I can’t say precisely how many boiled eggs I’ve accidentally smushed, cratered, or generally man-handled when trying to remove the peel, but it’s definitely in the dozens—maybe hundreds. I bet you know the feeling. Some days it comes off without a fight, other days you feel like you’re picking off the eggshell one tiny chard at a time.

But if you’re like me and boiled eggs are a staple in your and your family’s diets, you need to have a more consistent batting average. So we’ve figured out two very easy tricks for how to peel a boiled egg that will save you time and help keep more of the yummy (and protein-packed) egg white intact.

Related: How to poach eggs with a trick from the kitchen goddess herself, Julia Child. 


How to peel a boiled egg: A moment to learn, a lifetime to master? Not with these easy steps. | Photo: Serious Eats

The Truth About Boiled Eggs | Photo by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt for Serious Eats

1. Boil the water first.

I’ve always placed my eggs in room temperature water from the tap and then put them on the stove, never realizing that this greatly increases the odds that the shell will stick to the egg. Instead, bring the water to a soft boil before adding the eggs. Just be careful to lower the eggs in gently—I cracked one on my first try. Now I use a spoon or a steamer.

2. Rinse under cold water while you peel.

I was taught to dry my eggs, crack them, and then peel them over a paper towel. Now I rinse them under cold water as I peel, and the difference is amazing. If possible, use this method while the eggs are still hot from the pot since it works better than if you let them cool off in the fridge for several hours before peeling. If you can’t peel them right away (or, well, as soon as they are not too hot to touch), place the hot eggs in a bowl with ice cold water to shock them before storing in the refrigerator. This can help too.

If you’re still curious about the science behind boiled eggs—and have about an hour to spare—check out the very thorough The Truth About Boiled Eggs at Serious Eats (photo by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, above)