Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs Recipe

We tested every variable imaginable to come up with this foolproof hard-boiled egg technique, designed to give you the perfect doneness and increase your chances that the shell comes off easily.

Photograph: J. Kenji López-Alt. Video: Serious Eats Team

Why It 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

Recipe Facts



Active: 5 mins
Total: 12 mins
Makes: 1 to 6 eggs

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  • 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.

  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.

  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.)


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.

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