Hack #3: The Hard Boiled Egg


Somewhere in the world there might still be a few people who don’t know how to boil water. I venture there are a lot more of us fumbling around trying to perfectly hard-boil an egg.

A well-made hard-boiled egg is more than a tasty bite of protein on your toast or in a salad or sandwich. It can be a thing of beauty.

But only if cooked correctly.

There are definitely some bad eggs out there. You have seen them. Eggs which, when cut in half, have a grayish-green line around the dry-as-dust yolk. Or whites so rubbery they might bounce if you dropped them.

avoid gray perimeter around yolk

When ready for a good hard-boiled egg, here is a foolproof recipe from start to finish. Cooked to perfection every time and consumed for nutrition and pleasure.

Eggs always remind me of the final scene in “Annie Hall”. The main character reminisces about his former girlfriend, Annie, after unexpectedly running into her on the street. He philosophizes, “It reminds me of that old joke–you know, a guy walks into a psychiatrist’s office and says, hey doc, my brother’s crazy! He thinks he’s a chicken. Then the doc says, why don’t you turn him in? Then the guy says, I would, but I need the eggs. I guess that’s pretty much how I feel about relationships. They’re totally irrational, crazy, and absurd, but we keep going through then because, well, most of us…need the eggs.”

Absolutely. We all need them eggs.



  • Place eggs shell to shell in an uncovered saucepan as space allows.IMG_8349
  • Cover with cold water one to two inches above top of eggs.IMG_8350
  • Add a splash of white [or any kind of] vinegar. This helps prevent shells from cracking during cooking process.
  • Turn heat on high and wait for water to boil.IMG_8402
  • When water reaches full boil, immediately turn off heat and place a lid over pan.
  • Set timer for exactly 18 minutes. [At higher altitudes you need to add time.]IMG_8408
  • As soon as timer goes off, drain hot water and flush eggs copiously with cold tap water while still in pan.
  • Transfer eggs to bowl and set in refrigerator to finish cooling.
  • Once cooled, ready to peel and eat.

Peeling is the other, often imperfect, part of boiled eggs. Some people swear by peeling under running water. Others say it depends on the freshness of eggs whether they peel easily or not. I use the meditative approach and simply take my time, aiming for the smoothest release of shell and membrane from each part of the egg. Sometimes it works.

Other hacks here: Hack #1: Making Perfect Rice and Hack #2: Relishing the Radish

11 thoughts on “Hack #3: The Hard Boiled Egg

  1. Thanks, can’t wait to try! I would adjust the recipe at the last step: as soon as the pot is off the stove, I would drain the water and then run the eggs under the tap until they are cool. That should help in the peeling…
    BTW, a friend gave me a musical egg-timer from Holland: it’s a ceramic egg (apparently with some mechanism inside) that you pop in the water with the eggs – it’s supposed to ring a different tune at 3 minutes and at 4-minutes. Doesn’t really work because there’s no instruction on how much water etc.


  2. Yes. Agree. 100% This is the only way to do it, though I usually leave them for just 10 min. Why do I feel so righteous about this method? Despite my best intentions, I find myself scoffing at, and indeed judging in the most negative terms, anyone who deviates from this approach. At least I know of one other sane person in the world!


  3. Yup! you have the egg cooking perfectly. One thing–I do the same method but only boil the eggs for 20 minutes at 8000 feet. Works every time.


  4. “There are definitely some bad eggs out there.” A laugh out loud metaphor, which of course begs the question as to whether you are talking people, world leaders or asking us to consider who earns the rating of Grade A? Or are you maybe (and unconsciously) intimating Freudian logic and the psychology of reproduction and “contributing” an egg? Matters not I suppose– but a delightful “Hack” Wendy and funny too.


  5. I’ll try your method tomorrow
    happy your method to borrow
    How hard can it be? I guess we shall see
    and hope it does not end in sorrow.


  6. Wendy, you are amazing to create a story on how to boil an egg! When I started to read it I couldn’t wait to read the rest. I always wondered why my boiled eggs had a grey edge? Previously to your blog I thought I knew everything on egg boiling? How I love your blogs my friend, keep them coming!

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