My journey to consistent boiled eggs has been a tricky one. After years of peeling disasters, yolk-sinking disasters, and gnarly (but still delicious!) deviled eggs, I was surprised and relieved to find an infallible egg boiling technique in the Ramen chapter of Japanese Soul Cooking by Tadashi Ono and Harris Salat.
The keys to this technique are:
- cold eggs (for a soft and runny yolk)
- a small pinhole (for ease in peeling)
- spinning the eggs for the first two minutes of boiling (for setting the yolks at the center)
By boiling the eggs for a total of 6, 8 or 12 minutes, respectively, Tadashi and Harris’s technique has always yielded easy-to-peel eggs with a lovely, centered yolk.
The following steps are my own (very slightly) adapted take on Tadashi and Harris’s recipe for (4) boiled eggs.
1. Bring 8 cups of water to a rolling boil in a 3-quart saucepan.
2. Using your egg carton for support, rotate the eggs within the carton until their widest part (we’ll call it the bottom) is on top. Rest a pushpin at the center of the bottom of one egg.
3 & 4. Gently drive the pushpin into the eggshell by tapping lightly with the back of a spoon. Repeat for the remaining (3) eggs. You will now have a small hole in each eggshell that—during boiling—will force a gap between the egg white and the bottom shell (note the slightly flat edge in the photos). This will make peeling infinitely more easy. Return the eggs to the refrigerator until the water is boiling.
5. Using a slotted spoon or wire skimmer, gently transfer the cold eggs to the boiling water.
6. For the first 2 minutes of boiling, use a chopstick or the handle of a spoon to spin the eggs in a clockwise or counterclockwise motion. The spinning will ensure that the yolks set at the center.
- For soft-boiled eggs: allow the eggs to boil for 4 more minutes, untouched. The eggs should have boiled for 6 minutes, total.
- For medium-boiled eggs: allow the eggs to boil for 6 more minutes, untouched. The eggs should have boiled for 8 minutes, total.
- For hard-boiled eggs: allow the eggs to boil for 10 more minutes, untouched. The eggs should have boiled for 12 minutes, total.
7 & 8. Prepare a bowl of ice water to shock the boiled eggs. Using a slotted spoon or wire skimmer, transfer the eggs to the ice bath. Allow them to cool completely before peeling. Once cooled, you can peel and use them immediately, or you can store them unpeeled in the refrigerator overnight.