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How to Peel Hard-Boiled Eggs

tbspSusan By

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Knowing how to peel hard-boiled eggs the right way saves time and mess, and makes for great-looking eggs.


At Easter time or any time you need some nice, clean hard-boiled eggs to put in a recipe or gobble up plain, knowing these tips can take peeling hard-boiled eggs from a chore to easy breezy.

Let's Get Cracking

Whether you end up with more crunch in your salad from egg shell than croutons, or you're just sick of the mess of peeling a hard-boiled egg, help is here!

There are three basic things to know when learning how to peel hard boiled eggs. It all boils down to the age of the eggs, the temperature, and of course that all-important technique.

Check out our video for a couple easy breezy ways to get 'er done:


Peeling: It's All About Technique

Like the video shows, start by tapping the big end (bottom) of an egg onto the countertop so it cracks, then flip it and do the same for its more slender opposite end. This releases the pressure for the majority of the shell around the middle of the egg, and peeling the whole lot off should now be a breeze.

If the shell is still a little resistant to your charms, you can try peeling it underneath running cold water. It helps to persuade the shell away from the egg, as well as making for a perfect and clean finish to the outside to your egg.

So, nothing swanky about our cracking technique, and you were probably hoping for some weird and wonderful tips like using vinegar, or the microwave, or magically rolling them around in the pan until the shells come off all by themselves. Like a lot of tricks, those don't really work, but if you know different, or have any tips of your own for peeling hard boiled eggs, we'd love to hear them!

Age: Fresh is Best

Against everything you've been told about food, fresh is actually not best when selecting the best eggs for hard boiling. An egg is actually perfectly fine to eat up to three weeks after the hen has laid it. For best peeling results, boil eggs that are over a week old. Freshness doesn't come through in taste when you are hard boiling anyway, so this is no biggie.

How to Peel a Hard-Boiled EggIf you don't have a choice, and only have farm-fresh offerings to boil (lucky you!), the tips and techniques that follow will still help you, but you'll also need to add patience to your list of shell peeling techniques. There's no way around it, it's just going to take a little.

Temperature: Cool It

After hard boiling your eggs for 10-12 minutes, put them in cold water to bring the temperature down rapidly. You can even use ice cubes in your water, and you can change it several times—if you have the time—as the eggs will quickly warm the water up again.

Make sure they are cold as can be before you move on to the next step. This means the papery membrane is more likely to stick to the shell rather than your egg, so peeling is made super easy.

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