Let me put some context to this question.

Sometime ago I checked into this hotel (it no longer exists). It used to be some mansion, and a chain converted it to a routine hotel. Lousy sound insulation, but I'm digressing.

The breakfast was included, and said breakfast consisted, among other things, of a huge bowl filled with boiled and peeled eggs.

I didn't pay much attention to it at the time, but looking back at it now, I marvel that anyone can boil and peel a huge number of eggs and get everyone of them this perfectly peeled. My own talent, which includes pouring a generous amount of salt in the boiling water and plunging the eggs into cold water promptly 3-5 minutes after boiling, produces the rather unapetizing result you see below.

boiled and peeled eggs

This answer seems to suggest that freshness is incompatible with ease of peeling. I hope that hotel, and workers, didn't merely rely on archeologic eggs to obtain this perfect peeling. I don't recall an unusual taste.

How can I obtain nicely peeled boiled eggs, every time?

To make the question a wee-bit harder, I'm often aiming for a soft core, removing from the heat about 2-3 minutes after the start of boiling.

  • Thanks for including a photo. I have experienced the frustration illustrated many times, it's so annoying when you are trying to make deviled eggs and this happens.
    – haakon.io
    Apr 28, 2017 at 0:31
  • 2
    There are a lot of other answers on that question you linked with suggestions besides older eggs. Have you tried any of those suggestions? I'm not wild about a second question where people can just provide the same answers they did on that one (and someone already has).
    – Cascabel
    Apr 28, 2017 at 1:26
  • 1
    @Jefromi The two other ideas say "be patient", "go slowly", "crack gently", etc. I have certainly used up all the patience I can possibly have to get a nice egg. Which leaves the "use older eggs" idea. I like the "wait till older" idea for yogurt, but it's a pretty lousy idea for any other food, especially when feeding a child.
    – Calaf
    Apr 28, 2017 at 1:52
  • 4
    It's not clear to me how this question is any different than the old one except that you don't like the answers. Apr 28, 2017 at 3:50
  • 2
    There are a ton more suggestions than the three you listed, including specific things in multiple answers like shocking in cold water (possibly after cracking slightly) and making sure they're still moist when peeling. On top of that, people are posting the same suggestions here as there.
    – Cascabel
    Apr 28, 2017 at 5:17

3 Answers 3


Very slightly crack the egg with a spoon, stack with crack up, add salt, bring to boil slowly, and cool with cold water and ice. Roll in your hand to crack the shell and keep rolling until the shell comes off. Or kind of compress from side to top. I worked as cook - I could just squeeze and open.

enter image description here

  • 1
    I see how your idea would work. Give an incentive for the boiling water to stream—ever so microscopically—between the egg and the thin layer adjacent to an egg's shell. The trouble is that (as we've all experienced) an egg that has the the most minuscule crack in its shell will let the white of the egg stream out of the water. How might one "crack with a spoon" such that the water would stream in, but the higher-viscosity egg white does not stream out?
    – Calaf
    Apr 28, 2017 at 1:48
  • more specify, maybe I think to crack it very slight that couldnt break the membrane between the egg shell and the white, so that the egg is still intact
    – Ryan
    Apr 28, 2017 at 2:46
  • @Ryan Making waaay to much of it. I worked as a prep cook and it worked. I could do 24 dozen and lose 1 at most.
    – paparazzo
    Apr 28, 2017 at 3:48
  • @Calaf Maybe you (and all others) experienced white out of the shell because you failed to crack. "Very slight" should be clear enough.
    – paparazzo
    Apr 28, 2017 at 4:01
  • 1
    This is a duplicate of a question I answered but I forgot about it.
    – paparazzo
    Apr 28, 2017 at 17:33

The possible reason for making the egg as in the picture, is that the eggshell membrane is still with the egg white. Eggshell membrane is a translucent sheet between the eggwhite and the eggshell.

  1. Add some salt to the boiling water. (When? Does it matter?)

It is because salt and acids (like vinegar) can also denature proteins in the same way heat does. Adding these substances speeds up the process by which the egg whites solidify. Reference from here.

  1. Promptly remove from the stove and pour cold water.

Eggshell membrane is primarily composed of fibrous proteins such as collagen type I, also some glycosaminoglycans,and sulfated glycoproteins. Whereas egg white consists primarily of about 90% water into which is dissolved about 10% proteins (including albumins, mucoproteins, and globulins).

When you boil the egg, the heat coming from your stove denatures the protein by disrupting some of its bonds that held the molecule into shape. In the case of hard-boiled eggs, the proteins clump together and solidify. A more complete explanation could be found here.

So, when you promptly remove from the stove and pour cold water, it quenches the boiling process, and the structural changes inside the eggwhite/yolk and the eggshell membrane. As well as shrinking the eggwhite (remember eggwhite contains more water, and has capacity to shrink), while the eggshell membrane contains less water and more fibrous protein. The difference in shrink will let the eggwhite be able to separate from the eggshell membrane.

For the japanese soft boiled eggs: I think this video is good: Place the boiled egg for around 5 minutes to ensure eggwhite are completely separated from the eggshell membrane

There is also a method here suggest for easier peeling (page 10):

As soon as eggs are cooked, place them in ice water for at least 1 minute. Then return eggs, one at a time, to the boiling water for exactly 10 seconds. The cold water shrinks the egg body away from the shell and the hot water causes the shell to expand away from the egg.


It's best to use older eggs, fresher ones will be harder to peel. After your done boiling your eggs crack them gently all over and put them back in some ice water. This will let the water get under the shells and make it easier to peel.

Another method is to put an egg into a clean empty jar and shake the jar until the shell come off.

A third method is to roll them on the counter gently as in this video near the end - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fOoDEZd4a4A

  • I use the rolling method, after rolling the egg on the counter top I then run it under the tap whilst peeling. I had never noticed difference between old or fresher eggs, however I have noticed that if the egg comes out of the fridge then boiled it peels easier than if it is an egg that has been left at room temperature then boiled. No doubt there is some fiendish science behind this! Apr 28, 2017 at 4:07
  • @dougal3.0.0 It's easy to hypothesize: Perhaps the hot water expands the shell? I'll try your method. Question: I already always take the eggs out of the fridge just before boiling them, but are you saying that one should also drop them in water that has been preheated? I found that it's a lot easier to control getting a soft yolk with a hard(er) egg white if I heat the egg along with the water.
    – Calaf
    Apr 28, 2017 at 12:41
  • @Calaf. If I am aiming for a soft yolk (runny), then drop egg into boiling water and boil for 2-3mins depending upon size of egg. Roll carefully, then peel under tap (cold). If I'm after a hard yolk, then simply put in pan of water bring to boil for 5-7mins, rolling is easier this time, but still peel under cold tap. (forgot to mention cooling them in a pan of cold water before rolling - else you'll burn your fingers!) Apr 29, 2017 at 4:38

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