Hard-boiled eggs are for much more than a fun family Easter activity. They’re delicious, portable, nutrient-rich snacks and can be used as an ingredient to create many easy, healthy dishes—like egg salad and classic Cobbs.
They can also be the source of peel-related frustration, as you sit for an hour picking tiny little bits of eggshell away one millimeter at a time, only to lose half the egg in the process and then find out the yolk is weirdly gray.
Once you perfect your personal technique, though, you can totally avoid that scenario. Below, we’re sharing five different approaches that different culinary experts swear by.
Whichever you choose to adopt as your own, remember a few key rules: Older eggs are better than super fresh ones (in this one scenario) and you absolutely can’t skip the cooling step after boiling. It’s essential for preventing overcooking.
5 Approaches to Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs
- The Classic Cool-Water Boil: Delish’s instructions for a classic approach are clear and simple: Start with eggs in cool water, bring it to a boil, take the pot off the heat and let them sit for a set amount of time, finish with an ice bath.
- Cold Shower Style: Martha takes a very similar approach, but she lets her eggs sit in boiled water a little longer, so this might be for you if you like a harder texture. And a key difference: Instead of an ice bath, she recommends finishing with cool, running water (kinda like a cold shower).
- The Boil-Water-First Approach: Instead of bringing the water to a boil with the eggs in it, Bon Appetit suggests getting the water to a rolling boil first and then lowering the eggs in with a slotted spoon. Their cooks say this makes for a slightly softer center but that the eggs are still totally peelable.
- The Steam Solution: This method, outlined in Serious Eats, avoids boiling the eggs altogether. Instead, you put them in a steamer basket like a bunch of broccoli and steam them solid. Try this approach if you don’t have older eggs and need to work with super fresh ones—it supposedly works better in that scenario.
- Baker’s Dozen Style: Wait, you can bake hard-boiled eggs?! Yes, it sounds weird but there is an anti-boil approach to boiling. Real Simple says this strategy doesn’t necessarily get you as consistent results as boiling, but if you’re making an Easter feast and are starved for stove space, it could be really helpful. It’s also great if you need to make a big batch and want to be able to walk away for 30 minutes without watching.