For years, I was a devotee of the Julia Child method for cooking hard-boiled eggs. Essentially, it’s a cold-start process: Begin with eggs in cold water, bring to a boil, then turn off the heat, cover and let sit for 17 minutes. But recently I switched to a hot-start process, and I’ve become convinced that the outcome is superior. The main difference: Plunging the eggs into boiling water makes them easier to peel. While I’m hardly the first person to discover this, it’s a method that bears repeating. Here are my seven steps to hard-boiled success:
- Plan ahead: The fresher the eggs, the harder they are to peel, so if you are planning to make something with a lot of hard-boiled eggs (deviled eggs, potato salad, egg salad, etc.), try to buy your eggs a few weeks in advance.
- Let the eggs warm up a bit: Set them out on the counter for about half an hour to lose their refrigerator chill. This helps prevent them from cracking when you first drop them into boiling water.
- Fill a pot with a few inches of water (enough to cover the eggs) and bring to a boil. The pot should be large enough to hold the eggs in a single layer.
- Turn the heat down to low, then use a slotted spoon to gently lower the eggs into the pot.
- Adjust the heat to a very low simmer (barely bubbling) and cook the eggs for 10-11 minutes. The yolks should end up cooked through but still moist, not chalky. Timing depends on the intensity of the simmer, so it takes a little practice to get a precise result.
- Plunge the eggs into a bowl of ice water to stop cooking.
- Peel and enjoy! Season with salt and fresh-ground black pepper. I also like to add paprika (sweet or smoked), cayenne, chipotle powder, chili powder or creole seasoning for a little extra flavor and spice.
Pictured: Corning Ware White B-2 1/2 Buffet Server, Corning Ware French White F-15-B Oval Casserole