How to Hard Boil an Egg


There are two schools of egg lovers: those who like a soft yolk and those who want theirs cooked to a yellow chalk.  Only one of those schools-the soft yolk one- counts in my book.  Though it sounds counter-intuitive, soft yolk lovers can enjoy a hard-boiled egg.  They just have to learn the 9-minute method of preparation so that their egg retains a little of the undercooked velvet of a real yolk.  The secret is cold water.  Here’s how:

Fill a medium pot with cool water until your eggs are just covered.

Bring water to a gentle boil.  Immediately cover your pot and remove it from the heat.

Set your timer for 9 minutes and let the eggs steam, covered and off the heat, for exactly that long.

While your eggs steam, prepare your ice bath.  Start with ice.

Then add cold water.

When your 9 minutes are up, immediately transfer the eggs to your ice bath.  The cold water shocks the eggs, halting the cooking process and preserving your slightly soft yolk.

The ice bath does one more magical thing.  It separates the shell from the albumen, that thin, clingy membrane that refuses to pick a side when you try to separate egg from shell.  You can blame the albumen for all those times you’ve taken off chunks of white with your peel and ending up with a sad, pockmarked egg.

After its ice-water dip, your peel will slip off easily and in large pieces.  Congrats, you’ve freed your alabaster prize from its jealous, jagged shell.

How pretty are those yolks?  Farmer’s market eggs are the way to go when possible.  You won’t find that color anywhere else.  Or if you do, let us know!

Find our favorite ways to use hard-boiled eggs here, here and here.


7 Comments on How to Hard Boil an Egg

  1. Julie & Lauren
    December 5, 2011 at 7:45 am (12 years ago)

    Oooh I’m totally going to do this. I don’t like them when they get super dry. Genius tip!;)

  2. Lydia
    December 5, 2011 at 8:22 am (12 years ago)

    so pretty too!

  3. Halie
    December 5, 2011 at 9:28 am (12 years ago)

    Awesome tutorial. Because I hate the chalky yokes. Can’t wait to try this. Thanks SL!

  4. emily @ the happy home
    December 5, 2011 at 4:53 pm (12 years ago)

    yum! i’ve been doing the 9-minute steam but didn’t know about the ice bath. on it!

  5. Vanessa
    December 5, 2011 at 6:51 pm (12 years ago)

    I grew up in Germany where a warm soft boiled egg is the equivalent of Sunday French toast: okay, not quite, but it’s a weekend thing (and we all have egg cups, and special egg spoons: you mean you don’t have egg spoons? I know, nuff said!). In short, I want my eggs warm. So, I only shock them quickly under running cold water. I use your method, too, but I always wonder, do you use your eggs right from the fridge or warm them first?

  6. Jennifer
    December 5, 2011 at 7:51 pm (12 years ago)

    What a thing of beauty! And I never knew about the ice water bath trick. Thank you!

  7. Sarah
    December 5, 2011 at 9:07 pm (12 years ago)

    Thanks for the kind comments. Vanessa, I use them straight from the fridge because I can’t think far enough ahead to pull them out in time to come to room temp. The 9 minutes refers to a cold egg and as does the 3 minutes in my soft-boiled egg template.
    I want an egg spoon!
    Emily, let us know how it turns out!

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