How to Make the Perfect Hard-Boiled Egg

                                                                                                      (Image credit: Getty Images)

At first glance, hard-boiled eggs seem easy to make - just throw them in water and boil.  While that sounds good in theory, chances are you won't get that perfectly cooked egg and easy-to-peel shell.  We've nailed down the steps you need to take to have egg-cellent hard boiled eggs in no time.

1.  Use older eggs.  Yup, you heard that right.  In Harold McGee's book,"On Food and Cooking," he says that the shells peel easily after several days of refrigeration due to the pH level of the albumen.  If all you have are fresh eggs, McGee suggests adding 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda to the cooking water.

2.  Start with cold water.  Place eggs in a single layer at the bottom of a pan.  Starting with cold water keeps the eggs from cracking; make sure that the water is about 1 inch above the eggs.   Add a pinch of salt to the water to help make them easier to peel.

3.  Bring to a boil for a few seconds, then cover for 12 minutes.  Once the water has boiled on medium heat, turn off the heat and cover the eggs.  They should be done after 12 minutes.  To test the eggs, open one to make sure you have the desired consistency.  Another test is to spin the egg on a table.  Cooked eggs with spin quickly while uncooked eggs will spin slowly due to their liquid contents.

4.  Place the eggs in ice water.  Shocking the eggs in ice water stops them from continuing to cook.  Once they are cool, remove them from the pan.

5.  Peel them under cool running water.  This makes the shelling easier if you're not decorating the eggs.