Recipe courtesy of Julia Child

To Hard-Boil and Peel Eggs

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  • Level: Easy


  1. Manufacturing Notes:
  2. Pricking: There is a bubble of air in the large end of the egg, which expands when the egg is heated and can crack the shell. To let that air escape, always prick the large end with an egg pricker or a pin, going in a good 1/4 inch.
  3. How much water? That depends on how many eggs you have. The water should cover the eggs by 1 inch, so use a tall pan, and I would hesitate, under home conditions, to do more than 2 dozen eggs at once.
  4. For 1 to 4 eggs...2 quarts of water For 12 eggs.......3 1/2 quarts of water For 24 eggs.......6 quarts of water
  5. Special Equipment Suggested: An egg pricker or drafting pin; a high rather than wide saucepan with cover; a bowl of sufficient size with ice cubes and water to cover eggs.
  6. The cooking: Lay the eggs in the pan and add the amount of cold water specified. Set over high heat and bring just to the boil; remove from heat, cover the pan, and let sit exactly 17 minutes.
  7. The 2-minute chill: When the time is up, transfer the eggs to the bowl of ice cubes and water. Chill for 2 minutes while bringing the cooking water to the boil again. The 2-minute chilling shrinks the body of the egg from the shell.
  8. The 10-second boil: Transfer the eggs (6 at a time only) to the boiling water, bring to the boil again, and boil for 10 seconds--which in turn expands the shell from the egg. Return the eggs to the ice water, cracking the shells gently in several places.
  9. Preventing that dark line around the yolk: Chilling the eggs promptly prevents that dark line from forming, and if you have time, leave the egg in the ice water (adding more ice if needed) for 15 to 20 minutes before peeling. Chilled eggs are easier to peel, too. Or peel them, as described in the next paragraph, and ice them at once.
  10. Peeling: Crack an egg all over by gently tapping it against the sink. Then, starting at the large end, and holding the egg either under a thin stream of cold water or in the bowl of ice water, start peeling. As soon as you have peeled it, return the egg to the ice water so that it will continue to chill.
  11. Storing the HB eggs: They will keep perfectly in the refrigerator, submerged in water in an uncovered container, for 2 to 3 days.