How to Boil Eggs

Many of you who eat eggs might think I have gone crazy to write this post. But when we take a moment and go back to those initial days of our cooking with an unknown ingredient, we will know how difficult it is for anyone to try a new ingredient. When 4-5 of my friends asked me the same question, I thought of posting this. I have been eating boiled eggs from my childhood. But when someone asked me how to boil eggs, I hesitated to answer. Well, I know how to do it and there were no failures so far, but I am not sure if what I always do is right method or wrong. So I spent some time to Google the correct answer. I learnt many different things which I didn’t know about boiling eggs. I would boil them forever without watching the time and switch off after some arbitrary time. I have seen one of my friend boiling eggs for a lot more time.

When I googled, I read somewhere that, the eggs should be boiled till the water comes to a rapid boil and then switch off the heat and close the lid. Leave the eggs like that for some duration of time and then pour ice on it. I tried it and it didn’t work out. May be the time they specified was wrong or I did something wrong, the eggs didn’t get hard in the center and since we both don’t like uncooked egg, we had to throw them all. So the safe bet would be the following method which has never failed.

Steps to boil eggs
1) Take water in a pan and slide the eggs in it carefully. Do not stack them one over the other. The water level should be 1-2″ above eggs.
2) Cook for about 15mins on medium high.
3) Discard the hot water immediately and pour ice over it. (I didn’t know this step. According to many different sites, ice helps easy peeling of eggs).
4) When the eggs are completely cooled (after about 5-6mins in ice), take them out and peel them.

I have seen some people getting really tensed while handling eggs. For ex, they take forever to peel them or even while making omelets, they think for 10mins before breaking them. With boiled eggs, do not think so much, they are not going to make a mess :).

Few things to remember:
– When you keep the eggs in a bowl of water and if the egg floats on it, that means the eggs have gone bad and have to be discarded. (To verify this I googled and found a detailed article about this).
– Fresh eggs are always hard to peel. People who don’t know about this, usually feel eggs are spoiled if the skin does not come out easily. So do not worry if they are hard to peel after cooling.

Here are few very good articles related to eggs
How to hard cook an egg
Nutritional values of egg
Eggs are back!
How to boil eggs

Please share with us your method of boiling eggs in the comments of this post. What I have written above is my method. Those who are doing it for the first time, please read all the comments and then follow what is suitable for you.

47 thoughts on “How to Boil Eggs”

    1. I had a tough time boiling eggs. My husband wanted them hard on the outside and runny in the inside. After a lot of trials and errors I managed to make the perfect egg. I first boil water in a pan then drop in the egg and exactly 6 minutes by the clock I remove it and put it in cold water. After sometime I crack the egg all around then peel it. It’s a masterpiece! I prefer my egg hard in the inside so I allow it to boil fo 10 minutes.

  1. BTW why is the top part of the post empty? anything missing?

    Shilpa: Empty? For me it looks ok in both IE and firefox. Let me see. Thanks Roopa.

  2. Yes Shilpa, top portion of this reccipe is empty. Inially when it opens, momentarilly I see picture of eggs and then disappears. Then scrolling down all the way I see it your picture and writing.

  3. Shilpa, how many eggs you are reffering to? I’m asking because you said to boil them for 20 minutes which seems like a long time to me but I guess if you are boiling a lot of eggs that makes sense.

    I like the info. Often it’s the basic things that we can do but not explain how to do them.

    Shilpa: Its 2 eggs Cynthia. Today I tried boiling eggs with timer on. One of my friend had told me 10mins is enough. But then it was not cooked from inside. So I feel 20mins which I usually do is the best bet. I might be wrong, not sure.

  4. I think the time taken to boil an egg also depends on the weather. Strange as it may sound, here in the Middle East, I have seen that eggs take longer to get fully boiled during winter even after putting them in when the water is boiling.

    While the info given above is interesting, maybe you could give us tips on how to stop them from breaking while they are being boiled.

  5. I dint know abt the 20 min rule. I bring eggs to a hard boil and simmer for 10 mins. But as you say, it was hard for me to get the perfect hard-boiled eggs in the beginning. We all need the basics once in a while!

  6. Shilpa how I boil them is as follows,allow the water to come to a boil first,add a little salt and then slowly add in the eggs(water level cannot be above the eggs,because eggs do not sink to the bottom unless they are spoilt,they always float)it takes 8 mins generally for it to hard boil,depending on the altitude of your place it may take more.For me,here in Switz it takes 10mins.But remember,this time is after the water has come to a boil.

    After 10mins,i drain the water and add cold water.Salt helps tp prevent the eggs from cracking and cold water i have found makes it easier to peel.

    Thanks for giving such info,we can all share our ways and learn from each other.

  7. Here is what I do.I add eggs to cold water and put it the high heat for 15 mins,pour the hot water out and add cold water on the eggs for 5 mins.Perfectly cooked Eggs,always works for me.Great info and thanks for those links,really helpful:)

  8. The cold water plunge also helps to prevent the formation of those ghastly blue green edges on the yolk which give badly boiled eggs a sulphurous taste.

  9. boiling eggs has always been a 50-50 kinda situation ;sometimes they come out well done(as i prefer as it’s ideal for gravy dishes)and when they don’t ,the less said the better!i always prefer to boil eggs in solitude!! i’ll try sumitha’s way as it comes close to what i normally do.God even eggs have to have right altitude ?!

  10. Hi Shilap,

    What i do is,same as you.Take a water in pan, drops the egss,add little salt&keep for some 20minutes.

    I like to share this information again.You have mentioned that i don;t this step of dropping boiled eggs in ice.Actually my parents use to do that like dropping boiled eggs in cold water,i thought it was to cool egg,which helps in peeling…so i followed same.

    But in my U.G 2nd year i got thereason in my nutrition class,actually i forget the name of chemicals(shame on me)notsure ferrous sulphite i think so form a ring like structure inside egg(which is harm to health) while boiling, while you drop it in cold water, it dissolves…so thought our elders did for some reason, it got its own scienticif reason too…

  11. sowmya venkatesh

    thanks shilpa….
    ok let me try this… this is the first time ever i will be boiling eggs…:)

  12. Its very useful info shilpa. Yes i boil it the same way as you do. However I dont salt the water as mentioned in some of the posts. I watch food network and some of the chefs provide tips on getting perfect eggs. ie to put the lid on after it comes to a boil, but i think you need to boil it on high for a long time before you put the lid on to get perfect eggs.

  13. 1) Keep eggs in the pan and pour water in it. The water level should be 2inchs above the eggs and add a pinch of salt.
    2)Keep the pan on high for 15 min and then turn off the gas and immiediately put a cover on the pan for 10min.
    3)The hot water vapours will let cook th e eggs completely.
    4)After 10 min discard the water and place the pan under the cool water tap.This will help to remove the cover easily without breaking the eggs.
    5)Then peel off the eggs.
    I generally use this way to boil eggs.
    Thanks for reading.

  14. Hi shilpa!

    this is not just an article, indeed a very useful topic.Thanks for sharing this method. My version is boil eggs not overlaping each other in a container of water. As you said water should be 2 to 3 inches above the egg level. Now boil untill the water boils rapidly as well as the water level decreases to 1 to 2 inches less than eggs. Switch off! Remove from heat. Through the hot water. Fill the conatiner with cool full of water. Keep for 2 minutes. The water gets warm as eggs counts to cool down.Through the water again and fill with cool full of water. Once they cool down, try to peel the skin under thin cool running water. Before this only the skin comes out easily. But if not follow this one too. The egg will be neat with out breaking. This is method I follow always and been success so far:-)

  15. hi Shilpa,

    I used to boil eggs with same process b’fore,but after i bought a microwave egg boiler i completly stopped boiling eggs.with the microwave one it only takes 8 mins and with the product i bought from walmart you can boil 4 eggs at a time and its very very easy to do.


  16. Never boil an egg in a microwave…i did that and it blew off in the microwave itself…i know i made a big fool of myself..but i am still waiting for a relacement of my beloved microwave 🙁

  17. This is how mom taught me to..
    Add a lil salt to the water so the shell doesnt break?? Never thought of even asking her.. When the water comes to a boil I drop the eggs using a big spoon(karandi) and let it med high heat for 10 mins.. Then imme drain the hot water and show the eggs in cold water from the tap for few secs..

    I do this for 2 eggs.. It has been quite good for me..!

  18. Hi, boiling eggs this way may sound weird,but indians using pressure cooker can try this. Just put the eggs in a cooker container same as the one we use to make rice.PUt sufficient water to cover it and pressure cook it for 3-4 whistles. Let the cooker cool and then open it, discard the water and peel the eggs.This always works for me and don’t have to keep an eye on it.

  19. Shilpa,
    Plunging into cold water is a great tip. You may also hold the hot egg under running tap water and peel it.
    Some people even put a tsp of salt in the water. Don’t know the reason. I tried it though. I did not find the difference and also the salt makes it tough to clean.

  20. Hi,
    I pressure cook the eggs for 1 whistle. I do not use any container in the cooker, directely keep eggs in the cooker and add some water and keep for 1 whistle. in this method, shell comes off very easily.

  21. Hi Shilpa,

    Been following your blog for months now, but commenting for the very first time. I’m married to a Manglorean; was looking for Konkani recipes outside the Jaya Shenoy book – your blog beats that hands down! Whether I try many things that you post here is another story, but your blog is such a pleasure to read!

    That said, eggs – if I decide to do them last minute, (i.e. want to serve/have them as soon as they’re done), I boil them for 12 mins, pour the hot water out, hold them under running cold water for less than a minute – if there are more eggs, I run cold water over the vessel for a while and then let the eggs sit in cold water while I peel them.

    If I know I’m making eggs, and want to have them ready a couple hours beforehand, I boil them for 12-15 min (depending on how cold the water is when you start the timer), and let them stay in the same water till it’s time to eat. Between the two I like the 2nd method – peels easily, doesn’t have the sulphur ring, and isn’t too hot to handle.

    Keep writing…:)


    PS: I loved the idea of your papdi-mirsang and even jeer-meerya kadhi. I love sol kadhi, and tamarind is a very good option (and much easier) option, and comes very close to sol kadhi in taste! Thanks for the effort behind your blog 🙂

  22. If you are not in a hurry to eat the eggs, this method also works: put eggs in water; bring to boil; remove from heat, cover, and let sit until water is cool. (Putting ice on eggs just after removing form heat will not let them cook inside.)

  23. As a beginner even I wasnt sure how long to boil the eggs.I just tried doing it myself and they came out fine from the very first time.
    I add eggs to cold water and on med-high heat bring it to a rolling boil.After that I simmer it for 5-10 mins(depending on number of eggs).Thats it.
    Adding cold water seems like a good idea for easy peeling.Will try that next time..thanks.

  24. I put my eggs in the steamer each morning and steam them for 22 mins. Sometimes they crack open. I heard that if the eggs were at room temperature they would not crack open as bad. If this is true, I would take them out at about 11:30 PM and put them in the steamer about 6 AM.

    Is it safe to let them sit out of the refrigerator for this length of time before cooking?

    Shilpa: I don’t know about this Bess. Since they are at low temperature in refrigerator, I feel they might get spoiled if allowed to sit so long.

  25. Start with cold water, put in the eggs and add salt. The salt will not keep the eggs from breaking but since the shell is porus, the salt will enhance the flavour of the egg. To keep the white from spilling incase the shell cracks, add a few drops of vinegar. Boil for 12 – 15 minutes for hard boiled (fully cooked) eggs. Keep vessel under unning tap water instead of ice. This will let them cool gently and the blue ring around the yolk will not be there. Crack the egg and peel off the shell and the fine white membrane. If you aren’t using your boiled eggs immediately, rub a little butter on your hands and coat the eggs with a fine film of butter. Eggs will stay moist and fresh longer – this is handy when packing boiled eggs in a tiffin box.

  26. I boiled some eggs then put them in cold water. From the cold water I put them on the counter and forgot about them when I went to work for the day. Are they bad at this point or ok to eat? They are in the fridge at this point.
    Thanks for your asisstance.

  27. Hi shilpa
    As u mentioned one would think tips to boil eggs? but true it is not easy to boil an egg perfectly. If u boil it too long a grey color appears around the yolks with slight sulfur smell.This is due to the reaction of ironpresent in the yolk and sulfur in the egg white. When heated, the two combine to make green-gray ferrous sulfide and hydrogen sulfide gas. To avoid getting a grey yolk, cook your eggs just long enough to reach the desired doneness—no more. And quickly plunge the cooked eggs into cold water to stop the cooking process and minimize the iron-sulfur reaction. I f you boil one egg or twenty eggs it takes same time to boil.

  28. Dear Friends,
    I would love to know of websites which have authentic east indian recipes as my fiancee is east indian from mumbai .

    Would highly appreciate your help.

    Tks & rgds

  29. You are so correct in boiling eggs for about 20 min on low heat. If you have a large no boil them for 22. I add them to simmering water iniatially and time them when they start simmering. As you noted, they will not be boiled correctly if put in boiling water and then turn off the heat. What’s with that!!! Happy Easter from an old lady but a good cook. Agnes

  30. Instead of using ice at the end, if you boil the egg in water by adding 1 tea spoon of salt . This will help to peel off the egg shell nicely when when it cools down.

  31. I have found out boiling eggs by the teste after they are boiled ..I can go to anyones house and if they have potato salid with boiled eggs,,i hesiatte about eating them by the way they have been we all know the moment eggs comes off the stove the hot wter should be poured off as soon as possible..why? when the egg is boiling you can notice the heat pushing air through the poors of the egg,,well it make only since if the hot water is cooling it forms a vaccum in the egg drawing that sulphur teste right back into the egg,,just as a canning jar pulls a vaccum when its been canned and sealed,,the lid seals from the vaccum being pulled just as an egg pulls the dirty checkee taste right back into the egg,,,bold them,,remove from stove and get cold water in that pot as fsat as possible and then u have a great clean tsating egg,,try it!!

  32. Hello Shilpa,
    I used your method for boiling 16 eggs to make deviled eggs with and they came out perfect! Yours was really helpful! Thankies for posting this!

  33. Another tip – sometimes when we peel boiled eggs we see a greenish/grayish outline on the outisde of the yolk – this means that the egg has been overboiled

  34. this site really helped me how to boil an egg right. i usually leave them in for 15 mins but it dont cook right and so when i read the steps of how to boil an egg, i now know how long to put boiled eggs on for.

  35. Hi Shilpa,

    Read your post …its nice. 1 thing i would loike to add is to check if the eggs are fuuly cooked just rotate them if they stop immediately its cooked if they still rotate they arent cooked …that what i do and taught by my MIL

  36. Hi Shilpa,
    i cook egg in a pressure cooker.Its always when i make dhal i use the bottom vessel to boil dhal and the top one to boil eggs.3 whistels and your eggs are done perfectly without breaking

  37. SHILPI…. I DONT KNOW HOW EFFECTIVE IT IS …. BUT MY MOM USE TO DO IT SO DO I…….She use to add salt in water while boiling eggs according to her eggs get peal off easily with the salt…

  38. What I do is: add eggs to the pot and fill with water until it’s an inch above the eggs. Then, wait for it to come to a boil and once it does; wait five minutes and take them off the burner for a minute or two (lowering the heat to minimum) and then putting them back on for about 10-12 minutes and voila.

    I found that salt in the water really didn’t work for me, and I have never tried the ice method.

  39. The ferrous sulfide ring around egg yolk is not harmful to eat. To avoid, after water comes to a boil turn off heat and cover pan and let stand 15-20 minutes. Rinse with cold water. Fresh eggs sink to the bottom on their side in a bowl of water. Eggs that stand on their end are older but should be used soon. Eggs that float are stale and should be discarded.

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