The Secret to Cooking the Perfect Hard-Boiled Egg

I’ll be the first to admit that my cooking skills are limited. In the summer, my family thrives on a rotating menu of tacos, takeout, and whatever meat my husband places on the grill racks above a smoldering pile of charcoal. Despite my lackluster skills in the kitchen, I’ve developed a precise method for making my favorite protein-rich snack. Through trial and error, I’ve found the secret to cooking the perfect hard-boiled egg. These little oval-shaped beauties are a staple in my house. Sprinkled with a bit of pink Himalayan sea salt, they’re a guilt-free nibble my whole family loves.

Eggs Are the Perfect Food

Eggs are rich in minerals such as zinc, copper, and iron. They also provide you with vitamins D, B6, and B12. Together, those vitamins help keep bones, teeth, and muscles happy, help regulate sleep, and keep blood cells healthy. But it’s the protein I most adore about eggs. A large egg will only set you back about 80 calories (or 4% of your daily intake if you follow a 2,000/day calorie diet) but it’ll give you 12% of the protein you need (or about 6g). Protein keeps you fuller for longer than, say, carbs do, so it can prevent you from overeating.

Eggs are also a “complete” source of protein, providing all nine essential amino acids. Our bodies can’t make these acids on their own – they must come from food. Our bodies also can’t store these, so we have to eat them on the regular to keep them in our system.

Eggs Are a Convenient Snack

One of the reasons we tend to reach for unhealthy snacks is because they’re convenient. What could be easier than popping the top off a can of Pringles or snatching a cookie from the kitchen cabinet when you’re hungry?

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hard-boiled eggs as snack
Photo by Svitlana Denysiuk on Unsplash

I won’t try to make the case that eggs are as tasty as sour cream and onion flavored potato chips because I’m not a filthy liar. But if you’re hungry and looking for something more nutritious than thinly-sliced fried spuds that have been salted within an inch of their lives, keeping hard-boiled eggs in the fridge is a good idea.

Boiling Eggs is Harder Than it Looks

Just because hard-boiled eggs are simple (I mean, they’re only one ingredient!) doesn’t mean they’re easy to make. It’s surprisingly easy to screw this up. If you cook them too long, the yolks get dry and chalky. If there’s a green ring around the yolk of your hard-boiled egg, you’ve overcooked it. Then again, if the yolk is squishy or runny, you haven’t cooked it long enough. The trouble, of course, is that you can’t peek and see how your eggs are doing until you’ve cracked the shell – at which point there’s nothing you can do about it anyway.

use old eggs for hard-boiled eggs
Photo by Hello I’m Nik 🎞 on Unsplash

But there are two secrets to cooking perfect hard-boiled eggs. The first tip? USE OLD EGGS. Find eggs that are only a week or so away from the “best by” date stamped on the carton; they’ll peel easier.

As for the second tip? COOK THEM THE RIGHT WAY by following the steps below.

#1: Cook

Place your eggs in a pot and add water until they’re submerged, with about an inch of water above them. Make sure there’s room for the eggs to move around in there; you don’t want to pack them in too tight. If the pot gets cramped, some of the eggs will rattle around too much and break. Cook on high heat until the water boils. Let the eggs boil in the water for 3-4 minutes.

boil eggs in large pot

#2: Rest

Once the eggs have boiled for 3-4 minutes, turn off the heat and cover the pot. Let the pot sit, untouched, for 10 minutes.

#3: Cool

After the eggs have rested, move them to cold water. Let them sit in the cold water until the eggs themselves are completely cool. Pick one up and hold it in your hand for a few seconds to make sure there’s no heat radiating from the middle of the egg.

#4: Peel & Store

Once the eggs are completely cool, peel them carefully. I like to tap the tops and bottoms of the egg on the counter until they shatter a bit before attempting to pull the shell off with my hands. Once they’re peeled, I dry them off and store them in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days.

Enjoy!

I like to savor my eggs with sea salt on top. Since I don’t like the yolks (even when they’re perfectly cooked), I eat around them, nibbling away at the whites until I find the yolk and pop it out in one piece.

How do you like your eggs? What do you top them with? Tell me in the comments!


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