14 Hard-Boiled Egg Hacks You Need To Know About
How can such a simple snack as a hard-boiled egg be so challenging to make? Nothing is worse than spending 10 minutes of your life attempting to peel the shell off of a hard-boiled egg — especially when you’re hungry. Eggs are a tasty and nutrient-dense food with many health benefits, like supporting the immune system, improving eyesight, boosting brain health, and even reducing bloating. Starting your day off with eggs for breakfast has been shown to boost your metabolism and make you feel full for longer — which is great for long days at the office or traveling (per Kent Health Care Products).
On top of that, hard-boiling eggs is a healthy way to get all the nutrients eggs have to offer, without needing additional fats like oil or butter to fry them up in a pan. Hard-boiled eggs are considered a low-calorie food and a good source of lean protein, since one egg carries only 77 calories, about 5 grams of fat, and 6 grams of protein (via Healthline). They also provide a wide range of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids, including vitamin D, vitamin A, phosphorus, selenium, zinc, calcium, and all of the B vitamins.
But are you cooking your hard-boiled eggs the right way? Let’s explore some fun hard-boiled egg hacks that will level up your egg game and make your life a whole lot easier.
1. Use older eggs
Have you ever heard "fresh is always best?" Well, hard-boiled eggs are an exception to this rule. Even though farm-fresh eggs seem so appealing — with their bright, golden yolks and high nutritional value when compared to store-bought eggs (via Backyard Boost) — as a general rule of thumb, when it comes to hard-boiled eggs, older eggs are easier to peel. This is due to their chemistry. Fresh eggs contain carbon dioxide, which slowly releases through tiny pores in the egg shell, resulting in a pH shift, with the egg becoming less acidic. This shift causes a weaker bond between the egg white and membrane, making it easier to peel (via Slate). Over time, the egg also loses moisture, which helps create air pockets in between the membrane and egg white.
When purchasing eggs from a grocery store, check the Julian date on the eggs’ carton — the three numbers ranging from 001 for January 1 to 365 for December 31 — this indicates when the eggs were packaged. Waiting around seven to 10 days after this date before hard-boiling is best. You can still purchase eggs from the farmers market to hard-boil; just keep in mind that chickens naturally produce a coating over their eggs that can seal in the carbon dioxide. This coating is washed off on commercial eggs, but usually not on farm-fresh eggs. Therefore, it’s best to wait at least ten days after purchase before hard-boiling these types of eggs.
2. Add baking soda to the boiling water
This trick works really well for procrastinators. Picture this: You promised to bring deviled eggs to tonight’s dinner party, but you can only find fresh eggs at the grocery store. And you need to hard-boil them right now. You know those fresh eggs will take forever to peel, resulting in you being very late to the party. If you find yourself in a scenario like this, remember — baking soda is your best friend.
Harold McGee, author of the book "On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen," writes, "If you end up with a carton of very fresh eggs and need to cook them right away, you can add a half teaspoon of baking soda to a quart of water to make the cooking water alkaline (though this intensifies the sulfury flavor)" (via Wired). This will help shift the pH, which, in turn, will make your fresh eggs easier to peel. And according to the Food Network, adding 1 teaspoon to a pot of boiling eggs will make them easier to peel, regardless if they are fresh or aged.