EGG EDUCATION

For the Love of All That’s Good In This World, Stop Overcooking Eggs

By Taylor Ray

Not to call anyone out, but it needs to be said: the green ring around hard-boiled egg yolks is. not. cute. It’s not very pleasant on the palate, either. To put it a little more boldly: please stop overcooking your hard-boiled eggs to oblivion. We just want what’s best for you. Promise.

What’s that gross green ring around my hard-boiled egg yolk?

If you’ve ever hard-boiled an egg and sliced into it to find an unsightly green or grayish ring around the yolk, congratulations: you just completed a successful science experiment. The dreaded green ring is the result of a chemical reaction between the small amount of iron in the yolk and the hydrogen sulfide in the white. As the egg boils and cooks from the outside in, ferrous sulfide begins to form where the yolk touches the white. You’ll notice a strong sulphurous smell as a result of this reaction. This means you got a tad carried away with the hard-boiling.

A brief caveat: there are scenarios where eggs may be ‘overcooked’ deliberately. Traditional Chinese tea eggs, for example, are usually double- or triple-boiled in a tea mixture for flavor and as a means of preserving a delicacy destined for refrigerator-lacking street carts. Similarly, Taiwanese iron eggs are simmered for hours and air dried, resulting in a chewy texture and intense, concentrated flavor. These dishes are steeped in culture and history, and it should be noted that ‘overcooking’ is not a result of timing issues nor inexperience in these cases.

Are overcooked eggs with a green ring safe to eat?

The only damage that eating an overcooked egg might do is to your taste buds. They’re perfectly safe to eat, green ring and all, but aren’t exactly a delight for the senses. Besides, hard-boiled eggs are a powerhouse for the home cook’s kitchen, so why not master them once and for all? Your future avocado toasts, egg salad sandos, and flashy platter of deviled eggs will thank you. It’s worth it. You’re worth it.

How to make perfect hard-boiled eggs sans the dreaded green ring

Who has the time for an internal clock? Everyone’s circadian rhythm is at least slightly out of wack these days anyway. Grab your phone or that Scandi style kitchen timer you spent too much on. You’re about to get your money’s worth.

To make perfect hard-boiled eggs using this method, you’ll need between 6 and 12 eggs (straight from the fridge is best), a medium or large pot that comfortably fits said eggs, a large bowl of ice water, and a slotted spoon. Next, follow these three steps to ward off the green ring and make exceptional hard-boiled eggs every time:

Step 1

Fill your pot with enough water to cover the eggs by a minimum of 2 inches. You can use an egg as a guide or eyeball the water level, but don’t add the eggs to the pot quite yet. Cover and bring the water to a rolling boil.

Step 2

Gently add the eggs to the boiling water. If needed, adjust the temperature to maintain a rolling boil. Start a timer for 12 minutes and not a second longer. 12 is the magic number.

Step 3

At 12 minutes on the dot, use a slotted spoon to remove the eggs from the pot and immediately submerge into your bowl of ice water. Let cool in the ice water for at least 10 minutes before peeling.

Now that you’re equipped with information and empowered by facts, say it with us: I will never overcook my eggs again.

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