Your Definitive Guide to Peeling Hard Boiled Eggs

Halved hard boiled eggs with pepper on a white plate.

Claudia Totir

Peeling hard-boiled eggs seems like it should be a simple task, so why is it so hard to do? If you're dealing with an egg whose shell is being particularly stubborn and driving you to the brink of madness, it could be because the eggs are too fresh. As they age, the membrane between the egg and its shell begins to deteriorate, meaning that older eggs are far easier to peel—and, yes, they’re completely safe to eat.

We have more inside tips on hard-boiling eggs and a step-by-step on peeling them without a ton of frustration. Read on to find out how to peel hard-boiled eggs for your best breakfast yet.

How to Peel a Hard-Boiled Egg

  1. After your eggs have cooked, immediately shock them in a bowl full of ice water. Let them sit for at least two minutes to halt the cooking process.
  2. Crack the shell of your eggs on all sides by tapping it against your countertop. Rub it between your hands for a few seconds to help loosen it. 
  3. Put the eggs back into the bowl of ice water and run your fingers around the broken shell until you find a weak spot, then gently begin to peel.
  4. As you go, water will make its way between the shell and the hard boiled egg, gently separating them and helping the broken shell to slide right off.
  5. If you still find your eggshells to be stubborn, take them out of the bowl and peel them under cool, running water from the faucet—the extra oomph of the water’s momentum should help the shell slough off easily. 

There’s very little difference in way of quality when it comes to an ultra-fresh egg and one nearing the expiration date on the carton. If you’re looking to use up eggs that got lost in the back of your fridge, hard boil a whole batch. 

For Storing Hard-Boiled Eggs

To store your already peeled eggs, wrap them in damp paper towels to help preserve their moisture, then place them in a resealable container or zip-top bag and refrigerate. Your eggs should stay good for approximately a week in your fridge, making them super accessible for breakfasts and lunches to come.

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