Wednesday, April 17, 2024
For men, women, and teens

How to make hard boiled eggs - an easy step by step illustrated guide

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Written by Vera C. Last updated on .

Sliced hard boiled eggs in a salad

If you're not sure how to cook hard boiled eggs, don't worry; it's easy. Here is a tutorial with pics to help you out. We also include several pro tips that not everyone knows of, to ensure your eggs come out looking awesome! It's so simple that after you do it once, you won't need this guide anymore.

All you need for this is a saucepan and eggs.

These steps work no matter what you're using the eggs for later - whether you're making hard boiled eggs for sandwiches, a salad or a just snack by itself..

1. Heat the water

Put water in a pot. You'll want enough water that it will cover the eggs. Don't put the eggs in yet though! Put on stove and turn the element to the highest setting. If your pot has a lid, put it on. It's OK if there's no lid, it'll just take a little longer to heat up to boiling.

Wait until the water is boiling. You'll know it's boiling when the surface of the water is moving from large bubbles coming up. This could easily take 5 minutes or even longer.

Small bubbles on the bottom are not enough! (see figure 1). But it's a step in the right direction.

Figure 1: Small bubbles only at bottom of the pot - not boiling yet

How to boil eggs - water in pot

2. Put the eggs in, gently

Once the water is boiling and the surface is bubbling, you need to put the eggs in. Dropping them in will result in cracking and leakage of the eggs into the water and they'll look very unsightly afterward - not what you want if you'll be serving these to guests! Instead, lower each egg in on a wooden spoon until the spoon hits the bottom of the pot, then gently drop the egg in.

If your pot has a lid, put the lid on. It's a good idea to leave it a little open so that steam can escape.

Pro tip: Add an extra egg to your pot to account for an egg that might get dropped while peeling later

3. Boil the eggs for 10 minutes

Check the time and let the eggs cook for 10 minutes (see figure 2). The water has to be boiling the whole 10 minutes, so if putting the cold eggs in makes the water stop boiling (i.e. if bubbles are not moving the surface anymore) it's OK, but just start timing from whenever the water starts boiling again.

Figure 2: Eggs boiling in the pot.

How to boil eggs - in pot and boiling

You can turn the heat down during those 10 minutes if you wish, but you must keep it boiling. Therefore don't turn it down so far that the surface stops bubbling. Don't worry! - just turn up the heat again if it stops bubbling.

Conversely, if the water is about to bubble over the top of the pot, it's too hot so turn the heat down (and take the lid off briefly if you have a lid). Keep it boiling though.

4. Drain and put cold water on the eggs

Pro tip: Avoid an unsightly gray color forming between yolk and white by getting the eggs cold as quickly as possible after cooking.

After the 10 minutes of cooking is up, drain the water off and immediately fill the pot with cold water over the eggs. Repeat to make another complete draining and cold water step. If you have ice on hand, put ice into the pot with the cold water and eggs. Ice definitely is best if you have it, but cold water works better than nothing (see figure 3).

Figure 3: After cooking, drain eggs and place in cold or iced water

How to boil eggs - after cooking, eggs go in ice water

Leave in the cold or ice water for at least 10 minutes, then take out and peel.

Pro tip: If you try to peel hard boiled eggs while they're still warm, some egg white will come off with the peel and they'll look terrible. Always wait until they're cold for best possible peeling.

5. How to peel hard boiled eggs

If you don't plan on using them right away, store the boiled eggs in a bowl in the fridge and peel closer to when you want to use them.

When you are ready to start peeling, gently tap the smallest end of the egg on a hard surface like a china plate or a wooden cutting board. If it doesn't create a small series of cracks, try again with a little more force. Repeat until you get a series of little cracks just at the end (it'll be less than the area of a small coin). Then you can use your thumb to peel.

Pro tip: For the fastest peeling to get the shell off quickly and in the fewest pieces without damaging the egg, always use the side of your thumb. It really works. Don't use your thumbnail! It's an egg, not an orange.

Done, and done. Now you know the best method to boil eggs.

You may have heard the saying "where there's an egg in the house there's a meal in the house". Now that you know how to boil an egg, you're able to fix yourself a source of protein for any meal quite quickly, which is an extremely helpful life skill whether you're 15 or 50 years old.


This tutorial for how to boil eggs shows that it's indeed a very easy task. You can't really get it wrong so long as you keep on top of how long to cook them (10 minutes). The pro tips for boiling eggs that were mentioned throughout the article will ensure you wind up with perfect hard boiled eggs for your salad, sandwich, or just for eating by itself.

If you're looking for another super-easy food idea you can make at home, take a look at how to make these easy yet impressive ham and pastry bites. It uses just 2 ingredients!

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