How to Hard Boil an Egg

Here’s a fool-proof, reliable way to hard boil eggs.


  1. 1

    Sort the eggs. Place them in a bowl of salt water—if the egg floats it has gone bad and should be discarded. Place the fresh eggs gently in an empty pot. Be sure to do so one by one to avoid breaking the egg. Similarly, do not place more than four layers of eggs in the pot.

    • To prevent cracking of the eggs, place folded cheese cloth on a bottom of a pot (on a table, not a hot stove.)
    • If you accidentally crack an egg, add salt or vinegar to the water. This may help the proteins in the egg white coagulate faster, thus plugging the cracks in the shell.
  2. 2

    Fill the pot with enough cold tap water to cover the eggs completely. There should be about 1 inch (3 cm) of water over them. Although it increases cooking time, be sure to use cold water. This will help keep the eggs from overcooking. Likewise, do not place cold eggs in a pot of hot water, the shells will crack immediately and the egg will run. Place the pot on a stove and turn it on. Cook the eggs on medium heat; if boiling is too intense the eggs can jump and break.

  3. 3

    Add a pinch of salt to the water. This will make the eggs easier to peel because, as mentioned earlier, the proteins coagulate and firm up, making the white easier to separate from the shell. Eggs that are slightly less fresh are also easier to peel because their higher pH strengthens the membrane. This can be simulated by making the cooking water more alkaline with a half teaspoon of baking soda per quart of water. 

  4. 4

    Put on a lid. Bring the water to the point of boiling over high heat. From here, there are two main schools of thought regarding how to get a perfectly hard boiled egg. The following method assumes you started with cold, refrigerated eggs. See the video below for the other method.


  5. It is important you do not start the timer until you turn off the heat. Too much time will make the eggs discolored and smelly, while too little time will cause them to be runny.

  6. 5

    Stop the cooking process. To see, if the egg is hard boiled, whirl it fast on a table. If it turns fast, it is hard boiled. If it turns slowly, it is soft boiled. Chill the eggs by placing them under cold running water or in a bowl of ice water. After that, immediately remove them from cold water and set aside or store in a refrigerator. Chilling the eggs helps to separate egg shell from the egg. However, this effect is lessened if you leave the eggs in cold water for too long.

  7. 6

    Peel the eggs when they are cool enough to handle. It’s easier to peel them under cold running water. Roll egg on a flat surface to crack the shell slightly prior to peeling. Start peeling from the thick end of the egg. There is a slight indentation under the shell there that will facilitate the peeling process. Once you crack the shell, be sure to grab the membrane directly under the shell as well. Doing so will make peeling will be a lot easier. Some people say that really fresh eggs are harder to peel, so try boiling eggs that you have had for a few days.


  • Some sources recommend making a shallow hole with a pin at the flatter end before boiling, so that it’ll let the expanding air escape thus reducing the chance of cracking but studies have shown this isn’t a reliable technique. Do not use eggs that are cracked, since they may contain bacteria. 
  • To peel, put the lid back on the drained pot, with the eggs still in it, and swirl and shake (no need to add cold water, because you’ve pre-cooled the eggs with cold water before draining the pot). When you take off the lid, you’ll see whole boiled eggs with the shells gently cracked all over, making the peeling process a breeze. (Peel them over the trash can because the small chips can make a mess of your sink.)
  • To ensure your egg is hardboiled, when it is cooled off, spin it on a hard surface like a top, and if it spins quickly without flying off in one direction, the egg is finished. Undercooked or uncooked eggs will have a wobbly, unsteady spin and will spiral off to one side.
  • Fresh eggs are less prone to cracking but more difficult to peel. Eggs which have been refrigerated for several days have higher pH and are more likely to crack, but they’re easier to peel. If you have fresh eggs, you can add a teaspoon of baking soda to a quart of water when cooking (but it might make the eggs taste slightly more sulfuric) or just cook them a little longer and allow the white to firm up in fridge before peeling.
  • After draining the cooked eggs shake the pan from side to side to crack the shells and then fill with cold water. Cracking lets the cool water in under the shells making the eggs much easier to peel. If you’re going to be cutting the boiled eggs in half, you might want to use the freshest eggs you can find, since they tend to have a more centered yolk and less likelihood of greening.[7]
  • Letting the eggs come to room temperature before boiling will help prevent the yolks from turning green.
  • Using a teaspoon can help keep the egg white intact. Pinch off a small section of shell and membrane from the large end. Insert spoon under shell and membrane so that the spoon cups the egg. Then just slide the spoon around and peel off sections of shell.
  • Stirring the eggs and water a couple of times while the water is coming to a boil will help center the yolks.
  • You may have better luck starting with room temperature eggs.
  • Here is a special trick to peel your eggs easily: Crack the egg, then roll it under your hand back and forth. (This separates the membrane from the entire egg) Then, peel the shell off, starting at the larger end. The shell will come off easily.
  • If you are using white eggs, throw some onion skins (the dry brown part) in the water when you cook them. They will color the eggs a pretty shade of brown, and you’ll be able to tell the difference between cooked and uncooked at a glance.

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