Or when it starts to do a rolling boil?

    Savory Experiments

    No silly questions, at a rolling boil. I will update to add that.


This method works great for me every time – I think problems arise if people don’t “sacrifice” an egg and test for doneness. I always do this no matter how many times I hard boil eggs. Sometimes 1-2 more minutes sitting in hot water is all they need. It pays to test one before assuming they’re ready for the ice bath.

    Jessica at Savory Experiments

    That is great advice, Tammy! I usually make a few extra just in case there are casualties.

Deana in NH

I haven’t tried your method yet. Before I start I’d love key to know if you have advice for duck eggs. I know they are a bit larger and I always mess up I’m my cooking time.

    Savory Experiments

    Deana, That is an excellent question! I have never used duck eggs with this method (usually a runny fried egg), but I would assume the anatomy is the same, so it should work. Maybe just add a 1-2 minutes to the boiling to account for it being larger (that is what I do for extra large eggs).

Mark Magness

You should be embarrassed at how poorly this process works. I followed your directions to a T expecting to receive some truly higher knowledge. What I got was only 7 out of a dozen eggs that were even worth peeling farther than cracking and starting to remove the shells. Don’t pass on something that flat out doesn’t work.

    Savory Experiments

    Mark, I’m sorry this process did not work for you. It has worked for many others. Maybe the quality of your eggs or the size had something to do with it. While these are just tips for hard boiled eggs, there are still many variables in play and no set of instructions will work for every egg, every time. I personally use these instructions and have success with them. I have a high level of integrity and certainly wouldn’t pass on any advice that I didn’t feel was honest.


    Min came out perfect using her method. Sounds like someone is a sour puss, Mark.

Dominique Mc Kay

Hi As for the Viniar in the boiling water. It is to keep the egg whites from comeing out when shell is cracked or to poach the egg’s in

    Savory Experiments

    You know, to be 100% honest, I’m not sure exactly how the vinegar works scientifically. I will say, I hope the eggs don’t break and it doesn’t react like if you were making a poached egg. All I know is that I have had more success with vinegar than without.


Thank you for the great information. Will try this tomorrow

    Savory Experiments

    Let me know how it goes!


this has been my recipe for many years it’s the best!
i just leaned to peel boiled eggs with a spoon. make a big enough crack to insert a spoon tip, slide spoon around the inside of the shell. the shell breaks away clean.
i rarely ever have any funky pecked up looking egg whites or residual shell left behind.
give it a try some time it’s like magic.

    Savory Experiments

    Great tip, Tracie!


sorry if this seems like a silly question but when exactly do you place the baking soda in the pan: initially, after it boils, 0r in cold water when you begin to peel? Sorry! 🙁

    Savory Experiments

    No worries, Julie! There are no silly questions… usually the question comes because I didn’t make the directions clear enough. Your feedback helps me update the post to be more clear to everyone reading it, and that I appreciate! You add the baking soda to boiling water. I’m heading to clarify the post now. Here is to perfect eggs! – Jessica


      Now I’m confused. Your directions say to add baking soda to cold water before boiling and your reply above says to add to boiling water. Does that mean either way works?

        Savory Experiments

        Yes, either way. I will clarify. Thank you for pointing that out!


I’m literally making these right now, I will post back how they turn out 🙂 I love hard boiled eggs but I have never tried the baking soda trick before! Thanks!



    To be honest, these didn’t turn out for me at all….. The inside was fine, maybe a teensy bit undercooked but I found them more difficult to peel by far than making them the traditional way (no baking soda, boiling longer). I may have done something wrong unwittingly, though.


      Sorry to comment again, I just realized where my error probably was….errrrrr…… I just went to get baking soda for a completely different recipe, and realized my DH switched the location of my cooking baking soda with the kind formulated to keep the fridge fresh (theyre the same formula, but the granulation is different and doesn’t work well in baking. Its not toxic or anything tho ) so I accidently used the fresh fridge baking soda in the water ! Whoops! Im sure that’s what the issue was!

        Savory Experiments

        Hi Nina! I hope you got my e-mail. It could be, but it could also be if the eggs were too fresh. Such a contradiction to everything else that you want them to be old 🙂 Also, if the eggs are larger, you might have to boil them for a moment or two longer. This was based on large eggs, not extra large or jumbo.


As someone who raises laying hens, the best way to keep the yolks centered is to turn them “upside down” so that the narrow end is on the bottom. Somewhere along the way someone decided it looked better to have the narrow end up but it’s not the correct way to store them.

    Savory Experiments

    Great tip! Thank you!

Shashi at RunninSrilankan

I so gotta try this method! Thank you so much – for the tip about adding baking soda

    Jessica at Savory Experiments

    You are very welcome!

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