I love deviled eggs. I often bring them to the monthly church potluck. But peeling them has always been a real pain. The shells stick. The whites get mangled. There had to be a better way. So I did what any post-modern chef would do: GTS.
It turns out there are a lot of theories about the best way to peel hard boiled eggs. Everyone insists that theirs is the best. Take, for example, this page offering 5 Egg Hacks. You gotta love that first one, literally blowing the egg out of its shell.
There are plenty of ideas for pre-peeling treatment to making peeling easier, too. Here’s my assessment of those. First, older eggs are indeed easier to peel, because the egg tends to shrink away from the membrane. Second, starting the eggs in cold water rather than adding them to boiling water doesn’t make them easier to peel, but it does help prevent cracking. (Try making deviled eggs when the whites have run through the cracks in the shell!) Heating the water to boiling more slowly also seems to help prevent cracking. Adding salt doesn’t make an appreciable difference to peelability. But adding baking soda does. Several sites recommend 1/2 tsp per quart of water, and that made the majority of the 35-egg batch much easier to peel.
Now to the peeling methods. I had no luck at all blowing the egg out of its shell. In fact, none of the methods worked quite as described. The best and fastest way I found was to put five eggs in a Tupperware with a little water, put the lid on, and shake vigorously for 5-6 seconds. Don’t overdo it, or the eggs come out with gashes, and may even disintegrate! The result: some of the eggs came out perfectly peeled. Some came out with the shells loose, ready to be peeled off easily. Some didn’t. Of these, using a teaspoon to separate the shell and membrane from the egg worked on some. But on others, the membrane was stubborn, and peeling was a chore.
Still, this was a small minority, and a great improvement over the way I’ve done it in the past. Instead of taking two hours to peel 35 eggs, I did it in about 30 minutes.
The verdict: there’s no single perfect way to peel an egg. But adding baking soda to the water, using the shake method, and having a teaspoon handy make it a lot easier!