How to Boil Eggs

Step by step
How to Boil Eggs

Boiling an egg doesn't seem like it should be difficult. After all, boiling water seems to be the easiest thing you can do and still refer to as “cooking”. But there are still many seasoned cooks out there who can't help but wonder how to boil an egg. It almost seems like something either you're born knowing, or you'll never learn.

Thankfully, that isn't the case! Egg boiling is a simple science. Once you master the basics, you'll realize that it was easier than it ever seemed!

Step One: Begin in Advance

clock time watch

The first step should take place at least a week before you begin to actually boil your eggs. One of the main differences between boiled eggs that are great and boiled eggs that are "meh" is how easy they are to peel and eat. Everyone has had that one frustrating egg that won't peel, requiring you to rip off half of the egg white to get rid of the shell.

Here's a little secret:  Older eggs are far easier to peel! So buy your eggs a week in advance, or even two, for eggs that are easier to peel and enjoy. If it's too late to let them sit for a week, no worries. Just add some salt to the water!

Step Two: Prepare, Prepare, Prepare!

pot spice equipment cook

Now we're ready to move up to the day you're going to be boiling them. As with everything, you need to round up your equipment before you begin. To boil eggs properly, you'll need a saucepan or pot, depending on how many eggs you'll have. Because you'll only be layering the bottom with the eggs, you may want a larger pot, if you intend to cook a lot at once.

You'll also need some tongs, for pulling out a “tester egg” (more on that later!), and a strainer, if you prefer not to fish the eggs out individually.

Step Three: Layer the Eggs

egg boil pot water cook

This is a big step. So many people decide to boil eggs by simply putting every egg they can fit into the pot, filling with water, and hoping for the best. That's not a great way to do it!

Instead, you should line the bottom of the pot or saucepan with eggs. The fewer the eggs, the better, so if you're doing a huge amount, it's going to take you a few tries to get them all boiled properly. No more than a single layer! Then, you'll want to fill with water. Aim for at least an inch or two; the more eggs, the better.

For less cracking, add some salt. If you want to keep the whites of any cracked eggs from making a mess, add a teaspoon of vinegar.

Step Four: Begin to Boil

temperature measure thermometer

Once you have the eggs in the pot and covered in water (as well as salt and vinegar, if you prefer), it's time to begin the actual cooking process. This might seem like the difficult part but, if you're alright with a little trial and error, it's fine! Simply turn the stove up to high heat, and bring the water to a rolling boil.

After letting the water boil for a moment or two, turn the heat off. Let cook for another ten to twelve minutes, for hard-cooked eggs, or for a few minutes less, if you prefer yours a little less hard-cooked.

Step Five: Testing the Eggs

egg yolk crack food

Now it's time for that “tester egg” we mentioned earlier! Using the tongs, pull out one of the eggs that you've boiled. Let it cool for a moment, then cut it open and check the yolk. If it's the firmness that you prefer, congratulations:  Your eggs are done! If it's too soft, allow them to rest in the water for another couple of minutes.

Step Six: Taking the Eggs Out

sieve equipment strainer tool

Taking the eggs out of the water can be tricky. However, there are a few good options here. One is to simply use the tongs to take out the eggs one by one. That's fine for a few eggs, but for larger batches, not so much.

Another option is to take your strainer (it has to be metal), and use it to fish the eggs out in larger batches. You can also pour the contents of the pot into a colander in the sink, but, if you aren't careful, you run the risk of cracking the eggs.

Though it may seem otherwise, boiling eggs really isn't all that difficult. Once you learn the basics, and learn what works best for you, it'll quickly turn into something that you could do in your sleep. Just follow these instructions, add in your own little tips and tricks, and you'll have perfectly boiled eggs in no time!

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