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Back to Basics: How to Hard Boil an Egg

Alton-Brown-Baked-Eggs

Welcome to the first in a series of Back to Basics posts.

On occasion I find myself searching for instructions on really simple cooking tasks. This is one I have searched for in the recent past and there has to be a zillion posts, all claiming to be “the best”.

I am part of a town recipe exchange on Facebook and noticed someone else searching for the “best” way to cook an egg, and it got me thinking that maybe posting the simple things would be helpful to you guys.

I usually boil half a dozen eggs on Sunday night to keep in the refrigerator for snacks or sandwiches throughout the week, so I cook a lot of eggs.

I always cook them the same way.

Cover the eggs (an inch or so over the tops) in a pot of cold water (the water needs to be cold)
Add 1 teaspoon of baking soda
Bring to a boil over MEDIUM heat (don’t crank it up to high..patience people!)
As soon as it comes to a full boil, cover and remove from heat for 12 minutes.
After 12 minutes drain and fill pot with cold water. I always throw a handful of ice cubes in there to help keep the water cold to stop the eggs from cooking. Use immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to a week.

I always get perfectly cooked eggs. No weird green yolk. Gross. Not rubbery.

I have learned the older the egg, the easier they are to peel. I do love my farm fresh eggs, but I save those for cooking. They are always more difficult to peel.

I hear a buzz about baking eggs to achieve the same result. So I thought I’d give it a try and let you know what I come up with.

Here are the instructions.

Position oven racks in center of oven
Set the oven to 325F
Place eggs in muffin tins (dry, no water) or directly on the rack
Bake for 30 minutes
Remove from oven and place in a bowl of ice water.
When cool enough to handle, peel and return to ice bath to chill completely. Store in refrigerator for up to a week or use immediately.

Here are the results. Drumroll please………………………………………

I found them to be pretty similar in both taste, texture and peelability (is that a word?). Both are easy. Both are quick. There were, however a few benefits to the baked eggs. I found them to be creamier (less rubbery) than their boiled counterparts. I also I found with the baked eggs is that you didn’t have to watch them as closely. When you boil them, you really have to watch for them to boil. So these were a bit easier if you don’t feel like standing over the stove. The other benefit is that you can make a lot of eggs at one time. So depending on what you are using them for, it might be a good technique to try.

So, there you have it. Hope this helps!

Photo and Baked Egg Instruction from Alton Brown

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  1. Interesting!…Do the yolk stay in the middle when you cut them in half. I usually need a lot of hard boiled eggs for scottish eggs or deviled eggs but I like my yolks perfectly centered (fuzzy…I know…I’m a pro of complicating the simple issue).

  2. Yes, of course it’s ok. I tried many different “angle” of the eggs. (I told you, I’m a pro of complicating simple issue) The one lying on the side has lopsided yolk. The one going in angle like your picture if the small side pointed up, even though the bottom might have some air pocket (I don’t have fresh just right out off the…errrrr chicken tingy). The angle with the big side angled up also has yolk all the way toward the small side. The best one is the one I used smaller muffin mold and let them standing small side up…the true winner!

    I bake for only 15 minute and get the yolks liquid (soft boiled). I still don’t get it why it took so long but when we boil them it took so much less time. I started to crack them at 10 minutes, you know and get only cook egg white about 1/4″ thick on the shell. If I bake for 20-25 minutes and get soft creamy yolk.

    Thanks for posting this. Can you tell how happy I am with your post?