Tips for the Best Boiled Eggs

How long do you boil eggs for the perfect results?

Tips for the Best Boiled Eggs

How long do you boil eggs to achieve perfect soft- and hard-boiled eggs? Here are some tips for how to boil eggs so they peel easily plus how long to boil eggs to avoid overcooked, rubbery whites and yolks.

One of the many advantages of raising chickens for eggs is, for most of the year, having an abundance of eggs. And this week we had a bonanza. After sharing with family and friends, I still had a good amount of leftover eggs. The fresher ones got soft-boiled for breakfast.  

The older ones I saved for making hardboiled eggs. 

I want to share my tried and true recipes for the best-boiled eggs, both soft and hard-boiled.  

Do use older eggs when you can. If you’re purchasing them, buy eggs a week or two ahead of time for best results. Eggs keep for quite a while, so no worries there. If you do use fresh, just know they’ll be harder to peel.  

But it’s not just the age of the egg that produces perfectly hardboiled eggs. There’s a method to the whole process, and it’s easy and foolproof. And yes, it took me a few tries to get perfectly cooked hardboiled eggs. Here’s what I’ve learned: 

Let’s start with hardboiled eggs since they’re the ones that are the most popular. As I mentioned, older eggs are easier to peel than fresh eggs.  


First, boil the eggs 

  • Place eggs gently in a pan. Fill with enough cold water so eggs are covered by at least two inches.  
  • Bring to a full boil over high heat. That’s a boil that cannot be stirred down with a spoon. Turn off the heat immediately, cover the pan, and let sit anywhere from 10-15 minutes, depending upon the size of eggs, the temperature of eggs, and the number of eggs in the pan.  
  • Test by removing one from the pan, then run it under cold water, peel, and then cut in half. If it’s not done, let eggs sit a couple more minutes in the hot water. 

Perfectly cooked yolks are yellow 

  • Boiled properly, the yolk will be yellow throughout, with no green-gray color or greenish “ring.” The greenish-gray color results from the iron in the yolk interacting with the sulfur in the white. That happens when eggs are overcooked or cooked at too high of a temperature. (Overcooked eggs are still good to eat). 


Strain quickly 

  • Strain the water from the pan by dumping the eggs in a colander in the sink. This process disturbs the shells while they’re still warm, allowing them to crack a bit to make peeling easier. 

Cool and peel 

  • Immediately cool the eggs in the colander with cold running water. When they’re cool enough to handle, I like to peel each one under a stream of cold water, which makes peeling easier and cleans the egg at the same time. 

Store, tightly covered, in refrigerator 

  • Eggs can release odors and that is not pleasant! Tightly covered and eaten within four to five days will give you optimum flavor and nutrition. 


  • Deviled. No hard-fast rules here. Go to taste with mayonnaise, mustard, and seasonings. For every six eggs, mix yolks with ¼ cup mayonnaise and a squirt of mustard. Season to taste. 
  • Egg Salad. I use the same ingredients as for hardboiled eggs, except that I use the whole hardboiled egg, chopped finely, and a little more mustard and seasonings. Minced chives are good, too. 


What about soft-boiled eggs? 

My dad loved soft-boiled eggs. He cooked them often, without a timer. If you’re a newbie to soft-boiled eggs, here’s a short primer: 

  1. Bring enough water to a boil to cover eggs by a couple of inches. Reduce to a simmer. 
  2. Very gently add up to four eggs one at a time, lowering them into the simmering water. (If you want to do more than four, I suggest cooking in batches or two pans.)  
  3. Cook five minutes for a runny yolk; about seven minutes for a barely set yolk. 
  4. Check one egg first. Depending upon the size, how cold the eggs are, etc., you may need a few more seconds. 
  5. Remove eggs with a slotted spoon and place in an egg cup or small bowl. Tap the egg gently around the top with a knife to remove the cap. Enjoy! 

Leftover shells: don’t pitch! 

Shells contain calcium and other minerals, so use them if you can. 

  • Toss onto compost piles. 
  • Trouble with slugs? Scatter crushed clean eggshells around the base of the plant. Slugs and snails can’t crawl over the jagged surfaces.  
  • Finely crushed eggshells, worked into the soil around plants, provide nutrients.  
  • Give the chickens a treat! Work some dry, finely crushed shells into the feed.  
  • Fill eggshell halves with potting soil to start seeds. Cheaper than peat pots and biodegradable, as well. 

Do you make soft or hardboiled eggs? Share your tips for the best boiled eggs! 

Originally published in the June/July 2020 issue of Backyard Poultry and regularly vetted for accuracy.

2 thoughts on “Tips for the Best Boiled Eggs”
  1. In all honesty, I’ve had to boil some of my girls eggs an hour and still on very large or thicker shell ones, 75 minutes or so. They weren’t rubbery either and peeled fairly well (depending on who shelled them). It seems guinea eggs take longer too with their very thick shells, usually 45 minutes or so.

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