Can We All Agree on the Correct Way to Boil an Egg? Apparently Not

We asked experts for their foolproof (and different) techniques.

Boiling an egg. Sounds pretty basic, right? You take your eggs, add them to a pot of water, turn on the heat, and let them boil for…oh, wait. Do you start them in cold water or hot? Do you boil them or let them simmer? Leave them on the heat or take them off? And for how many minutes??

It seems like it's not so straightforward.

To get to the bottom of things, we reached out to a diverse group of "eggsperts" (sorry, we had to) to find out their ultimate, tried-and-true method for hard-boiling an egg. Here’s what they had to say:

Michael Ruhlman, Author of Egg: A Culinary Exploration of the World’s Most Versatile Ingredient

“Whether your eggs are cold or room temperature, this method works every time: Cover eggs with water in a pan that fits them comfortably and bring the water to a boil over high heat. Remove from the heat, cover the pan, and let sit at least 12 and no more than 15 minutes, then transfer the eggs to an ice bath until they’re thoroughly chilled."

Jenny Park, Co-Author of The Perfect Egg

“I like the method of bringing your water to a boil first before carefully adding your egg(s). Then, let them boil for 7-8 minutes before removing them from the heat and placing them in an ice bath (before peeling). Oh! Using older eggs for boiling, also make the peeling process easier.”

Chef Andrew Smith, Executive Chef at West Egg Café

“Place the eggs in a single layer and cover with cold water. Place the pot on a medium-high stove and bring to a boil. As soon as the water boils, turn off the heat, cover the pot, and let it sit for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, drain the pot and run the eggs under cold water until they are cool.”

Chef Sabrina Sexton, Instructor at the Institute of Culinary Education

“Place an egg in a saucepot and cover with cold water. Bring the pot of water uncovered to a boil. Let boil for approximately 30 seconds. Remove from the heat, cover and let stand for 11 minutes. After 11 minutes remove the egg and cool in cold water. Peel. I like this method because it cooks the egg more gently and avoids the green ring around the outside of the yolk. The yolk is firm and cooked, but still creamy and does not have a strong sulfur taste.”

Erik “Chef Egg” Berlin of Cooking With Egg

“The goal is to cook them perfectly every time, whether it is a large or small batch. The best way to do this is place the eggs into a saucepan, cover with cold water and bring to a boil. Once it boils, turn the heat off and let sit for 12 minutes. Carefully remove the eggs and place into an ice water bath and cool completely. The ice bath will make the hot, cooked egg white shrink from the shell and make it easier to peel.”

David Groff, Leading Instructor at the San Francisco Cooking School

“Cover the eggs completely with water. Crank up the heat to a boil, big bubbles now, not wimpy Champagne bubbles. Turn off the heat, cover, and set a timer for 12 minutes. In the meantime, make an ice bath, not for you, the eggs. When that timer chimes, transfer eggs to the ice bath with a slotted spoon. (Pro tip: Older eggs have some air under the shell, making them much easier to peel!) Hardboiled eggs will keep in the fridge for a week, but only if you hide them.”

The Verdict?

Most experts agree to place your eggs in a pot and cover with cold water before bringing to a boil, then turning off the heat. But with times ranging from 7 to 15 minutes and a variety of covering and on-the-heat/off-the-heat options, it doesn’t seem like there’s a clear single method for the perfect hard-boiled egg.

Another mystery that remains un-cracked.

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