The Perfect Hard-Boiled Egg—Yes, Even with Fresh Farm Eggs

I’ve been wanting to share some great tips on hard-”boiling” eggs, especially fresh farm eggs which are notoriously difficult to peel.  First, let me say that hard-”boiled” is actually a misnomer.  If you boil the eggs, the whites will be rubbery, so they should be simmered instead.  I should probably refer to them as hard-cooked, but old habits are hard to break.  Just know that when I say hard-”boiled” I really mean simmered, okay?  :)

First, let’s talk farm eggs, then I’ll share how to achieve pretty hard-boiled eggs—ones lacking any unsightly green halo.

Unlike their store-bought counterparts, farm-fresh eggs are fresh, and because of that the shell really sticks to the egg and makes peeling virtually impossible.  If you’ve tried hard-boiling fresh eggs in the same manner as store eggs, you know that you lose half the egg white along with the shell and end up with lots of divots in the finished product, which is extremely vexing.

Last spring I resolved to experiment until I discovered an answer to this problem.  Prior to that my solution was letting our eggs age for a week or two in the refrigerator, but that is not always an option, and it certainly wasn’t my preference.

There are all sorts of “solutions” floating around the internet, but trust me, they do not all work.  I tried simmering the eggs along with copious amounts of salt.  Didn’t work.  I tried adding baking soda to the cooking water.  That didn’t work either.  I cannot remember what else I tried, but nothing worked for me—that is, until I stumbled upon this fantastic idea, which I’ve been happily using ever since.

HARD-BOILED FARM FRESH EGGS

Place a pan of water on the stove and turn up the heat.  Make sure your water is deep enough to completely cover the eggs, and then some.

Meanwhile, place eggs fat-end-up in carton, and, using a push-pin, prick a tiny hole in the end of each.  Use gentle but firm pressure, and try not to poke completely into the egg, but just enough to prick the shell.  (Don’t worry if you poke too far, as it may take a little practice getting it just right.  The end results won’t be as nice—and I’ll show you what happens in a minute—but you’ll still end up with an egg you can peel.)

Once your water is boiling, gently lower your eggs into it, taking care not to crack the eggs at this point.  Maintain a simmer for about 16 minutes.

Once the eggs are done, pour them out into a colander placed in the sink.

Then immediately place the eggs in a large bowl and add ice water.  Don’t worry about damaging the shells.  In fact, if they get all cracked up when you dump them out, that’s a good thing.  As they cool, the water will penetrate the shells and make them easier yet to peel.

Leave the eggs in the ice bath for about 15 minutes.  This step is crucial!  If you do not immediately and completely cool the eggs, you will end up with that unappetizing green ring.
Now you can peel your eggs—easily peel your eggs!  Look, no divots!  And as you see, the shells do not come off in tiny little pieces such that it takes you forever to peel them.  They come off in sheets and peel every bit as easily as old, stale store-bought eggs.  Hurray!

How does this work?  As the eggs simmer, you’ll see a steady stream of tiny air bubbles escaping from the poke-hole you made (you can see it in the simmering egg picture above if you click to enlarge it), and this allows for some separation between the egg white and the shell, which makes peeling easier.

This same separation happens to eggs naturally over time, which is why old eggs peel more easily—they’ve had time to sit and lose some of that air through the porous shell.

Now, if you poke your hole too far, here’s what happens.  Not only will a tiny stream of air bubbles escape, but also swirling strands of egg white.  Here’s a picture of when this happened to me before—do you see the two eggs I’m talking about?  They still peeled easily, but since they also lost some of the white, there was a dent in them where the egg white should have been.  Not so pretty for deviled eggs, but just fine for egg salad.

And now for the exciting part . . . beautiful, lovely, sunny, golden yolks with no unappetizing greenness to be found!!  It’s because of immediately cooling them in that ice bath.  Try it and see how wonderfully it works!

Edited to Add:  I wish I could remember where I first heard of this in order to credit someone for the idea.  I had been googling, and I know it was on a farm forum where someone simply mentioned pricking the shell.  Then after some experimenting, I found out what worked.

132 thoughts on “The Perfect Hard-Boiled Egg—Yes, Even with Fresh Farm Eggs

  1. Ah, yes!!! With nothing but fresh eggs here I have missed not having a boiled egg… When I wanted it anyway. I do believe we will be having boiled eggs for breakfast tomorrow!

  2. I am going to try this because I’ve had such bad experiences boiling fresh eggs, sometimes my deviled eggs look like it should be Halloween! Frightening.

  3. Oh goodness! Thanks so much for this information! I’ve heard and tried the salt and the vinegar (together and separately) in the water with fresh eggs. It’s been a crap shoot if either works. I will definitely be doing this in the future!

  4. I’ve been trying to figure this out for YEARS! Can’t wait to try your method! My family loves boiled eggs and we’ve never had good success making them come out pretty without losing lots of chunks while peeling. Thanks so much.

  5. May you all have the same great success I’ve had with this method! And if you have any questions or problems, let me know and I’ll try to help troubleshoot. It’s been revolutionary. :)

    I wish I could remember where it was I first read about this, but I have no idea whom I should credit. I did quite a bit of googling in my quest last spring, and I’m thinking it may have been a farming/homesteading-type forum.

    Let me know how it works for you.

    • I put my eggs, (5-7) in cold water, bring to a boil, take the pan off the heat when it comes to a boil and depending on the size of eggs, let them sit in the hot water for approximately 20 minutes. Then rinse in cold water and let them sit in the cold water for a pretty long time. I can peel them not very well but what is worse, the yolk never seems quite cooked, very soft and gooey even if I leave them sit in the hot water for 35 minutes…before rinsing. I like boiling older eggs as the yolk turns out perfect every time and they peel like a charm. Anybody have this problem with gooey, uncooked looking yolks!
      ps. the trick about pricking them sounds priceless, will try next time I don’t have older eggs to boil…

    • Here in the Netherlands it is quite common to cook eggs like that – we even have special small contraptions to pierce the shells. My husband, who’s British, always thought this habit extremely silly… :-)

      • Pictures can be found by searching wikipedia or google images for “egg piercer”. Some of them do look kind of silly. It’s kind of the same feeling you get if you look up “banana slicer” on Amazon. :)

        I did find a rather handsome stainless steel egg piercer. I prefer the push-pin method in this article, because it’s one less contraption to clean.

        As an aside, thank you so much for sharing the photos & story of your extra special baby, the one with an extra chromosome. How wonderful and inspiring! You should check out the news article about the man with Downs that owns his own restaurant. He gives every visitor a hug when they come in.

  6. Pingback: How to Boil an Egg - Common Sense HomesteadingCommon Sense Homesteading

  7. Thank you sooo much for posting this!!! I tried this yesterday and will admit, I was skeptical….but it worked with AMAZING results!!! Thank you, again!!!

  8. My family…and everyone else…loves my deviled eggs. But since having our own chickens it’s been hard to make them with our fresh chicken eggs. I will go about trying this tonight! I would love to have it work for me. Peeling fresh eggs ruins the eggs!! Thanks for the post…just in time for Easter brunch too!!

  9. Reblogged this on Life In Idaho and commented:
    I found this amazing tip on how to hard boil my fresh from the chicken eggs! If you haven’t ever had fresh from the chicken eggs, then you don’t know just how tough it is to peel a boiled, fresh, chicken egg! It’s like getting old wall paper off a sheet rocked wall. Usually both have the same outcome…ruined surfaces that turn into egg salad.
    Thanks to Paths of Wrighteousness, this will no longer be an issue and this Easter we can have yummy, perfect, deviled eggs!

  10. Pingback: Farm Fresh Boiled Eggs…the shells don’t stick…promise you!! « Life In Idaho

  11. Pingback: The Perfect Hard-Boiled Egg (Re-Post) | Paths of Wrighteousness

  12. This didn’t work for us at all. Terrible to peel and whites had deep impression one side (think due to piercing both ends as I’ve never had this problem when doing one end only). Hope others have better luck.

    • I’m not sure why this wouldn’t have worked for you. I only do pierce the fat end (not both ends). It can be tricky at first getting the pinprick deep enough but not too deep, so perhaps play around with how hard you’re pushing the pushpin. Were you losing streams of egg white through the holes? That’s an indicator that you went too deep, which would have also caused the deep impressions. If it’s just the right depth, you’ll lose a steady stream of air bubbles but not egg white. Try again with those tips; many others have had success. Warmly, Jill

  13. I found your blog while looking on how to easily peel farm fresh eggs. THANK YOU!!!!!! (and I’m not yelling at you, I am rejoicing!) I knew there had to be a better way

  14. My mother has an old egg cooker. It has an automatic timer so they’re cooked the same every time. I timed it, to try my eggs the same when I moved out into my husbands home. After a year of wishing I had this cooker, I finally realized the difference; the middle of the cooker has an itty bitty pin pricker for the eggs. Just like the above directions! Fortunately, the cooker has a set depth, as its built in, but I’m sure with practice it’s attainable by hand. ;) I didn’t know the water needed to be icy though- Ive just used cold tap water in the past. My husband eats 5-10 hard boiled eggs each day. I’ll be so happy to finally be able to peel them with ease!! Thank you!

  15. I HAVE A POT OF WATER ON THE STOVE RIGHT NOW. I HAVE ALREADY PRICKED THE LARGE END, IF THIS REALLY WORKS I WILL BE VERY THANKFUL THAT YOU TOOK THE TIME TO POST IT. I HAVE LIVED IN THE MOUNTAINS OF UPSTATE NEW YORK FOR 22 YEARS AND HAVE HAD CHICKENS FOR MANY YEARS AND I JUST COULD NOT FIGURE OUT A WAY TO BOIL FRESH EGGS AND NOT HAVE HALF THE EGG STUCK TO THE EGG SHELL. I’LL KEEP YOU POSTED… THANK YOU SHIRLEY

  16. I actually have customers who prefer to buy my older eggs so they can hard-boil and peel them easily. I think I’ll keep this little secret to myself! (Not really, but I don’t want to lose my source for sales of slightly older eggs!)

  17. this is genius…all of the “egg cooker” machines use an egg pricker…i think i can easily prick them myself and save $40! Thanks for the practical idea!

  18. Thank you, I have just tried to boil them for salad sandwiches, and lost half of the white! So I will try this method. I still have about another dozen or so to try this on, and lets see if it really works. Thanks for the tip.

  19. I just did this! It worked and with farm fresh eggs less than one day old! I will do this method every time now!!!!

  20. Well this is it! Perfect hard boiled (simmered) eggs. Follow instructions, take care to follow times statd and hen fresh eggs are perfect and easy to peel.

  21. Just tried this as I am sick of all the time it takes to peel a really fresh farm egg. It works like a charm!!! Deviled eggs here we come. Thanks for the tips.

  22. Pingback: How to Cook and EASILY Peel Farm Fresh Hard Boiled Eggs! | Queen Of The Red Doublewide

  23. WOW!!! Unbelievable, I’ve been trying to find away to be able to eat my fresh eggs without losing half the egg whites for years, always tough to keep the eggs for 2 weeks as I eat 6-10 eggs a day, when ever I do up deviled eggs for company I need to go buy the old store bought eggs. never again!! THANK YOU for sharing this ..

    • They are cold. I am trying to remember if I have ever used room temperature eggs??? I probably have at some point, but normally my eggs have been in the fridge and are still cold. I don’t think it would make a difference either way.

      • SUCCESS!! My eggs peeled perfectly!! YAY!!

        I followed your directions with very minor changes. My eggs were 12 days from the chicken. Another blog recommended adding baking soda to the water. I figured it couldn’t hurt so I did that. Next time I will keep the eggs simmering for 17-18 minutes instead of 16 as my yolks were beautiful but just very slightly underdone. My “simmer” was just about to boil to just barely boiling. I took your advice and made sure that each eggshell was cracked a bit before placing in the ice bath and filled the bowl with cold water and drained 2 or 3 times before adding the ice just to take the heat off and make my ice last longer.

        Thank you so much. My deviled and pickled eggs will be so pretty. :)

      • Thank you for sharing! When eggs are 12 days from the hen, though, do you normally have trouble peeling them? Our eggs are never that old when I use them, and same day eggs work for me with this method. Hurrah for pretty eggs!

      • Yes. I do have trouble peeling them even at 12 days. I almost can’t remember the last time I’ve been able to peel eggs this easily!

  24. Works like a charm. Serving open faced egg salad sandwiches tonight on the perfect whole grain bread and butter lettuce, with Suntava Purple Corn chips and veggies.

  25. oh my goodness im so excited i found this!! weve been saving eggs for easter but i HATE that i have had these amazing delicious eggs just sitting there waiting and that i have to be the egg nazi making sure no one eats the ones that have been waiting for easter! not i can make all of them and not worry!! going to make a few eggs tomorrow to “test” ya know, cus moms gotta make sure things are safe and all that ;-)

  26. Holy moly! Used this for deviled eggs for Easter tomorrow. So happy and stoked it worked SO WELL! Thank you so much for passing along this tip. I will never look back!! Haha :D

  27. Thank you so much! I have tried the soda, and other fool proof methods and nothing worked on peeling my farm fresh eggs. This worked perfect. I now can have deviled eggs for Easter.

  28. Pingback: Preparations: Hard-Boiled Eggs, Granola Bars, Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette, Apple Sauce and Broken Mayo | One Month Paleo

  29. Pingback: The Perfect Hard-Boiled Egg—Yes, Even with Fresh Farm Eggs | Paths of Wrighteousness | About Food and Other Things

  30. Let me just say that you my dear are a godsend! I newly moved to Colorado and my once perfect record of perfectly boiled egg had been tarnished because of the elevation here. I ruined no less than 72 eggs trying different things on the web. Tonight I first tried ONE egg not willing to lose another dozen to yet another “erroneous tip”, It went just as you said and I put in the other 11 right after. Thank you than you Thank you!

  31. What if you don’t want to make egg salad/unpeel right away? I like to have hard boiled eggs with lunch, etc, just cut in half. Are they still “peelable” if you leave them in the shells and put in the fridge?

    • That’s an excellent question. We have always peeled ours and kept whole, peeled eggs in an airtight container in the fridge if we wanted to save them for lunches. You’ve got me curious now, though. I am guessing that they would still peel okay; I’ll have to try it and see.

  32. Thank you so much! I have been trying many different methods to get the perfect eggs for serving. Your method is the only one that has worked…perfectly! They looked so pretty I actually wanted to take a picture before serving them. Thanks and blessings! (I found your link on Pinterest and now can’t wait to read more of your blog/ideas.)

  33. Tried your method and it worked perfectly! Now we can enjoy our backyard chicken eggs in even more ways. Thanks a bunch.

  34. Unbelievable! This was amazing. I had made deviled eggs for a party yesterday for the first time with my farm fresh eggs and the peeling was HORRIBLE! I did not know that was going to happen. I have another party today that i am preparing the same for and used your method and these eggs are AMAZING. Thanks for the great tip. I am definitely going to share :)

    • It’s trial and error at first getting that hole poked just right. When you peel the ones you pierced too much, you’ll probably see a giant crater somewhere in the white. Ask me how I know. Still happens once in a while. :D

  35. Fantastic! Just got done eating mine! I used a pin and went down about half a centimeter. So easy to peel. (I might have gone for less than 16 min though. :)

    • Thanks for sharing! I am curious, did you get egg white leaking out the hole? I don’t poke mine that deep (on purpose anyway) or else I lose egg white in a fine stream during the simmer. I just barely puncture the shell. Yes, simmer time is flexible depending on your preference and egg size. Lately I have been doing mine for 17. :)

  36. Not sure if you are going to see this comment but THANK YOU! I will now hard cook eggs more often. I couldn’t keep my patience trying to peel the eggs in tiny weeny pieces!!!!!

  37. Pingback: Stuffed Eggs |

  38. I saw this posted on pinterest a few weeks ago and saved it because I knew I would need it someday when our chicks started laying. Well they have and my husband had boiled some eggs the other day for deviled eggs. He was so frustrated that they wouldn’t peel and he gave up. So today I tried this and it worked wonderful. Thank you so much for sharing.

  39. Been doing this for as long as I can remember, but I actually do it a bit differently. Once they are cooked, I drain the hot water and add cold water, then I just tap the shell with a spoon to crack it and let them sit in the water for about 1 minute. As long as water can get in between the membrane and the shell it peels like a dream.

  40. Pingback: Success Hard-Boiling Fresh Eggs | Making Willow Bend

  41. Thank you! Thank you! Since our hens starting laying I have been so frustrated boiling their eggs because when I am done peeling there is nothing but the yolk left basically. I followed your directions and they peeled so easily! Even my kids were able to help!So thanks again for posting this:)

  42. I have arthritis in my fingers, so using a push pin is a little difficult for me, especially if I’m doing a large number of the eggs. I picked up a 2/12 inch stainless steel screw with a very sharp point that I use just for this purpose. It enables me get a better grip than the push pin. I find it doesn’t slip off the shell as easy and makes the holes quicker than the push pin.

  43. I pierced ALL of the shells too much and nothing much leaked out at all. My farm fresh eggs, all three dozen were peeled in record time with not one wasted or mutilated. PERFECT EGGS! THANK YOU!!!!

  44. Oh my goodness! We had a deviled egg disaster looming for Christmas and this tip saved it! Our family loves the deviled eggs like you wouldn’t believe, and the eggs I’d been aging for 3 weeks in the fridge were a total disaster, although they usually turn out fine. My sister found this tip, we went and got some new eggs and this worked like a charm. Thank you so much and Merry Christmas!

  45. I had the same problem, losing the whites. Sometimes it even happens on store-bought “regular” eggs. So, now I always run them under or put them in a bowl of cold water–ice has not been necessary—just til they cool a bit, and that always works. With fresh eggs, I was told by a chicken owner that all I need to do is boil them a very long time, and then they peel easily. I still run them under cold water before peeling. This works great. I don’t need a pin hole. I just boil them for maybe 20 minutes or more. You can experiment with how much time is needed, but this has worked perfectly for me, every time.

  46. WORKED PERFECTLY!!! I hadn’t had much experience with farm eggs beside fryin em up…this method for boiling (simmering) made it easy work with a nice end result. Oh!…and i used a small nail because I didn’t have a tack.

  47. I can’t wait to try this soon! I will be hard boiling some small eggs, do you think the smaller size would mean I should cut back the simmer time by a few minutes?

  48. Pingback: The Perfect Hard-Boiled Egg—Yes, Even with Fresh Farm Eggs | Paths of Wrighteousness | It's News to Me!

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