This is a quick phototutorial of the Barefoot Contessa method for making quick, simple boiled eggs. They come out easy to peel with fluffy, bright yellow yolks. I eat boiled eggs all the time and loved her little tricks. I hope you do, too!
Here’s how it’s done:
Step 1: Place eggs in a saucepan of cold water on the stove. The water should just cover the eggs.
Step 2: Turn the heat to high and bring the water to a boil.
Step 3: When the water boils, immediately cover the pan and turn off the heat (leaving the pan where it is). Let the pan sit for 5 minutes.
Step 4: Transfer the eggs to a separate bowl to cool for 2 minutes. Run cold water over the eggs for a few seconds after they’ve cooled and then drain it off.
Step 5: Crack each egg on one side and then on the opposite side.
Step 6: Gently roll the egg back and forth to create a “web” of broken shell. This is going to allow you to use the membrane just under the shell to “lift” off the broken shell in large patches, making peeling easy as pie!
Step 7: Peel the egg.
Step 8: Salt, pepper, eat!
One year ago: Gooey Chocolate Skillet Cake Ice Cream Sundae
Two years ago: Chocolate Birds’ Nest Cupcake Toppers
Three years ago: Banana Coconut Cream Cakes
- eggs (I used about 4 in a small saucepan)
- salt and pepper
- Place eggs in a saucepan on a stove, with cold water enough to cover them. Turn the heat to high and bring the water to a boil. As soon as it boils, cover the pan and turn off the stove (leaving the pan where it is). Let the pan sit for 5 minutes before pouring off the hot water and transferring the eggs to a separate bowl to cool for 2 minutes. Run cold water over the eggs for a few seconds after they’ve cooled a bit and then drain it off. To peel, crack the egg on one side and then on the opposite side. Gently roll it back and forth to create a “web” of broken shell. Now you should be able to peel as easy as pie! The thin membrane just inside the shell will act like a little net, helping you peel away the shell easily. Salt and pepper and eat — or use in a recipe!
MomApril 29, 2013 at 2:37 am (10 years ago)
I make my eggs this way except I let them sit for 7 minutes, then let cold water run over them until the water stays cold. I dry them and refrigerate immediately and they peel very nicely! It always works great!
TimApril 29, 2013 at 5:21 am (10 years ago)
Only one problem: those are not hard-boiled eggs. Hard-boiled means the yolk is cooked through. What you have are medium-boiled eggs. Must…cook…longer.
Julie RubleApril 29, 2013 at 11:45 am (10 years ago)
LOL, I debated about calling them hard boiled, but decided they weren’t soft boiled, and were just-done, so hard boiled would be the most accurate. Haven’t ever heard someone say medium-boiled! These are how I like mine, though — any longer and the yolk gets chalky to me. That being said, you’re right — leave them in longer if you want them more done.
Julie RubleApril 29, 2013 at 1:19 pm (10 years ago)
There we go. I split the difference and just called them “boiled eggs.” LOL.
Teal CuttlefishApril 30, 2013 at 5:05 am (10 years ago)
Hubby would call them “underdone,” I’m sure. Everyone has their own preferences. I have heard adding baking soda to the cooking water makes the eggs easier to peel; has anyone tried that? I’m concerned it would change the flavor. I also usually salt the cooking water.
Judy YoungJune 23, 2013 at 2:27 pm (10 years ago)
The baking soda trick really works!! The eggs peel VERY EASILY! Even if they are very fresh eggs! Just use about a 1/4 teaspoon in the water before putting in the eggs!
KathyApril 29, 2013 at 2:48 pm (10 years ago)
Those look like amazing eggs! Mine always are so yucky looking! I will be giving this method a try!
MargaretApril 29, 2013 at 11:39 pm (10 years ago)
After draining off the hot water, I run some cold water over them, cover them with ice, and add a little more cold water. I leave them like this for about 15 minutes. They turn out the same way. I’d call yours hard boiled too!
Tracy | Peanut Butter and OnionApril 30, 2013 at 1:52 pm (10 years ago)
So many times I’ve gone to do this and I never really go tit right… THANKS!
ruthApril 30, 2013 at 2:08 pm (10 years ago)
i find that very fresh eggs which are hard-boiled tend to be harder to peel. so if i do need to make a hardboiled egg sandwich, i pick the eggs which have been sitting around in the fridge for awhile.
i peel my eggs in water which makes the shells come right off. just crack them all over, and start peeling in the water. the water goes in between the egg and shell which helps the shell to come right off. if you find your egg too wet, just dry it off with a kitchen towel.
KaelsmaApril 30, 2013 at 3:18 pm (10 years ago)
The real trick to making easy-to-peel hard-cooked eggs is to use older eggs. Fresh eggs don’t peel well at all. That said, I use the same method except I let my eggs sit for 13 minutes after turning off the heat.
Jenny @ BAKEMay 1, 2013 at 12:52 pm (10 years ago)
I am going to have to try this trick I hate peeling eggs!
OpheliaMay 9, 2013 at 5:44 am (10 years ago)
I was confused and skeptical when I saw this post but… you’re right, this is great! I still have to work on the peeling part – sometimes I cut the rolling short and the membrane messes up the egg – but I really love the texture. Thanks for sharing and revolutionising my egg-boiling 😉
Julie RubleMay 9, 2013 at 11:29 am (10 years ago)
Hooray! Ina revolutionized mine, so I’m glad to be able to pass it along 🙂
DAVIDMay 27, 2013 at 11:18 pm (10 years ago)
I am a culinary school graduate – retired – but still have trouble coming up with hard boiled eggs that peel as perfectly and as beautifully as the suggestions above assure me will happen. I just followed the instructions to the “T” and guess what? The membranes stuck to the eggs and hunks of the egg came off with the shells – not a perfect egg in the batch! The only thing left somewhat vague in the instructions was how long the eggs were left in the presence of cold water. When my first egg did not peel properly, I put the rest in some more cold water for a while but it didn’t help. I’ve made perfect HB eggs before but never could put my finger on precisely what I might have done differently. I share this just so that if others try these suggestions – and fail – they will know they are not alone.
Julie RubleMay 28, 2013 at 3:32 am (10 years ago)
I’m sorry it didn’t work out for you. It works nicely for me when I do it. Some folks have suggested that fresher eggs are less likely to peel nicely from the membrane, so that’s a thought. Another possibility is that your eggs need to cook a little longer. Regarding how long the eggs stay in the cold water, I literally just rinsed the eggs off a bit in the cold water until they were cool enough to handle, then did the crack-roll-peel.
LoriApril 3, 2017 at 11:08 am (6 years ago)
Hello look up the perfect egg by Jacques Pepin. He uses a thumb tack or a needle to poke a hole in the larger end of the egg . Works great
DAVIDMay 27, 2013 at 11:24 pm (10 years ago)
The author of this article did some research and determined that cracking the eggs (as suggested above) before putting them into a bath of ice water resulted in nicely peeled eggs. Good luck!
PamelaMay 30, 2013 at 6:09 pm (10 years ago)
After reading the comments to this post, I’ve determined that one must have to have a very thick skin to author a blog. People are so critical, and someone (lots of “someones”) always knows a better way. Sheesh. Talk about the need for validation of another’s ideas and beliefs….
In any case, I’ll try this method for cooking my eggs. I have about a 50-50 success rate with getting perfect boiled eggs, and I never can figure out what I’m doing differently when they come out right. Thanks for the post!
Julie RubleMay 30, 2013 at 7:23 pm (10 years ago)
LOL, I have such a thin skin, so I’m probably not the best person to blog! I have to agree with you 🙂 I hope this technique works as well for you as it does for me, Pamela!!
WillJuly 1, 2014 at 7:44 am (9 years ago)
Ok, I hope I don’t overwhelm the blog w/ this!
Sounds like someone could use a chill pill! Seems to me that your comments were more harsh and critical than anyone else’s I saw here. People were sharing their own opinions, and I don’t think anyone did so in a bad way, not even Tim. I’m often amused by folks who get up and exclaim, “Stop judging others! You’re judging me!” … perhaps not even realizing that in doing so, they are often implicitly judging the other person! Here we can substitute “criticizing” for “judging” 🙁
As another shared here, “done-ness” in boiled eggs is very much personal preference, and any of us who’ve tried to “boil that perfect egg” have had our share of misses along with the hits; I sure have.
There are so many variables in the equation – How recently the egg was laid; The health & quality of the hen which contributes to each unique egg (Don’t you think that some hens are just plain better lay-ers than others? Quality AND quantity. Surely we don’t think God created all chickens the same – No more so than all people the same!).
I’m sure the diet of the chicken contributes to the health of the hen as well as the quality & consistency of the shell. Certainly each of these add to an easy or hard-peeling shell (which is the biggest frustration I have for my boiled eggs. How about you?).
Then there are variables such as the size of the pot we use to boil the eggs and The amount (i.e., mass) of water in the pot; Gas stove or electric (gas heats it up much faster!); How many eggs placed in the pot; Additives in the boiling water (salt, baking soda, etc); Volume of ice used in the cooling bath and temperature; How many seconds (minutes) we keep them in the ice bath; … and, umm, ummm – the relative humidity, altitude, phase of the moon, S&P and Nasdaq indices? !!
No doubt there are many other contibuting factors to one [micro-]degree or another. Yes of course, cooking time is paramount!
I’ve learned a lot here from the variety of comments. I’m thankful for a number of the suggestions, and can’t wait to try some of them.
I will eat a soft-boiled egg, tho its not my favorite. I prefer a medium-hard cooked yolk, but I usually try to avoid soft boiled eggs or the medium boiled eggs that Julie teaches here, primarily because I like to refrigerate at least 3 or 4 of my batch so I have an egg to take with me for lunch or a snack away from home during the week.
I also don’t want to undercook it in case there is any risk for salmonella or other fowl disease. But unfortunately, I often unintentionally overcook the eggs (“Watch the clock Will!!), and they sometimes end up barely edible.
And our preferences are mostly about texture and flavor!
Yep – Religion, Politics … and Boiled Eggs, ha,ha! BTW as an aside, I am one who used to cook my oatmeal, but now I normally just add about two generous tablespoons of uncooked oats to my Cheerios, or other cold cereal I’m enjoying, along with my bite-sized fruit, such as sliced bananas, raisins, blueberries, cranberries, etc. Yes, I can hear all those “Yuk!”s out there! 😉
I think Julie demonstrates that she takes the input here in stride – Thankful for & encouraging her readers’ positive experiences, but also engaging those with a diff opinion or supplemental suggestions. The comment that caused me some concern was Edoardo’s: Anyone know what it is about the knife that he finds so attractive? LOL !!
Julie, thank you for providing your “Perfect” recipe – Which generated so much great feedback! I’m looking forward to more experiments & experiences with boiled eggs, including an occasional result that would even meet your taste preference 🙂
We’re all agreed that Eggs are such a wonderful and nutritious (and tasty!) food item.
Anyway Pamela, hope you don’t feel that I’m picking on you. I agree with your second paragraph 100%, which is my experience as well.
Now a year later, I’d bet that your success is far better than 50-50! I hope in another year mine will too. 🙂
RobJune 2, 2013 at 9:06 pm (10 years ago)
I have had several adventures in catering and among the specialties were hors’doeuvre parties, and always deviled eggs. One of my early events involved 16 dozen eggs (32 dozen treats or 384) and the eggs were the hardest ever to peel and took several valuable hours. My partner passed her method on and it works very well. Start with cold water then BOIL the eggs eight or nine minutes depending on how fast your stove brings the water to a boil then crack the shells lightly before immersing in cold water. As the eggs cool they will suck the water in-between the membrane and shell and most will be extremely easy to peel. The yokes will still be orange-ish yellow and there will never be a green ring of sulfur. I also discovered for deviled eggs that the addition of 1/3 softened cream cheese by volume (then power mixed) plus your regular ingredients will provide ample filling to pipe the eggs up double full and the filling will be extra smooth.
WillJuly 1, 2014 at 7:50 am (9 years ago)
Looking forward to trying this out.
But I’ll skip the deviled-egg path!
DaizyJune 9, 2013 at 1:42 pm (10 years ago)
Absolutely PERFECT!!! Thank you so much!!!
KrystalJuly 14, 2013 at 6:38 pm (10 years ago)
I followed the instructions to the T and they came out PERFECT!! While I was rolling them to make the ‘web’ cracks, the shells just rolled right off! Haha
Thanks for the great blog!!
Julie RubleJuly 14, 2013 at 10:09 pm (10 years ago)
Woohoo!! I’m so glad to hear that, Krystal!
B. CraigNovember 2, 2013 at 5:57 pm (9 years ago)
ok guys/gals electric stove or gas? makes a difference,right?Fresh eggs are all i have as i go to my chicken house every morning and gather them. i guess i could let some sit in the fridge for a while. i honestly think im just a jinks when it comes to peeling “medium” boiled eggs. By the way i have found that over cooking them causes the yolk to have that green ring someone talked about. the only thing i havent tried is cracking the shell slightly before the ice or cold bath. gonna try that right now. thankyou for all your suggestions. until the next, B. Craig
EdoardoNovember 28, 2013 at 4:28 pm (9 years ago)
I really like the knife you show on the table with the open eggs
DarleneDecember 29, 2013 at 11:48 pm (9 years ago)
This works: after the eggs are boiled, pour out the hot water and let the eggs dry, about 30 seconds. Then, pour water over the eggs. Peeling is really easy.
Lori PullenMay 6, 2014 at 11:39 am (9 years ago)
I was very skeptical about cooking eggs this way but I was very pleasantly surprised when the eggs peeled easily and were cooked. This is my new way of cooking hard boiled eggs. Thank you!
TheRVgeeksMarch 17, 2015 at 6:51 pm (8 years ago)
We’ve been using the following method for years and it works great!
Awnings DenverMarch 10, 2019 at 6:11 pm (4 years ago)
I have been doing this since I was younger. Got this tip from my mom. Mother knows best, haha!