You Should Never Boil Eggs Right from the Fridge—Here's Why

Don’t make this simple mistake.

Instant Pot Hard Boiled Eggs
Photo: Antonis Achilleos

To boil an egg, you just need an egg, a pot, some water, and a little bit of salt or vinegar. Simple, right? It is, until you try it and your egg ends up underdone, overdone, or cracked. One mistake that can easily lead to a subpar hard boiled egg? Boiling it straight from the fridge. That's right, boiling your eggs while they're still cold will lead to disappointment and ruin your deviled eggs and egg salad sandwiches. If you're wondering how a little thing like the temperature of an egg can have such a dramatic impact, you're in luck. We asked Atlanta chef Jennifer Hill Booker and Jason Smith, a chef in Grayson, Tennessee and on the Hungry platform, to explain the chemistry behind this simple blunder.

Why You Should Never Boil Eggs Directly from the Fridge

"Chemistry is a true science. When you put ice cold raw eggs into a pot of boiling water, you'll create a violent reaction inside that poor little egg shell," says Booker. This violent reaction will lead to a host of issues. Most noticeably, your eggs will be likely to crack due to the shock of the extreme temperature change. That's not all, though. Booker also states that the egg white will attach itself to the inside of the shell, rendering it far more difficult to peel. And it gets worse from there. When you peel away the shell, the egg is likely to be rubbery and tough. The bottom line? Don't tempt fate. Bring your eggs to room temperature before you boil them.

How to Bring Your Eggs to Room Temperature

Luckily, it doesn't take long to bring your eggs to room temperature. Smith says to simply pull your eggs out of the fridge at the same time you start boiling your water. "Once the water starts boiling, the eggs will have come to the right temperature to put in the water," he says.

How to Boil a Hard Boiled Egg to Perfection

Now that you know what mistakes to avoid, you're probably wondering how to properly boil an egg. Smith shared his these simple tips.

  1. Place 1-2 tablespoons of salt or ⅛ cup of vinegar in a pot of water. Remove the eggs from the refrigerator as you bring the pot to a boil.
  2. Once the pot is boiling, gently lower the eggs in the water and allow them to boil for 12 minutes.
  3. Cover the pot and remove it from heat. Allow it to sit for 18 minutes.
  4. Now that the eggs have had a chance to cool and set, remove the lid and place the eggs in ice cold water.
  5. Once the eggs have cooled, they're ready to peel and enjoy.
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