Peeling Hard-Boiled Eggs

Peeling hard-boiled eggs.

Peeling hard-boiled more bad eggs!

Few kitchen tasks make a person feel more inferior than the often bewildering process of peeling hard-boiled eggs.

Here are some save-the-day (or at least save-the-egg) tips for a clean, easy peel (almost) every time:

Peeling Hard-Boiled Eggs: The Prep

Boil the eggs properly. To learn how, read How to Boil an Egg: Making Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs. There are other recipes which have you boiling for even less time, which is fine, but do not boil longer!

Do not use fresh eggs. If you are using supermarket eggs, don’t worry about it.  They’re not fresh.  If you have your own chickens and ultra-fresh eggs, store the eggs for a couple weeks before boiling.

Plunge the eggs into ice water to cool as soon as you’re done making them. You may need to add more ice as the water warms up. The ice causes the egg itself to contract, thus separating the egg from the membrane and shell…but you knew that, because you totally paid attention in science class, didn’t you?

Peeling Hard-Boiled Eggs: The Process

There are two main successful approaches to peeling hard-boiled eggs:

Peeling hard-boiled eggsCrack the larger end with the air bubble in it where the membrane is most separated from the egg. Get in under the membrane and start sliding the shell off with your fingers.


Peeling hard-boiled eggsCrack both ends. Then roll the egg between your palm and a hard surface until the entire shell is cracked. (Gently! You’re a 100+ pound human being.  It’s just a wee little egg.) Slide the shell off.


Peeling hard-boiled eggs

Peeling hard-boiled eggs







There is a third approach, but I hesitate to mention it.  Okay, fine, here it is.

Peeling hard-boiled eggsRandomly crack the egg and pick little bits of shell off while muttering your egg-peeling frustrations under your breath…but you already know that approach, which is why you’re here reading about peeling hard-boiled eggs.

Give the egg a quick rinse and your beautiful masterpiece is ready to…smash into egg salad.

What are your best tips for peeling hard-boiled eggs?

Thanks to reader Theresa for submitting this question. If you have a question you would like The Simple Homemaker to answer, submit it through my contact page. I would love to hear from you!


31 thoughts on “Peeling Hard-Boiled Eggs”

  1. I’m not sure why, but this post just tickled me to death! 🙂
    I have the hardest time peeling fresh eggs….even if I let them sit a week or two….that just proves the store eggs are WAY MORE not fresh. If I think about it too long, it makes me a little pukey.
    That being said, I did just buy 4 dozen white store eggs for Easter. Ahem.

        1. That’s totally when I’m going on a diet and joining a gym! Huge day!

          Actually, I want chickens, but pulling a coop behind the trailer probably won’t work…not that I haven’t considered it. 🙂

        1. I guess you’d go through a lot if you boiled fresh eggs all the time. The salt seems like an easy solution compared to spending an hour peeling eggs and having them look like they’ve been put through the blender. 🙂

    1. Hi everyone, I have now had laying hens again for almost 2 years after reading an article in our local newspaper about the age of eggs from the time they are laid in tiny cages to the time I buy them. I was shocked! I started buying Farm Fresh locally until my 6 new pullets became old enough to supply our daily need. I had forgotten how good a Farm Fresh egg could be… I now have almost 70 laying hens and I am now supplying our rural neighborhood with great Ultra Fresh Eggs. Only down side is that U.F.E. are so fresh that the membrane is firmly attached to the inside of the shell. As the egg ages the membrane shrinks away from the shell allowing it to be peeled easier after boiling. I have tried every trick that I have read about and all were way too time consuming. I never tried the salt trick because adding that much salt each time I would boil eggs just wasn’t sensible to me. I have finally figured out a less time consuming procedure that is doable for my time constraints and those who buy my eggs.

      Gently layer fresh medium to large eggs in a single layer in a pan with a lid large enough to hold them. Cover with cold water and bring to a full boil then turn off heat source & immediately cover with lid. Let stand covered for 15 minutes then remove with a slotted spoon to a colander or bowl. Put lid back on hot water & do not drain water from pan. As soon as you can handle the hot eggs crack the rounded end of each egg (one slightly firm tap on a cutting board or counter is sufficient). I use hot mitts that I purchased at Christmas Tree Shop. When half your eggs are cracked return your hot water covered with a lid to your heat source (I use simmer at this point). Continue cracking eggs until all done. Turn the heat up on water until it reaches a full boil, remove cover and carefully return all cracked eggs to boiling water and heat for only 10 seconds. Turn off heat and carefully remove eggs from water. At this point I prefer carefully dumping all the eggs into a colander sitting on cookie cooling rack over my sink. Peeling of eggs will be quite easy. Hope this is helpful.

  2. Enjoyed this post. Reminds me of when we moved from the city to the country. I knew nothing about fresh eggs versus store eggs. We bought laying hens and, yes, I tried to boil the eggs. BAD EGGS like the picture.
    What is even funnier is that my 8yo city girl (who is now a mom to 5) thought farm eggs were awful because they can look dirty when you gather them, but store eggs were wonderful because the store hens laid them clean.

  3. I had NO idea fresh eggs were the culprit 😉 When we moved I went from using a gas stove, to electric and from store bought to fresh eggs. I thought it was the stove’s fault.I will let my fresh eggs sit longer for now on.

    1. Thanks for the tip, Heather! I never heard of this technique before. I wonder why it works on fresh eggs–interesting. I don’t have a pressure cooker and most likely can’t fit one in our trailer during our traveling months, but my readers can use this info. Thanks for sharing your link!

  4. I had the same idea and a recent post. 🙂 We have farm fresh eggs from our backyard so I know the frustration! We don’t ever end up with eggs that stick around long enough to become “ready” so the regular boiling won’t even work for us… But I did find a little tip- baking soda!! Makes all eggs EASY to peel (at least every egg I’ve tested). 🙂 I posted about it if you want to see the results (looks like your good/bad egg pic). Thank you for sharing your experience! 🙂

  5. This may have been shared already, but I didn’t have time to read all of the comments above. 🙂 We put salt in our boiling water & let the eggs boil about 11 or 12 minutes. They peel wonderfully every time!

  6. It’s funny – until I was an adult I had no idea that peeling eggs was something people even struggled with, because I always just did it the way my mom showed me and never had a problem. Now I realize that we are pretty much the only people in the world who do it this way. After I boil them I run them under cold water and let them sit in cold water for 5-10 minutes – same idea as ice water, just doesn’t require ice. Then I grab one, tap it on the counter until it is cracked all over, and slip a spoon under the shell and pop it off. The entire shell usually comes off in one or two pieces. The curved spoon works SO much better than fingers do. I even do fresh eggs this way, and while sometimes you get a stubborn one they work about 9 times out of 10 just as well as the ancient grocery store ones.

    1. Making potato salad this morning, I realized that the only eggs in my fridge are super-fresh eggs from my newfound hobby in my backyard. (The eggs were all laid within the past week.) I decided to go ahead and deal with hard-to-peel fresh eggs. I followed your daughter’s egg cooking instructions, including the book-reading, and then proceeded to remove the shells.

      NO PROBLEM!!!!!

      I did not add salt to the water or any of the other things that are often suggested. I just used cool water and eggs, followed by super-cold ice water. I used Emily’s trick with the spoon–fantastic! The first couple gave me a bit of grief–but just a bit. I think I was too anxious and needed to let them sit a bit longer in the ice water, because all of the rest came out beautifully.


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