Best Way To Peel A Hard-Boiled Egg — Make The Shell Slip Right Off

By Jen Evansy / March 8, 2020
a woman frustrated with hard to peel egg

You may have done it 1000 times, yet you still struggle to master the art of egg peeling without making a mess. All too often, you make hard-boiled eggs only to pick apart half of the egg when you are trying to peel off the shell. So, you're left with half a traumatized looking egg, and the rest of it ends up in the trash, stuck onto bits of the shell.

a man struggling to peel an egg

For those who enjoy these nutritious protein-rich snacks, yet routinely have trouble peeling them, here, without delay, is the fastest, most pain-free way to peel a hard-boiled egg without shell sticking.

It works every time, so you don't end up with half of your egg in the trash can, again!

Also, I will go over some very basic but essential tips that will make your egg slip happily out of its shell.

Follow These Steps For Easy To Peel Eggs And Make The Shells Practically Fall Off

removing an eggshell

1. Steaming Is Better Than Boiling - Here Is Why...

Although steaming is not really necessary for this easy peel method to work; it does increase your success rate from 90% up to 99% (my lawyer said I am not allowed say 100%, for legal reasons). 

steaming eggs

Also, steaming has some additional benefits that I am sure you would appreciate.

Steaming will cook your egg much more gently, resulting in a creamier yolk and more tender egg white. Also, you will get fewer cracked shells and deformed space creature look like growths.

an egg cracked while boiling

How To Steam An Egg?

It's a simple process that is no more complicated than traditional boiling.

This process generally entails placing your eggs in a steamer basket in a pot.

A steamer basket is a little metal basket with holes similar to a strainer that you place in the pot, allowing the eggs to sit above the boiling water while the steam rises up and cooks them.

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  1. Place your steamer basket in your pot and fill it with water up to just below the bottom of the steamer basket.
  2. Start boiling the water on high heat.
  3. Once the water begins boiling, place your eggs in the steamer basket, preferably just a single layer.
  4. Lower the heat to a medium-high temperature and then cover the pot with a lid.
  5. Cook the eggs for 10 minutes for regular-sized eggs or 13 minutes for large eggs (add 2-3 minutes if you have more than a single layer of eggs).
  6. Take the eggs out of the steamer basket and transfer them into a bowl of iced water. Some steamer baskets can be easily removed, allowing you to remove the whole basket at once and place it in a large bowl of iced water.
  7. Let them cool for 15 minutes. Peel and enjoy!

If you're using a pressure cooker or an electric egg steamer, the method will still be largely the same. Simply place the steamer basket with the eggs in the cooker with half an inch of water, let it warm up, and then cook for 5-8 minutes.

Either method will yield perfect hard-boiled eggs whit a shell that will now easily peel off without sticking.

I personally prefer the steaming method to any other method, as it works great every single time. Steaming will perfectly separate the membrane from the inside of the egg, meaning the membrane is a lot less sticky and would slide right off with the peel. 

2. Shelling Farm Fresh Eggs Is Enough To Make You Crack Up

Again, not vitally important, but it does increase your success rate for the egg effortlessly slipping out of its shell.

fresh eggs in the shop

I am not talking about running past the expiration date here, but using eggs that have been sitting for a while in your refrigerator will lead to much easier-to-peel eggs than using fresher ones, especially farm-fresh ones.

This is because older eggs have a higher pH balance, which makes it a lot less likely that the membrane will stick after boiling. [1]

You can either rotate your eggs out of the refrigerator by using the oldest ones first and letting the fresh ones sit at the back for a while or simply look for the oldest ones available at the store. All egg cartons have a date on them that is either the date they were packed or the date that they're best by. 

If you're someone who buys your eggs fresh from the farm, this will be a little bit trickier for you. Your best bet will be to let your eggs sit in your refrigerator for several days up to a week before cooking them. It doesn't make a gigantic difference, but every little bit counts!

Are you buying the right eggs from happy hens? Learn about the vital differences between organic, pasture-raised, cage-free, and free-range eggs. Read my complete buying guide: Which Eggs Are The Healthiest?

3. Rapid Post-Boil Cool Down Makes The Shell Stick Less

cooling down eggs in an ice-cold water

This is an important tip for all hard-boiled egg situations. If you don't immediately place your eggs in cold water after they're done cooking, they will continue to cook in their own heat. In this case, they might become overcooked while they're cooling down.

Once the eggs are overcooked, the shell membrane will be pretty much bonded to the egg as if it was super-glued on.

Once this happens, you'll have no chance of removing the shell without taking away a good part of the egg along with it.

Regardless of whether you're steaming or boiling your eggs, always be sure to remove them from hot water and swiftly transfer them to a bowl of cold water or ice in order to prevent any overcooking after the fact.

4. Vigorously Shake Your Hard-Boiled Eggs In Water And Watch The Shell Magically Peel Off

Here is how it works. Watch this short video below and see how fast it is done.

Now, this is a proven technique that you can utilize regardless of the method you use to cook your eggs.

This simple method helps you wholly separate the membrane from the egg, which means that ideally, you could be able to take it off in one piece.

One caveat to this method is that it is best to do it with one egg at a time, as trying to peel two or more at the same time can cause them to crash into each other too hard and crack open in the water.

Follow these simple instructions:

  1. Take one egg and place it in a glass, small container, jar, small pot, or a cup.
  2. Fill the glass with water about to the halfway point.
  3. Shake it vigorously for 3-10 seconds.
  4. Remove the membrane, that has totally become unstuck, from the egg in a single piece.

For anyone seeing this the first time, it will literally seem like a magic trick.

egg in a glass of water

If you don't have the right size saleable container or a jar, simply putting your eggs in a glass of water and firmly covering the entire top with the palm of your hand while shaking the glass will get the job done.

However, this method can be precarious, as it's hard to totally cover the entire top of the glass with your hand without water getting all over the place. So, so be careful when doing it.

This simple method will lead to easily peeled eggs no matter what method you use for cooking them. And, if you're using it in tandem with my proven steam-cooking method, that's even better!

5. Roll Your Hard-Boiled Eggs Instead Of Cracking Them

This is a slightly modified version of the method above, or let's say, it is your plan B.

This peeling method is perfect for anyone who does not have a glass, container, jar, small pot, cup, or even water. Also, you can use this method if you feel that vigorously shaking stuff is not for you.

This little trick will also help the membrane come off as a whole piece nice and easy without any little fragments sticking to the egg.

This Is How It Works:

cracked eggshell but membrane intact

You'll simply take your hard-boiled egg after it cools and roll it gently but firmly between the palm of your hand and a flat, hard surface, e.g. kitchen table, cutting board. As you roll, apply a little bit of pressure and thoroughly make a bunch of small little cracks in the eggshell. When you're done, the shell should look like it has a million little cracks all over it, at which time you can proceed to peel!

If this method is done correctly and your eggs aren't overcooked, the membrane and shell bits should peel right off, leaving a nice, smooth final product. 

Other Popular Tips And Trick That Could Make Eggs Easier To Peel

egg peel hacks

Of course, there are many other techniques people swear by, some of them may work, some not.

Here are some popular hacks I have read about but not tried myself:

  • Add a bit of baking soda (bicarb soda) to the water.
  • Add a bit of salt to the water.
  • Cracking the boiled egg on both ends and then simply blowing the egg out of the shell.
  • Opposed to rapidly cooling them, not cooling them at all and peeling while piping hot.
  • Drop the cooled boiled eggs back to boiling water for a second before peeling.
  • Place boiled eggs in the fridge in a bowl of water and peel them on the next day.
  • Carefully insert a teaspoon between the shell and the egg and rotate until the shell is separated.
  • Piercing the eggshell. Use a pin to make a small hole in the shell at the large end of the egg before boiling. (There is actually a tool for that: Punctual Piercer Egg Timer)
  • Add vinegar to the boiling water.


If you have tried and tested any of these techniques, then please comment below whether they worked or not.

Also, if you have a secret method on your own that actually works, then let us know in the comments.

So, No You Have Mastered This Easy Peel Technique

Don't worry if you didn't nail this peeling method at the first try. It is not that the method doesn't work, but it is more likely that you did it slightly wrong, or you were just super unlucky. But practice makes perfect, so give it another try, and it will work.

So, hopefully, this article made getting the shells off a lot easier for you. So, next time you need to make hard boiled eggs, just follow these simple steps above. Also, teach them to your kids and your colleagues at work, tell people about it on the bus and on the street and share this post on Facebook, Twitter, and Myspace.

About the author

    Jen Evansy

    Nutritionists, researchers, and writers, interested in everything healthy-living related. Helping you identify the best diets, learn about food and nutrition, to help you live happier, longer and stronger.


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