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.
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.
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.