How to Boil the Perfect Egg


This may come as a shock, but I didn’t always know how to boil an egg. Or, at least not the perfect boiled egg.

As a deviled egg and egg salad lover, you can imagine how traumatizing this was.

For some of you, boiling the perfect egg may be a no-brainer. I envy you and your perfect egg boiling ways — or I did until I finally mastered a technique.

Now I know there is more than one way to get a great boiled egg, so if you already have your perfect method, you can skip this post and go read something else.

But if you don’t already know how to boil the perfect egg, try this. It works for me. Every time.

The result is an egg where the yolk is *just* done… barely done… on the edge of not done, really, but done enough.

If you follow this method, you will never have a greenish-gray ring around your egg yolks, the white will be firm but not rubbery, and the yolk will be oh-so creamy.

There are four “key” points in boiling the perfect egg. The first key is starting with eggs that are not farm fresh.

In fact, I only use eggs that, at a minimum, have reached the sell-by date on the carton. Sometimes even a week beyond that. And this method is for large eggs, not medium, not jumbo, just regular old large eggs.

Eggs lose moisture over time, and are therefore easier to peel when they’re less-than-fresh because when the whites firm up, it creates a small gap between the egg and the shell. More on that later.

Place your less-than-fresh eggs in a pan, cover them with an inch of cold water and place them over high heat.

As soon as the eggs come to a gentle rolling boil, turn the heat down so the eggs gently simmer. There should not be an angry, aggressive fight going on between the water and the eggs. Angry eggs crack.

This is the second key, and a little known fact: the perfect boiled egg isn’t really boiled at all. It’s simmered… for exactly 10 minutes.

But don’t start timing until after the water comes to a boil, which could take anywhere from 4 to 7 minutes, depending upon the size of your pan, the temperature of your water, how much water, your stove’s fire power, etc.

As soon as 10 minute simmer is up, immediately turn off the heat and put the pan in the sink.

Run cold water over the eggs, dumping out the piping hot water.

Next, dump 3 or 4 cups of ice in the pan and stir until the water is ice cold.

Let the eggs sit in the chilly bath for 5 to 10 minutes. This is the third key to the perfect boiled egg — stopping the cooking process by soaking the eggs briefly in an ice water bath.

The fourth key is peeling the eggs as soon as the cooking process has stopped (hence the 5 to 10 minutes in an ice bath).

You know how the egg has a slightly larger bottom than top? (Kind of like me.)

Smash the bottom of the egg (gently) on the side of the pan or on the countertop or on a cutting board, or on your forehead (kidding).

That’s where the gap I mentioned earlier is, and it’s the best place to start peeling.

I tap the whole egg all over to crack the shell, but I always start peeling from the bottom where the gap is.

I also peel the egg over the pan, dunking it in the water occasionally to keep it moist. The peel comes off much easier when it’s wet.

Once you’ve peeled all your eggs and dunked them in the water to remove any errant pieces of shell, pat them dry before using.

When you slice into the egg, you’ll find the yolk looks moist — because it is! The color will be nice and even.

There might even be a tiny little dot in the very center of the yolk. The yolk cooks from the outside in, and if you cook it for exactly 10 minutes, it will have cook almost all the way through… except for a teensy, tiny little dot.

This is what I mean by *barely done* and it means that you have…

The perfect boiled egg.

Let’s review the four keys to the perfect boiled egg:

1. Start with less-than-fresh large eggs

2. Simmer (not boil) for exactly 10 minutes.

3. Stop the cooking process by soaking the eggs in an ice water bath.

4. Peel the eggs as soon as the cooking process has stopped, about 5 to 10 minutes after # 3. Don’t wait much longer or the greenish-gray goblin ring will appear.

Come back next week, and I’ll share a simple egg salad recipe that uses only four ingredients (besides salt and pepper… and the egg, of course.)


11 replies
    • Gwen Ashley Walters
      Gwen Ashley Walters says:

      Thanks for commenting, Kristina… I have tried other methods, like bringing to a boil and turning off the heat, but that takes a little longer and I don’t think it’s as consistent as a 10 minute simmer. Glad to know you do your eggs the same way.

  1. Sharon
    Sharon says:

    I’ll have to hide some eggs from my husband so they have a chance to age properly. My biggest issue is in the peeling. I usually cook eggs to boiling, turn off heat, cover and let them sit for 10 minutes and then plunge in ice water. And still the shell sticks. Will try the simmer method as soon as my eggs are old enough.

    • Gwen Ashley Walters
      Gwen Ashley Walters says:

      Sharon, I think the sticking issue has more to do with the age of the eggs than the method of cooking. Peeling eggs is an art! ha! Hope you have better luck with using slightly older eggs and starting the peeling from the bottom. It still takes a gentle touch, though.

  2. Shannon Dufresne
    Shannon Dufresne says:

    I just followed your directions for hard-boiled eggs…they came out perfectly!! Thanks for the tips:)

  3. Victor
    Victor says:

    Hello Gwen! I visited your blog after a long while of not reading your articles. I started visiting your blog after meeting Jeff in Saudi Arabia (we worked together @ nasair).

    I really like reading tip tutorials of how to master a simple task like boiling an egg! It shows how even the tiniest, most minuscule task in life can be elevated to an art! And the pictures of the boiled eggs are beautiful!

    Looking forward to visiting you guys in AZ, or hosting you in Mexico/Singapore.



    • Gwen Ashley Walters
      Gwen Ashley Walters says:

      Hi Victor! Thank you so, so much! Jeff speaks so highly of you. I would LOVE to meet up with you in Mexico or Singapore. Really would love for you to take me through the Mexican food markets. That would be fun! Thanks for commenting!

  4. Kathleen
    Kathleen says:

    Thanks so much for this. I’m so proud I even took pictures since my eggs had the perfect dot in the middle! Again, thanks for sharing!

    • Gwen Ashley Walters
      Gwen Ashley Walters says:

      Kathleen! Thank you for taking time to leave a comment! And YEAH! Glad it worked for you, too. It’s tougher with brown eggs, but I’ve never had a problem with white eggs using this method.


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