How To Make Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs Every Time

How To Make Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs Every Time

Making perfect hard-boiled eggs is surprisingly easy, but only if you’re privy to a few specific tricks.  Thankfully, my mom taught me these when I was a kid, and now I’m passing along her sage advice to you.

With these specific steps, it’s as easy as boiling water (really!) — and you’ll get perfect hard-boiled eggs, every time.

1. Fill a small saucepan with about 2″ of cool tap water.

Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs Tip #1: Don’t start with hot water – the shells are likely to crack from the temperature change.

2. Place the eggs gently in the water.  They should be covered by about 1/2″ to 1″ (about 2 cm) of water.

3. Cover, then turn on the heat to medium-high.

4. As soon as the water comes to a boil, turn off the heat.  If it’s a gas stove, you can leave the pot right there.  On an electric stove (where the burner stays hot for a long time), move the pot to a cool burner.

Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs Tip #2: Don’t boil the water vigorously!  That will likely crack the shells from bouncing the eggs around too much.

5. Set a timer for 15 minutes for small eggs, 17 minutes for large, and 19 minutes for super-jumbo.

6. A few minutes before the timer is done, fill a large bowl with ice cubes and add a few inches of cool water.

How to make perfect hard boiled eggs: Use an ice bath

7. As soon as the timer goes off, use a slotted spoon to transfer the eggs to the ice bath.

Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs Tip #3: The ice bath is critical! It stops the cooking, and prevents an ugly greenish-gray film from developing around the yolk.

8. Once they’re cool (about 10 minutes), you can use them immediately, or store in the fridge for later.

Three perfect hard boiled eggs

Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs Tip #4: Some people say not to use fresh eggs, because they’re harder to peel. Personally, I’ve never noticed a difference — and I always think that fresher is better, so I say get the freshest, most wonderful eggs you can find!  Lately we’ve been getting our eggs at the Farmers Market from Healthy Family Farms.  Their pastured chickens are raised and treated truly humanely — they get to go outside in the grass and actually live like chickens should… and the eggs taste fantastic.

On a related note: If you haven’t yet seen this post about my friend Michelle’s chickens, check it out!

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Please mention that height above sea level influences egg cooking time or please say what your height above sea level is. This is because atmospheric pressure influences the boiling point of water. I grew up high above sea level, and my father used to boil eggs for us, now that I live at sea level I need to cook them for far less time or they will overcook. It would also be great to see one of your cooked eggs cut in half – different people have different ideas about how ‘hard-boiled’ is hard-boiled!

Jameson Fink


I’m glad you mentioned fresh eggs in Tip #4; I, too, have heard that fresh eggs are hard to peel. Someone suggested steaming fresh eggs instead of boiling them; have you tried this?



OH MY GOSH …. I’m 57 and my FIRST perfect eggs! To not take any chances I returned the eggs to the ice bath frequently as I was peeling them. Also, I took someone’s advice and gently cracked the ends I’d the eggs first on the countertop, then all around the eggs. Thanks!



We used to have quite a bit of trouble peeling fresh hard boiled eggs. Someone shared the tip to bring the fresh eggs closer to room temp before boiling. This made all the difference!

Jacqueline Gonzales

I just bought a dozen eggs specifically to boil (quick snack for me or the kids and fairly portable). I will be trying this!


My husband taught me this trick to easily peel hard boiled eggs: tap the egg on the counter turning it as you go so the whole eggshell is covered in cracks. Then peel, it should all start to peel off together.