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The Best Tips and Tricks for Peeling Hard-Boiled Eggs

Easter weekend often means hard-cooked eggs. Here are the simplest methods for peeling off the shells

Diana Rattray How to peel a hard-boiled egg easily
Diana Rattray How to peel a hard-boiled egg easily

The secret to peeling hard-boiled eggs is simpler than you think.

If you are busy making deviled eggs this weekend, these are some simple methods to remove the shells. It all starts with purchasing the eggs. The biggest rule of thumb when it comes to peeling: The older the egg, the easier it is to peel.

Generally, you should buy and refrigerate eggs 7 to 10 days before hard boiling. Eggs absorb air as they age, which helps separate the membranes from the shells.

You can test how fresh an egg is by placing a raw one in a glass of water. If the egg lies flat, it is fresh and best used for poaching or scrambling. But if the wide end of the egg floats up slightly, or it balances on its pointy end, the egg is older — but still safe to eat — and perfect for hard-boiling. (If it floats to the top of your glass, it's too old and should be discarded.)

The cooking process is just as easy. Place the eggs in a large saucepan, and cover them with cold water by about 1 inch. Slowly bring the water to a boil over medium heat.

Related: Celebrity Chefs Share Their Best Cooking Tips Ever

As the water begins to simmer, gently stir the eggs to center the yolks. When it reaches a rolling boil, cover the pot and remove from heat. Let sit for 10-12 minutes for firm yolks or 6-8 minutes for a softer yolk.

Remove the eggs from the hot water and plunge them into an ice bath to stop the cooking. Leave them in the cold water for 2-4 minutes before peeling.

Some suggest adding ingredients like baking soda, vinegar or salt to the water before boiling, but this does not guarantee an easier peeling process.

When it comes to actually removing the shells, the internet is ablaze with strategies.

Related: Simple Recipes You Can Make for a Comforting Easter Meal

Peeling while holding the egg under running water is one technique. The water helps to separate the egg from the membrane and also washes off any of the pesky eggshell remnants left behind while peeling.

The spoon method is another popular choice. You crack the eggshell and peel off a small piece that still manages to fit a spoon inside. The shape of the spoon allows it to glide between the membrane and the egg, taking off larger shell pieces in the process.

Or, you can try shaking your hard-boiled eggs in a glass container. Fill a glass Tupperware container or Mason jar with about an inch of water before adding your cooked egg inside. Place the lid on, and shake the container. When you take out the egg, the shell should be almost entirely removed. Plus, with this method, you can peel several eggs at once if you put a few in the same container.

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