The Perfect Hard Boiled Egg
Lately, I have bumped into several different ways to hard boil an egg. My fridge feels incomplete without some to have as a quick breakfast or snack, to whip up as egg salad or to throw into a salad. My cooking technique was to toss a dozen into a pot with cool water and let it boil until long after the timer went off … part lazy and part thinking, “they’re hard boiled, so what’s it matter?” Anyway, I’d eventually drop them in an ice bath and peel carefully, sometimes ripping off chunks of egg white in the process and always complaining that my eggs were dense. Enter Mark, the back-seat eater yet expert cook in the house, who would always tell me that I’m overcooking them. Seriously? They’re hard boiled.
Intrigued by the other methods I found, I decided to give one a try - baking them in the oven in their shells in a muffin pan. While the outsides of the whites were polka dotted with burn marks, their yolks were creamier than mine. I mentioned this to Mark who said, “you’re cooking yours too long.” I shrugged him off.
This past weekend, he hardboiled the family egg stash. I mentioned to him that his were creamier than mine, and once again he said, “you’re cooking yours too long.” I know you’re all dying to come over now with all the excitement going on in our house.
So today I decided to try all three methods I read about plus Mark’s. My mission? To find any method better than his – yes shallow, but honest. I tried baking them one more time, steaming them the way the cooking bible Cook’s Illustrated says is best, Dr. Mark Hyman’s boiling method with vinegar and salt, and then my Mark’s way by straight boiling them for 16 minutes. I should mention that Dr. Mark Hyman is my health hero and my go-to for cutting edge health findings and some really great recipes. I had a feeling Dr. Mark’s eggs would crack my Mark’s method, but I promised myself not to be biased either way. You’ll find details on how to cook each method below, but first the results…
First off the stove were my Mark’s. They peeled very easily, looked great and tasted light and airy. Point made. High bar set.
The second to try were Cook’s Illustrated. Cook's tests everything and determined steaming to hard cook eggs was best. Can’t outsmart the smart chefs of Cook’s, right? Well, they weren’t as easy to peel as Mark’s and they didn’t cook through. I was slightly heart broken.
The baked eggs were next. Again they came out with pockmarks; some were yellowed under the shell. They peeled pretty well, but the yolks were actually a little dry.
As I waited for Dr. Mark’s eggs to boil, I realized it was now down to both my Marks. What’s a girl to do? On the one hand I wanted Dr. Mark to win to show my Mark he isn’t the only cook in the house. On the other hand, I want my Mark to win just so he’s not hard-boiling eggs all weekend long to prove me wrong.
Dr. Mark called for a low boil initially and then a low simmer for 15 minutes. Looking at the pot, I almost turned up the temp thinking there’s no way these will cook through. But, I resisted and kept it at low simmer to keep the experiment clean. It felt like an eternity as I eagerly paced my house waiting for his eggs to sit in an ice bath for 15 minutes. When my timer went off, I quickly sunk my hand in the icy water, grabbed an egg, hit it a couple times along the inside of my sink and started to peel. Silence. Followed by more silence. Followed by an eerie, stunned stillness. Behold. In my hand was the worst hard-boiled egg I have ever seen. Egg shells ripping off huge chunks of egg white to leave a barely covered soft-boiled yolk. It was a massacre. I was almost sad for the poor thing.
That quickly shifted when I realized my Mark won. He really won! I was truly overjoyed to have found the method that works best and that my Mark will proudly wear this win as a badge of honor that he will repeatedly remind me of often. So, lesson learned...get up when the timer goes off … and listen to my Mark every now and then – at least when it comes to eggs.
Mark’s Method - Egg 1
Place eggs in a pot and cover with cool water. Bring to a rapid boil. Keep at a boil for 16 minutes. Place eggs immediately in an ice bath – bowl full of cool water filled with ice cubes – for 3 minutes. Peel and eat.
Mark did mention that he actually turns down the heat to low or all the way off with a cover after it comes to boil. All ways work, but my egg kitchen is closed for the day to try again. He also mentioned that older eggs peel better. He’s relentless.
Cook’s Illustrated Steaming Style - Egg 2
Fill a pot with one inch water. Bring to boil. Place eggs in a steamer and place steamer in the pot, cover. Turn heat to medium-low and steam for 13 minutes. Place immediately in an ice bath for 15 minutes. Peel and eat.
Baked Hard Cooked Eggs - Egg 3
Preheat oven to 350º. Place whole eggs with shells in muffin tin. Bake for 30 minutes. Place immediately in an ice bath for 10 minutes. Peel and eat.
Dr. Mark Hyman’s Hard Boiled Eggs - Egg 4
Heat water in a pot. Just before a boil, add 3T vinegar and 1tsp salt to the water. Add 8 eggs. Turn heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Place eggs immediately in an ice bath until cool (I went for 15 minutes.) Peel and eat.