Guest Chef Mark Bittman uses the following method. We tested his recommendation on how to boil eggs from the book How To Cook Everything the basics. All you need to make great food.
Mark also shares the way he peels and stores eggs (further in the post) and how to soft boil eggs.
Step 1. Place Eggs into the Pot, Add Water
Put the eggs in a pot with cold water, the process is slightly different than for softly cooked eggs. Choose a pot that will comfortably hold all the eggs you want to cook, add the eggs
Step 2. Cover with water
And then add enough cold water to cover them by 2 inches.
Step 3. Bring to a gentle boil
Put the pot over medium-high heat and bring it to a gentle boil.
Step 4. Turn off heat, cover cook for 9 minutes
Turn off the heat and cover. The average large to extra-large egg will be ready 9 minutes later.
Step 5. Prepare Ice Bath
Get an ice bath ready. Cooling the eggs quickly after cooking helps prevent the yolk from developing a harmless (but not too pretty) green ring. Fill a medium bowl with lots of ice and some water.
After the eggs steep for 9 minutes, transfer them to the ice bath
Step 6. Peel and eat or store
Let sit for minute or so. Then eat right away or refrigerate for up to a week or two.
Easily peel the hard boiled eggs
To serve, crack the shell gently on all sides, peel and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
The eggs cooked exactly as the instructions said they would. Perfect hard boiled eggs.
Items we used to test these instructions
Eggs cooked at different time periods
Is it done yet? Eggs cook in a flash. Check out the difference a minute makes.
For what I would consider the perfect egg, shoot for 6 minutes.
3 minute soft-boiled egg.
The yolk is completely runny and barely warm and the white still slightly liquid. If you want the white very soft but no longer liquid, let it go to 4 minutes.
5 minute soft-boiled egg.
You’ll get a cooked but runny yolk with some soft white.
7 minute medium-boiled egg.
The white will be fully cooked and almost solid, but some of the yolk may have hardened.
9 minute hard-boiled egg.
Firm, but not quite dry, yolk and white.
11 minute hard-boiled egg.
Still edible, but a little chalky – best for chopping into salads.
How to cook soft or medium boiled eggs
1.Lower the eggs into the water
2. Choose a pot that will comfortably hold all the eggs you want to cook and still have room to cover them with 2 inches of water.
3. Bring the water to a boil and adjust the heat so the water bubbles gently.
4. Lower the egg (or eggs) into the water with a spoon and let them fall off gently so they don’t crack against the sides or the bottom.
5. Maintain a gentle bubble. Adjust the heat so the water never returns to a rolling boil. Then cook the eggs for 3 to 7 minutes depending on how runny you like them. A timer is handy, since the texture inside the shell changes pretty fast.
6. Cool them down
7. When the desired time is up, run cold water into the pot just until you can handle the eggs.
8. Once you remove one, crack the shell and scoop the insides into a small bowl (or eat straight from the shell), or if the white is firm enough, just peel the egg.
9. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve.
You want to use the freshest eggs possible, but that’s easier said than done, thanks to a confusing and meaningless labeling system. Try to find locally raised eggs if you can. Which ever you choose. Look for the sell-by date: it should be at least a couple weeks in the future.
Buy only large or extra large eggs, since most recipes will ask for them this size. Once you get eggs home, leave them in the carton and put them in the coolest part of the fridge – usually the bottom, in the back. (Don’t store them in those cute little cups in the door).
You can tell how good they are when you crack one open. A really fresh egg will have a firm yolk that sits high on a mound of whites. If it’s runny and thin, with a flat yolk, it’s a little on the old side: you can still eat it, though, unless it smells bad.
To keep bits of shell from getting into the part you eat, open an egg by smacking the side definitively – but not aggressively – on a flat, hard surface, stopping your hand when you hear a crack.
Most of what’s inside an egg is the white, which contains more than half of the egg’s protein and none of its fat. The yolk has the majority of the vitamins and the remaining protein and minerals. Don’t freak out if you have a small blood spot in the yolk, you’ll never notice it once the egg is cooked. If it bugs you, remove it with the tip of a sharp knife.
In testing both the hard boiled and soft boiled method. The eggs did turn out the way Mark recommended. Very easy to follow steps.