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How to Peel a Hard Boiled Egg

Faye has been cooking for over 50 years and loves to share her recipes and cooking tips with everyone.

Let me show you how I peeled these hard boiled eggs.

Let me show you how I peeled these hard boiled eggs.

The Search for the Secret to Peeling a Hard Boiled Egg

People have been peeling boiled eggs for years, and yet, everyone is still looking for the easiest way to produce a smooth, perfectly peeled egg!

Many people have developed their own special method that works for them (most of the time anyway). Some people are still in the developmental stage of a great break-through. I'm sure if someone actually finds the way to peel a boiled egg perfectly every time, it will rank right up there with the discovery of a new planet or wonder drug! There is nothing quite as frustrating as having an eggshell that wants to hang on for dear life!

I have been boiling eggs at least twice a week for over six years now. My husband likes to eat one with his tossed salad for lunch and I keep them in the fridge for him to eat whenever he wants.

In this article, I will show you the method that usually works for me. Even so, there are times when even this fails. I make no guarantees; this is only my opinion and experience. Hopefully, this will help you leave frustration behind.

Steps for Peeling an Egg

  1. Quickly cool in ice water:
    • Drain the hot water and run cold water over eggs to cover them completely.
    • Add ice immediately to make the eggs cool quickly.
    • Cool in ice water for about 10 minutes before peeling. If you let them set too long, they are actually harder to peel.
  2. Crack the large end of the egg on a hard surface. This should reveal a small air pocket.
  3. Starting at the air pocket, peel back the shell, being sure to get under the thin membrane between the egg and shell.
  4. Continue peeling until all shell has been removed.
  5. Rinse your egg well to make sure all of the shell is gone.

1. Quickly Cool Your Boiled Eggs in Ice Water

Cool eggs in ice cold water as soon as they're finished cooking.

Cool eggs in ice cold water as soon as they're finished cooking.

2. Crack the Large End of Egg

Hit the large, round end of the egg on a hard surface to crack the shell.

Hit the large, round end of the egg on a hard surface to crack the shell.

3. Starting at the Air Pocket, Carefully Peel Back Shell

Carefully peel back the shell, starting at the air pocket, and making sure the thin membrane pulls away from the egg.

Carefully peel back the shell, starting at the air pocket, and making sure the thin membrane pulls away from the egg.

4. Continue Peeling Until All Shell is Removed

Continue to carefully peel the shell until it is all removed.

Continue to carefully peel the shell until it is all removed.

That Pesky Sticking Membrane

The biggest problem you'll have is that pesky membrane! If this membrane is sticking tightly to the egg, you are out of luck, because when you peel off the shell, it will take the egg with it. Therefore, a mangled egg! Sometimes, you will be lucky, and it will just hang on in a few spots, and the egg is not a total loss.

Below are a couple of tips to avoid the sticking membrane:

  • Ice cold eggs are easier to peel. I don't know why, but it works best for me.
  • Start by cracking the larger, rounded end of the egg. There is usually a little air pocket on this end and, in most cases, the membrane will be attached to the shell and peeling will go smoothly.
This is the thin membrane between the shell and egg.

This is the thin membrane between the shell and egg.

This is what that thin membrane (or skin) looks like that I was telling you about. Can you see it at the top of the shell? If you can just get that to pull loose from the egg, you will be peeling easy!

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5. Rinse Your Eggs to Remove All Traces of the Shell

Rinse your peeled eggs to make sure all of the little bits of shell are all gone. These eggs were peeled using the method on this page.

Rinse your peeled eggs to make sure all of the little bits of shell are all gone. These eggs were peeled using the method on this page.

 I always peel my eggs over a paper towel to make cleaning up the shells easy.

I always peel my eggs over a paper towel to make cleaning up the shells easy.

Helpful Tips

  • Peel over a paper towel for easy clean-up. I always peel my eggs over a paper towel to make cleaning up the shells easy.
  • Rinse your peeled eggs. Be sure and rinse off your eggs (I like to dry on a paper towel also) to make sure all of the little bits of shell are all gone. There's nothing worse than eating a piece of eggshell! Ugh!

Now You Can Eat Them, Use in a Recipe, or Store in the Fridge

You can store your hard boiled eggs in the refrigerator for up to a week.

You can store your hard boiled eggs in the refrigerator for up to a week.

I always store my extra hard boiled eggs in my fridge, in an air-tight Tupperware container to use later. My hubby likes to eat them with his tossed salad for lunch. This will keep them fresh for a week, no need to cook an egg every day, and it also keeps the smell contained.

Use Hard Boiled Eggs For:

1. Healthy snack

2. Egg salad

3. Deviled eggs

4. Tossed salads

5. Recipe ingredient

Is There a Fool Proof Way to Peel Eggs?

I hate to say it, but I don't think there is really a fool-proof way to achieve perfection every time. There are debates about they will peel easier if you cook them this way, or that way, or if the eggs are fresh or not, cool or at room temperature. I’ve tried many different ways of cooking, and none of them always work. I think it's mostly just luck or if the "Egg Gods" are with you that day!

Many claim it is the way you boil them. There are many methods for boiling eggs. I've cooked mine different ways, but none have been fool-proof. This page is not about cooking them, so I don't get into that part.

How-To Videos

The video below shows another easy way to peel hard boiled eggs. The method she uses in to put the cooked egg into a glass jar with a little water. Put the top on and shake it up good. Take the lid off and when you remove the egg, the shell will come right off. It looks easy, but I'm not sure it will work every time, especially if that membrane is stubborn.

Easy Way to Peel Hard Boiled Eggs

Video: Peeling 5 Eggs at the Same Time!

The video below shows how to peel 5 eggs at one time. (There were actually 6 in the bowl, but one egg didn't peel.) He used basically the same method, but more eggs. I'm definitely going to try this and see how well it works!

Video: How to Peel a Hard Boiled Egg, Without Peeling

The video below shows you how to peel a hard boiled egg without peeling it! I have to say, I had never seen this method, but I'm going to try it. It sounds impossible. You'll have to watch the video to see how it's done. It's very short, so take the time, you won't regret it.

Video: 3 Methods

I leave you with one last video. This one includes 3 methods, all with a little different take on the ways you've already seen on this page. I mostly included it so you could see her demonstrate Method 3, as it shows what mishaps can occur when doing it. It's pretty funny, you'll love it.

Note: Keep in mind that these are videos that may have taken more than one try to get a perfect outcome. These methods may not work every time and also might take a little trial and error on your part. But, keep trying.

Summary

In this article, I showed you the method I use to peel hard boiled eggs. The main point is to get those cooked eggs into ice water as soon as they're cooked. After cracking the shell on the round end, carefully peel the egg, getting under that pesky, thin membrane that can cause so much damage if it sticks to the egg. I also included a few informative how-to videos. I think almost everyone has their own method and I'd love it if you would share yours in the comment box below. Good luck.

© 2014 Faye Rutledge

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