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Perfect Boiled Eggs (Every Time)

How to make Hard Boiled Eggs and Soft Boiled Eggs. Everyone needs a go-to method for making perfectly cooked eggs every time and it’s really easy. P.S. Learn the truth about adding salt and vinegar.

boiled eggs on a platter with hard boiled eggs, medium boiled eggs and soft boiled eggs

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Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs (every time):

Are you tired of overcooked green or grey egg yolks, rubbery whites, or discovering an oozing yolk when you need a firm one for your Chicken Cobb Salad? Do you overcook your eggs just to be sure they are done?

Learn how to make hard-boiled eggs with our tried and true (easy-peel) method. Hard-boiled eggs are such a versatile ingredient and every cook should have this skill down. You will be a pro in no time, enjoying all of your favorite Boiled Egg Recipes and let’s not forget Easter eggs (Hello Bacon Deviled Eggs!).

Perfectly cooked soft boiled egg and perfectly cooked hard boiled egg

Are Salt and Vinegar Necessary?

Adding Salt to Boiled Eggs increases the boiling point of water but only by about 1 degree which is insignificant. Unless you are adding a ton of salt, it doesn’t make a difference. We do not add salt.

Adding Vinegar – they say adding vinegar to the water helps with easier peeling of eggs, but vinegar only dissolves the outer layer of the shell. It is unnecessary and can be skipped.

What are the Best Eggs for Boiling?

Eggs come in different sizes (small to jumbo) and varieties (natural, free-range, organic, omega-3, etc). The primary things to consider for boiled eggs are:

  • Egg Freshness – Older store-bought eggs are easier to peel. Farm fresh eggs (from backyard chickens) should be cooked under high pressure in the instant pot or they can be very difficult to peel.
  • Size Matters – We use Large Grade AA eggs. Large eggs (2 ounces each) are the standard size in most recipes so we stick with those. Medium eggs will cook faster and Extra Large or Jumbo eggs will take a little longer.

The best eggs for boiling in an egg carton

Tips for Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs:

  • Use the same pan every time for consistent results. We use a medium stainless steel saucepan. Different types of pans such as cast iron can take longer to come to a boil which may need less cooking time once eggs are at a boil.
  • Don’t cover with the lid or you won’t be able to see when the water starts boiling.
  • Set a timer as soon as the water is at a boil (keep watch for the start of the boil so you aren’t guessing at your timings).
  • Have a bowl of ice water ready so you can lower your eggs into there as soon as the timer is done. This stops the cooking process and makes them easier to peel.

How to Boil Eggs:

1. Place cold eggs in a medium stainless steel pot and cover with cold water, filling 1″ over the surface of the eggs. Bring to a rolling boil over high heat uncovered.

2. Once at a boil, reduce heat to keep a medium boil then set a timer for your desired doneness (see chart below).

3. Prepare your ice water bath and as soon as the timer is done, transfer eggs into ice water.

Step by step photos of how to boil eggs

How Long to Boil Eggs Chart:

As soon as the water comes to a boil, set your timer and follow this time chart for soft boiled to hard-boiled eggs. Tip: You can pull them out at different times and set up different bowls with ice water to make a variety of eggs all in one pot.

  • Boil 2 minutes: soft boiled with a liquid center
  • Boil 3 minutes: soft-boiled with a creamy center
  • Boil 4-5 minutes: medium-boiled with a moist, soft center
  • Boil 6-7 minutes: hard-boiled eggs with a soft center
  • Boil 8-9 minutes – fully hard-boiled eggs with firm, dry center

A perfect hard-boiled egg should have fully set (but not rubbery) whites, have a bright yellow center and should never have a green tinge around the yolk which signifies overcooking. Soft-boiled eggs have fully set whites and a creamy liquid center.

Boiled Eggs Timing Chart from soft boiled eggs to hard boiled eggs lined up in a row

The Easiest Way to Peel an Egg:

Start peeling at the thick end of the egg where the air bible is usually located. That’s the spot where you can best get under the membrane for easy shell removal.

Peel eggs under running cold water for easier shell removal. It forces water under the membrane for easier shell removal. These tips for fresh eggs also if cooked in the instant pot.

Peeling a boiled egg

Recipes to Make with Boiled Eggs:

Hard-cooked eggs are so versatile and good for you. Here are our favorite ways to use boiled eggs:

Perfect Boiled Eggs (Every Time)

4.93 from 13 votes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
boiled eggs on a platter with hard boiled eggs, medium boiled eggs and soft boiled eggs

This method for making hard-boiled eggs (or soft boiled eggs) will get you perfect results every time and it's really easy!

Skill Level: Easy Peasy
Cost to Make: $ cost of the eggs
Keyword: boiled eggs
Calories: 63 kcal
Servings: 8 eggs

Ingredients

  • 8 large eggs (can use 6-12 eggs), cold
  • 8 cups cold water (for a 3 qt saucepan)

Instructions

  1. Place cold eggs in a medium stainless steel pot and cover with cold water so water is 1" above the surface of the eggs. With the lid off, bring to a rolling boil over high heat.

  2. Once at a boil, reduce heat to keep at a medium boil and set a timer for your desired doneness (see chart below).Β 

  3. Prepare your ice water bath and as soon as the timer is done, transfer eggs into ice water so they are fully submerged.Β Refrigerate eggs once cool and peel when ready to use.

Recipe Notes

Hard Boiled Eggs Timing Chart:Β 

  • Boil 2 min: soft boiled with a liquid center
  • Boil 3 min: soft-boiled with a creamy center
  • Boil 4-5 min: medium-boiled with a moist, soft center
  • Boil 6-7 min: hard-boiled eggs with a soft center
  • Boil 8-9 min: hard-boiled eggs with firm dry center
Nutrition Facts
Perfect Boiled Eggs (Every Time)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 63 Calories from Fat 36
% Daily Value*
Fat 4g6%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Cholesterol 164mg55%
Sodium 75mg3%
Potassium 61mg2%
Carbohydrates 1g0%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 6g12%
Vitamin A 238IU5%
Calcium 32mg3%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

If you make this recipe, I’d love to see pics of your creations on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter! Hashtag them #natashaskitchen

This tutorial was first published in 2013. We updated the photos and shared more tips for perfect hard-cooked eggs and soft-cooked eggs in January 2020.

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natashaskitchen

Welcome to my kitchen! I am Natasha, the blogger behind Natasha's Kitchen (since 2009). My husband and I run this blog together and share only our best, family approved recipes with YOU. Thanks for stopping by! We are so happy you're here.

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Read comments/reviewsAdd comment/review

  • Brandy
    January 17, 2020

    Baking powder makes then much easier to peel also! Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      January 17, 2020

      Great tip! Thank you for sharing that with me. Reply

  • Betsy
    January 16, 2020

    Great method. I have a terrible habit of overcooking eggs and this is a super helpful chart. I had a thought about the salt, though. I learned in my college cooking courses that salt in the water will stop cracked eggs from leaking egg into the water. Sometimes eggs will crack a little bit when the water really gets roiling and the salt helps keep the egg inside the shell.  Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      January 16, 2020

      Thank you so much for sharing that wonderful tip with us, Betsy! Reply

  • Krissy Allori
    January 16, 2020

    Thank you for all the handy tips and also for the guide to show how long to get the egg you want! Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      January 16, 2020

      You’re welcome, Krissy! I’m so glad that was helpful! Reply

  • Jen
    January 16, 2020

    We make so many egg salads and deviled eggs and use your techniques. Works every time. Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      January 16, 2020

      That’s so awesome!! Thank you for sharing that with me, Jen! Reply

  • Stephanie
    January 16, 2020

    You’re right, perfection every time! Reply

    • Natasha
      January 16, 2020

      Hi Stephanie, I’m so glad you like this method. It’s our go-to and works every time. Reply

  • Jane. McClure
    January 31, 2018

    I love how you teach people to do their eggsBUT. As an old retired Home Economist, you are calling them by the wrong name. The correct name is hard-cooked eggs. You will never find a recipe for a hard-boiled egg in a good cookbook. Listed as hard-cooked eggs Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      January 31, 2018

      Hi Jane, thank you for the tip πŸ˜€. I will make an adjustment. Reply

      • Randy
        January 19, 2020

        I always let my water come to a boil first before adding eggs, they peel alot easier. Cook them for 7 minutes. Perfect every time. Reply

        • Natashas Kitchen
          January 20, 2020

          Thank you so much for sharing that with me, Randy! Reply

  • Brenda Canady
    May 4, 2017

    The new way is in a pressure cooker! I cooked 16 eggs at one time, have seen others online say they have done up to 30. I have a 8 quart Power Pressure Cooker XL. I set it for 5 min, do a natural pressure release, then put them in ice. The shells slide off so easy! Total time for whole process 25 min plus ice bath time. Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      May 4, 2017

      Great method Brenda! Thanks for sharing πŸ™‚ Reply

  • erika rossi
    April 24, 2017

    purtroppo la grande tristezza Γ¨ la traduzione
    sul fondo di una pentola sistemare un tovagliolo appoggiare le uova “vecchie” di alcuni giorni, meglio se in uno solo strato, aggiungere un cucchiaio di sale, portare a ebollizione e bollire a fuoco moderato per 10/15 minuti.Togliere dal fuoco e passare subito le uova, ancora nella pentola, sotto l’acqua fredda corrente,per un paio di secondi, e poi lasciarle freddare. Buon appetito!!! Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      April 24, 2017

      Thank you for sharing that with us Erika. Reply

      • Bernadette
        January 16, 2020

        Thank-you, Thank-you, Thank-You! Overcooked green tinged yolks are a pet peeve of mine, … as some people have recently noticed.Also a former Home Ec teacher. Reply

  • Mary Carufe
    October 29, 2016

    My mother taught me place the eggs in the pot add water bring to a boil and after they come to a boil reduce to simmer for 10 minutes then cool off add ice and Walla . They have always been perfect no green no gray just beautiful perfect yolks . Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      October 29, 2016

      Thank you for sharing! πŸ™‚ Reply

  • Alena
    April 5, 2013

    I will try that:) and im just using store bought eggs! i will sure let u know:) thnx again for your hard work:) Reply

  • Alena
    April 1, 2013

    I did alot of boiling eggs this past weekend, for salads, for egg coloring and for some reason this method didnt work for me either:( but i read all the comments and i’ll try other versions as well πŸ™‚ Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      April 1, 2013

      Do you like yours a little more soft-boiled or what didn’t work about it? Reply

      • Alena
        April 4, 2013

        I meant the whole peeling part didnt work as great ;( my husband was helping peel them and he said that i probably didnt follow the steps correctly:) lol so i’ll do it again and hopefully it will work:) your other receipies worked good for me, especially Kylichi!!!! the BOMB!!! my husband gave me an AA++:) thanks again:) Reply

        • Natasha
          natashaskitchen
          April 4, 2013

          Maybe try to add 1/2 tsp of salt next time to the water and see if that will make a difference. Let me know how they will turn out next time and what kind of eggs are you using? Reply

  • Aaron Newman
    March 28, 2013

    In my former profession as a chef I have cooked hundreds, upon hundreds of hard boiled eggs in my day. Natasha your way is pretty much how I did it with one exception, I would add a teaspoon or so of salt to my water when I would boil it. I would generally boil for 15 min, then immediately put under cold running water, until eggs were chilled. Ice bath works as well or better. I think bringing eggs to room temperature (about) before boiling helps as well. I seem to remember from school that salt reacts with the calcium in the egg shell to make it harder, which in turn allows the egg to crack and peal better. Just a thought. But your method works for you, (obliviously) keep doing it. I really love the time and effort you put into each post, keep up the GREAT work.
    By the way my new profession couldn’t be more different than being a chef. I am a welder. Lol πŸ™‚ Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      March 28, 2013

      My other profession is very different too; I am a full-time RN. But I think our different roles make us more interesting people. You know all about metal and I know how to poke people with a syringe. lol. I like your tip with the salt. I’ll probably incorporate that in my next egg batch and see what happens πŸ™‚ Thank you for your thoughtful comment! Reply

  • Oksana
    March 27, 2013

    Hi all,
    I used to have hard time peeling eggs, until I read somewhere this method: after the eggs are cooked, crack them all over, and put them in an ice bath. The idea is, that the water will seep in between the shell and the egg, and it will be easier to peel. So far, I’ve tried this method only few time, and it worked! Hope that helps.
    That wouldn’t work for easter eggs though, since the idea is to dye them and only crack them later.
    XPUCTOC BOCKPEC!!!!
    Happy Easter everyone. Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      March 28, 2013

      Thank you for sharing this tip Oksana, we are all learning from each other :). Reply

  • Tanya
    March 27, 2013

    I know that everyone likes their eggs differently. My parents, for example, like to eat their eggs when they are cooked but still runny. I really, really don’t really like when my eggs are runny or too dry, because then I can’t swallow them and dry out my mouth. So, this is how we cook our store-bought eggs and they work the same every time…. Boil water and add your eggs very slowly into the boiling water (let the heat continue to boil the water-meaning don’t turn off the heat), look at the time. Give 7 minutes and you’ll have a slightly cooked but still very wet egg-yolk. Give 10 minutes and you’ll have a cooked and very lightly-moist egg-yolk. Then drain the water and pour very cold water over the eggs (while they are still in the saucepan) for a minute or so. I sometimes leave the eggs in the cold water or eat them right away. Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      March 28, 2013

      Tanya, thank you for sharing your version :). Everyone like their eggs differently so this is very helpful. Reply

  • anna
    March 27, 2013

    this method never works for me. I use this egg toaster that i got on amazon and now i get perfect eggs , medium boiled, hard boiled and soft. Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      March 27, 2013

      I’ve never tried an egg toaster before. Sounds interesting! Does it take up alot of counter space? Reply

      • anna
        March 28, 2013

        Well i did not have toaster when i purchased this , it is size of toaster with a side area for cooking eggs and steaming sausage etc. I do not find it huge and my kitchen is tiny, i have 2 small spaces of counter. Reply

  • March 27, 2013

    That’s awesome πŸ™‚ I will defiantly try your way of boiling eggs. I was experimenting with natural coloring. It was fun to see how it turned out. http://leascooking.blogspot.com/2013/03/coloring-eggs-naturally-experiment.html Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      March 27, 2013

      Those look great! I might try different colors next year! Reply

  • Oksana
    March 27, 2013

    You know something easy as hard boiled eggs isn’t that easy. Thank you for this awesome post!! I will now know how to get perfect, yellow egg yolks instead of green. Eeww! Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      March 27, 2013

      I had mis-colored egg yolks for a long time before we discovered this method πŸ˜‰ Reply

  • lana
    March 27, 2013

    No matter what method I tried, natural fresh eggs from my backyard still don’t peel easily. I’ve heard it all depends on how fresh the eggs are. (if theyre fresh, they’re hard to peel). Do you know? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      March 27, 2013

      I won’t pretend to be an expert in that area, but this method seems to have better results with peeling store-bought eggs so you don’t lose half of the egg with the peel. With the store-bought ones, it’s hard to say how fresh they really are, but if you try this method with natural fresh eggs, I’d love to hear your review on the peeling situation. Reply

    • Marina
      March 27, 2013

      I have chickens and i usually have a carton or two of fresh eggs hang out in the fridge for at least a week before i boil them. You see, the fresher the egg, the more the membranes cling to the shell, making peeling them almost impossible. The longer the eggs sit the more the membranes separate from the shell, making peeling easier. Believe it or not, the eggs you buy at the store have sat in the carton for at least a good month; it’s sad but true, that is why store bought eggs are so much easier to peel. Reply

      • Natasha
        natashaskitchen
        March 27, 2013

        Thank you for sharing that awesome info! That’s great to know. Reply

    • Zina P
      March 27, 2013

      I read somewhere that fresh eggs do end up being hard to peel. Lately, even with your method, my eggs have been difficult to peel…..the only thing I can think of is that they are too fresh, so I’ll have to plan ahead and let them sit a while before I cook them and see if that helps. . .frustrating to say the least. Reply

      • Natasha
        natashaskitchen
        March 27, 2013

        Zina you are the second person to say that about fresh eggs! I guess it’s good and bad that store-bought eggs have been sitting awhile! πŸ˜‰ Reply

        • Luda
          March 27, 2013

          I would have to agree with Marina about farm fresh eggs, we also have free range chicken and refrigeration is key before using the eggs for boiling them, also using salt helps Reply

    • alison
      March 28, 2013

      If you add salt to the water, it will be much easier to peel them! I also have home eggs. Reply

      • Natasha
        natashaskitchen
        March 28, 2013

        I usually add salt as well, but haven’t on this one just to see the difference and still was able to peel them very easy. Adding salt to home eggs is a great idea :). Reply

    • March 17, 2014

      I used this basic method with my eggs that were only a couple of days old, only I had read somewhere that doing another couple of minutes back in the hot and then in the ice water might help. It did. They don’t peel “perfectly” but they peel very much nicer than they were! Reply

      • Natasha
        natashaskitchen
        March 17, 2014

        Thanks so much for the tip! πŸ™‚ Reply

    • Ginny
      September 20, 2016

      My sister raises chickens and therefore has only fresh eggs. She steams the eggs in a steamer basket so they are not sitting in the water. She brings the water to boil and then steams the eggs for 12 -15 minutes, then puts them in an ice bath. They peel perfectly every time. Reply

      • Natasha
        natashaskitchen
        September 20, 2016

        That is such a great tip! I just read your comment to my Mom and husband. We will try it! Thanks! Reply

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