How to Tell an Egg Is Hard Boiled (and Other Egg Tips)

Bowl of white eggs to be hard boiled

A bubbling pot of water on the stovetop filled with a half dozen eggs is common sight in my kitchen. Stocking a supply of hard cooked eggs makes it easy to add a protein boost to everyday meals. I pop them into lunch boxes, slice them into dinner salad, and hand them off for breakfast as my kids head out the door. If you’ve wondered how to tell an egg is hard boiled, here’s the scoop. You’ll also find a few more pointers on cooking and storing eggs.

How To Hard Boil an Egg

To hard boil four eggs, put them into a medium saucepan and fill with enough water to cover the eggs by one inch. Bring the water to a boil over high heat. Once it boils, cover the pot with a lid, turn off the heat, and set a timer for 12 minutes. Remove the eggs from the pot to cool and peel. 

How to Tell an Egg is Hard Boiled

Since hard boiled eggs look no different than raw ones it’s easy to mix them up, with potentially messy results. If you’re wondering how to tell an egg is hard boiled, set it on the counter and give a quick spin. Once it’s moving, tap your finger on it to stop the spinning. Eggs that are cooked will spin easily and rapidly and stop quickly. Raw eggs take a bit of momentum to get going and don’t stop so quickly with the touch of your finger.

Label Your Eggs

hard boiled eggs that are labeled
To avoid the raw versus cooked conundrum, identify eggs that have been hard boiled with a permanent marker before storing them in the fridge.

Peeling Eggs

Know that the fresher the egg, the harder it is to peel. Keep eggs in the fridge for seven to 10 days before boiling and the job of peeling will go that much easier. Peeling is easiest once eggs have cooled and there is a little pocket of air at the narrow end of the egg. Tap that first and peel from there.

How to Store Eggs

Below you’ll find a chart from the American Egg Board with recommendations for storing your eggs in the refrigerator. I like the fact that those hard boiled eggs will keep for up to a week.

Raw eggs (in shell) 4 to 5 weeks beyond the pack date or about 3 weeks after purchase
Raw eggs (slightly beaten) Up to 2 days
Raw egg whites Up to 4 days
Raw egg yolks Up to 2 days
Hard-boiled eggs (in shell) Up to 1 week
Peeled hard-boiled eggs Use the same day for best quality

Bowl of white eggs to be hard boiled

Hard Boiled Egg Recipes

Hard boiled eggs are endlessly useful in the kitchen. Here are a handful of recipe ideas.

Best Avocado Toast

Speedy Deviled Eggs

3-Ingredient Lunch

Autumn Egg Salad by Liz’s Healthy Table


01.09.2013 at7:44 AM #


oh yes, eggs are ok on the whole foods program~~have you any cold cereals with less than 5 ingredients? thanks

01.09.2013 at7:44 AM #

Katie Morford

I believe Shredded Wheat and Uncle Sams both meet the criteria. I imagine there are others, but will have to check out the cereal aisle.

01.11.2013 at8:47 AM #


About boiling fresh eggs…there is another tutorial somewhere that I’ve been following as I get my eggs nearly right out of the chicken! The primary difference between the link you referenced is plunging the eggs directly into an ice bath after the boiling:

Boil water
Add eggs carefully – with slotted spoon to boiling water
Boil 15 minutes
Put eggs gently in colander in ice bath
Stir gently until they are cool

I don’t do the “stir gently” part, just let them sit in the ice bath until they are cool and then into the frig or use immediately. I have been getting perfect hard boiled eggs from VERY fresh eggs. Tap them on the bottom to start and I have had no problems peeling them.

Cold cereal: Perky’s Nutty Rice Cereal. It is gluten-free and I am fairly sure comes in at 5 ingredients using rice sugar as the sweetener. I call it adult rice krispies but better as it stays crunchy in milk. I mix in my own granola and/or dried fruit and sometimes a dollop of homemade nut butter. Also can be layered with yogurt and fruit for a “parfait”. My grocery has it in the bulk bins but I’ve also seen it in boxes and of course, on Amazon. Downside is I think it is a bit spendy for a family in boxes.

I’m a whole food/buy local and seasonal follower with limited use of Wheat Montana (I live in Montana) white flour mixed with whole grain but very limited as I have moderated grains very much. A lot of inflammation/sore joints and skin issues (rosecea) have cleared, lost-losing weight, more energy, mitigated most menopause stuff (I think…maybe just timing…I’m 57) – I just feel very good. I did make the transition gradually as I learned and I love to cook AND no kids or husband – all making it much easier, I’m sure.

01.11.2013 at8:47 AM #

Katie Morford

Thanks for the egg tips…and the inspiration. I love stories of dietary changes making such a positive impact on health and quality of life.

09.19.2020 at10:18 AM #

Bob Wilson

can you put your hot boiled eggs in cold water to eat them sooner?

09.19.2020 at10:18 AM #

Katie Morford


05.13.2023 at11:08 AM #

Susan Gilchrist

Loved the hard boiled egg spin test video! To avoid mix-ups between what is raw and what is hard boiled, I use an egg carton marked “boiled” so that it can be clearly read when the fridge door is open. I usually boil several at a time for use throughout the week and put the boiled ones in the specially marked carton in the fridge. When it is empty, I leave it in the fridge (saving it’s space) but turn it upside down (bumps up). Next time I need a hard boiled egg, I easily know more need to be boiled. Quick and easy!

05.13.2023 at11:08 AM #

Katie Morford

Love your tip! Thank you.

10.03.2023 at3:12 PM #

four pics

I love hard boiled eggs! They are so easy to make and so delicious.

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