Follow these easy steps for how to boil and peel eggs perfectly. This is the first installment in Baker Bettie’s How to Cook Eggs series. Learn how to boil eggs!

Brown eggs in a carton

Hello there! This is my first post in my series about cooking eggs. In my opinion eggs are the most perfect food. I could eat them for every meal and never get sick of them!

I frequently get questions about the basics of cooking eggs so I decided to tackle eggs in my fundamentals series. Today, I want to talk to you about boiling eggs, how to do it without fail, and the age old question of how to easily peel your eggs!

I think it is maybe the most common question I see when discussing eggs, next to how to properly poach an egg. “BB, how do you easily peel an egg?” It is a great question and one that has the most simplest answer!

Use Old Eggs.

The end. That’s right folks. I’m telling you right now that the only way to truly get eggs to peel easily is to use eggs that are not super fresh. I’m going to give you a tip for making it a little easier if you have really fresh eggs, but using eggs that have aged a little is pretty key to pretty peeled eggs. Let me explain.

Egg Grading

Here in the US, we grade eggs by their freshness. Grade AA, Grade A, and Grade B. As eggs age they start to lose density. When they are very fresh, the thin white membrane that attaches to the shell is very strong, but as it ages this membrane weakens and the air sack enlarges making them infinitely easier to peel. When my plan is to boil eggs, I do not bother buying grade AA. I save that for poaching, which we will get to later this week.

Keep in mind that as eggs age, they will change grade. While you may have purchased grade AA eggs, if they sit in your refrigerator for a few weeks then they will no longer have that same grade. You should also keep in mind that eggs will keep for quite a long time in the refrigerator.

Those of us in the US may think that refrigerating eggs is standard, but around the world it actually is not. We tend to be overly cautious and nervous about eggs. All of this to say, that using eggs that have been in the fridge for a week or two will save you a whole lot of frustration when its time to peel.


BUT if you only have very fresh eggs and are in need of making boiled eggs, I have a tip for making the peeling easier.

Optional Step for if you only have very fresh eggs-

Before boiling your eggs, put a small crack in the broad end of the egg. You don’t want to penetrate the membrane, just crack the shell a bit. This will allow some water to seep into the membrane and loosen it up. This step is unnecessary if your eggs are older.

A brown egg with a slight crack in it

Perfect Boiled Eggs Step 1-

Set your eggs in an empty pot, preferably one that is not a lot bigger than needed. You don’t want to eggs to roll around in the pot.

Eggs in an empty pot

Perfect Boiled Eggs Step 2-

Cover the eggs in cold water covering the eggs by about an inch. Put the pot on the stove uncovered over medium high heat.

Eggs in a pot of simmering water

Perfect Boiled Eggs Step 3-

Stay near the pot and check on it frequently. As soon as the water starts rapidly simmering (not vigorously boiling) cover the pot with a lid, remove from heat, and set a timer.

Soft Cooked- 4 minutes

Medium Cooked– 6 minutes

Medium/Hard Cooked- 8 minutes

Hard Cooked- 10 minutes

Any longer than 10 minutes and you are moving into over cooking your eggs resulting in that gross green ring around the yolk.

Perfect Boiled Eggs Step 4-

As soon as your eggs have sat in the water for the time of your desired doneness, remove them a slotted spoon and gently drop them into ice water to stop the cooking process.

Perfect Boiled Eggs Step 5-

Once your eggs are cooled, crack the broad end of the egg on a clean surface. This is usually where the air sack is and will make peeling the eggs much easier.

Hard boiled egg with a part of the shell off to reveal the open space called the "air sack"

Perfect Boiled Eggs Step 6-

Use the side of your thumb to begin peeling away the shell. If your eggs are older the membrane should release from the egg easily allowing large pieces of the shell to come off. Of course, you can also leave the eggs in the shell in the refrigerator if not eating immediately.

A hard boiled egg partially de-shelled

That’s it! I almost always have cooked eggs in their shell in my refrigerator. They make such great quick lunch chopped up with some avocado, crispy bacon, and tomato. I also love to just eat them by themselves with a sprinkle of salt and pepper.

Hard boiled eggs cut in half

Next up, we will be tackling poached eggs. I promise you it’s so easy!

Please let me know if there is an egg topic that you would like me to cover and I will sure try and get to it. I could talk about eggs forever!

Eggs in a pot of simmering water

Boiled Eggs

Cook Time 10 minutes
Additional Time 5 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes

Follow these easy steps for how to boil and peel eggs perfectly!


  • eggs (use eggs that are at least a few days and preferably at least a week old)
  • cold water
  • ice water


  1. Place your eggs in an empty pan and cover them with enough cold water that it comes up over the eggs by about an inch. If your eggs are very fresh, put a small crack in the broad end of the egg, making sure not to piece the membrane.
  2. Place the pan over medium-high heat and bring it to a rapid simmer (you don't want a hard boil here). Put a lid on the pot and remove from heat.
  3. Set a timer. For soft cooked eggs- 4 minutes; medium cooked eggs- 6 minutes; medium/hard cooked eggs- 8 minutes; hard cooked eggs- 10 minutes.
  4. Gently remove eggs from hot water with a slotted spoon and transfer into ice water to stop the cooking.
  5. To peel- crack the broad end of the egg on a clean surface to open up the air sack. Use the side of your them to begin peeling off the shell.