7 Steps for a Perfect Boiled Egg

Each year around the holidays, my grandma would make us creamy, spicy, perfectly oval deviled eggs. It’s one of those skills that you really don’t appreciate until you grow up and it falls to you to recreate these apparently simple dishes. 

This Easter, I’m making deviled eggs. But before I do, I had to learn how to boil an egg.

If you’ve ever boiled an egg, you know what I’m talking about. It seems easy, but it never is. For mysterious reasons, boiled eggs have a tendency to come out undercooked, overcooked, or with chunks stuck to the shell as you peel. 

No more! I was determined to find a way to cook the perfect boiled egg and make my grandma proud.

After scouring the internet, I found my answer in the research of J. Kenji López-Alt at Serious Eats. Thanks to him, I now regularly make perfectly boiled and peeled eggs. According to López-Alt, the most important thing is a hot start. In other words, make sure your water is boiling hot before you drop your eggs in the pot. This makes the egg whites bond with itself, instead of with the membrane on the inside of the eggshell.

Look at the difference between a cold start (left) and a hot start (right).

Make the perfectly boiled egg:

  1. Bring a pot of water to boil.
  2. Using a large spoon, lower your eggs directly from the fridge into the water.
  3. Lower the heat until it’s just simmering.
  4. For soft boiled eggs, cook for 6 minutes. For hard boiled eggs, cook for 11 minutes.
  5. Shock in ice water immediately; let chill for 15 minutes.
  6. Crack gently all over by tapping against a hard surface.
  7. Peel under cool running water.

Go forth and be egg-cellent.

Try these deviled egg recipes: