Want perfect hard-boiled eggs? Follow the one true way

Russ Parsons
The California Cook
Bring to a boil, turn off heat, voila! Perfect hard-boiled eggs

For the last several years I’ve been waging a relentless campaign against badly cooked hard-boiled eggs. Because I have the one, true method for making perfect ones.

Do I sound like a zealot? Perhaps. But fanaticism in the quest for perfection is to be admired, not scorned, right? 

Here’s all you need to do to make a perfect hard-boiled egg:

1. Arrange the cold eggs in a single layer in a pot and cover them with water. 
2. Bring the water to a rolling boil over high heat and cook for 1 minute. 
3. Immediately turn off the heat and let the eggs stand — 12 minutes will give you golden orange yolks, 15 minutes and they’ll be moist yellow. 
4. To make them easier to peel, drain the water and rattle the eggs around in the pot to lightly crack the shells.
5. Cover with ice water and let stand until you’re ready to either refrigerate or use them.

It’s foolproof. You’ll never have a rubbery white or a gray-green ring around the yolk again. 

Over the years I’ve tried dozens of ways to cook eggs, getting recommendations from chefs, cookbook writers and readers who emailed with methods they were equally convinced were perfect.

But while some of them worked quite well, each of them had a drawback — you had to cook the eggs a very specific time (a minute too long and they were overcooked); you started with boiling water (combined with cold eggs, that’s a pretty sure prescription for popping); and so on.

You can’t overcook the eggs using my technique, because as soon as the heat is turned off the water starts cooling. Walk away and leave the eggs for an hour, and they won’t be as perfect, but they won’t be overcooked.

You’ll never have eggs explode during cooking either, because they start in cold water. The troublesome cracking is caused by the air pocket in the egg suddenly expanding when heated. Gradually warmed this way, the expanding air will leak through the porous shell.

Though I have tried many other techniques, I remain unmoved by any of them. My faith in the one true way is unshakeable.


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Are you a food geek? Follow me on Twitter @russ_parsons1

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