Should You Buy Ready-to-Eat Hard-Boiled Eggs?

Curious about those ready-to-eat eggs at the grocery store? Here's what you need to know.

More and more grocery stores are selling ready-to-eat, pre-peeled hard-boiled eggs. At first glance, we thought this was yet another ridiculous convenience product. How hard is it to boil an egg, after all? But maybe these grab-and-go eggs deserve a second look. Here's our take:

Deviled Eggs
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Saves Time

Ask any cook, peeling hard-boiled eggs is one of the most annoying tasks ever. Even when you use old eggs (which peel a bit more easily than fresh eggs), it's hard to remove the entire shell cleanly with no stray bits of shell or missing bits of egg white—a huge help when you're making deviled eggs.

Surprising Shelf Life

"But how long will they last?" That's usually the first question most people ask when they see ready-to-eat hard-boiled eggs at the supermarket. It's a little icky when you think about it. But they're not that different from "homemade" hard-boiled eggs, which last a week in the refrigerator, if left unpeeled. Pre-shelled hard-boiled eggs have a "best-by" date, which is usually seven days after the package has been opened. But always check the package to be sure.

Good for Snacking

Hard-boiled eggs are a healthy option to have on hand, especially for lunchboxes or snacks on the go. Eggs are an excellent source of protein and key nutrients such as vitamin A, vitamin B12, and folate.

No Green Film Around the Yolk

If you cook a hard-boiled egg too long, a blueish-greenish film will coat the outside of the yolk, caused by a chemical reaction between naturally occurring sulfur and hydrogen in the egg. It's not harmful to eat but doesn't look or taste great. Store-bought cooked eggs are uniformly cooked for yellow yolks with no trace of green.

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They are Expensive

Convenience comes at a price: Depending on the brand (there are many of them on store shelves now), ready-to-eat eggs can cost twice as much as a carton of raw eggs.

They May Contain Preservatives

Some, not all, pre-cooked eggs contain preservatives to extend their shelf life, which may be a no-go for some people.

They May Taste Different

This comes down to personal preference. Some people think that pre-cooked eggs have a stale, or less-than-fresh flavor. Others swear they can't tell the difference. If you tend to be picky about such things, opt for freshly cooked eggs.

They May Have a Different Texture

Pre-cooked eggs have dry, firm yolks, which might not be ideal if you prefer your yolks a little less "done." They also have firm (sometimes rubbery) whites. Again, this is a matter of personal taste.

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Unless you're really crunched for time, skip the store-bought cooked eggs and make your own.

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