Foolproof boiled eggs for idiots

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Joined
May 18, 2014
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Location
Silicon Valley, CA
I must be more incompetent in the kitchen than I thought. I have read dozens of recommendations, but I still cannot get boiled eggs right.

I have an Oster steamer that I mostly use for stuff like brocolli, artichokes, and corn on the cob. It has a rack for up to 8 eggs, but the results are inconsistent and depend on the number of eggs, the size of the eggs (large, extra large, jumbo), and whether they are fresh from the frig or at room temp. I like it because it uses a timer. It doesn't completely use up the water so the bottom of the unit is easier to clean.

I bought a special egg steamer, but it has no timer. It goes until the water is gone and the cup for measuring the water is very difficult to read and the difference between the lines for soft and hard are about a mm apart. And the bnopttpom of the steamer is impossible to clean even with vinegar.

I've tried several ways to use boiling water, but a few of the eggs tend to explode.

I even set up a spreadsheet to track the weight of the eggs, the temperature, and the time. If I do it exactly right, the results are pretty good. But it's a lot of work.

Piercing the fat end helps with the peeling.

We were just on vacation. I didn't have any of my steamers, but the rental house had a cookbook with instructions for "steaming" in a pot on the stove. It said to put the eggs in the pot and add water so that 2/3 of the eggs are out of the water. Cover and turn the stove on high. Set a timer for something like 7 minutes. Then add cold water. They turned out pretty good. None cracked and they were fairly easy to peel. I didn't write down the details, as I should have.

Is there a way that is relatively independent of the number of eggs, the size, and the initial temperature and that allows me to control the doneness and they peel easily?

Thanks
 

taxlady

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It seems everyone has "The Best" way to make HB eggs. It also seems to me that I've tried them all. I found the linked recipe and it gives me the absolute best results I've ever had! The cooked eggs are the easiest to peel 100% of the time. I recommend you give it a try.


https://www.seriouseats.com/perfect-boiled-eggs-recipe

I'm going to give that a try again. I used their steamed eggs recipe and was delighted the first time. It hasn't worked as well since then. I will give this one another try. I used to do something similar, but not exactly the same.

I'm beginning to have my doubts that any method is the best one all the time.
 

GinnyPNW

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I use an egg cooker. I like gadgets. Most of the time it works perfectly. Sometimes one of the eggs cracks. I always remove the eggs to a bowl filled with ice cubes and then add cold water. I leave them for 20 minutes. By the end of 20 minutes, I can't tell which egg cracked. At that point, I either peel them (easy, peasy) or I dry them off and put them in the fridge. Works for me, YMMV.
 
Joined
Jul 12, 2008
Messages
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It seems everyone has "The Best" way to make HB eggs. It also seems to me that I've tried them all. I found the linked recipe and it gives me the absolute best results I've ever had! The cooked eggs are the easiest to peel 100% of the time. I recommend you give it a try.


https://www.seriouseats.com/perfect-boiled-eggs-recipe

I use a similar method I learned from Cooks Illustrated and James Peterson's "Kitchen Simple". I use only about two fingerwoths of water. The idea being to recover boiling temp as soon as you put the eggs in. The eggs do not need to be fully submerged in water. Also you never take the eggs out of the fridge in advance. The eggs are used straight out of the fridge. This is to ensure uniformity of the process. I have had very consistent results. Both with runny yolks and hard boiled eggs. 10-11 min gives me hard yolk, 6 min gives me very slightly runny, and 4 min gives me an almost poached style egg or what some call soft boiled egg.
There is a very good video of this method on YouTube by chef John Politte. He cooks soft boiled eggs but if you desire hard boiled eggs you could just cook for 10-11 min instead. The way Chef cracks the eggs is something I am stuill working on. LOL.

Good Luck.
 

HeyItsSara

Senior Cook
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Feb 5, 2020
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NYC
I don't do that.

I find older eggs are easier to peel. Also, after cooking, let them cool enough to jiggle them in the pot (bumper cars).

Some people add a ton of salt to the pot and swear by that. Others add baking soda.
 

Chief Longwind Of The North

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Science is my tool. Eggs begin to set at 150 'F., far below the boiling temperature of water . I can cook 1 egg, or 2 dozen withaout any cracked shells (good at Easster time). Gently place eggs int o suitablee size pot. Cover wth water to an inch above eggs. Heat water until bubbles just start to form. Reduce heat to lowest setting. For hard, yet tender yolks, cook for 8 to 9 minutes. Gooey yolk (semi-soft) 6 to 7 minutes. Sòft yolk, 4 minutes. When cook time has elapsed, place pot in sink, and turn on the cold water. Let it run into the pan until the pan water is cold. Remove eggs, and use, or store.

All eggs co9k evenly because they are subbmersed comsplerely in the water. The shells don't crack because they aren't jostled around by boiling water. This method has worked for me for years.

Seeeeya; Chief Longwind Of the North
 
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Andy M.

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Massachusetts
When steaming eggs, many sites recommend piercing the fat end. Is this recommended for boiling?


It depends on the method you use. Some tell you to pierce the fat end of the shell so never mention it. The method I posted, fro example, doesn't mention piercing.
 

GotGarlic

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The best hard-boiled eggs I have ever made I made in my Instant Pot. Set it for four minutes, let it sit for four minutes after that, open it up and put the eggs in an ice water bath. They practically peel themselves.
 
Joined
May 18, 2014
Messages
74
Location
Silicon Valley, CA
I use an egg cooker. I like gadgets. Most of the time it works perfectly. Sometimes one of the eggs cracks. I always remove the eggs to a bowl filled with ice cubes and then add cold water. I leave them for 20 minutes. By the end of 20 minutes, I can't tell which egg cracked. At that point, I either peel them (easy, peasy) or I dry them off and put them in the fridge. Works for me, YMMV.

Which egg cooker is it? Can you provide a link?
 
Joined
May 18, 2014
Messages
74
Location
Silicon Valley, CA
After reading several methods, I settled on this:

Setup
  • Pierce eggs in fat end
  • Weigh the eggs
  • Weigh the water (just cover eggs)
  • Place pan on stove
  • Insert temperature probe
  • Set target temperature

Cooking
  • Turn on heat
  • When target heat reached, turn off heat, cover
  • Start cook timer
  • Fill bowl with ice

Cooling
  • When cook timer goes off, add water to ice bath
  • Transfer eggs to ice bath
  • Let cool for 15-20 minutes

In my first trial, I had 6 eggs weighing 412 in 1,274g of water to a target temp of 200°.

They were slightly overcooked. Next time I'll try 11 minutes.

They peeled fairly easily.
 

dcSaute

Sous Chef
Joined
Apr 24, 2011
Messages
919
sorry - that's all a mega-crock.

piercing the fat end does one thing: for eggs that have pr-existing damage/cracks, prevents them from spewing egg white into the water.
piercing the fat end does not allow water to penetrate/separate/make peeling easier. not possible - see diagrams of egg membranes and construction.

Kenji-alt-lopez of fame did hundreds of experiments. his work shows the cooking pot material/construction, geometry and water volume of the pot affects how things peel.
he also reached the conclusion, his fourth or fifth on the topic...... btw, all conflicting and contradictory....
that an ice bath does not make any difference.

my personal decades of experience does not support that conclusion.

put a pot on and bring the water to a boil. does not matter if it is five gallons of boiling water or one quart of boiling water.
put the eggs into the boiling water for x minutes/seconds.
when the boil time is up, remove the pot from the heat,drain, refill with cold water and a lot of ice.

for me, using eggs out of the fridge:

soft boiled - 4 minutes 45 seconds
for soft boiled, crack over buttered toast, or crack top for egg cup spooning/dipping.

hard boiled - 12 minutes
for hard boiled: after the minutes, drain the pot refill with cold water, add lots of ice - allow to cool
easy peel, no green, works every blipping time.

this method eliminates all the myriad of "uncontrolled variables" implied in the kitchen lore of 'do this, then that, then wait' which simply does not work because not everyone has the same pot and uses the same volume of water.
this is especially true of the 'bring to a boil, turn off, then wait minutes"
 
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