Why You Should *Never* Boil Eggs Straight from the Fridge

updated Nov 15, 2019
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Credit: Joe Lingeman

For years, achieving a well-boiled egg baffled me. I know, I know — as someone who literally cooks for a living, I should be able to manage cooking a couple of eggs in water. Yet, I’ve failed at this simple task repeatedly.

Either I’d overcook them, or undercook them, or they’d be impossible to peel. Worst of all, they’d frequently crack as soon as I placed them in the water. The whites would spill out, forcing me to deal with messy tendrils, or start over. That is until I learned one dead-easy trick: Don’t boil eggs straight from the refrigerator.

Why Cold Eggs Crack More

While you could start your eggs in cold water, after years of trial and error I’ve found that I prefer how the yolks cook when following the classic boiled method: Dropping the eggs in a pot of gently boiling water and letting them swim until done. The only problem with this approach, though, is even if you lower the eggs as gently as possible into the boiling water, they can easily crack. This is because cold eggs are shocked by the extra-hot water.

Credit: Leela Cyd

To prevent this, remove your eggs from the refrigerator before you start bringing a pot of water to a boil. In the five or so minutes it takes to get the water boiling, the eggs will have warmed up just enough. This will make lowering them into the pot come as less of a shock and prevent the shells from cracking so easily. I am still careful as I am lowering the eggs in, but I’ve found doing this has saved me more times than not.

Do you have a favorite tip or trick when it comes to boiling eggs?