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The Secret to Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs

Hard-baked eggs

One of my favorite parts of Thanksgiving dinners with my family when I was growing up was eating countless deviled eggs. My grandma made the best deviled eggs EVER. Seriously. Like there is no competition. I have never had another deviled egg that even comes close to touching hers (not counting what I make now using her recipe). We use to swipe an egg half from the dish as we walked by, while we waited not so patiently for the turkey and trimmings to be ready. And then we’d pile our plate with them at dinner. And have more after dinner, while we languished on the couch watching football, even though we were already close to splitting open from all the food we’d eaten. Yeah, they’re that good. Maybe one day, in the far, far, far future, I will share her recipe on here. I don’t know though. They are so good, and so much better than any others I have ever had, that I hesitate to share them with the world. Then they might not be special anymore. Honestly, they’re so awesome, and such a family tradition, that I would have to get the blessing of my family before I would share it.

But that’s all a distraction from my main point. I loved eating her deviled eggs. What I hated was helping peel the eggs beforehand. Eventually, either my mom or grandma learned from a friend or reading it somewhere in a cooking magazine or something like that (oh those sad pre-Internet days), that if you used eggs that were at least a week old, the shells were much easier to peel. It made a huge difference, and it became not such a dreaded task. Unless you forgot to pick up enough eggs for Thanksgiving dinner (for my family that meant probably two dozen) at least a week ahead of time. Then it was murderous.

Luckily, I’ve found another secret to getting easy-to-peel hard-boiled eggs–just don’t boil them. Kind of defeats the purpose if you want deviled eggs, though right? Not really. You can get the same results by baking eggs, still in their shell. They’re significantly easier to peel, you don’t have to worry about the eggs cracking because you let them boil too vigorously, and they cook very nice and evenly–no green ring around the outside of the yolk from overcooking.

And it couldn’t be easier. Just pop them in the oven for 30 minutes at 325 degrees. You can place them directly on the oven rack or on a cookie sheet, but they’re a little hard to handle that way because of their tendency to roll around. Instead, I like to use a muffin pan and place one egg in each cup.

Hard-baked eggs

The one small downside to this method is discolors the eggs a bit, creating small brown spots on the shells. Sometimes you’ll notice the brown spots go through to the egg white, but it doesn’t affect the taste. If you’re making eggs to color at Easter, though, or are worried about the presentation of your deviled eggs, you might want to go with the old-fashioned method. But no fear–I can help you with that too!

As I mentioned before, to avoid peeling issues, if you must boil, don’t use super fresh eggs. To get perfectly cooked eggs (no runny or overcooked yolks), don’t boil them for the duration of the cooking time. Instead, heat the water just until it reaches a full boil, then immediately remove from heat and cover the pan. Leave your eggs in the hot water for about 20 minutes (timing is not as critical with this method). Since you won’t be boiling the eggs for more than a few seconds, there’s also less chance of cracked eggs. But, just in case, a spoonful of vinegar in the water before boiling will keep any cracked eggs from leaking out of their shells, so they’ll still be usable.

Hope these tips help you create some delicious deviled eggs–though they’ll never be as spectacular as my grandma’s. 🙂

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