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Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs

Adding the eggs after the water is at a boil keeps the yolks slightly soft in the center.

  • Yield: Makes 6
Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs

Source: Martha Stewart Baby, 2000


  • 6 large eggs


  1. Prepare an ice bath; set aside. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Using a wire basket or sieve, gently drop eggs into water, and cook exactly 9 minutes. Transfer eggs to the ice bath until they are cool, about 5 minutes. Remove from ice bath; peel, and serve.

Cook's Note

Remaining eggs, with shells on, may be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Reviews (62)

  • kachieek 19 Nov, 2015

    Came out perfect. This was my first time making hard boiled eggs, I just moved into my dorm and was craving them for some reason :'^)

    If you followed the instructions right, they're great. I made four eggs in this sitting.

  • laughatlife 22 Sep, 2015

    This recipe works GREAT. I suspect anyone who had a problem either didn't properly follow directions or tried too many eggs at once. I would think 12 eggs is the max, they all fit in the bottom of the pan, not on top of each other(recipe doesn't say it but it suggests it with covering with 1 inch water). COOL WATER. Also, Medium heat differs from one stove to the next. When it BOILS, cover and remove from heat. The slow 12 minute cook keeps the yolk from turning green! Slow cook off heat!

  • melanieamiller 22 Aug, 2015

    I just made hard boiled eggs for the first time using this recipe, with only 3 eggs and in a 1.5 quart pan. They came out great! You probably have to make sure your water is at top-boil when you take it off the heat, then put on the lid. If you don't, I doubt the water would stay hot enough to cook the eggs properly.

  • Lorrie Cope 12 Jul, 2015

    I did this recipe exactly as described except with just 6 eggs, and they came out perfect.

  • John Von Neumann 23 Jun, 2015

    This is a ridiculous recipe. Yeah, you can bring the water to a boil and let it stand 12 minutes if you have enough water and eggs to hold the heat . If you are making 1-2 eggs in a small pot the egg will end up soft boiled. Just put the eggs in a pot, bring water to a boil and boil on low/medium for about 4 minutes and let it cool a bit. You will get a hard boiled egg every time without throwing food away.

  • Erica Moss 27 May, 2015

    Tried making this exactly as directed (and yes, after 27 years I know what boiling water looks and temps like) and added extra cooking time per the suggestions in the comments. The first egg out cracked and was barely even soft boiled. Thank goodness eggs are cheap.

  • Tim Ketel 19 May, 2015

    Perhaps these people who boo and hiss this recipe don't know how to tell when the water is truly at a boil. Try a thermometer. This recipe has worked flawlessly for me so many times, that I question the skill of those naysayers...

  • meyer1447 18 May, 2015

    I recently peeled an overcooked hard boiled egg and this reminded me of Martha's easy to do perfect hard boiled egg recipe. I shared this with the family members at breakfast with me. It feels so good to have the perfect hard boiled egg recipe. Some did not even know why the yolk of some hard boiled eggs have a grey/green color on them. I explained that this is the result of improper cooking of the egg and went on to tell them about Martha's Perfect Hard Boiled Egg Recipe. Thanks Martha!

  • CPTNRN 9 May, 2015

    This recipe worked perfect for me, 12 eggs peeled easy. The only thing I did different is skip the colander and ran cold water directly into the pan for several minutes to cool down the eggs. That seemed more efficient to me than trying to cool them in a colander.

  • Rebeka Muhn 15 Apr, 2015

    MS was a no go for me, too. Try Shuezz way, written May 25 2012. I just tried that way and for the first time in my life all the eggs peeled effortlessly. Key is after there are boiled crack and let sit in the cool water for a few minutes.

  • Paige Bennett 4 Apr, 2015

    Used this to make my eggs for Easter today. What a wonderful way to ruin 2 dozen eggs! I never knew you could have simultaneously cooked and completely UNcooked eggs at the same time! Definitely a must try if you want to test your anger management.

  • nansee556 3 Apr, 2015

    Same method I use, but just wanted to share a tip I just did...maybe it's already known, but I was taking out the pot I use to boil the eggs and saw my steamer I put the basket into the pot, put the eggs in the basket, added the water and when eggs were done just lifted the basket out of the water! No muss, no fuss!

  • luepke 31 Mar, 2015

    This is the recipe I use, the eggs never crack and are always cooked to perfection. To prevent shells from stinking use older eggs or add vinegar and salt to the water before boiling. When I run the eggs under cold water, I shake the pot to bang and crack the eggs, this allows moisture to penetrate the egg shell membrane which makes the eggs easier to peel. You do not taste any vinegar on the eggs, but if you want to taste vinegar add your hard eggs to the pickle jar for a week & devil them.

  • walterstevenhall 28 Mar, 2015

    Wrong! Boil then let them simmer on low for 15-20 minutes. Plunge in cold water, peel and serve.

  • Jimmy Dela Cruz 30 Mar, 2015

    I totally Agree. .

  • Jason Steward 22 Mar, 2015

    They should remove this recipe from the website. I followed it to the letter to prove a point with my wife (who makes terrible hb eggs). I've never had a harder time peeling an egg than I had after following Martha's recipe. DO NOT USE THIS. Can't even tell you if the eggs were adequately cooked or not, gave up from frustration.

  • Jackie Sharkey Grinstead 27 Mar, 2015

    I totally agree, this is the worst . I did it exactly the way it said and my eggs were under cooked.
    I know it is best to start off with cool water so it doesn't crack. I think it still needs to at least simmer after it boils, not remove from heat

  • gypsipatrick 15 Mar, 2015

    I've only had eggs fail me a couple times and it's always because I removed the heat too soon. This bring to a boil and remove from heat is new to me. I start with hot tap water. fill the pan with eggs and water. Put it on med-high heat and start a timer for thirteen minutes. Unless it's an electric stove. Then it's fifteen minutes. Remove from heat. Let sit it the hot water another five-ten minutes. Drain and run cold cold water over them til the pan overflows and let sit til they are cold.

  • gypsipatrick 15 Mar, 2015

    I messed that up!! I don't let them sit for another 5 to 10 minutes in the hot water.. I meant let sit in the cold water. They always peel perfect for me.

  • Erik Royce 14 Feb, 2015

    I followed the instructions to the letter, and the shell stuck like epoxy glue. Six eggs wasted.

  • bluzsky 14 Feb, 2015

    I concur. I used eggs that I bought 3 weeks ago, and watched the video twice. The 9 minute egg I opened an hour after boiling (letting it cool in cold water) was a mess. The shell stuck to the white, the white was only 80% firm, and the yolk was firm but the color of the 4 minute egg I had yesterday. Very disappointing!-- Any suggestions for how to serve 80% hard boiled eggs (5) that have been in the fridge for 2 hours?

  • Erik Royce 21 Feb, 2015

    Ok, for STUNNING hard boiled eggs:

    Take a few (however many you need)
    Follow the directions in paragraph one, except for the following:

    **Let it boil at full heat for about 15 seconds.
    **Move to a burner that is set on low heat and cover with a lid.
    **Let it sit on that low heat for 20 to 25 minutes.
    **To stop the cooking, replace pan of hot water with cold water and let it sit for around 5 minutes.
    **Replace the water again with cold water and let it sit for around a minute.
    **Peel and enjoy!

  • jayess99 7 Feb, 2015

    just for the record: unless you have chickens in your backyard, you are not buying "fresh" eggs at your local store. They are most likely 3 weeks old or more.

  • stevenj231 17 Jan, 2015

    Eggs will peel more easily if they have set in your refrigerator for approximately 2 weeks,rather than using fresh eggs.

  • mcthing 1 Jan, 2015

    I am sad on New Year's Day to say that I followed these instructions to the letter, using a digital timer, thinking, "Martha Stewart has got to be reliable on something as simple as eggs." I now have 15 undercooked, mushy eggs, the whites of which are splitting in half when gently tapped and yolks in a semi-translucent state. No deviled eggs at my New Years party now. I will never trust this website again. I used a cookie recipe two years ago that actually had errors; terrible.

  • Frisketbisket 18 Feb, 2015

    I have used this recipe successfully for years. It is important to follow the directions faithfully.

  • mcthing 1 Jan, 2015

    I am sad on New Year's Day to say that I followed these instructions to the letter, using a digital timer, thinking, "Martha Stewart has got to be reliable on something as simple as eggs." I now have 15 undercooked, mushy eggs, the whites of which are splitting in half when gently tapped and yolks in a semi-translucent state. No deviled eggs at my New Years party now. I will never trust this website again. I used a cookie recipe two years ago that actually had errors; terrible.

  • doctororlak 21 Dec, 2014

    I made egg salad with a variation that most people might think is crazy.
    After preparing the eggs, I removed the shells.
    I placed the shells in a small food processor and pulverized them into a fine powder.
    I mixed the powdered shells into the eggs and made a delicious eggs salad.

  • Ruby123 28 Dec, 2014

    i followed the recipe exactly, except I substituted sliced potatoes for the eggs and peanut oil for the water. Best damn french fries I've ever made!!!

  • judyjnow 13 Sep, 2014

    Worked perfectly for me. Added 2 minutes because eggs came directly from refrigerator.

  • doctororlak 21 Dec, 2014

    that doesn't make sense.
    Why would you add two minutes to the cooking time after they came to a boil and you shut them off?

  • egardenut 26 Jul, 2014

    Steam them!!! Put your eggs in a steam basket. Low steam for 12 minutes. Transfer to ice water for 3 minutes. Peel under cold water. Perfect! And they last for a week in the fridge!

  • meribast 22 Jul, 2014

    Seriously, you don't have to use a dozen eggs to try this out - its just that the typical package is 12 unless you buy from a warehouse store or restaurant supplier then you might be getting a 36 egg flat or so.

    Jonathan: using water from the tap should be fine (its what most people do, I imagine). You won't be drinking the water, but some may leak into the egg if there are any cracks (it does happen).

  • chrisparker11 18 Jul, 2014

    Just used this recipe last night, and the eggs turned out FABULOUS!!! The eggs peeled very well, and had no issues with the egg peeling with the shell! You have to make sure to immediately get them into cold water, and don't let them sit for too long. The idea, is to shock the membrane and cause it to separate from the egg. So the cooler the egg gets, the more chance of the egg peeling with the shell.

  • jonathan pauu 5 Jul, 2014

    What kind of water should I use?

  • stevenj231 17 Jan, 2015

    I use the wet kind made from 2 parts hydrogen and 1 part oxygen.

  • Dayna Gallagher 3 Mar, 2015

    Follow what Steve wrote very carefully & try to avoid errors.

  • klamberjk 14 Jun, 2014

    If you want half or more of your egg to peel with egg, use this method. If you don't, then I suggest you look elsewhere for a recipe. I wasted an entire dozen eggs. Martha Stewart can't cook boiled eggs worth a damn.

  • jlinkels_fb 8 Jun, 2014

    Wow! I am so grateful for this recipe. Finally the secret of boiling eggs has been disclosed. Now I can enjoy my own hard boiled eggs. Who would have guessed that you have to put the eggs in the water and then boil them? So smart, and yet so easy. I am happy web sites like this exist. What would we do without them.

  • yoenunnessbiz 25 May, 2014

    Jan Heiser, I disagree. The only way to make hard baked eggs is in a sauce pan with boiling water.

  • monterosa advisory 24 Sep, 2013

    I use the same basic method, but only leave the eggs 4 to 5 minutes before a cold bath. Americans certainly know how to overcook eggs! I guess it doesn't matter, since most eggs don't taste like much here anyway, alas.

  • heisjan 23 Sep, 2013

    Only way to make hard boiled eggs is in the oven. Put eggs in a muffin in each hole. Shells on.
    Bake at 325 degrees for 13 minutes............Roll them over and bake for another 13 minutes. Perfect-O

  • amenpi 23 Sep, 2013

    Tried this once and didn't work, what works for me is putting eggs in saucepan covered in water, setting on burner at medium high and setting timer for 20 minutes. Then rinse in cold water. Has never failed me.

  • upnseams 23 Sep, 2013

    I do this all the time but I learned only 8mins and leave them on the heat until it cools off. Then place them under running cold water. And they come out perfect every time.

  • acwgapeachy 6 Jul, 2013

    I used Sheuzz's recipe. They came out perfect. It was so nice for the shells just to fall off. Thank you Sheuzz!!

  • cmertl2 28 Mar, 2013

    Scroll to sheuzz below for the perfect hard boiled eggs! I've struggled with peeling my HB Eggs forever, but this method did the trick! I will finally have delicious AND beautiful deviled eggs for Easter!

  • judydklein 24 Mar, 2013

    In addition to salt and being at room temperature, make sure you buy your eggs well in advance 10 days is ideal, but 7 is ok. This is the tip my Jewish Mom swears by as we prepare for the Seder!

  • scottbutcher 21 Mar, 2013

    To prevent the shell from sticking to the membrane which makes peeling difficult, salt the cooking water with 1 tsp. salt and pierce the broader end of the egg with a thumbtack (drawing pin) before placing in the water. The pinhole also prevents cracking.

  • scottbutcher 21 Mar, 2013

    To prevent the shell from sticking to the membrane which makes peeling difficult, salt the cooking water with 1 tsp. salt and pierce the broader end of the egg with a thumbtack (drawing pin) before placing in the water. The hole also prevents cracking.

  • jillie257 13 Feb, 2013

    I have always had a problem making hard boiled eggs, go figure such a simple thing. The shells always stick and I wind up ripping them apart. I tried Martha's way and shells still stuck and then I tried shuezz (poster below) way and for the first time my eggs came out perfect! Thank you so much.

  • info 29 Oct, 2012

    I would tweak this a bit (from ...

    1. Place the eggs in a single layer at the bottom of a sauce pan or pot.
    2. Add water until there is one inch of water over the eggs.
    3. Bring the water to a boil (unvcovered).
    4. Remove the pot from heat, cover and let stand for 15 minutes.
    5. Run cold water over the eggs until they are cold.

    To avoid an egg cracking while boiling: Remove eggs from the refrigerator and allow them to sit for 20-30 minutes to reach room temp.

  • admin 27 Jun, 2012

    That's the same way we do it at my house shuezz. I don't know what this other method seems to be the "foodie" method but it takes longer and does not come out perfect every time. I had never seen a green yolk until I tried this method, lol!

  • shuexx 25 May, 2012

    for those who have problems getting a perfectly peeled egg, maybe you'd like to try how it's done in my family =)

    1. rinse refrigerated eggs briefly under room temp tap water.
    2. bring a pot of water ( enough to cover all eggs ) to a boil.
    3. gently lower eggs into the boiling water.
    note : cooking too many eggs ( >6 ) at once will significantly lower the water temp at this point.
    4. start timer once water is back to a gentle boil - 5 mins for half cooked yolk, 8 mins for fully cooked
    5. remove pot from heat & pour out the hot water.
    6. fill pot with running tap water to cool the eggs while simultaneously cracking the egg shells all around.
    7. let cracked eggs stand in the cool water for about 7-10 mins.
    8. peel.

    key points if you want to avoid sticky shells :
    1. never bring eggs to boil with the water
    2. crack shells while letting eggs cool in water

  • sknopster 6 Jul, 2015

    Your HB Egg method seems to be the favorite here! Your post is more than 3 yrs old, hope you don't mind a question; as a 51 yr old man, I've used my family's method for 33 years! Take 12 eggs directly from fridge, place in saucepan cover with cool water, 1 Tblspn Salt, use high heat until water boils. 8 min steady boil, put pan in sink & rinse w/ cold h2o for 10 min. You Say "Never bring eggs to boil in the water". My eggs peel & taste great while breaking your rule! How can this work so well?

  • vou_41 4 Apr, 2012

    I have a simple solution for this problem of the egg white peeling off. All you need to do is crack the entire outer shell against a hard surface and then peel the shell off... works every time ;-)

  • Triplet3 24 Jan, 2011

    I too have experienced the same messy problem and while peeling leaving loosing most of the white of the egg. Very frustrating. I notice that the thin clear membrane does not detach from the egg white which I think is the main problem. I noticed in the instructions that the eggs should be room temperature. I usually take them straight from the fridge to the pot of water. Next time I will leave the eggs on the counter for a while and test the difference and get back to all.

    Eileen A.

  • MaKettle 8 Oct, 2010

    In the last few years our eggs have become very awful to peel. We try all kinds of thricks (use older eggs, salt the water, peel under running water) and we still end up with a mess. Either eggs have changed OR it's our fridge temp or water or something. SOOO Frustrating! Eggs used to be trouble free. What has changed?

  • DrMcGrew 13 Jul, 2010

    Hard boiling eggs which are farm fresh will yield to eggs which are virtually difficult to peel. Buy eggs and store them for 5-10 days before hard boiling farm fresh eggs. This is because as the eggs age, the carbon dioxide present in the albumin seeps out, thereby reducing its acidity. Research reveals that reduced acidity assists in easier peeling process.


  • donnahojo 30 Jun, 2010

    I always add salt to my boiling water and have never had a problem. Not sure if that is the reason, but it's worth a try!

  • bbird 17 Jun, 2010

    I have fresh eggs and they just won't peel when I hard boil them. Do you have any tricks?

  • jenagray 1 May, 2010

    I have problems peeling eggs when they're too cold. Run your eggs under water that is about room temp. or let them sit for a short while. When I do this they peel perfectly.

  • steveredmond 4 Apr, 2010

    Martha every year it's the same thing. Eggs that don't want to peel. And if you're taking deviled eggs they should be as flawless as possible. I think I may be using too fresh eggs. Other than trying to peel under cold running water are there any other tricks??

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