How do you know when boiled eggs are done? We have gathered some key points to help you answer this question. When it comes to cooking techniques, eggs are regarded as one of the trickiest ingredients to learn how to cook. So, if you’re feeling alone in this, you’re not. If you want to successfully boil eggs in the microwave, follow this guide.
Even the most experienced home cooks struggle with how to tell when boiled eggs are done. In this article, we will share a few tips and tricks to ensure your eggs are cooked to the right point, depending on what you’re after.
We will also share what equipment you need and other information about eggs, essential considerations when selecting eggs, and different ways to cook them.
There is more than one way to ensure your boiled eggs come out the way you want them to. Having a variety of techniques under your belt will lead you to success!
Top trending techniques to tell if your boiled eggs are done
There are so many popular ways to know if hard-boiled eggs are done. Some are more straightforward techniques than others, but here are a few that people are loving right now:
- Spin to know if a boiled egg is done
- Crack to know if a boiled egg is done
- Use a thermometer to check if a boiled egg is done
- Shake method to check if a boiled egg is done
- Light method to check if a boiled egg is done
Spin to know if a boiled egg is done
This is a fun and novel way to tell if a boiled egg is done. Place the egg on a flat hard surface and spin it around. If the egg is still liquid in the centre, it will likely wobble. This is because the runny egg in the centre makes the egg unstable as it moves back and forth while spinning. Note that this test will not work if an egg is raw inside.
If the egg has solidified inside, it is likely to spin stably. This is a result of the solid centre being stable while moving.
If the egg still wobbles, put it back into the boiling water for another 60 seconds and try the spinning trick again.
Crack to know if a boiled egg is done
If you go with this method, keep in mind that once you crack the egg, it can’t be used again. Consider using a “test” egg by adding an extra egg into your batch of boiling eggs, just in case they need to boil for longer.
- Remove your eggs from the boiling water.
- Run it under a cold stream of running water.
- Crack the shell with a sharp knife and cut the egg in half.
- Verify if it is cooked through as you like it.
- If you are satisfied, remove all the eggs.
- If not, boil them for an additional 60 seconds.
Use a thermometer to check if a boiled egg is done
This is certainly not a fool-proof method and should only be used as a last resort. This is because the test will only work for soft-boiled eggs that still have some liquid inside them. It’s not a great test for hard-boiled eggs.
If you would like to try it nonetheless, here are the steps:
- Remove your eggs from the water with a slotted spoon.
- Lay the egg on a cloth or paper towel, so it doesn’t roll away.
- Use an infrared thermometer and hold it 2 inches from the egg.
- A reading of 160°F indicates the egg should be at a soft-boiled stage.
Shake method to check if a boiled egg is done
This method requires a little practice to get right. This test involves removing an egg from the boiling water. The idea is to shake the egg and get an idea of whether it “feels” solid or a little liquid inside.
This is a suitable method of testing the doneness of eggs. The only drawback is that you must handle a piping-hot egg straight from the boiling water. Consider holding the egg with a paper or fabric towel.
Light method to check if a boiled egg is done
It may seem somewhat bizarre – using light to peer through the shell of an egg to know if it’s done cooking or not!
You will need quite a strong flashlight. A direct and strong light stream is best to use. If you can see the light shining through the other side of the eggshell, it is still raw in the centre. You will need to cook it further and repeat the process or try one of the other ones on the list.
How to cook boiled eggs
Boiled eggs are such a versatile food. They can be served as a breakfast item, with toast and another side, or as a light snack. Cold hard-boiled eggs are a great addition to a salad and helpful to have in the fridge.
Here is a tried and tested way to cook boiled eggs:
- Place the eggs in a pan and cover them with cold water – they must be submerged with an inch of water above them.
- Bring the water to a rapid boil on high heat.
- Once the water is at a rapid boil, cover the pan with a lid and remove it from the heat.
- Do not lift the lid.
- Set a timer to reach the correct doneness of the boiled egg – guidelines below.
- Once the timer has reached the point of doneness you are looking for, remove the eggs.
- Plunge the eggs into the bucket of water and ice to stop the cooking process.
Here are the results from 4 different timings:
- 4 minutes will give you soft-boiled eggs.
- 6 minutes will give you soft-medium eggs.
- 8 minutes will give you medium-hard eggs.
- 10 minutes will give you hard-boiled eggs.
How to store boiled eggs
Keeping a bunch of hard-boiled eggs in the fridge is a good idea. As mentioned, they are an excellent food to add to salads, onto sandwiches and as a snack on their own. If you want to keep hard-boiled eggs on hand in the fridge, you can do this in two ways.
You can either peel the eggs and keep them in an air-tight container (this will avoid the smell of eggs permeating your entire fridge) or store them in the egg tray, shell on.
If you choose to keep them with the eggshell on, you can mark the body with a pen to note the age of the egg by writing the date it was boiled on. This is a great way to ensure you aren’t keeping the egg longer than suggested. Boiled eggs can last for one week in the refrigerator.
For health and safety reasons, the eggs must cool completely before putting them into the fridge. Around 2 hours should be enough cooling time.
How to remove an egg from boiling water
The safest way to remove an egg from boiling water is with a set of tongs or a slotted spoon. These tools are safe because they are unlikely to scoop up a lot of boiling water along with the egg. You want to avoid splashing yourself or someone close by with boiling water during your cooking process.
Why won’t the egg peel smoothly?
Nothing is more frustrating than learning to boil your egg to perfection only to have it break apart when peeling it. Sometimes a very fresh egg can be difficult to peel – one answer can be to run the egg under a stream of water while peeling it if you are struggling.
Cracking the eggshell slightly before plunging it into the ice bath is another way to prevent breaking up the egg.
Can an egg be overcooked?
Absolutely. While on the learning path to knowing how to tell if your boiled egg is done, you are likely to overcook a few! If you allow your egg to cook for over 20 minutes, it will be very hard and rubbery, not great to eat.
The dark green or blue ring that can form around the egg yolk is the other sure sign that you have over-cooked an egg. Use a timer to prevent overcooking an egg.
Following the timed cooking method above will make you less likely to overcook your hard-boiled egg. Try not to leave it alone without a loud timer nearby.
How to stop the egg from cracking in the cooking process
An obvious reason is that the egg has been dropped into the pot and landed too hard on the bottom. The safer option is to lay the eggs on the bottom of the pan and then fill the pot with water instead of filling the pot first. The other issue you could face is the egg cracks while boiling. This is due to the air within the egg expanding as it heats, causing the eggs to crack.
Here are a few ways you can prevent your eggs from cracking.
- Use eggs that are at room temperature for boiling rather than ones straight out of the fridge
- Use a sharp pin to prick the egg’s round end.
Handling eggs as gently as possible is essential to avoid cracking and breakage.
3 classic ways to cook boiled eggs
Fried eggs over easy
While this is a smart way to cook eggs, it’s probably one of the most challenging. Served with a piece of buttered toast, it’s a delicious protein-rich breakfast. Here are the steps to making a delightful fried egg, over easy.
- Melt a tablespoon of butter in a non-stick frying pan.
- When the butter is hot, crack the egg open and pour it gently into the butter on the pan.
- The egg shouldn’t spread out too wide in the pan; try to keep it in one corner or section.
- Let the egg cook for two to three minutes on medium to high heat.
- Flip the egg over gently – try not to break the yolk.
- Cook it for 2 -3 minutes before seasoning it with salt and pepper. Serve!
This is a quick and straightforward way of cooking eggs. There is a fair amount of debate about whether to season the eggs before or after scrambling them. If you want to make scrambled eggs with minimal effort, try my microwave scrambled eggs recipe. Here are the steps to follow for a perfect plate of scrambled eggs:
- For a single serving, whisk together 2 or 3 eggs in a small bowl.
- Season with salt and pepper or as desired.
- Heat a tablespoon of butter in a non-stick pan on medium heat until it’s melted.
- Pour the eggs in gently.
- Cook for one minute without stirring.
- After the minute is up, stir the eggs gently to create clumps.
- Cook the eggs for 2 – 3 minutes before taking them off the heat.
Poached eggs send a quiver of panic through many home cooks. It doesn’t need to be this way. As long as you use very fresh eggs, you should be fine. Fresh eggs are more likely to hold together while poaching and floating in water baths.
Here are the steps:
- Bring 4 inches of water and 1 TBS of white wine vinegar to a gentle simmer in a pan. This means you should see bubbles popping up intermittently but not as quickly as boiling.
- Crack the egg into a little cup or bowl. Carefully slide the egg into the water.
- Cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Use a slotted spoon and pop the egg onto a paper towel or cloth to dry it off.
Wrapping it up
There are so many tried and tested ways to tell when hard-boiled eggs are done. The most important thing is for you to find the method that works best for you. This way, you will comfortably be able to make and enjoy hard-boiled eggs for you, your friends and your family.
This guide should hopefully have steered you on the path to success with your hard-boiled egg journey. We hope it’s a long and eggcellent one!
How To Make the Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs – How To Tell When They Are Done
- 4 Large eggs, room temperature (cooks more evenly)
- Hot water, to cover the eggs
- 1/2 tsp fine salt for every egg you are boiling
- Add the eggs to a large saucepan or pot. Make sure they are laid down in a single layer and not stacked on top of each other.
- Gently add cold water (not ice water) to the pot until it completely covers the eggs. It should reach above their tops. If you are cooking fewer than 7 eggs, you can have the water reach 1 inch over their tops. If you are cooking 7 or more eggs, the water should cover at least 2 inches above the tops of the eggs.
- Add some fine salt. This helps soften the eggshell, making it more pliable and less prone to crack when the water starts to boil. the salt simultaneously makes the egg shells easier to peel.
- Now, add the pot with water, salt, and eggs over high heat. Do not add the lid. Bring the water to a rolling boil.
- Once boiling, remove the pot from the heat, cover it with a tight-fitting lid, and leave the eggs to sit.
- As per my guidelines above, for hard-boiled eggs, you can leave them to rest for 10 minutes in the hot water. Don't leave the eggs for too long or they will overcook (form a green ring around the yolk).
- You can test the doneness of one egg before removing all of them. Personally, this is a foolproof method, but if you love to stay on the safe side of things, you can do one of the tests below.
- When you are happy with the doneness of the boiled eggs, remove them from the hot water and plunge them into ice-filled water. This immediately stops the cooking process and prevents the eggs from overcooking. It's an essential step if you are making soft or medium-boiled eggs.
- Spin the egg on a flat surface.
- If it wobbles, the egg isn't completely cooked inside. Instead, it's only at the medium or soft stage. You will need to continue cooking the eggs for another minute or so.
- This isn't ideal as you cannot continue cooking the egg once it's been cracked open. Nevertheless, it's the most accurate test.
- Peel the egg and slice it in half. See if you are happy with the doneness and remove the rest of the eggs. If they aren't fully cooked yet, don't remove the remaining eggs and leave them to cook for another minute.
- You can also use an infrared thermometer to test the doneness of the egg.
- Remove the egg from the water and lay it on a piece of paper towel.
- Keep it 2 inches away from the shell. The reading should be 180°F (82°C).
- Use a piece of paper towel to hold the egg.
- Give it a couple of shakes to test if it feels cooked or if it feels like liquid is sloshing around on the inside.
- Use a powerful flashlight to shine through the egg.
- If the light comes through to the other side of the shell, the egg isn't cooked to the hard-boil stage.