Great way to peel boiled eggs

hard-boiled-eggs-blogsize.JPG

I loved medium boiled eggs with salt and pepper and a pat of butter as shown above (my breakfast this morning), but I don’t have them all that often because it’s a real pain to peel them. Not only is it a pain for me to peel them, I seem to always end up with pieces of the shell in with the eggs, which I hate. Then I came across the video linked below.

At first I figured this was one of those things that looks easy but in reality is really difficult. But it’s not. It works pretty much as portrayed in the video with one caveat: you have to blow much harder than it looks like this guy is doing. And it helps if the eggs aren’t boiled until they are truly hard. If they are semi-soft, they come out pretty easily. When they do come out, they come out shell free.

If any of you try it and have a different experience (or the same experience) or if you have any refinements of the technique, comment away, and I’ll post or all to read. As for me, I’ll be having my little balls of protein and good fat much more often now that I don’t have to fool with the peeling.

Addendum: Here is a link to a blog post by Tim Ferriss showing him performing the same operation.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

37 thoughts on “Great way to peel boiled eggs

  1. I always had trouble peeling hard boiled eggs but I found a way to get the shells off the eggs and it works great for me. I boil a pot of water until it’s at a rolling boil. Turn the heat off and gently place each egg on the bottom of the pot (use kitchen or bbq tongs). Turn the heat back on and boil for about 12-15 minutes depending on how done you like your eggs. Take the eggs out of the hot water and immediately place in an ice water bath and let them sit for about 15-20 minutes. Once they’re cool the shells peel off easily with your fingers. Try it and let me know.

    Hi Dave–

    It seems a lot easier to me to just blow the eggs out of the shells.

    Cheers–

    MRE

  2. My last bout with eggs (omega-3 from Costco) made me give up the little darlings. However, the jumbo eggs that I buy from Trader Joe almost jump out of their shells. Is it a matter of freshness?

    So, I’ll try the above trick. It gives new meaning to the term blow job (I’m sure this comment will be deleted).

    I just finished Gina Kolata’s take on Gary Taubes’ book (which I finally finished reading) in her New York Times article today. Her final word, I’m sorry, but I’m just not convinced.

    Kolata and Jane Brody, the dyspeptic duo.

    Hi marly–

    Yeah, I read Kolata’s hit jobl. Based on her insipid comments, she obviously didn’t really read the book.

    And your comment is intact. With age comes some privilege.

    Cheers–

    MRE

  3. Works great, I can’t tell you how many of these little jewels I have disposed of in a fit of anger. The one I just tried it on was in the refer for maybe a week.

    Barry Gambini
    The Weight and Health Clinic
    Visalia Calif.

    I’m glad it worked for you.

    Cheers–

    MRE

  4. Oh man, if only I’d checked your blog earlier. As I write this, I’m munching away on half a dozen farm-fresh, local, boiled eggs with chopped raw okra, an avocado, garlic, cayenne, herbs, salt, and red palm oil. The one downside to really fresh eggs is that they are hard to peel. I spent a good ten minutes peeling those eggs.

    Maybe next time.

    Cheers–

    MRE

  5. Great video! Quite entertaining.

    I often take to work the low-carb miracle that is the hard-boiled egg. I can’t wait to use this in front of my co-workers, who already think I’m wacky for eating crazy lunches like sardines and homemade salads instead of spending lots of money of prepared takeout carbs.

    Extra tip: eggshells come off more easily if the eggs have been brought to room temperature before boiling (a few minutes in hot tap water will accomplish this) in water that’s been brought to a rolling boil. Then dunk in cold tap water. (I’ve read the advice place eggs in cold water, then bring to a gentle simmer; it doesn’t work.)

    Hey Vesna–

    Let me know what the co-workers say after the demonstration.

    Cheers–

    MRE

  6. As long as the eggs are for your enjoyment and not your guests, that is a cool method to peel them. I’ll have to try it when I’m not on my fast (trying IF, for over a week now).

    One time I was offered a piece of gum by a new colleague–I accepted… only to watch her open her hand to unveil the pieces of gum had been kept warm and moist. She obviously met no harm and had no idea that it was disgusting. :-S

    -Regards,

    Alex

  7. Question about IF:

    I am starting a semi strenuous workout (big muscle groups, heavy weight, 3-4 sets). I have always read about BCAAs after a workout, and about muscle catabolism during long workouts.

    On my whey protein containers, there is always a graph showing net muscle protein balance as well as muscle protein synthesis comparing whey to a placebo.

    the graphs measure mg phenyl. and phenyl. mmol/min.

    Tipton, K. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2004. 35 (12): 2073-2081.

    You explained before most of the protein requirements are met by breaking down digestive enzymes first. My question basically is would I benefit from working out right before my meal time begins?

    I also read comments on here from your readers that mention working out during fasting is great: feel good, build muscle, etc. So I’m just a little confused.

    Hi Alex–

    I like to work out myself on an empty stomach. I don’t keep up with all the latest research on resistance training, so I may be out of the loop a little on this, but I don’t think it much matters. Maybe someone with more up to date info than mine can chime in.

    Cheers–

    MRE

  8. Fresh eggs will not peel well no matter how you cook them. They will peel slightly better when cooked in a pressure cooker, but not by much.

    Better to let the eggs sit in the fridge for at least a week before attempting to cook & peel.

    Nevertheless, my daughter and I had great fun blowing out eggs (pastured) this evening. The fresher ones were impossible, but the week-old eggs were a breeze.

    Note: Kids are much more likely to eat their eggs when you make extremely funny noises peeling them.

    Thanks for the video, we had a blast. 🙂

    Glad you enjoyed it.

    Cheers–

    MRE

  9. Brilliant Dr E. But aren’t you poaching on MD’s territory? Deviled eggs here I come

    I may be poaching a little, but she needs to get busy and post something herself.

    Cheers–

    MRE

  10. Pingback: FoodFreak
  11. Okay, guys- egg peeling 101! Learned at my mother’s knee, and other joints:-

    If the eggs are to be eaten hard boiled and cold, it’s really easy. When they’re done cooking, immediately carry the pan to the sink, pour off the boiling water, and fill with cold water to cover the eggs. Wait about a minute, and repeat with more cold water. Then take an egg, tap it on a hard surface, and ROLL it firmly. (Don’t squash it!) This breaks the shell, but the shell is still adhered to the membrane, which all comes off in two or three big pieces.

    Warm is, of course, trickier. But in case you’re having a short of breath day- just drain the eggs and quickly run cool water on them for a few seconds, until you can hold them. Then break them in half like you would a raw egg, and use a spoon to scoop them out into your bowl. You don’t lose a bit of yummy eggs, and shell pieces are not a problem. This is how my mother served them to usn’s, along with a BIG pat of butter, some sea salt, and fresh ground black pepper. Of course, back then I ate them accompanied by an English muffin or toasted bagel. But I still love them without.

    I am partway through the Taubes book. I first read the prologue, and then the conclusion, and am now wading through the central meaty part. I was very interested to read that his own research for the book caused him to change his eating habits.

    Thanks for the egg preparation didactic.

    Cheers–

    MRE

  12. I tried this last night…unfortunately the eggs were still a little too soft…and things got messy!

    Hmmm. Never thought of that. I’m glad it was you and not I.

    Cheers–

    MRE

  13. A few years ago there was an infomercial device called the Eggstractor that worked pretty much on the same principle. I know this because I bought one for five bucks at Bed Bath & Beyond. It actually went the opposite of how you describe this method–looked VERY easy on TV but was a pain in the butt to use. You had to set everything JUST right, not to mention have the upper body strength of an NFL linebacker to get it to work.

    Don’t feel bad. I’ve purchased many products that behave exactly that way: they look easy but are anything but. That’s why I was glad to find that the egg blowing pretty much worked as advertised.

    Cheers–

    MRE

  14. I bought a Krups hard boiled egg cooker (I’m a bit of gadget freak). I know I know, it’s easy enough to boil eggs but this thing does make life easier, and for some reason, the eggs are almost always easier -ridiculously easier -to peel after cooking ’em with this thing and then moving them to cold water.

    But once in awhile I’ll find a stubborn carton-every single bastard egg will refuse to be peeled, causing me to feed them to the trashcan with unpleasant language and with great force and much flailing and kicking and gnashing of teeth and so on. Girlfriend starts giving me funny looks and often vacates to another room until peace is restored.

    Anyway, I recently discovered that the problem might be when the eggs are too fresh. I’ve left a degenerate batch of stubborn eggs alone in the fridge for a couple of weeks, alone to think about their attitude, and find that voila, after serving their time, they respond with great enthusiasm and a new cooperative attitude to the peeling! The trashcan isn’t happy but I am! Girlfriend still gives me funny looks, though.

    A number of people have pointed out this same phenomenon. I think my eggs must have been a little long in the tooth because they came out pretty nicely.

    Cheers–

    MRE

  15. Love that site! Here’s the easiest way to BOIL an egg. Put eggs in a saucepan (right from the fridge is fine). Bring to a boil. As soon as you have a full, all-over boil, turn off the heat. Leave the pan on the burner for 20 for hard-boiled. Not sure how much less time for a soft-boiled. Place saucepan in sink and run cold water in it. When the steam stops (just a few seconds), throw in some ice cubes. After 15 minutes or so, you can peel them with ease.

    I’m definitely trying the “blow job” method of peeling next time, though! I’m a delicate flower and the sharp edges of the egg shell hurt my fingers.

    Let me know how you do with the BJ method.

    Cheers–

    MRE

  16. does anyone care to summarize this technique for us poor plebians who are still on dial up and can’t watch the fancy videos! thanks

    Hi susan–

    I’ll be happy to. You break a little hole in the small end of the egg and a larger hole in the large end. Then you purse your lips around the hole in the small end and force a blast of air, which pushes the egg out of the hole in the large end. The video makes it look as though you have to just do a little puff, but the reality is that you really have to blow pretty hard.

    Hope this helps.

    MRE

  17. Hi Mike,

    I just put the eggs into ice water for about a minute, and then the shell peels right off; no need, in my experience, for twenty minutes.

    The Gina Kolata article was really strange, I wonder whether I’ve been reading the same book. To counter his argument with a single study that he didn’t mention is exactly the kind of deficient scientific thinking that Taubes documents.

    Chuck Berezin

    Hey Chuck–

    She’s got an axe to grind. Taubes actually mentioned a lot of the studies that Hirsch did (one of the authors of the one study she mentioned) and even interviewed Hirsch, so he is fully aware of Hirsch’s work. And Taubes did discuss it in some detail, just not this one insignificant paper of which I am very familiar and plan to post on soon.

    Cheers–

    MRE

  18. Ahhh! There’s nothing like a soft-boiled egg eaten from an egg cup with a real egg spoon. You sit the egg upright, pointy end up, crack the shell near the top in a circle and lift off the tip, then scoop out the lucious goodness with the spoon. I love runny yolks and this way you don’t lose any of it. You can add a pat of butter once you have eaten the first few spoonfuls.

    Just try and find an egg spoon in the US, though. Luckily, I bought a set when I was in Norway a long time ago. The perfect egg spoon will be small, like a demitasse spoon, but will also have a thin, flat handle to help with peeling the shell. You insert the spoon handle under the shell and brace it with your thumb, and then peel like an orange. I’m sure MD knows the technique.

    Believe it or not we’ve got egg cups and egg spoons. We just never use them. I don’t know why, but we don’t. And now that I’ve learned the blowing technique I’m not likely to ever use them.

    Cheers–

    MRE

  19. I’ll try it next time I cook my eggs. My work-around has been to tap on the egg shells (slightly cracking them) after putting them in cold water. I bring them to a boil and then turn the water off. Let them sit in the hot water for up to 20min covered to cook thoroughly, but without the green sulfur buildup reminiscent of overcooking. The water gets under the thin film under the shell and it will now come off easily. I can often take the entire shell off in one piece. This is not a cool, however, as being able to blow the egg out 🙂

    Almost nothing is as cool as being able to blow the egg out.

    Cheers–

    MRE

  20. I huffed and I puffed but the dang egg stayed in the shell!! I sent that link to my sisters and they were all able to do it! Grrrr. I will try again though! I MUST master this fine art of Egg Blowing!

    That really is a fun site – thanks for sharing!

    Diane

    I can tell you that you really have to blow hard.

    Cheers–

    MRE

  21. Well now I can’t wait to try this! Looks like the EggsTractor method – one of those great “As Seen on TV” gadgets – that I bought. Worked exactly ONCE and never again! It promptly went into the recyle bin. But I’m gonna give this one a good try with my next HB egg!

    LOL at Marly’s comment, and thanks for not editing it out, Dr. Mike! Gave me a really good chuckle!

    Hey Char–

    Let me know how the BJ method works for you when you finally give it a try.

    Cheers–

    MRE

  22. I tried it this morning. My mistake on the first egg, was I cracked it too hard, creating hairline cracks throughout the shell. I usually get brown eggs and the shell may be more brittle.

    So when I start to blow, nothing happens (air dissipates from the cracks). I read you had to blow harder so I blow harder and the egg made a loud screeching sound that scared the living daylights out of my cat who was eating out of her bowl… I heard her claws try to catch on the floor as I saw her run like a “cat” out of hell. I guess she thought it was the horn sound from “War of the Worlds.”

    The second and third eggs, worked great, but I could not help laughing at the sound (and the visual of my cat getting startled).

    Thanks for the tip!

    Alex

    I’m glad it finally worked for you.

    MRE

  23. I really prefer mine half boiled. About 5-7min will put 2 chilled medium sized eggs to a nice runny texture. Add a dash of soya sauce and I’m good.

  24. It didn’t work on softboiled eggs from hens fed flaxseed, but these tend to have very thin shells. I tried a fresh one and one that I’d had for over a week & no amount of blowing with gusto worked.

    For those who want the perfect consistency, there is a cheap eggtimer that looks like a red half egg that you put in the pan with the eggs. It doesn’t ring or anything, but turns dark as it heats up and tells you when the eggs are soft-soft, soft, medium-soft, medium, medium-hard, or hard, so you can take them out whenever you like.

    I do have egg cups, spoons & even a scissor-like egg-top-chopper-offer, but still get a bit of shell in my egg. I’d try poaching again if you have a fool-proof method for poaching without turning the whites into rubber (I’m looking for a soft-boiled eggwhite consistency).

    Hi Deirdra–

    Maybe try a store-bought egg that has been sitting around in the fridge for a week or so. According to the other commenters, that’s all it takes.

    Let me know how it works.

    Cheers–

    MRE

  25. Hmm, I’ll really have to give this a try. Just have to make sure that there aren’t any cats in the kitchen when I do.

    I second Kathy’s method of bringing the eggs to a rolling boil and then pulling the pot off the heat. In my case, I have a vintage gas stove with pilot lights, so I pull the pan off the burner and set it over the hot spot on the stove top where there’s a pilot light underneath. Works great and no yucky green ring which I hate so much.

  26. I learned a long time ago that the fresher the egg, the harder it is to shell, but if you add a goodly amount of salt to the water, it does help. I have no idea what an egg spoon is, but I know if I take a teaspoon, wet it, then when I crack the egg, I run the spoon around the edge, it comes out fairly easily. I haven’t had a nice soft boiled egg with salt, pepper, and the all important pat of butter in years. Thanks for the idea…..sounds great

    Enjoy!

  27. I was going to tell about the EggsTractor. In fact I lost the EggsTractor, or it got ruined, and my sister had one that she hated and gave me hers. That one worked pretty well too. I used to boil a dozen eggs and would shell them all at once and the blowing method made me feel like I was trying to blow my brains out of my ears. Now I take my eggs to work and peel them before I eat them. I’m going to have to remember the cooling them off idea. I do that sometimes but not regularly, and maybe that’s the difference in ease of peeling.

  28. OK, reporting back on my first attempt at a BJ on a hardboiled egg – sad to report, the egg was NOT impressed! LOL!

    I huffed and I puffed til I thought my eyeballs would fly out, but the egg steadfastly refused to budge. Sigh.

    It was a valiant attempt, but I had to resort to my usual tactic, peeling the damn thing under cold running water! 😉

  29. >>So when I start to blow, nothing happens (air dissipates from the cracks). I read you had to blow harder so I blow harder and the egg made a loud screeching sound that scared the living daylights out of my cat who was eating out of her bowl… I heard her claws try to catch on the floor as I saw her run like a “cat” out of hell. I guess she thought it was the horn sound from “War of the Worlds.”

  30. I’m not sure why the rest of my comment didn’t go through, but I added after that paragraph that the exact same thing happened to me! Right down to the reaction from my cat. Only not just with the first egg. With all of them. They were too fresh, I think. One of them sort of de-shelled, but more by explosion than anything else and was accompanied by a noise so loud and hilarious that we’re still laughing about it and my cat is still hiding under the bed.

    Hi Annabelle–

    I figured there had to be more.

    Cheers–

    MRE

  31. Hi Mike:

    Since you obviously like your hard cooked eggs chopped up, why not cook them in the microwave. break eggs into a glass measuring cup, beat them slightly to break up the yolks and entrain some air in the mix, cover with plastic wrap that you leave a small vent in, and micro cook until done. if you cook them thoroughly the egg whites acquire that same rubberiness as hard cooked eggs.

    also, there are egg cookers out there that hardcook eggs with steam. I just purchased another great one made in the 1970’s from a thrift store from that cooks eight eggs at a time, and the shells never stick.

    robyn cardy

    Thanks for the recipe. I’ll give it a try. Or, more likely, I’ll have MD give it a try.

    Cheers–

    MRE

  32. i tried the egg blowing thing and it failed. Or to put it more honestly, I failed. I couldn’t blow hard enough and my eyes were bugging out as it was. This guy must have been a tuba player since age 3 to have that kind of capacity.
    My ole Arkansas mom taught me the rolling method except instead of rolling them on a surface, she did it between her hands. works pretty slick especially on relatively freshly boiled eggs. Shell and membrane comes off in one or two pieces and waalaa there is your egg.
    Thanks for the entertainment tho anyway…
    Evilarkie

  33. To get egg shell out of your eggs, use a shard of egg shell. It cuts right through the white with ease and scoops up any bits of shell. Nature provides, no? Fresh eggs will not peel properly, older eggs are the best to boil. I like warm and cold eggs. I normally boil them up and plunge them in cold water which is refreshed a few times and shake them around vigorously in the emptied saucepan, cracking the entire surface of the egg before peeling. I stick them back into the fridge, whole and uncracked, and give them to my children as cooled, cooked snacks or eat them warm, sliced up with some lettuce.

    Sounds good. I’m eager to try to shard of egg shell maneuver. Seems too easy.

  34. The fresh eggs that we gather from our own free-ranging hens are much harder to peel–or even to crack, for that matter. I’ve often dropped a raw egg onto the floor and found it completely intact when I picked it up. We keep the eggs we plan to hard-boil separate and let them age a bit before boiling. That allows the air sac to get bigger and the membrane to loosen. Fresh eggs, we just keep in a basket on the kitchen counter, and go through them pretty quickly!