Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs

Whether you make them on top of the stove or in a pressure cooker, timing is the key to a perfect hard-boiled egg.

A perfect, self-contained food, a properly cooked hard-boiled egg is a thing of beauty. But more often than not, the perfect egg becomes a disappointment, and it only takes a few seconds from best to ruined.

The standard used to be to put the eggs in a deep pot of cold water. You can add a pinch of baking soda to help with the peeling later on. Bring to a boil, then cover and remove from heat and let sit for 12 to 15 minutes, and chill in iced water or under running cold water. There are different stages of “hard-boiled” to consider, so it is pretty hard to say what constitutes a “perfect” cook.  If you like your eggs with a tiny bit of translucence in the center, aim for the 12 minutes, and 15 minutes if you want the yolks fully hard.

Place the eggs immediately in ice water or run under cold water. This does work quite well, most of the time.

A faster method starts with bringing the water to a boil. Add the eggs and continue to boil the eggs for 5 1/2 to 7 minutes, depending on how soft or hard you want them, then drain and cool in ice water. We love soft boiled eggs with a set white and creamy, pudding-like yolk. This takes 5 minutes for a large egg.

You can also steam the eggs. Place one inch of water in the bottom of a pot and bring to a boil. Lower your steamer basket with eggs into it and cover. Steam for 6 1/2 to 8 minutes, depending on how soft or hard you want them, and the size of the egg, then cool them down.

Pressure cook. My new favorite way to make hard-boiled eggs is to steam them in an instant pressure cooker, place a cup of water in the pot, add the rack and two to eight eggs. Set on low pressure cook, and set your timer. When done, use quick release, and let cool. If you like your yolks hard, set the timer for 5 minutes. Soft-boiled eggs also come out perfect on low pressure for 2 to 3 minutes depending on how large your eggs are. Cool them down.

These eggs will peel with incredible ease, sometimes they just peel themselves in the pot!

No green ring! There is one cause for the ugly green ring around the yolk –– the egg was cooked too long, or not cooled immediately when done. When you find the right timing for your eggs the way you like them, write it down (you will forget) and your guesswork will be over. Then cool quickly!

  1. Use eggs that are at least a week old. It is much easier to peel older eggs than fresh from the farm eggs, or so I’m told.
  2. Your eggs should all be the same size. This one is important.
  3. Once you cool the eggs, shake them in a pan to loosen the shells to make them easier to peel.
  4. Whatever method you use, if you overcook the eggs, you will probably get an ugly, bad-tasting green ring around your yolk and a tough white.

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