Whether you want to ready some eggs for the Easter holiday, enjoy a quick snack that’s rich in protein, or make a dish like egg salad or deviled eggs, you are going to need to boil some eggs. For those who have never done so before, boiling a few eggs may seem like a daunting task; don’t worry, though. It’s a process anyone can master.
If you follow this ten-step guide, you will not only know how to boil an egg but you will be able to do so with confidence. Ready? Let’s begin…
Step One: Gather All Your Ingredients and Equipment
First things first: you’ll need to grab everything you’ll need to make hard-boiled eggs first. You will need:
- A vessel, preferably with a lid. Typically a pot, you’ll need something with which to store both the eggs and the water for boiling.
- A heat source able to reach boiling temperatures.
- An easy-to-reach water source for filling the vessel used to boil the eggs.
- A spoon or ladle to add and remove the eggs to and from the boiling water.
- A bowl with ice cubes and water, for quick cooling of the eggs after boiling.
- An empty large bowl for later holding hard-boiled eggs and their peeled shells.
Now that you have everything, you are ready to begin…
Step Two: Fill Your Vessel with Water
Find your water source. Turn it on. Place your pot under the water source. Start filling! (See? Easy as pie. Or hard-boiled eggs.)
Don’t fill up the pot too much, though. You’ll only need a few inches to thoroughly boil your eggs. While adding extra water won’t hurt, it will take longer to boil, meaning the whole process will take longer.
Looking to speed up the process even more? Don’t skip this next step…
Step Three: Cover the Pot
Want to speed everything up? Yes? Awesome! Place a lid over your pot; this will help the water boil faster. Uncovered, a liter of water in a standard-sized pot will take about 10 minutes to bring to a boil.
Once your vessel is sufficiently filled with water, the next step is to turn up the heat—literally…
Step Four: Place the Vessel Over Heat
This step can be as easy as turning on your stove or placing your pot within or slightly above an open flame, like a campfire. Once you have the heat source going, the next step is just to kill some time waiting until the water begins to boil. How long will it take? About 10 minutes per liter of uncovered water.
Once everything is boiling, it’s time to take it to the next level…
Step Five: Begin Adding Your Eggs
Carefully lower your eggs into the vessel of boiling water.
If you just plop an egg into the water, chances are quite good that you will cause a splash and risk injuring yourself or others nearby with the boiling water. You also run the risk of cracking the egg, allowing its contents to escape the shell and contaminate the water. Depending on the depth of your particular vessel, you may want to consider using a spoon or even a ladle to properly immerse your eggs without risking cracks or scalding yourself.
You then wait 8 to 12 minutes. The less time you boil, the runnier your yolks will be. The good news is that you can never really over-boil eggs.
Step Six: Remove the Eggs
Turn off your stove or remove your pot from your open flame, then extinguish said flame to reduce fire hazards.
Then, remove the eggs. When removing your eggs, you must use a spoon or other utensil; after all, these eggs will be hot! It is best to use the same tool you used to place the eggs into the water in the first place.
Next, you’ll want to grab that bowl of icy water…
Step Seven: Quick-Cool the Eggs
Once again, this step is all about saving you time.
After removing your eggs from your vessel, gently place them into your prepared bowl of ice water. While you would normally avoid subjecting an object to very cold temperatures after getting it piping hot, you are deliberately subjecting the egg to these extremes. Why? To make your upcoming job (peeling the egg) easier. Rapidly cooling the boiling egg is a jarring enough experience that it can cause the shell to develop cracks or otherwise become brittle enough that it will be very easy to peel the shell away.
(Note that if you are working with an exceptionally large number of eggs, you may need to periodically restock the bowl with ice.) When you’re ready, grab that final bowl…
Step Eight: Set the Egg Aside
Once you have finished boiling and bathing your eggs, it’s time to transfer them to one final container. Ideally, this container is a bowl large enough to hold the eggs and possibly double as a dedicated dumping ground for the peeled shells. It is okay if you have a bunch of hard-boiled eggs huddled up next to each other; the worst possible scenario that could happen is that they crack upon impact, and this is hardly something that you would want to avoid at this stage in the game.
Step Nine: Peel the Egg
While most of the previous steps in this guide have been pretty basic, possibly even outright mundane, you have a bit more creativity when it comes to this particular step. There are multiple approaches to peeling hard-boiled eggs, such as:
- Peel the egg by hand while submerging it within the bath of ice water you used to send it into thermal shock in step seven.
- Establish a crack along the wide end of the egg. Then, slip a spoon inside, running it along the shell in parallel with the shell’s curve. Rotate the egg and keep the spoon moving and you will soon make quick work of the shell. This method is best used with small batches of eggs. The thinner your spoon, the better your luck will be with this method.
- Roll the egg along a hard, smooth surface. This will produce plenty of cracks and chips, and you can then peel away at the egg from there.
- For large batches of eggs, place a batch of five eggs into a plastic container with a sealable lid. Add some cold water to the eggs and then seal the container. Rock the eggs back and forth within the container and the eggs will bash into each other often enough to do the peeling for you. Once you are satisfied, remove the lid and inspect your nearly-self-peeled eggs.
Step Ten: Enjoy Your Hard-Boiled Eggs!
Congratulations! You now have hard-boiled eggs ready for whatever purpose you may have had in mind for them.
- A snack or side dish. Hard-boiled eggs are fine for adding some healthy protein to a salad. They’re also great on their own.
- As an ingredient in a larger dish. As previously mentioned, hard-boiled eggs are a key component of dishes like deviled eggs and egg salad. Egg salad simply calls for you to slice up the eggs and add them into a bowl with other ingredients. Proper deviled eggs call for you to halve the eggs vertically; scoop out and blend the solid yolks with some seasonings and then add the “deviled” yolk back to the hardened egg whites.
- As a sandwich topper. There is nothing wrong with cutting the egg up into slices and serving it as an ingredient in a sandwich, especially one that calls for mayonnaise.