7 Steps to Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Turn the heat down to low, then use a slotted spoon to gently lower the eggs into the pot.
  5. 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.
  6. Plunge the eggs into a bowl of ice water to stop cooking.
  7. 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

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