After combining many tips, tried (and failed) techniques, and reading up on the subject I finally have it mastered. I know this is a common frustration for many cooks, so I thought I'd share what I've learned! This is how I boil eggs every time now, and it never fails me! The yolk is always perfectly done (see above) and they're sinfully easy to peel, coming smooth from the shell with none of the white ripping.
Start with store-bought eggs. Fresh eggs just have too firm of a membrane and usually a larger yolk, so they're not ideal for boiling. (But shhh don't tell Johnny's mom, our supplier of fresh eggs!)
Place the eggs gently in an empty pot that has a lid.
Sprinkle about 2 tsp. of baking soda in the pot. (The theory is that baking soda helps break down the membrane's attachment to the white of the egg. I loathe science related things, so I'm not sure if that's what actually happens, I just know something about it works!)
Fill with cold water, about 1/2" above the eggs.
Place the pot on a burner and turn the heat to high. Leave the lid off and let it come to a boil.
Once the water has reached a rapid boil turn the heat off (if using an electric stove remove the pot from the burner) and place the lid on.
Set the timer for 15 minutes. (I've read the time may vary ~3 minutes in either direction based on altitude - again, not sure if that's true! Again with the science!)
Once the timer has gone off, carefully pour the hot water off the eggs and fill the pan with cold water. Add a large handful of ice cubes and let sit about 15 minutes to cool.
Fold a few paper towels and place on your countertop.
Grab an egg and smack down on the wide, flatter bottom. This is where the air pocket is and it helps release the rest of the shell for peeling.
Gently tap the pointy tip of the egg, then turn on its side and with barely any pressure, roll the egg between your palm and the counter to loosen the shell everywhere.
Peel the loosest shell from the wide bottom area of the egg where the air pocket was, making sure the membrane comes with it, too.
With your thumb, gently edge between the shell and the white of the egg, lifting up as you go. The shell should peel off in large sections with the membrane keeping the pieces intact.
In just a few minutes you will have a dozen perfectly peeled eggs! Make egg salad, deviled eggs, put on salads, or eat for a snack as you please!
- Peeling all of the eggs as soon as they're done cooking is easiest and fastest since they have just contracted.
- Keeping pre-peeled eggs on hand is convenient for quicker access instead of peeling one or two as you need them.
- Peeled hard boiled eggs will stay fresh in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to one week.
- The green film you sometimes see around the egg yolk occurs from overcooking and something to do with sulfur. (Damn if boiling eggs isn't one of the most scientific things I've encountered in the last 5 years!)
- If storing hard boiled eggs in their shell mark them with a permanent marker to differentiate from raw eggs.
- If raw and hard boiled eggs become confused test by spinning on the counter. A hard boiled egg will spin fast and smooth like a top while a raw egg will wobble slowly before stopping.