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How to Make the Perfect Hard Boiled Egg:: A Science Experiment

Hard boiled eggs.

Easy breakfast. Quick snack. Perfect in a lunch. Amazing on salad. Easter wouldn’t be the same without them! My family always has a package of hard boiled eggs in the fridge. I feel like I can’t cook them fast enough for my ravenous children. As much as we eat hard boiled eggs, we needed a fool-proof method of cooking them. A method that was tried and true, worked every time, and didn’t run the risk of under or overcooked eggs.

eggs salad
egg salad
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The Egg-cellent Experiment

I know many people use egg cookers or instant pots. And those people rave over their expensive, counter-hogging contraptions. However, I make my hard boiled eggs the old fashioned way—with a pot, water, and my stove. Sometimes, the eggs peel perfectly. Sometimes there is more egg attached to the broken shell pieces in the sink than on my plate. Therefore, my son and I did an experiment. We tested the following supposed “techniques” for hard boiling an egg. 

  • Place eggs in boiling water and fully boil
  • Place eggs in boiling water and fully boil with baking soda in the water
  • Place eggs in boiling water and fully boil with vinegar in the water
  • Place eggs in room temperature water, bring to boil, remove from heat
  • Place eggs in room temperature water, bring to boil, remove from heat with baking soda in the water
  • Place eggs in room temperature water, bring to boil, remove from heat with vinegar in the water
  • And all of the above with and without an ice bath

We tried all of these tips as well as every combination of these tips. We even tried putting eggs in a muffin tin and placing in the oven. I don’t recommend that unless you want to see a burned chicken egg shell.

What We Learned

  1. If you know the exact cooking time needed for your egg, an ice bath is a must. It will stop the cooking process and avoid overcooked yokes.
  2. It may take a few tries but experiment with cooking times. Everyone likes the yoke a different consistency. Figure out what you like, how long to cook, and utilize your ice bath.
  3. Adding baking soda to the water made the eggs easier to peel than adding vinegar to the water.
  4. Placing eggs in room temperature water, bringing to a boil, and turning off the heat made eggs easier to peel than placing them directly in boiling water.
  5. Peeling eggs under water makes peeling significantly easier. 

HOWEVER…none of these options made the Best Hard Boiled Egg Ever!! The way to truly make an egg that is easy to peel, cooked well, and delicious? Steam it. Yes. You. The egg. And a steamer basket. You will never look back.  

Perfectly Cooked “Hard Boiled” (a.k.a. Steamed) Eggs

  1. Bring 2-3 inches of water to boil in a pot.
  2.  Place raw eggs in a steamer basket on top of the boiling water. Eggs should only be in one layer, not piled on top of each other.
  3.  Cover the steamer basket
  4.  Depending on the consistency desired, cook anywhere from 8 minutes (soft boiled) to 20 minutes (very hard boiled). I tend to like the consistency at 15 minutes.
  5.  Remove from heat.
  6.  Place in ice bath.
  7.  Enjoy the perfectly cooked, perfectly peeled “hard boiled” egg.

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