Cooking and peeling hard-boiled eggs seems like it should be a relatively easy thing to do but the process can baffle even the most seasoned cook. Whether you are in a rush or want a nice presentation of boiled eggs, peeling an egg does not have to be a daunting task. While there are many opinions on the best way to peel a hard-boiled egg, following a few simple steps helps you properly boil an egg and make it easier to peel.
The entire process of boiling an egg is important for creating a hard-boiled egg that is easy to peel. Though fresh eggs are often sought after for most meal plans, eggs that are three to five days old make better boiled eggs that peel easier. Place eggs in a single layer in a pot but do not overcrowd them. Pour cold water over the eggs until they are covered by about 1 inch. Add 1 teaspoon of baking soda to the water, though this causes a more sulfur-smelling egg. The baking soda changes the pH of the egg to be more alkaline so the egg membrane is less likely to stick to the shell.
A hard-boiled egg hardly boils at all. Turn the burner under the pot with the eggs to a medium-high heat. As soon as the water reaches a rolling boil, cover the pot and remove it from the heat source. Leave the eggs to cook in the hot water for 12 to 15 minutes, depending on the size of the egg, for hard-boiled. Transfer the boiled eggs to a cold water bath or bowl of ice to immediately stop the cooking. The shock of the cold helps the egg to peel easier.
Slightly crack the eggs while they are in the cold water. The water helps loosen the membrane from the shell. Cool the boiled eggs for 10 to 15 minutes. Only peel the boiled eggs if you are about to use or eat them. If you have trouble peeling the boiled eggs, hold an egg under cold, running water as you peel it.
Store boiled eggs in the shell in the refrigerator for up to one week. Don't leave boiled eggs on the counter or at room temperature as this can cause food-borne illness. It is not recommended to store boiled eggs in the freezer.