Cooking Hard Boiled Eggs


Eggs play an important role in spring traditions. They can be fun to find during an annual Easter egg hunt or they can take on a more serious role when they have their place during Passover celebrations. Regardless of how you use hard-cooked eggs, take care to do so safely and avoid food-borne illness for your family and friends.

Older eggs work best when making hard-boiled eggs. To determine if an egg is fresh, place the egg in a clear glass of cold water. If the egg lies flat on the bottom of the glass, it is quite fresh. If it stays at the bottom but is more vertical and it stands on its end then it is not as fresh, but still perfectly safe to use. If the egg floats don’t use it, it is past its prime.

There are many theories regarding the “best” way to boil eggs to yield the highest quality results. Research conducted in the MSU Extension test kitchen, otherwise known as the Valley County Courthouse Community Room, tested four different methods. Methods included: placing eggs in pan then bring to a boil, then turn burner off for 20 minutes; boiling the eggs for 10 minutes in water with ½ tsp baking soda; adding vinegar to the boiling water and boil for 8 minutes; and boiling for 6 minutes then let sit for 6 minutes.

The final method was determined to be the best. These eggs yielded a perfectly hard yolk with no green tinge, that indicates over cooking, and they peeled easily.

Directions for this method are as follows: Carefully poke the fat end of the egg with a push pin, and bring water to a boil. Place eggs in a single layer and bring water back to a full boil. Boil the eggs for 6 minutes. Then turn off the burner and allow the eggs to sit in the hot water for another 6 minutes. Allow the eggs to completely cool under cold running water before attempting to peel.

There was not a significant difference between any of the cooking methods in terms of egg quality or ease of peeling. This method may not be the best way for preparing eggs for dyeing as there will be a hole in the shell where the colors could bleed through. Boiled eggs may safely be out of the refrigerator for up to two hours before being cooled again.


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