This graphic shows that the way you make hard-boiled eggs — and how long you cook them — makes all the difference
Rachel Askinasi Jul 6, 2020, 6:22 PM
- In an attempt to make the perfect hard-boiled egg, I scoured the internet for tips and tricks from bloggers and professionals alike.
- I chose three popular cooking methods and tried each at four different cook times.
- I made two eggs for every method/time combination, giving one from each batch a 10-minute ice bath to see if it would make a difference.
- The side-by-side images show how each method/time combination altered the boiled eggs.
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How do you like your eggs in the morning? Dean Martin wasn’t partial to any particular way when he sang about his breakfast, and neither am I. Still, hard-boiled has always been a versatile go-to for me. Until recently, though, I didn’t know there were so many different ways to make them.
It seems like everyone I talk to has their own way of making the perfect hard-boiled egg, so I set out to see just how many methods there are and whether they make much of a difference when it comes to the finished product.
After doing extensive research, I landed on three different cooking methods to try.
- Dropping cold eggs into already boiling water, immediately reducing the heat to simmer, and starting the timer;
- Dropping cold eggs into cold water, bringing it to a boil, removing the heat, and then starting the timer;
- Dropping cold eggs into already boiling water, covering the pot with a tight-fitting lid, removing the heat, and starting the timer.
I also wanted to see how much of an impact timing made, so I tried each method at four different cook times: five minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes, and 20 minutes.
Here’s how the eggs turned out in the case of each method/time combination (you can click on the image below to make it larger):
The last part of this experiment was to see whether a 10-minute ice bath made the eggs easier to peel. Some websites suggest that an ice bath both stops the cooking process — the hot egg will continue to cook in its own heat if you leave it be — and makes the whites contract, pulling them away from the inside of the shell which would make it easier to peel away.
While I did notice a variation in texture on some of the iced versus uniced eggs, I didn’t think it made any of them particularly easier to peel. In the photo above, each of the eggs on the left side of their respective tiles was peeled without an ice bath, and each egg on the right was peeled after a 10-minute ice bath.
I also read that the temperature and age of eggs can make a difference when it comes to results. For the sake of this experiment, I used two dozen of the same large, Grade A eggs. I took each pair out of the refrigerator as I was ready to drop them into the pot.
I’ve always used method No. 1 — dropping cold eggs into already boiling water then immediately reducing the heat to simmer — for 13 minutes, and, truth be told, I’ll probably keep to it.
When I’m making a batch to either keep at work for the week or use up eggs that are near expiring, I like to bite into a firm white with a semi-dry, bright yellow yolk. But, if I’m making some to eat on the spot, I might go back to my new favorite, method No. 3 — dropping cold eggs into already boiling water, covering the pot with a tight-fitting lid, and removing the heat — at 10 minutes. Cooked that way, the egg’s velvety, decadent yolk was scrumptious.
At the end of the day, it all comes down to how you like your eggs in the morning — or afternoon, that’s up to you. Find your own sweet spot and let them be a moment of savory goodness. Now, excuse me while I try to get this song out of my head.