Learn how to make boiled eggs your favorite way—hard, medium, and soft—with this straightforward explainer.

By Emily Goldman
Updated March 12, 2020
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From breakfast to dinner, used in a number of dishes or eaten on their own, there's no question that eggs are a mealtime staple. The fact that they're protein-packed and full of nutrients makes eating eggs a no-brainer. Whether you prefer yours hard boiled and placed in a tasty egg salad, or decadently runny in the middle in the form of our Simple Soft-Cooked Eggs with Toast, making boiled eggs is a quick and easy way to prepare the protein. Despite its name, these eggs shouldn't be boiled (as it will yield rubbery results), but rather immediately removed from the heat once the water comes to a boil.

The Process

To make boiled eggs, place the eggs in a saucepan large enough to accommodate them in a single layer. Next, fill the pan with cold water to cover them by one inch, and bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat. Once water begins to boil, turn off the heat and cover. Let it stand 90 seconds to two minutes for soft-boiled eggs, which feature a slightly runny inside. For medium-boiled, let the eggs sit for one minute and 45 seconds to two minutes and 15 seconds, which will produce a gooey center. For a classic hard-boiled egg, 11 to 12 minutes in the hot water will do the trick.

How to Remove the Shell

The next step in making hard-boiled eggs is to remove the shell. Transfer the just-cooked eggs to a bowl of ice water, which will prevent discoloration and facilitate peeling, and let them stand for two minutes before cracking the exterior by gently pressing it against a hard surface. Peel the shell under cold, running water for an easy and efficient removal.

Comments (19)

Anonymous
January 5, 2019
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Anonymous
May 18, 2018
Followed the instructions for a medium boiled egg. Yolk was still runny, white was not fully set. Peeling the egg was a mess, shell took chunks of white off.
Anonymous
September 3, 2017
I have been using the hard-boiled egg process for a number of years. I caught one of Martha Stewart's shows when she was demonstrating this process. I have had nothing but success with this method.
Anonymous
May 28, 2016
Where I come from, "Remove from heat" (from the first sentence) means to take the pot off the hot burner and place it elsewhere, whereas "turn off heat" (from the fourth sentence) means to turn off the heat source, but leave the pot where it is. I did the latter, and the eggs were slightly overcooked, but still a surprisingly good result, as I've been cooking for more than 30 years and I've never heard of this method. Still a pain to peel, though. I'll experiment a bit and get back.
Anonymous
January 29, 2016
I agree this method of hard-cooking eggs is flawed. I did three large eggs and followed the steps meticulously. The shells were on so tight, I had to chip them off in tiny pieces. I have a technique of slipping an iced teaspoon between the egg and the membrane and working it gently all around the circumference to free the egg ... so I had to remove only half the tight shell. The halves I picked free were cratered and unpresentable. I am 71, how old will I be?? Back to the drawing board.
Anonymous
March 12, 2015
This was the worst technique I have ever used, sorry Martha! Not one out of two dozen eggs peeled correctly! Very disappointing!!!
Anonymous
December 2, 2014
For all you people having trouble peeling your eggs, it's this terrible method that is causing your issues. Just add your eggs to boiling water and cook for 13 minutes. Run cold water on them after for 5 minutes. You will have no problem peeling them this way
Anonymous
March 3, 2011
_Is_ there a way to successfully peel a fresh egg which has been hard boiled? Occasionally, I can not leave the fresh eggs out long enough to make them easy to peel (more than a day, apparently).
Anonymous
March 3, 2011
Is there a way to successfully peel a fresh hardboiled egg? On occasion, I can't leave out our fresh eggs long enough before "boiling", and I generally loose about 1/2 of each egg in the peeling.
Anonymous
March 3, 2011
Is there a way to successfully peel a fresh hardboiled egg? On occasion, I can't leave out our fresh eggs long enough before "boiling", and I generally loose about 1/2 of each egg in the peeling.
Anonymous
July 31, 2010
I always buy my eggs at least a week before I need them if I can. This brief "breather" allows the eggs time to take in air, which helps separate the membranes from the shell. Check it out here: http://www.incredibleegg.org/recipes-and-more/cooking-school/hard-cook-eggs\
Anonymous
April 28, 2010
I agree with misha1 - older eggs do peel easier than very fresh eggs.- I've used this recipe for years and eggs always turn out beautiful - no ugly green.. follow putting in ice water - that really works
Anonymous
April 17, 2010
I don't know if it's an old wives tale, but my mom always says to use older eggs for hard boiling rather than new-supposedly they peel easier.
Anonymous
April 9, 2010
Followed the recipe for hard boiled eggs. The eggs were perfectly cooked but six eggs out of six were impossible to peel.
Anonymous
January 11, 2009
i used this method before and it makes me a perfect beautiful medium boiled egg. i've tried to make this egg for ages but never succed...
Anonymous
September 29, 2008
Great deviled egg (tart) - use yellow mustard, a bit of mayo, apple cider vinegar, onion salt, pepper, paprika. Makes great tart deviled eggs.
Anonymous
July 7, 2008
I tried using the "Perfect Egg" gadget from Williams-Sonoma and the eggs came out terrible. I've used Martha's method time and tiem again after that and it always works beautifully. I just have to perfect my peeling method :)
Anonymous
June 2, 2008
Not sure if it will work or not but I always add salt to my water when hard boiling. After cooling it in cold water the shell comes right off.
Anonymous
November 15, 2007
my favorite deviled egg: per egg, 1 Tbs. lite mayo, 2scant teaspoons yellow mustard, 1 tsp. sweet pickle relish, 1/4 tsp. powdered Ranch dressing, pinch or two popcorn salt and top with smoked papriks