How to Peel Hard Boiled Eggs

A step-by-step guide to perfect peeling.

August 17, 2022
Boiled chicken eggs on wooden board with pepper flakes

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Boiled chicken eggs on wooden board with pepper flakes

Photo by: ToscaWhi/Getty Images

ToscaWhi/Getty Images

By Layla Khoury-Hanold for Food Network Kitchen

Layla Khoury-Hanold is a contributor at Food Network.

Hard boiled eggs are essential for making deviled eggs and egg salad sandwiches, plus they make for a satisfying portable snack. But boiling eggs is the easy part. Peeling hard boiled eggs can be frustrating, especially when it takes a long time, or you find yourself removing large pieces of cooked egg white as you go. Here’s how to perfectly peel hard boiled eggs, plus get our top hacks for getting boiled eggs to peel easily.

How to Peel Hard Boiled Eggs, Step-by-Step

Food Network Kitchen’s How to Peel Hard Boiled Eggs, as seen on Food Network.

FNK_HowToPeelHardBoiledEggs_Shot_1_H

Food Network Kitchen’s How to Peel Hard Boiled Eggs, as seen on Food Network.

Photo by: Renee Comet

Renee Comet

Step 1: Plunge the Boiled Eggs Into an Ice Bath

Once your eggs have boiled to desired doneness, use a slotted spoon or a strainer to transfer the eggs to a prepared ice bath. Leave them submerged for about until they’re cool enough to handle but still warm, 2 to 3 minutes.

Food Network Kitchen’s How to Peel Hard Boiled Eggs, as seen on Food Network.

FNK_HowToPeelHardBoiledEggs_Shot_2_H

Food Network Kitchen’s How to Peel Hard Boiled Eggs, as seen on Food Network.

Photo by: Renee Comet

Renee Comet

Step 2: Gently Crack the Egg

Tap the egg gently on the counter, creating a mosaic like pattern all over the shell.

Food Network Kitchen’s How to Peel Hard Boiled Eggs, as seen on Food Network.

FNK_HowToPeelHardBoiledEggs_Shot_3_H

Food Network Kitchen’s How to Peel Hard Boiled Eggs, as seen on Food Network.

Photo by: Renee Comet

Renee Comet

Step 3: Roll the Egg

Carefully and gently roll the egg between your hands to help loosen the shell. Note that if you’re peeling softer boiled eggs, you’ll want to skip this step because the eggs are more fragile and could tear.

Food Network Kitchen’s How to Peel Hard Boiled Eggs, as seen on Food Network.

FNK_HowToPeelHardBoiledEggs_Shot_4_H

Food Network Kitchen’s How to Peel Hard Boiled Eggs, as seen on Food Network.

Photo by: Renee Comet

Renee Comet

Step 4: Start Peeling at the Large End

Start peeling at the egg’s largest end—there’s an air pocket here that will make it easier to start the process. Make sure to gently lift and peel away the thin membrane beneath the shell that surrounds the egg white.

Food Network Kitchen’s How to Peel Hard Boiled Eggs, as seen on Food Network.

FNK_HowToPeelHardBoiledEggs_Shot_5_H

Food Network Kitchen’s How to Peel Hard Boiled Eggs, as seen on Food Network.

Photo by: Renee Comet

Renee Comet

Step 5: Use Cold Water for an Extra Assist

If you’re still having trouble removing the shell, hold the egg under cold running water while peeling or submerge it in a bowl of water to help loosen the shell.

boiled eggs on plate with broken eggshell  macro

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boiled eggs on plate with broken eggshell macro

Photo by: aga7ta/Getty Images

aga7ta/Getty Images

How Do you Get Boiled Eggs to Peel Easily?

Start with Slightly Older Eggs

To make hard boiled eggs that are easy to peel, use store-bought eggs, which are slightly older than farm fresh eggs. Farm fresh eggs have a lower pH level that makes them harder to peel. The older the egg, the easier it is to peel (but you should always use up eggs by their sell-by date).

Add Baking Soda

Baking soda is said to raise the pH level of eggs and therefore make them easier to peel. Add 1 teaspoon baking soda to a pot of eggs, as in our Perfect Boiled Eggs recipe.

Cook the eggs In Boiling Water

Eggs that are added to a pot of boiling water and cooked will be easier to peel (rather than starting them in cold water and then bringing them to a boil). Gently lower eggs into boiling water in a single layer so they don’t risk bumping into each other and cracking shells.

Shock them In an Ice Bath

Prepare a bowl of cold water with ice and transfer boiled eggs to the ice bath as soon as they’re done cooking. Leave them until they’re cool enough to handle but still warm, about 2 to 3 minutes.

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