Ever struggled with the supposedly simple kitchen task of boiling and peeling an egg? You’re in the right place. Here’s my simple secret to easy peel boiled eggs.
At my brother’s house in the country I was inspired to make salmon kedgeree.
Which meant boiling and peeling a few eggs.
But when I came to the peeling part, I found it perplexing.
While some peeled effortlessly, almost in one piece, others were seriously stubborn.
These ended up pockmarked where some bits of the white had been peeled away with the shell.
So when my brother asked me the secret to peeling boiled eggs, I had to share my frustration with him.
It was time to do some research.
The Research Results
I’d seen a blog post by Tim Ferris where he ‘blew’ the egg out of its shell.
But the thought of blowing all over my eggs didn’t appeal.
Harold McGee had good advice.
Apparently super fresh eggs are difficult to peel because the pH of the white is more acidic which causes it to adhere to the shell membrane more tightly.
Two solutions here – use older eggs or add a little bicarb soda to the cooking water to increase the pH.
If you’re having a problem with off center yolks or flat bottom whites this is just a result of aging.
The only solution is to use fresh eggs.
Stephanie Alexander places eggs in cold water then slowly bring to a simmer to prevent cracking. She then boils for 8 minutes, drains and cools under running water. Stephanie recommends tapping the eggs to break the membrane for easy peeling.
The Easy Peel Boiled Egg Recipe!
Tips for easy peel boiled eggs
1. Use older eggs.
Most supermarket are generally old enough. But if you have super fresh eggs, save them for poaching and keep the older ones for boiling.
2. Start cold
Starting the cooking with cold water decreases the chances of eggs cracking as you add them to a hot pan of water. It also evens out the cooking time so it doesn’t matter if your eggs were cold from the fridge or at room temperature.
3. Be precise
Overcooked eggs are harder to peel. Use a timer and stick to it.
4. Cool quickly
This prevents the greenish-grey discoloration you sometimes see.
5. Cool thoroughly
Warm eggs are more difficult to peel, regardless of their freshness.
6. Crack first
Crack the shell all over by gently hitting it on the side of the sink, or another flat surface. This can be done before leaving the eggs to cool completely in water if you like.
I’ve also tried a method using a spoon to crack a ring around the circumference of the egg. Then carefully remove the ‘belt’ before lifting off the top and bottom halves of the shell. Not quite as easy as the crack-all-over method, but worth trying if you’re into exploring advanced egg peeling ;)
7. Roll gently between your hands
The rolling loosens the membrane, making peeling a cinch.
More on cooking eggs
- Simple Foolproof Poached Eggs
- Are Poached Eggs Healthy?
- Scrambled Harissa Eggs
- Japanese Omelette with Miso Mayo
- Fried Eggs with Smashed Avo
- Lebanese Omelette with Almond ‘Hummus’
- Darya’s Egg Fried Cabbage
Have fun in the kitchen!