Tip: Hard Boiling an Egg

published Aug 17, 2006

[Welcome back to Grant, who brought us the Mezzaluna post yesterday. Grant is trying out for one of the writer positions. Comment away!]

It would seem like one of the most basic things that every cook ought to know, regardless of skill level, is how to hard boil an egg, and yet a large number of people I polled had only a vague idea of how to do it.

“First you bring some water to a boil,” most of them would start. I would cut them off with a sharp ?”Wrong!”? One friend?’s tip was to put salt in the water to prevent cracking. Another friend told me that she used salt and vinegar, explaining that it was the vinegar that prevented cracking, while the salt brought the water to a boil faster. There seems to be a lot of confusion on the matter.

And so, to set the record straight, here is the proper way to hard boil an egg.

• First place the eggs in a small sauce pan and cover with cold water by about 1 inch.
• Bring to a boil over medium high heat.
• Turn off the heat, cover the pot, and let sit for exactly 12 minutes.
• Rinse with cold water until the eggs are cool.

The whites will be light and tender, not rubbery, and the yellows will be bright and creamy, not greenish and powdery. Perfect for egg salad, deviled eggs or just a nice little snack.