A hardboiled egg is difficult to mess up—at least until it's time to peel it. While a messy boiled egg you had to claw out of its shell is totally edible, it doesn't make for the prettiest breakfast. Thankfully, attacking an eggshell with your bare hands and hoping for the best isn't the only way. Here are some tips for peeling smooth, perfect eggs that are as simple as boiling water.
1. Toss eggs in an ice bath.
Throwing your boiled eggs into an ice bath serves two purposes: It stops the cooking process and lowers the temperature of the eggs, so you don't have to wait very long until they're cool enough to handle. This process also makes the eggs easier to peel. The cold water shrinks the eggs slightly, creating more space between the whites and the shell.
2. Peel the eggs underwater.
A bowl of water also comes in handy for the actual peeling process. If you crack the eggs underwater, the water will enter the shell. This helps to loosen the membrane that connects the egg to its shell. (If you've ever struggled to peel a hardboiled egg, the membrane was likely to blame.)
3. Use the crack and roll method.
Don't feel like getting an extra bowl dirty to peel your eggs? Try the crack and roll method instead. This trick is exactly what it sounds like: Just tap the egg against a hard surface to crack it, roll it gently with your hand, and peel off the fractured shell.
4. Don't use fresh eggs.
If you just picked up a new carton of eggs from the farmers market, maybe wait a week before boiling them. Fresh eggs are actually harder to peel than eggs that have been sitting in your fridge for a while. To check the age of your egg, give it the float test; eggs that tilt upward in a bowl of water are past their prime but still good to eat.
5. Use a spoon.
To avoid getting your hands dirty, peel your hardboiled egg with a spoon. Start by cracking the egg at the wide end to create an opening for the utensil. From there, slip a spoon between the egg and the shell, rotate it around the egg, and peel off the remaining shell with ease.