The Secret to Great Fresh Hard Boiled Eggs


Local eggs can be much, much fresher than supermarket eggs—sometimes as much as a month fresher.

If you’re interested in food safety, flavor, and nutrition, ultra-fresh eggs are a good thing. If you’ve ever tried to serve perfect hard boiled eggs for company, you know they can be frustrating to peel. The shell just doesn’t want to come away nicely. The inner membrane hasn’t had time to separate from the egg white.

Lucky for you, there’s the secret.

  1. Stab the point of a thumbtack into the fat end of a raw egg, straight out of the carton.

  2. Do this to six eggs, or however many will fit in a single layer in the bottom of a saucepan

  3. Cover them with cold tap water

  4. Bring the eggs and water just to the point of boiling, then turn the flame completely off

  5. Set a timer for 9 minutes and walk away. Don’t simmer the eggs.

  6. When the timer goes off, drain all the hot water and shock the eggs with several changes of cold water from the tap.

  7. Peel the eggs right away, using running water to help clean the shells off.

  8. To further polish the presentation of your hard-boiled eggs, slice them in half with a paring knife. This serves a few purposes: if you did nick the outside of an egg while getting the peel off, no worries. You see the top, level surface sliced by the knife. Also, sometimes you want half an egg. Also, the flat top is a better vehicle for a dab of pesto or mustard or aioli or any other topping you like.

9-minute eggs are golden yellow and creamy, and that’s the way we like them at our house. If you prefer fully cooked eggs, set the timer for 12 minutes instead.