Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs Recipe

We tested every variable imaginable to come up with this foolproof technique.

Halved hard-boiled eggs topped with flaky salt and placed on bread topped with mashed avocado. The food is placed on a white ceramic plate with a metal fork.

Serious Eats / Qi Ai

Why This Recipe Works

  • Starting the eggs in boiling water reduces the degree to which the white sticks to the shell, improving your chances of getting the shell off without damaging the egg later (though with eggs, there are no guarantees).
  • Limiting the batch size to a maximum of 6 eggs per 3 quarts water guarantees that the timing is correct. (More eggs than that in this volume of water could lower the temperature too much and change the cooking time.)

Perfect hard-boiled eggs require the right technique. We cooked dozens and dozens of eggs before arriving at this method, which delivers eggs that are evenly cooked throughout, with just-set yolks.


How to Make Hard-Boiled Eggs

October 2009

Recipe Details

Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs Recipe

Cook 20 mins
Active 5 mins
Cooling Time 15 mins
Total 35 mins
Makes 1 to 6 eggs

We tested every variable imaginable to come up with this foolproof technique.


  • 1 tray of ice cubes (optional; for serving cold)
  • 3 quarts (2.8L) water
  • 1 to 6 large eggs


  1. If serving eggs cold, add 1 tray of ice cubes to a large bowl and fill with water.

    A metal bowl holding ice suspended in water.

    Serious Eats / Qi Ai

  2. Bring 3 quarts (2.8L) water to a boil in a large pot. Carefully lower eggs into pot and continue to boil for 30 seconds. Cover tightly, reduce heat to low (water should maintain a bare simmer), and continue cooking for 11 minutes. Serve immediately if serving hot. If serving cold, immediately place eggs in bowl of ice water and allow to cool for at least 15 minutes before peeling under cool running water.

    A four-image collage. The top left image shows 3 quarts of water being brought to a boil inside a large pot. The top right image shows an egg being carefully lowered into the large pot of boiling water. The bottom left image shows the large pot of boiling water with eggs inside covered tightly with heat reduced to maintain a bare simmer. The bottom right image shows the now-cooked eggs placed in the bowl of ice water to cool.

    Serious Eats / Qi Ai

  3. To peel, first gently tap hard-boiled eggs all over to thoroughly crack the shell, then remove shell under a thin stream of running water. (The water helps get under the shell and lift it off the egg.)

    A two-image collage. The top image shows a plate holding five eggs which have had their shells thoroughly cracked all over but not yet removed. The bottom image shows two hands peeling an egg under a thin stream of water inside of a sink.

    Serious Eats / Qi Ai


For an easier, quicker, and even more foolproof version, see our recipe for steamed eggs.

Make-Ahead and Storage

Shell-on hard-boiled eggs can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Once the shell is removed, they can be refrigerated for up to 1 day.

Read More