Nothing's more frustrating than attempting to peel a hard-boiled egg only to pick at it and accidentally remove the egg white. If you're like many, this has most likely happened on many occasions and you're probably ready to swear off boiled eggs forever. However, it is possible to flawlessly peel hard boiled eggs every time. No, we're not talking about the "blowing a hard-boiled egg out of its shell" trick, (sidenote: the YouTube videos make it look easier than it actually is). When it comes to removing the shell from a boiled egg, it's all about technique and timing.

Science Behind Boiled Eggs' Peelability

peeled boiled egg

There is an explanation behind why you can't get off the shell without tearing it to its core. When proteins in the egg are exposed to heat, they turn from liquid to solid--obviously. Since proteins are sticky, they adhere to shells membrane which makes it difficult to peel the egg. In addition, the pH level of eggs is a factor in their peelability. Specifically, eggs with a lower pH are more sticky than those with a higher level. Fresher eggs have a lower pH than older ones making them difficult to peel. Now that you understand why hard boiled eggs can be such a bother to peel, let's look at some methods that make this process easier.

1. 41-Second Method

Yes, it is possible to peel six eggs in 41 seconds. You don't need to be a magician to accomplish this either.

  • First, give the eggs a hot start by carefully placing them in a pot of boiling water. This is considered the best way to boil eggs because it cooks them faster and prevents the egg whites from reaching too high a temperature and believed to be the reason that the membrane sticks to the shell.
  • After you've boiled the eggs, turn off the heat and carefully remove them from the pot. Pour cold water in a plastic container, place the eggs in the container, secure the lid on top, and let the eggs chill.
  • Pour out half of the water and secure the lid back on. Shake the container vigorously in a vertical motion so that the eggs hit the top and the sides of the container. Continue to give the eggs a shake until the shells are cracked. This method should make peeling your boiled eggs easier than ever. Give it a try!
  • Similarly, you can remove eggs shells by shaking them up in a glass of water. You've probably seen this trick go viral some years ago where an egg cracking Houdini teaches you how to peel egg shells in less than 3 seconds. For this hack, just pour half an inch of water in a glass, drop in a cooled boiled egg, cover the top of the glass with your hand. Using this technique is said to greatly reduce the time you spend peeling a boiled egg. The only way to know is to test it out for yourself.
peeled boiled eggs in plastic container

2. Pick Up Steam

Steaming takes less time than boiling because there's less water that needs to be heated. Additionally, it is a little gentler than boiling. With steaming, the egg whites do not get too hot and adhere to the shell.

  • Start by adding 1 inch of water to a large pot. Bring the water to a boil.
  • Then, place eggs in a steamer basket, carefully add them to the pot, and cover. For soft-boiled eggs steam for 6 minutes and 12 minutes for hard boiled.
  • After the eggs have finished cooking, let them run under cold water for about 15 minutes. Once chilled, begin peeling the eggs. Alternatively, you can purchase an egg steamer for faster cooking.

3. Roll With It

Gently rolling a cooked egg on a hard surface is said to help loosen the membrane from the egg white. All you have to do is crack the egg, roll it, and proceed to remove the shells under running cold water. If you're skeptical about this method, try it out for yourself. Many swear by this hack to easily peel away egg shells.

woman peeling boiled egg

4. Age Before Beauty

Like explained earlier, older eggs have a higher pH than fresher ones, which makes them less sticky and easier to peel. Therefore, when shopping for eggs be sure to pay close attention to the three-digit lot number that will list a consecutive day of the year on which the eggs were packed. For example, a lot number that reads 365 means that the eggs were packaged on December 31 and a number that says 001 means that the eggs were packed on January 1.

5. Spoon It

We're not talking about cuddling with a boiled egg (unless that's your thing). We're talking about an easy hack that involves a spoon to help remove the shell from the egg white. Specifically, all you have to do is crack the egg, tear off a piece of the shell, insert a spoon in the opening, and rotate the egg. This genius trick will ensure that you are able to peel the egg all in one piece.

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