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Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs and Deviled Egg Salad Sandwiches

March 27, 2010

Edit 12/29/16: If you have come to this page for Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs, you might want to take a look at my new way to make Perfect Hard Cooked Eggs that peel easily every time. Click here to check it out! 🙂


With Easter right around the corner, it’s time to think about hard boiled eggs.

You would think that a recipe for hard boiled eggs would be unnecessary, but it’s good to know a few tricks to get perfect hard boiled eggs. You want them to be done, without being overdone with “rubbery” egg whites. And you don’t want that dreaded green ring around the yolk. There are certainly other techniques that work, but I get consistent results with this one.

This is a simplified version of Julia Child’s recipe for hard boiled eggs in The Way to Cook. (She gives credit to the Georgia Egg Board.) Her method involves putting the cooked eggs in ice water, then putting them back in boiling water again for 10 seconds, and then back in the ice water for 15 – 20 minutes. That’s just too many steps for me.

I have found that you can get good results without the 10 second boil and the second ice bath.

I boiled 3 perfect hard boiled eggs today and made Deviled Egg Salad Sandwiches.


Update June 14, 2010:

Last weekend Laura called to ask me about cooking hard boiled eggs. Off the top of my head, I told her this method, but I said to leave them in the pot for 10 minutes instead of 17 minutes. Were her eggs undercooked? No…they were perfect!

How could we both get perfect eggs when the timing was so different? Perhaps the eggs are fully cooked in 10 minutes; after 10 minutes the water is cooler so they do not continue to cook much in the next 7 minutes. That’s my theory, anyway, and I’m sticking with it!

The current (May/June 2010) issue of Cook’s Illustrated has a short article confirming that, after 11 years, they still like this method of cooking eggs. Their timing? 10 minutes in the pot and then a 5 minute ice bath.

So there you have it. We can cook hard boiled eggs faster than I thought we could! 🙂

Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs

(printable recipe)

(Originally adapted from Julia Child’s recipe in The Way to Cook. Updated version – June 14, 2010 – adapted from method described in the May/June 2010 issue of Cook’s Illustrated)

3 large eggs (the timing may not be quite right for extra large or jumbo eggs)

Prick the large end of the eggs with a pin. Allow it to go about ¼ inch into each egg. (This allows the air to escape from the eggs as they heat up; it helps to keep the shell from cracking as the eggs cook.) This step seems unnecessary.

Put the eggs in a pot that is tall enough so they are covered with an inch of cold water. (You can cook up to a dozen eggs using this method, but the pot needs to be large enough to hold them in one layer.)

Put the pot on the stove over high heat. As soon as it comes to a boil, remove the pot from the heat, cover and set the timer for 17 minutes 10 minutes.

When the 17 minutes 10 minutes is almost up, prepare the ice bath. Fill a large bowl or another pot with cold water and lots of ice cubes. The water should feel very icy to touch.

When the eggs are done, immediately remove them from the boiling water and immerse them in the ice bath. (A large slotted spoon or skimmer works well.) Let them sit in the ice bath for 5 minutes.

Crack each egg on the countertop and then roll it gently to break up the shell. Peel the eggs. They’re ready to use immediately.

(Julia Child suggests you can store them in ice water, uncovered, in the refrigerator for 2 – 3 days. You can also leave them in the shells and store in the refrigerator for up to a week, but they may not peel as well.)

Deviled Egg Salad Sandwiches

Serves 2

3 hard boiled eggs, peeled

3 tablespoons mayonnaise

1 tablespoon Grey Poupon Dijon mustard

About 4 dashes of Tabasco sauce

Salt and pepper to taste

Slice onion (optional)

4 slices bread (whole wheat or sourdough are good)


Toast 4 slices of bread.

Chop the eggs in a bowl. Add the mayonnaise, mustard, Tabasco, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix well.

If desired, top two slices of bread with sliced onions.

Spread the egg salad on top of the onions.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. September 5, 2010 6:34 pm

    I love egg salad. Here is my favorite Danish egg salad which contains sweet pickles and dill:

    • September 5, 2010 6:46 pm

      Looks delicious, Michael! I especially love the addition of dill.


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