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How To Tell When Hard-Boiled Eggs Are Done: 6 Ways + Recipe For Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs

I am an egg lover. What could be more nutritious, more economical, more versatile, and more delicious? Eggs are great fried, scrambled, poached, and of course, boiled.

People have been eating eggs since, well, since there have been people on this earth. They have always been a readily available nutritious food. Eggs are packed with protein, and there is no difference in the nutritional value of a hard-boiled egg as opposed to a soft, or medium-boiled egg.

how to tell when hard boiled eggs are done

Eggs have two parts, a yolk and a white. The white of an egg is almost entirely protein while the yolk is packed with lots of vitamins and minerals. 

One large hard-boiled egg contains just over 6 grams of protein, and delivers a whole range of vitamins: A, B2, B12, B5, D, along with calcium, phosphorus, selenium, and zinc. It’s impressive that one little oval-shaped object can contain so much goodness! 

At a mere 77 calories for one large, hard-boiled egg, and a fraction of the cost of other sources of protein such as meat, fish, and cheese, the humble egg is a winner all round.

Did I mention that one large, hard-boiled egg contains only 77 calories? For anyone watching their calorie intake, eggs are a natural, easy-to-prepare choice.

Versatility is another great feature of the egg. Moreover, there is a lot you can do with a hard-boiled egg specifically. You definitely have more options with a hard-boiled egg than you do with a soft-boiled egg or a medium–boiled egg. 

With a hard-boiled egg you can make devilled eggs which are very popular and are a great addition to a summer al fresco lunch.

You can also make my favorite sandwich filling, egg salad. (I didn’t care if I was the kid with the stinky lunch at school, lol). Hard-boiled eggs are great sliced or chopped in salads, too.

They are a wonderful ingredient in potato salad, and look so pretty sliced, with a little paprika sprinkled on the top.

how to tell when hard boiled eggs are done

The thing you want to avoid is making what you think is a hard-boiled egg, just to find out that it was not boiled long enough, and you have a medium-boiled egg or, worse yet, a soft-boiled egg.

So how can you be sure that the eggs are, in fact, hard-boiled and you will not end up with a runny yolk? There are several little tests that are easy and fun to do.

RELATED: 31 Egg Noodle Recipes Easy & Fun To Have

How To Tell When Hard-Boiled Eggs Are Done: Spin Test

TestDescriptionPros and Cons
Spin TestUsing a slotted spoon, remove an egg from the pot of hot water.Put the boiled egg on a level surface such as a countertop.Hold the egg gently with your thumb and first finger and give it a spin.If the egg wobbles then this is a sign that the egg is not yet hard-boiled as it is liquid that will cause the egg to wobble.If the egg does wobble, put it back in the pot and boil for another minute.Remove the egg from the water and repeat the spin procedure until there is no wobbling.This test is simple, and quick.
It is not messy.
The spin test does not require any special equipment.
You can perform this test even when the egg is hot right out of the pot of hot water, as you are not holding the entire egg in your hand, and only lightly touching it to cause it to spin.
The spin test is reliable.

How To Tell When Hard-Boiled Eggs Are Done: Shake Test

TestDescriptionPros and Cons
Shake TestUsing a slotted spoon, remove an egg from the pot of hot water.Hold the egg in your hand and shake it gently in a circular motion.Listen for any movement.If you hear some movement, it is liquid in the egg, and this means that the egg is not yet hard-boiled.If this happens, put the egg back into the pot of hot water and boil it for another minute.Repeat the test again.If you do not detect any movement, this indicates that the egg is completely hard-boiled.The shake test is easy and quick to perform.
The shake test is not messy.
This test does not require any special equipment.
The shake test may take some practice before you can detect movement of the liquid inside the egg.
This test requires the person to hold the egg fully in their hand and this could be uncomfortable as it would be coming straight out of a pot of very hot water.
The shake test can be considered reliable once a person can easily recognize any movement of liquid.

To help you recognize what an egg that is not hard-boiled feels like when it is shaken, take an uncooked egg and shake it. Then, when you have boiled an egg for several minutes, try the shake test and compare with the uncooked egg.

This will make you feel more comfortable and confident using the shake test.

how to tell when hard boiled eggs are done

How To Tell When Hard-Boiled Eggs Are Done: Light Test

TestDescriptionPros and Cons
Light TestUsing a slotted spoon, remove an egg from the pot of hot water.Hold the egg in your hand, and hold it up to a bright light.If you are able to see egg yolk then the egg is not completely hard-boiled.If you can see the egg yolk, put the egg back into the pot of hot water and boil it for another minute.Repeat the procedure again after the minute.It is not always easy to see through the shell, even when the egg has not fully reached the hard-boiled stage.The challenge to see the yolk through the shell makes the light test somewhat unreliable.

It can be helpful to hold the egg in front of a bright flashlight to provide a stronger light, and thereby increase the possibility of being able to see the yolk.

How To Tell When Hard-Boiled Eggs Are Done: Infrared Thermometer Test

TestDescriptionPros And Cons
Infrared Thermometer TestUsing a slotted spoon, remove an egg from the pot of boiling water.Place the egg on a surface that will keep it steady such as a countertop with a paper towel or tea towel on it.Hold an infrared thermometer near the egg and take the egg’s temperature.If the egg is hard-boiled, its temperature will read over 160 F.If the temperature is 160 F or less then the egg is not completely hard-boiled.If this is the case, put the egg back into the pot of hot water and boil it for another minute.Repeat the process of taking the temperature of the egg using the infrared thermometer.This test is quick and easy.
The thermometer test is not messy.
It’s fun to use an infrared thermometer.
You do need to own an infrared thermometer.
This test works for soft-boiled eggs, where there is some liquid still in the egg, but it is unreliable for determining if an egg is hard-boiled.

RELATED: How To Cook Hard Boiled Eggs In The Microwave – Know More

How To Tell When Hard-Boiled Eggs Are Done: Drop Test

This method sounds crazy, right? You’re going to drop an egg to see if it is hard-boiled? It’s not quite like that. You will be putting (dropping) the egg into the water.

Unlike the other tests, above, that require you to remove the egg from the water to perform the test, the drop test has you watching what the egg does in the pot of water.

TestDescriptionPros And Cons
Drop TestUsing a slotted spoon, place the eggs into a pot of water.As the water heats, watch for bubbles.You will see bubbles at the beginning as it is an uncooked egg that emits bubbles.As the water gets hotter and the egg is cooked more there will be fewer bubbles, until finally no bubbles will appear. This means the egg is hard-boiled.The drop test does not require you to handle a hot egg.
This test does not require any special equipment.
The bubbles can be hard to see as they are tiny. This means you might not see them and think the egg is hard-boiled when it isn’t.
This method is not very convenient as it requires you to watch the pot of boiling water for a number of minutes.

The drop test is also referred to as the bubble test for obvious reasons.

How To Tell When Hard-Boiled Eggs Are Done: Crack Test

TestDescriptionPros and Cons
Crack TestUsing a slotted spoon, remove an egg from the pot of hot water.Run the egg under cold water to cool it off.Setting the egg on a cutting board, and using a sharp knife, cut the egg in half.Observe whether the egg is hard-boiled or not.If the egg is not completely hard-boiled, leave the rest of the eggs in the pot for another minute or so.The crack test is 100% foolproof. You will absolutely know how hard the egg is when you cut it open and look at it.
You need only a knife to perform this test.
This test is a little messy as cutting through the shell will leave some bits on the cutting surface, and if the yolk is still runny, you may have a bit of a mess with that as well.
The biggest drawback to the crack test method is that if the egg is not cooked enough then you have wasted an egg.
If you are boiling a number of eggs, you might not mind losing one, but if you only cooked one and it is not to your liking, you will have to start cooking an egg all over again.

You now have six different methods to test eggs to determine if they are hard-boiled. However, knowing how to effectively hard-boil an egg is key to getting consistently good results. 

If you take the time to research how to hard-boil an egg, you will see a surprising number of variations. Here is the method that I use which works all the time.

how to tell when hard boiled eggs are done

How To Hard-Boil An Egg

  1. Remove the eggs from the fridge and let them come to room temperature.
  1. Place the eggs in a pot large enough to hold them without the eggs sitting on top of each other, and large enough to hold water about 1 inch above the eggs allowing for space for the water to boil.
  1. Fill the pot with water to cover the eggs plus one inch.
  1. Sprinkle a little salt into the water as well as a generous amount of baking soda.
  1. Set the pot on the stove, cover with a lid, and put the heat on medium-high.
  1. As soon as the water reaches a full, rolling boil, remove the pot from the heat.
  1. Let the eggs sit, covered, in the hot water for 10 minutes.
  1. Drain the water off the eggs, and run cold water over them. Do this a couple of times and let the eggs cool completely if you are not eating the eggs right away.
  1. Store the eggs in the fridge with the shell on, or peel the eggs, wrap them in plastic wrap or place them in an airtight container and refrigerate them until you wish to use them.
how to tell when hard boiled eggs are done

Frequently Asked Questions

What Can You Do To Be Able To Peel A Hard-Boiled Egg Smoothly And Easily?

Putting baking soda in the water will ensure an easy peel without chunks of the egg coming off with the shell. Use ½ teaspoon of baking soda for 1 quart of water.

What Will Keep Eggs From Cracking While They Are Cooking?

There are three things you can do to avoid eggs cracking when they are cooking:

  1. Let the eggs sit until they are at room temperature before cooking them.
  2. Do not cook more eggs at once than can fit in one layer.
  3. Put the eggs in the pot first before you put the water in.

What Are The Benefits Of Eating Boiled Eggs Every Day?

Boiled eggs are an excellent source of protein, which is a building block of muscle. They also have many health benefits. Boiled eggs are also easy to cook and are delicious with a variety of condiments. They are a great source of protein and a good source of vitamins A, B, and D. It is enriched with minerals such as calcium, copper, and iron.

Jess Smith
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