On Boiling Eggs

Eggs are great. Round, reliable and full of protein. Probably not the best choice for a vegetarian or a vegan. But you can do a huge amount with just eggs. Heck, the weirdly beloved deviled egg is basically a hard-boiled egg. You just scoop the insides out, mush it up with spices then put it back on top.

Yet somehow, the process of boiling eggs is oddly… annoying. Somehow, something so simple can also be weirdly difficult.

Also, boiling eggs always reminds me of a scene from Look Around You, a fake science show.

Boiling eggs are tasty though.

The base concept is simple. You boil some water. You place an egg in the boiling water. Then you let the egg boil for a bit. After a while, you pull the egg out, wait for it to cool down then peel it. Or you break the egg open in the middle and dip some bread into it. Assuming the egg is soft-boiled. If the egg is hard-boiled, you can still eat it no problem. The best way to serve boiled eggs is deviled, and there’s a billion different ways to do so. Super simply though, you can mix the egg yolk with mayonnaise, paprika, salt and pepper, then just spoon it back on top of the egg whites.

You can also incorporate boiled eggs into meat. Scotch Eggs are amazing. Boiled eggs wrapped in sausage meat, then wrapped in breadcrumbs and fried. If you don’t have the patience for that though, you can just throw some sliced boiled egg into some meat loaf.

The process doesn’t always seem to be 100%

Somehow though, getting the timing for boiled eggs varies on a lot of things. The age of the egg is a big part of it, but so is the water you’re using, whether it’s salted or not and how hard your water is. Sometimes an egg will be hard-boiled by accident. I think age has the biggest role here. Older eggs just don’t boil the same way as newer eggs do.

Peeling eggs can also be a pain. You need to wait for the eggs to cool, but who has the patience for that? When peeling, sometimes the eggshell will come off in nice, big pieces. If you’re really lucky, the shell will come off in one sheet. But often, I find I’m spending ages peeling off tiny bits of shell that pull off half the egg white as well. The way to avoid this is to dunk the eggs in ice cold water as soon as they’re boiled. But that requires remembering to get that water ready in the first place. There are all sorts of hacks and gadgets, but most egg-peeling hacks seem to be more work than they’re worth.

If you put your eggs into water though and they float to the surface, they’re probably off. Fresh eggs will always sink to the bottom of a pan (or bowl) of water.

Image by Myriams-Fotos from Pixabay
Image by Myriams-Fotos from Pixabay

Don’t use a microwave

Using a microwave is messy and tedious. You can’t easily watch an egg being boiled in a microwave and, because of how microwaves work, you can’t guarantee even heating. It also seems to take longer than just sticking an egg in water on the stove. Or maybe I just have a shitty microwave.

But there’s a bigger problem. Boiling eggs in the microwave can cause said eggs to explode. And they will explode, violently, leaving a horrible mess everywhere. I’ve had this happen before and the eggs will cover every inch of your microwave’s interior.

That being said, not everyone has access to a stove. So if you do want to boil an egg in a microwave, I have a few recommendations. Firstly, you want to make a hole in the egg, so the egg is less likely to explode. You’ll also want to get the water boiling before you put the eggs in. And, most importantly, put a lid on top of the boiling eggs. Not only does this stop the water from escaping or boiling over, but it also blocks any potential explosions. So you don’t need to completely clean your microwave if the eggs do explode.

Image by Andrew Martin from Pixabay
I’ve used this image before, but eh, it’s egg-related. Image by Andrew Martin from Pixabay

“So Medic, how DO you boil an egg?”


I don’t know.

Or, at least, I don’t know how to perfectly soft-boil an egg. I have never worked out the perfect timings. I’ve looked up guides, but the timings can vary a lot. But I also think it’s to do with the hard water around here, as well as the age of the eggs I buy. Heck, it could be anything. Plus, what might work for me might not work for you. After all, the eggs I buy are from down the road, relatively speaking. The eggs you buy might be from hundreds of miles away.

But I will say one thing: it’s better to over-cook than to under-cook eggs. Because a hard-boiled egg is at least always completely cooked. Eggs in the EU are generally vaccinated against salmonella and things like that, but you can never be 100% sure. Also, once you start peeling an under-cooked egg, you can’t just stick it back into the boiling water without making a mess. An over-cooked egg is ready to eat and less messy than an under-cooked one.

Worst case scenario, you can always make egg mayonnaise sandwiches!


Medic, also known as Phovos (or occasionally Dr Retvik Von Scribblesalot), writes 50% of all the articles on the Daily SPUF since she doesn't have anything better to do. A dedicated Medic main in Team Fortress 2 and an avid speedster in Warframe, Phovos has the unique skill of writing 500 words about very little in a very short space of time.

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