How to "Peel" Hard-Boiled Eggs Without Peeling

245 Comments

The baking soda is optional, but if you choose not to use it, be sure to move the eggs to cold water (use ice) immediately after boiling. Blow from the tip to the broader base for faster de-shelling.

My preferred eggs are Gold Circle Farms cage-free DHA Omega 3 eggs, which contain 150 mg of DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid) per whole egg. If you want to increase lean muscle mass, consider eating the yolks for their DHA and arachidonic acid content…

Do you have any cooking hacks the world should know about?

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Related and Recommended Posts:
Tim Ferriss interviewed by Derek Sivers
Tim Ferriss articles on Huffington Post

Posted on: July 2, 2008.

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245 comments on “How to "Peel" Hard-Boiled Eggs Without Peeling

  1. Not very hygenic. I wouldn’t go to your place to have Deviled Eggs.

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    LOL… I wouldn’t do this with guests! Great for a quick de-shelling for eggs in the morning or solo acts.

    Tim

    Like

    • To all the germophobes out there: would you rather have someone HANDLE each egg for 2 or 3 minutes while peeling it (all the time leaning over it and breathing on the egg)? Get real! Did you ever hear of rinsing something off?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh, come on….
        The way I figure it, you can’t completely avoid germs in life.
        I mean, I used to play in the dirt when I was little, and never used hand-sanitizer like some of y’all do, like it’s an addiction or something.
        I’ve never got sick once.
        Of course, you’ve got a point. I wouldn’t serve ‘blown’ eggs to guests, but if you’re alone at breakfast and you’re on a tight schedule, then go for it!
        I did not mean to offend anyone, if I have done so.

        Like

      • Provided they wash their hands, handling. The mouth is home to ungodly amounts of bacteria at any given time.

        Like

  2. My favorite way of cooking hard-boiled eggs is in the oven. Alton Brown recommends this, and it allows you to cook a lot of them in a more ‘gentle’ fashion outside of turbulent boiling water. You still dunk them in cold water upon completion, so this trick would still work.

    Alton recommends placing the eggs on the oven rack itself. (with aluminum foil on the bottom of the oven just in case something breaks)

    325 degrees for 30 minutes.

    Like

    • Heating your entire oven for 30 minutes has to be one of the most energy-wasteful ways to cook an egg you could come up with, aside from following it through the air with a bic lighter while juggling it I suppose…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Arachadonic acid is precisely the reason I don’t eat egg yolks. Long story short, it contributes to/triggers inflamation. This particularly bad for those with autoimmune diseases such as asthma and arthritis. Pick up a copy of Inflamation Nation for a well written and detailed analysis.

    Like

  4. cool tip i will try that.

    my trick for hard boiled eggs is i hold the egg about 4 inches off the counter and just drop it on its side. it almost always breaks/shakes all the shell lose and i can remove the entire shell in 1-2 pieces in about 1 second.

    also, cooling the eggs in an ice bath right after you boil them is important if you like a nice bright yellow color yolk when they’re done. :)

    Like

  5. Fantastic trick. It’s a bit more mainstream but when dealing with garlic and some onions if you microwave them briefly – 2-5 seconds, you can peal the outer layers off much faster/easier.

    Be careful though, the insides superheat quickly.

    Like

  6. Before cooking your eggs, you may want to make a small hole (try a pin) in the top or the side of the eggs. This helps release the sulphur compounds that sometimes develop during cooking. The shocking of the eggs in ice water will also help.

    Like

  7. I like eggs every which way except boiled, but it was still a cool trick.

    Time for me to very nervously put my money where my mouth is in regards to strategic misbehaving. So, divulging my kitchen hacks will have to wait for later.

    Like

  8. A faster way to boil eggs and not over cook them is to boil for 4 minutes then take off heat and cover for 5. Perfect every time. Going to try to peel this way.

    Thanks

    Like

  9. I don’t even eat eggs and I find this impressive! I have passed along to egg-eating friends.

    More kitchen hacks to keep you busy:
    1. Always add mushrooms last to heat. They’re mass is almost all water, which releases itself quickly, thus moistening the dish.

    2. Add a tiny pinch of salt to a mug of coffee. It takes out all the bitterness without sacrificing the real taste

    3. Common myth: You need to add salt to water when cooking green vegetables. Just pop them out when *just* cooked and throw them in an ice bath. Cooking halts and green colour stays bright.

    4. A complete protein can be digested by pure pinapple juice (see Harve This for more info here)

    5. Chocolate, peanut and merlot vinegar are a near perfect trio because their molecular basis are so similar. Others include apple + lavender, olives + dried figs, oyster + kiwi

    The most interesting “kitchen hacker” that I’ve been following lately is Hervé This. He has an incredible grip on molecular gastronomy which is where all the best hacks start from.

    Great post Tim!

    Like

    • Instead of tricking the bitter out of coffee, have you tried good, freshly roasted coffee and the correct brewing method?

      If your coffee is bitter, it is a sign of over-roasted, over-aged beans or a brewing temp that is too high – at this point, your salt does not have any ‘real’ taste to rescue…

      Like

  10. That’s Awesome! :) Actually, think about all the gunk that may come out of people’s nailbeds when trying to peel the old-fashioned way, this may actually be a more “hygenic” method!

    Some other tips: Start with very cold water or even better, refrigerate the eggs in the pot of water overnight so they start at the same cold temp as the water. (this works great with potatoes too, peel em the night before and put them in the pot of water and refrigerate overnight) – slow boil is a good tip. Then, let them cool all the way down still in the water – refrigerate again if you have time. (for potatoes – this stops them from breaking up in the water and makes them nicely mashable).

    Also, a tip I recently read for deviled eggs, lay them on their side overnight in order to nicely center the yolk :)

    I whole-heartedly agree with the organic grass-fed eggs (“cage-free” may or may not be “grazing” chickens) – you want chickens that are not totally grain-fed, that’s what gives you the extra DHA, they ate grass, etc., not just grains. Plus, it’s better to eat animal-based foods that come form happy animals :) Good stuff!

    Great timing – I just started eating a hard-boiled egg every morning (I am not a breakfast person) because I read protein in particular in the morning can help with your metabolism all day…I sprinkle some good sea salt and cracked pepper on mine, yummy!

    Like

    • If you are going to boil potatoes for anything, the easiest and best way is to boil them with the skin. When they are tender you can rub the skin off easily. You do not throw away as much and boiling in the peel keeps more of the nutritious value inside as well as less throw away. Then make potato salad, mashed potatoes or anything else you wish.

      Like

    • While chickens may eat a little grass occasionally, they are omnivores – so they need to be pastured not to eat grass, but to get access to insects. Vegetable & fruit scraps, and seeds are also good for them. They do not graze like cattle.

      Like

  11. Kitchen hack:

    For everyday: Mix a few whole cardamom pods or seeds with your coffee beans when you grind them. Cardamom is considered purifying and is reputed to mitigate the negative effects of caffeine. Also, keep a small bowl of cardamom by your bedside. Chewing a single pod is stimulating and cleansing in all the right ways.

    For maximum indulgence: Try my favorite chai recipe. Yes, you do need to roast and grind the spices yourself. It’s well worth it. http://www.yjevents.com/health/15_1.cfm

    In the excerpt below, James Bailey explains the medicinal purpose of chai spices in a little more depth.

    “Four primary spices are used in yogi tea: cardamom, ginger, long pepper, and cinnamon. Cardamom and ginger are considered sattvic, believed to stimulate spiritual purity. These spices also help to reduce mucus, relieve gas, calm the stomach, stimulate agni, and eliminate ama (toxins). Long pepper (pippali) does all this, as well as reduces pain and rejuvenates tissue. Cinnamon is similar to cardamom and ginger in properties and is also good for the circulation and the heart.

    …some yogis may prefer drinking just a simple infusion made from only the base spices, depending on their particular dosha, without the black tea, milk, or sugar. For example, kaphas, who may be burdened by sluggish digestion, gas, or constipation or suffer from dairy sensitivities, obviously should skip milk and sugar. Sensitive vatas and easily agitated pitas should avoid the caffeinated black tea.”

    From http://www.yjevents.com/health/887_1.cfm

    Like

  12. I like poached eggs and the easiest way to do it is to crack a raw egg into a pot of boiling water. 80% of the egg will stay intact. Boil for about 2-3 min (practice to get your version of the perfect egg) then rescue the hen’s progeny with a slotted spoon, drop onto a paper towel, pat the top dry with same paper towel and put over a toasted piece of french bread with a tiny bit of hard butter, add some salt and pepper and enjoy your trip to heaven.

    Like

    • I make a few of these at a time,, store them in cold water in the fridge and then just warm them briefly in hot water. Saves on time a bit and clean up a bit.

      Like

    • Add a tablespoon of vinegar to the water before adding the egg. It causes the unshelled raw egg to “ball up” and stay together. When they are cooked, gently remove them from the boiling water using a slotted spoon or strainer-ladle. This is a trick I learned from a hotel chef years ago — that’s how the better restaurants can serve you nicely rounded soft-boiled eggs.

      Like

  13. Tim

    Met you in Sydney at the party. I was the one asking questions about the effect of social media on your marketing of 4HWW.

    I know you avoid email like the plague and give email addresses that go to assistants and publishers, but I will try this anyway.

    I have a very simple media opportunity for you here in Oz that will take about 30 minutes to address (written answers). Obviously can’t reveal all here, but if you / or assistant could reply to the email address supplied I will forward the details. (I will also send this to your standard channels).

    Thanks in advance,

    Craig

    Like

  14. Hi Tim –

    a) great (useful) trick
    b) WAY better video than some posts – new camera? Any favorite small/tough/good in low light video units?

    – Karl

    Like

  15. another method:
    dunking them straight away in cold water (after boiling them hard) causes the egg to contract within the shell, creating space which then allows the shell to easily unwrap, leaving a smooth egg behind. Literally unwrap them using the fleshy part of your hand and the shell will wipe away.
    fun stuff.

    Like

  16. Similar trick with boiled potatoes:
    1) Before cooking perform two large crossed incisions on the skin.
    2) Cook the potatoes in boiling water
    3) Put the potatoes into icy water
    4) The skin just “slips” out when you press it sligthly.

    Like

  17. Great advice Tim,

    I have been eating eggs since 1981, raw ala’ Rocky. Recently when I pinned down two of my holistic / longevity mentors, Dr. Al Sears (Pace Cardio) and Dr. Mercola, I revamped my egg consumption techniques.

    Dr. Sears and Dr. Mercola are such prominent sources of information on longevity that I flew down to Florida to have a chat with them.

    After talking further with them, I now have a 10 egg omlette ( I weigh 220 lbs. and work out intensley) and drink the yolks raw & very slightly heat the yolks to create a soft mush. I know it doesn’t sound great, but it is not too bad. What the heck, if can drink them raw for 27 years & will put anything in my mouth for the greater good (more muscle, less fat, and healthier blood & organs).

    If you or any of your Ferris Followers want more info on why or my results since I have been doing this egg consuming tech. (for about 4 months) just e-mail me. darin@fatlosslifestyle.com

    Thanks and keep up the great work. You inspire me!

    Like

  18. Great hack – I was peeling these little bastards for about a half hour this weekend, so I’ll be sure to use this way in the future.

    My hacks:

    1. A slice of apple in rock hard brown sugar will turn it soft and fresh again in about an hour.

    2. Wrap fresh bread in wax paper – it stays fresh almost disturbingly long with no preservatives.

    Like

    • Head Lettuce Hack: Do NOT wash your head lettuce before putting it in the fridge. Buy a slightly larger head than what you think you want. Cut a cone shaped core out of the bottom of the head. Remove and throw away (compost?) at least one complete outer layer of leaves (they’re often damaged or “soiled” in some way anyway). WRAP the head completely in plain white paper towel (not a print pattern). Store in a plastic baggie (the same kind you get at most fruit / vegetable sections of your grocery store). This will keep the head fresh and crisp for 10-14 days! For LEAF lettuce, you can rinse — shake off well — and wrap completely around the bunch with paper towel (same as for Heads). Place in plastic baggie (as above) — will keep the leaves fresh and crisp for 5-10 days, depending on how much water you can shake off.

      Like

      • I disagree with the idea of cutting the stalk out. (If you do, just a sharp bash on the bench and it will pull out)
        It will start to go off at the heart. A trim every time you take some leaves off will keep it fresh longer. No different than trimming the stalk off flowers to keep them fresh. Keep in bags as mentioned.

        Like

  19. Tim, this is to let you know that the 4HWW has persuaded me, a devout non-book buyer, to buy your book (the only book I’ve purchased in 12 months is Walden). I took it out of the library, half expecting hype and disappointment (another round of “Turn your Blackberry off at dinner time” routine). I wasn’t even to chapter 4 before my order was placed on Amazon.

    I have taken the past 9 months off from working, schooling, renting, owning – everything – to hash out some sincere, life-altering changes. As you may gather from the photo, it’s going very well and I can’t wait to take the next year to really implement some changes.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/anniewhite/2593826944/in/set-72157605664029937/

    For me, your book came at a perfect fork in the road. Now that I OWN the 4HWW, I’ve mangled it with dog ears, highlighters and airport abuse. Thank-you for provoking some heavy duty thought and excitement, mixed with mid-grade fear and wonderment. You do great work Tim Ferriss!

    Like

  20. Thanks for comments, all!

    @Rex: The baking soda would go in the water before you boil it.
    @Annie: Thanks so much for the kind words — your comment made my morning. I’m really happy you’re enjoying the book :)

    All the best for a wonderful 4th, lads and lasses!

    Pura vida,

    Tim

    Like

  21. Do you ever mash the top of a banana when trying to peel it? Try peeling it from the bottom. Just squish the bottom and it comes apart perfectly.

    If you want to keep your apple slices from going brown, sprinkle lemon juice on them.

    A couple of fun fruit tricks:

    A banana can be “pre-sliced” before you peel it. Take a clean needle and insert it along one of the seams. Scrape out a slice in the edible part. Once you (or a friend) peel it, all the evidence will be gone because the hole was along the seam.

    Cut a baseball stitch pattern into an orange skin and peel as normal. The skin can be taken off in two whole pieces that can be fit back together if you’re careful.

    Like

  22. Sheez. That’s not how you cook boiled eggs. That is way overcooking, you Viking!

    Bring the eggs and water to boiling and then take the pan off the heat and let it sit for 20 minutes. You will get perfectly boiled eggs! Seriously. Who cares about putting all that energy into peeling an over-cooked egg?

    Try it you’ll like it. Maybe the baking soda and your method will work with this type of egg too.

    Like

  23. This may be off topic, but as the man himself points out, you have to be unrealistic to attain a goal. Tim, you said the best way to reach you is to leave a comment on the blog and I have followed that advice. Using your ways of thinking, I’ve obtained a law internship at a top 5 New York City law firm at the age of 16, been elected vice president of a club which I had little participation in before being elected, and gained 20 pounds of muscle in a month. I read somewhere before that you created an audiobook entitled “How I beat the Ivy League.” I also know that you scrapped the audiobooks, however I am sure that the principles you used still apply. I am in the process of beginning college applications and could sure use some tips! My email is jakez91@gmail.com and any help will be appreciated. Hope to hear from you soon!

    Like

  24. Hi Tim,

    I love getting your blog! I never know what to expect when I open the email. I’m trying the egg trick tomorrow. I also forwarded it to a few friends. Thanks for enriching our lives in ways big and small!

    Like

  25. Tim: an idea for a mini-retirement: biking the Pang La mountain pass near the Rongphu valley (Tibet). Not sure if you like remote areas.

    Like

  26. dude,
    all you have to do is crack the shell a bit all over and put the egg in cold water.. no ice, just plain tap water. wait 10 seconds, and the shell should come right off in 1 to 2 pieces.. the key is to get water in between the egg and the shell/membrane.
    simplicity rules.

    Like

    • I did this for awhile, and realized that the eggs soak up a TON of water. It’s not a problem if you eat them right away, but when you want to hard boil and peel 2-3 dozen eggs at once ahead of time to save time, watery hard-boiled (and peeled) eggs are not appetizing and the extra moisture can encourage stuff like bacteria to grow, so they won’t last as long.

      Like

  27. Tim, you are truly awesome!!! I was just complaining to my wife that I never eat hard boiled eggs precisely because I hate peeling them!! WA-LA!!! I am going to cook one right now in celbration

    Like

  28. Pretty cool, though I think this is even easier:

    (not sure if it matters how the egg is boiled, but since I never boil eggs myself, it’s always worked with any that have been presented to me)

    Palm a hard boiled egg, hold it 6-12 inches above a hard surface, and then smack it down. Keep your hand on the egg, and while applying a medium amount of pressure, roll your hand over the top so that the egg does one complete revolution (the shell will be cracking while you do this).

    Now, simply use both hands and try to pry the shell off from the middle into two pieces…it will usually come off in one piece (held together by the membrane inside).

    I only eat them once every few months, but it’s easy enough to pick up right where you left off – impressing skeptical friends! If you’re good, you can do this in about 5 seconds.

    Like

  29. Hey,

    Although this is really cool, I don’t think its very practical. I found that if I peel them under a flow of cold water from the faucet, the peel simply falls off with out any trouble at all. I believe this method is also much faster and easier then your method. Yet, not nearly as entertaining. :-)

    Regards,

    Wyatt Lehmenkuler

    Like

  30. Obviously, I had to try this for myself and it actually does work! Amazing. The hours upon hours I’ve spent peeling every shell are gone forever. Thanks a bunch!

    Like

  31. I used to love peeling the eggs little by little when I was little. I don’t eat hard boiled eggs as much now but will try your blowing trick!

    Happy Independence Day!

    Hugs,
    Jen

    Like

  32. From an environmental concern position, there has to be a better way. Boiling for 12 minutes… boo.

    Putting hot things into ice water just to cool them faster…. boo.

    It may seem minor, but if millions of cooks start freezing water just to add it to tap water to cool things that they heated up….. it adds up, people!

    Thanks!

    Like

  33. You’re right, Freddy, I only boil mine for one minute or so (after they come to a full boil), and let them stand in the hot water until cool, and then refrigerate them – damn refrigerator is on all the time :P :)

    Just did this w/ baking soda – will try Tim’s trick in the morning! My son ate one of my previously boiled eggs this morning with much glee “I love eggs -wheee!” LOL. Can’t wait to try the trick tomorrow!

    Like

  34. @Marcie
    With the amount of bacteria that lives in a human mouth, this will never be done in a US restaurant (at least not very long after the healt inspector finds out). You can let your dog do it if you can teach it how to without eat the egg. But you’d probably find that disgusting even though dogs’ mouths are cleaner than humans.

    I for one would immediately leave a restaurant without paying and call the health department if I was eating at a place that did this. I don’t care how much food I had already eaten or even if I had ordered hard boiled eggs, I wouldn’t pay the restaurant a dime.

    Like

  35. Hi Tim,

    Cool tip! FYI, I don’t know if you’re familiar with the teachings of Charles Poliquin (one of the world’s most renowned strength and conditioning coaches — brilliant guy) but he essentially says that eating only the whites is for dorks. Even if you’re trying to diet/cut, you want the yolk, cholesterol and all. It’s good for keeping testosterone levels up, among other things, and cholesterol in and of itself ain’t harmful unless your LDL is REALLY stratospheric. Otherwise, just focus on keeping your HDL high and your triglycerides low.

    I’m going to try the de-shelling tip today. :-)

    Like

  36. Great tip Tim… I’ll have to try that because peeling is so frustrating.

    I tried many brands of eggs, and hands-down my favorite kind is not available in any store where I live. Eggs from chickens on green pasture, eating real grass. I highly recommend you give them a try. They have EPA and DHA (from the grass and bugs that the chickens eat) and taste delicious raw or cooked. You might have to ask around… I get mine from a fellow who has 24 chickens in his backyard as a hobby.

    @ Anybody who thinks eggs or egg yolk is bad for you…
    I have been eating a pound of butter and 1 dozen whole eggs every week for a couple of years and my cholesterol level was rated “excellent” by my MD (ratio is 2.3). Something to consider…

    Like

  37. I use those cold packs instead of ice cubes after boiling. It works great and saves the ice for impt things like evening cocktails. Also, it conserves a bit of water.:)

    Like

  38. A word to the wise, make sure your egg isn’t too soft boiled before you try this!

    One more diet hack: 2 steps to never having an ‘off plan’ work meal again

    1) The Pret Audit:
    Have a look round the eateries where you work, compile a list of at least 10 dishes that conform to the diet you need an keep it in your desk. Select 2 dishes from the list before you go out and buy one.
    2) The Double Dinner
    Just cook 2x the amount of dinner you need and take it to work the next day. Prepare twice as much protein and vegetables as you need, divide or apportion carbs as needed (exercise, goals etc)

    More ‘hacks’ at my blog (click my name)

    Like

  39. Very interesting tip. Thankyou!
    Mine is on peeling onions…either hold a small piece of bread in your mouth or listen to a slight trickle of water. Believe me i find either of these works every time.
    Jul

    Like

  40. Okay, so I’ve been holding off from watching this particular vid for a while now, thinking that it must merely be another “add vinegar, boil, ice bath, crack into a million pieces, then peel post.” I should have known better.

    Had I watched it last week, it would have saved me from last night’s marathon peeling session for my curried deviled eggs. . .well, next time I’ll be prepared.

    Brilliant.

    Thanks, Tim.

    Like

  41. I was so excited to try this one. I did. It didn’t work for me. I think my eggs were too fresh — organic, local eggs from the farmer’s market. The baking soda addition did help them detach from the shell, though, so at least I had nice looking eggs that I ended up peeling by hand. It gave the baby sitter a laugh, though, watching me blow into eggs. (Then I rinsed them before we made egg salad sandwiches.)

    Like

  42. Ha to all those worried about the food safety of a person blowing an egg out of the shell. Lets remember – you ARE eating a chicken ABORTION so I’d be more concerned about that than the guy’s mouth germs.

    And that old wives tale about a dogs mouth being cleaner than a persons? I can disprove that in two simple steps – [1] I brush my teeth three times a day, my dog doesnt. [2] My dog finds poop an vomit to be a delicacy and eats them whenever possible. I dont.

    Im thinking my mouth is cleaner 8-).

    Like

  43. I think peeling the eggs is a better option. If the eggs are boiled really well, the shell should be able to be peeled in chunks.

    Like

  44. Wow, that is amazing! I don’t see why some people have so much of a problem with it, it’s not like a lot of us are planning on blowing on eggs to serve others, we’ll probably just be eating them ourselves.

    This is really useful when in the morning I want to make a quick Bento box before running to classes, but don’t have the time to slowly peel the egg bit-by-bit!

    Like

  45. Finally I can sleep at night. Why, only the other day I spent a whole 5 seconds of my life peeling a hard boiled egg.

    5 seconds I will never get back.

    Like

  46. Hiya …
    Just got to see this vid. Neat trick … will try it tomorrow when I do my usual eggy breakfast.
    BUT
    Just have to let y’all know that the fresher the egg, the more difficult it is to peel. Good way of telling how old your supermarket eggs REALLY are, albeit a bit late! So if you’ve got wonderfully fresh eggs, forget hard boiling them. Soft boil, poach or make an omelette.
    Bon Appetit!

    Like

  47. Hi Tim! Thank you for writing 4 HWW!! I just finished reading it and I am now working on my muse :o)

    Just a quick comment about eggs…yes they have a lot to offer nutritionally by think twice about recommending them for their arachidonic acid content. A previous post by “Allen” mentions the role of a. acid in inflammation and it’s an important point to keep in mind
    PMID:18951005

    Such inflammation can be combated with DHA/EPA and veggies, but women with dysmenorrhea are likely better off avoiding a. acid–namely found in meat, dairy and eggs)

    Like