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I can peel chicken eggs fine, but boiled quail eggs are much smaller & easier to break. I tend to use my finger nails to help with peeling but it's easy to cut it too much due to the thin egg whites. Sometimes, even just pulling a half-off shell piece is enough to break the egg in half.

I've tried thermal-shocking the shell with cool water right after boiling & lightly cracking the shell before peeling, but the shells tend to come off as small pieces rather than whole big ones, making each egg take >10 seconds to peel, which adds up really quickly. Even peeling them underwater doesn't seem to help much, as it doesn't separate the shell from the white.

What's a good way to more quickly peel such small & delicate quail eggs without breaking?

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Start with eggs near their sell-by date, not ones you only just bought. The shell gets less attached to the egg with age & air builds a gap.

Boil as desired [hard-boiled is easier, of course].

Use the pan lid to drain off the water, then hold it tight & shake the pan to smash the shells into smaller [still mainly attached] pieces. Hard enough to break the shells, not hard enough to mince the contents.

Fill the pan with cold water. This will rapidly cool the eggs & as the water seeps in between, will aid separation of egg from shell.

Once cold, pull one at a time, roll gently on a hard surface - your aim is lots of tiny pieces, no large areas remaining - & pick an easy start-point. The shells should come off in one go.

I found backup to this, from a quail egg supplier…
How to easily peel quail eggs

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I haven't actually tested this myself, but I saw a tip recently for dealing with hard boiled chicken eggs that you can see if it helps with quail eggs.

They put the eggs into a hard sided plastic container, filled it part way with water, attached the lid, and then shook it firmly (and if it didn't do the job, close it back up and shake a little harder). I assume you would get the benefits from both the 'shake it in a container to break the shell' and the 'peel under water' advice.

(it might've been from Nadiya's Time to Eat, but it also could've been from any cooking show on PBS / Create TV or even an internet video).

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    usually, I would post this as a comment, because I hadn't actually tried it myself, and I really dislike it when people accept my answers that are based on conjecture before they've even tried them ... but then I get complaints about how if I post things in comments, people can't downvote them.
    – Joe
    Nov 7 '20 at 17:12

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