I know, I know. You’re wondering, how hard can it really be? If you’re like me, you’ve been boiling eggs for years and you’ve never really thought twice about it. But it turns out, as simple as it is to make hard-boiled eggs there really is a “better” way to do it! Here’s a quick tutorial on three ways to prepare perfect boiled eggs 3 ways: Soft boiled, hard boiled, and roasted.
Soft Boiled Eggs
Soft boiled eggs are a traditional part of an English breakfast. As a child, I always loved eating soft boiled eggs out of a little egg cup, scooping out the creamy egg with a dainty egg spoon. A little salt, a little buttered toast, some fresh fruit and you have a great way start the day! There’s a fine line between soft and hard boiled, and timing is everything when it comes to this sort of thing. Here’s how to soft boil an egg:
1. In a deep pan, heat enough water to cover the eggs by 1 inch.
2. Bring the water to a boil, then lower the heat until the water is simmering.
3. Set a timer for six minutes, and have it ready to go.
4. Using a spoon, lower the eggs one by one into the simmering water (work in small batches, you don’t want eggs bumping into each other or piled on top of each other). Start the timer.
5. Allow the eggs to boil for six minutes, until the timer goes off. While they are boiling, get a strainer ready.
6. When the timer sounds, remove the eggs from the hot water with a slotted spoon. Put them in the strainer, and quickly run cold tap water over them for few seconds.
7. Place the egg in an egg cup, and remove the top of the egg using an egg cutter. You can also tap all the way around the top of the egg with the edge of a knife, and then slice through to remove the top.
Serve with sliced, buttered toast for dipping or spreading. Soft boiled eggs should be eaten right away, or put them right in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Hard Boiled Eggs
Hard boiling eggs is a lot more forgiving than soft boiling them, but they are still a lot better if you follow these easy directions. By cooking them in hot (but not boiling) water, you can avoid that unsightly green ring that hard cooked eggs sometimes get around the yolk. You’ll also get eggs with a nice firm-but-not-rubbery texture…perfect for salads, breakfast, or a protein packed afternoon snack!
1. Place eggs in a deep saucepan large enough to hold all the eggs in a single layer (you don’t want them stacked or rattling around on top of each other).
2. Run cold water over the eggs, enough to cover them one inch over the tops of the eggs. Heat the eggs and water on high until the water just begins to boil.
3. As soon as the water boils, turn the burner off and remove the pot from the heat. Put a lid on the pot and set a timer, allow the eggs to sit in the hot water for 9 minutes (small eggs), 12 minutes (for large eggs) or 15 minutes (extra-large eggs).
4. Serve them warm, or run cold water over them and refrigerate.
Hard cooked eggs will keep for a week in the fridge. You’ll want to put them back into their original container, or keep them in another container with a lid. Not only will the eggs make your fridge smell funky, they can also pick up other smells from the fridge…making the eggs taste funny.
This is my new favorite way to hard-cook eggs! It’s especially handy when you have to cook a lot of eggs. The eggs are roasted in the oven, and come out with the flavor and texture of hard boiled eggs…but you can cook a ton of them at a time, and you lose very few eggs to cracking or exploding when compared to cooking them the traditional way. For reference, I cooked 150 eggs in the oven and only lost one (and it was spectacular…the whole end blew off and then the egg cooked outside the shell…cool!).
1. Place the oven rack in the middle of the oven. Line the rack beneath it with foil or cookie sheets (just in case an egg breaks).
3. Line the upper rack with the eggs…as you can see, you can squeeze a lot of eggs on there. The picture above shows 75 eggs!
4. Close the oven door and turn the oven on to 325 degrees. Set a timer and bake the eggs for 30 minutes.
5. Turn the oven off, and transfer the eggs to a bowl of cold water. You may see brownish spots on the shells, and that’s OK. They are kind of pretty, but the spots come right off in cold water. Sometimes roasted eggs will have golden-brown spots on the whites after you peel them, where the egg touched the oven rack during cooking. However, the last batch of eggs I made this way had no marks at all on the whites.
Roasted eggs will keep in the fridge just like boiled eggs, so follow the directions for storage above.
Some Helpful Hints
- If you want a really delicious, healthy egg….start with the right kind! Eggs from happy, cage-free chickens are much better for you than the alternative. Organic and cruelty free really makes a huge difference in the quality of your eggs, and in their omega 3 content.
- That’s why so many people are now keeping their own chickens, and reaping the benefits of high-quality eggs right from their own backyard! Be aware, though, that pollutants in your soil can easily make their way into your happy, cage-free eggs. If you live in the city, or if your property may have lead paint chips in the soil, you’ll want to get some fresh topsoil for your chickens to frolic on.
- You may have learned that piercing an egg on the larger end before boiling it prevents cracking. That might be true (although in my experience it really didn’t seem to work) but it also could introduce bacteria into your egg…especially nasty if you’re soft boiling it. I’d skip this step, it’s not worth the risk.
- I used to keep my raw eggs out on the counter in a pretty wire basket, but then some friends of mine got together and staged an intervention. They were concerned about my possible untimely death due to eggy bacteria bombs, and it turns out they were right. In some countries (the UK for instance), eggs are safer to leave out on the counter because the standards are different there for raising chickens. In America, the risk of contracting Salmonella from eggs is apparently higher due to farming practices and in most cases it’s just not worth the risk. Farm fresh eggs, when you can be certain that they’ve been handled carefully, can be left out for longer…but again, better safe than sorry!
- Sad but true…fresh eggs are much harder to peel than older eggs. You might want to purchase your eggs 7-10 days before you plan to boil them, in order to avoid the frustration that can result when the shells stick to the eggs.
What’s your favorite way to eat an egg?