Eggs are a staple food in many households around the world. They are versatile, affordable and packed with nutrients. Hard boiled eggs are a popular way to enjoy eggs. They can be used as a topping on salads, a snack or a quick breakfast. However, cooking the perfect hard boiled egg can be a challenging task. The process can be tricky, and the timing of the cooking is critical to get the desired result. In this article, we will discuss tips and tricks on how long it takes to hard boil eggs, as well as some common problems and their solutions.
The Science Of Hard Boiling Eggs
Before diving into the tips and tricks, it is essential to know the science behind hard boiled eggs. Egg whites contain 10% protein and 90% water, whereas egg yolks contain 31% protein and 50% fat. When exposed to heat, eggs undergo several changes in their physical and chemical composition.
During the process of hard boiling eggs, the heat causes the protein in the egg whites and yolks to denature, or unwind, and coagulate into solid masses. At the same time, the heat causes the moisture in the egg to evaporate, increasing the concentration of protein and fat. The timing and temperature of cooking are critical to achieving a perfect hard boiled egg.
How Long To Boil Eggs?
One of the most common questions asked when boiling eggs is – how long should I boil the eggs? The answer is not definite but depends on several factors such as egg size, temperature, and altitude. However, the general rule of thumb is to cook eggs for 9 to 12 minutes, after the water comes to a boil.
For soft boiled eggs with runny yolks, cook the eggs for 3 to 6 minutes. For medium boiled eggs with a soft set center, cook for 6 to 8 minutes. Hard boiled eggs with a firm center are perfect for salads and deviled eggs and can be cooked for 9 to 12 minutes.
How To Determine The Size Of The Egg?
It is crucial to consider the size of the eggs when cooking hard boiled eggs. Eggs are typically classified into four sizes – jumbo, extra large, large, and medium. The cooking time may vary depending on the size of the egg.
To determine the size of the egg, hold it against a light source or candle to see its air cell at the wider end. A small air cell indicates a fresh egg, whereas a large air cell indicates an older egg. Use the following time chart to determine how long to cook eggs:
|Egg Size||Soft Boiled||Medium Boiled||Hard Boiled|
|Small||3-4 minutes||5-6 minutes||8-9 minutes|
|Medium||4-5 minutes||7-8 minutes||9-10 minutes|
|Large||5-6 minutes||8-10 minutes||10-12 minutes|
|Extra Large||6-7 minutes||10-12 minutes||12-14 minutes|
|Jumbo||7-8 minutes||12-14 minutes||15-18 minutes|
How To Boil Eggs?
Step 1: Start With Cold Water
It is crucial to start with cold water to ensure consistent cooking. Place the eggs in a saucepan and add enough cool water to cover them by about an inch.
Step 2: Bring The Water To A Boil
Set the saucepan over high heat and bring the water to a boil. Keep the eggs in the boiling water for one minute. The boiling water will help to coagulate the egg whites around the yolk, so it stays centered, rather than resting on one side.
Step 3: Reduce The Heat
After one minute of boiling, remove the saucepan from the heat source, and cover it with a lid. Leave the eggs in the hot water for the desired cooking time, depending on how you like your eggs.
Step 4: Cool The Eggs
After cooking, remove the eggs from the hot water with a slotted spoon and plunge them into an ice water bath to cool. This will quickly stop the cooking process and make it easier to peel the eggs.
Tips And Tricks
Here are some tips and tricks to ensure perfect hard boiled eggs:
Use Older Eggs
Using older eggs for boiling, i.e., seven to ten days or more old, works better than newly laid eggs. It is because older eggs have slightly higher pH and thinner albumen, making them easier to peel.
Steam, Don’t Boil
Steaming eggs, rather than boiling them, can be another great way to achieve perfectly cooked eggs. It is because steam can easily penetrate the shells while lowering the risk of overcooking. To steam eggs, place a steamer insert inside a saucepan and add water, then bring the water to a boil. Place the eggs in the steamer basket and cover the saucepan. Leave them for six to 12 minutes, depending on how you like your eggs, then plunge them into an ice water bath to cool.
Use A Pin To Poke The Eggs
Poking a tiny hole in the rounded end of the egg before boiling can also help to make it easier to peel. Use a thumbtack or the edge of a spoon to poke a tiny hole in the eggshell, making sure to pierce the air cell layer without breaking the inner membrane.
Peel The Eggs Under Cold Running Water
To prevent the egg from clumping, it is better to peel the egg under cold running water (not too hot or too cold). When water flows over the egg, the air pocket between the egg and its shell will help separate the shell from the egg, making it easier to remove.
Store Boiled Eggs Properly
Boiled eggs can be refrigerated for up to one week. It is essential to store them in an airtight container to prevent absorption of other odors and flavors.
The Most Common Questions And Their Answers
- Q: Can you boil eggs straight from the fridge?
A: Yes, you can, but it may take a little longer to cook entirely.
- Q: How do you know when a hard boiled egg is done?
A: You can test eggs for doneness by spinning them. A cooked egg will spin smoothly, whereas an uncooked egg will wobble.
- Q: Can you reuse the boiling water after cooking eggs?
A: It is better not to reuse the boiling water because it can harbor bacteria from the eggshells.
- Q: How long can you keep hard boiled eggs in the refrigerator?
A: Hard boiled eggs can be refrigerated for up to one week in an airtight container.
Hard boiled eggs are a quick and easy way to enjoy eggs. Cooking them to perfection can be challenging, but with the right timing and technique, you can achieve delicious results. Use the tips and tricks in this article to cook and peel eggs like a pro.
1. The Science of Cooking Eggs. (2021, March 16). Retrieved August 30, 2021, from https://www.exploratorium.edu/cooking/eggs/science-of-eggs
2. Tips for Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs Every Time. (n.d.). Retrieved August 30, 2021, from https://www.bonappetit.com/test-kitchen/common-mistakes/article/hard-boiled-eggs-common-mistakes