When you look at a recipe for hardboiled eggs, the steps mirror the precision necessary to make a chocolate soufflé, or a hydrogen bomb. Place the eggs in a pot and cover them with an inch of cold water; bring the water to a rolling boil; turn off the heat immediately when a rolling boil is reached and cover the pot with a lid; let the eggs sit in the lidded pot for 10 minutes if you want a softer yolk or 12 if you want a firmer yolk; transfer the eggs to a bath of ice and water. I’ve been going through these painstaking steps each time I’ve made hardboiled eggs for the entirety of my life, often looking up the “recipe” to make sure I’m doing it correctly, like a fool. But do you know what I found out? The recipe can easily be reduced to one step.
- Boil the eggs.
Yes, I found this out after I forgot I was making hardboiled eggs. I’d left them in a rolling boil for probably about 15 minutes. “Oh no!” I thought, foolishly. What did I suppose might happen? I didn’t even have a worst case scenario in mind. As it turns out, the result of my negligence was: the eggs were hardboiled.
I invite you, in future hardboiled egg scenarios, to just boil the egg.
I anticipate that you might have some questions, so I have laid the answers in Q&A format below.
When made this way, do the eggs turn out as good as they would if made the painstaking way?
I don’t know. How “good” do you need them to be, really? If you’re making it for yourself, say for a single portion of salade niçoise or just a snack, who cares.
What if I’m making them to impress someone who really cares about eggs?
Then do whatever you want, I don’t care. I’m just trying to make your life easier.
What if I’m very particular about the way I like my hardboiled eggs?
Won’t the yolks be chalky?
Won’t the yolks have a green ring around them?
Won’t the eggs be too hot to peel without the ice bath?
Wooon’t the eeeggs be toooo hot to peeeeel? Yeah they’re gonna be too hot to peel for a while, you just have to wait. But one benefit of my method is once they are temperature appropriate, the shell comes off more easily than when you perform the other method.
Do I put the eggs in while the water is boiling, or before?
I recommend sticking to the painstaking recipe’s suggestion of putting the eggs in the water first and then bringing it to a boil, so you don’t have to drop eggs into boiling water. It’s one place where that recipe got it right.
For how long do I boil the eggs?
A little while.
Do you have a photographic comparison between the two hardboiled egg making styles?
Why yes I do. The eggs on the top were made using the painstaking method; the eggs below were forgotten and then retrieved:
The yolk on the eggs below looks obviously much worse.
Yeah, no shit.
Do they taste the same?
So, there you have it. You’re welcome!