How to peel a farm-fresh egg

Posted on Wednesday, April 04, 2012 | By Nicole Easterday |

Have you ever tried to peel a super-fresh egg straight from the backyard or farm and found yourself hovering over a piled of shredded egg pieces wondering what went wrong? Yeah, me too. I suspect all us backyard chicken-tenders have. Lucky you, I'm about to blow your mind with a little-known trick for peeling the freshest egg you can find.

Here's the trick:

  1. Cook the eggs to your liking: My preferred method of preparing soft boiled eggs is to add the eggs to cold water in the pan. Hell, add a little baking soda if you're a believer. Turn on the heat and keep an eye on the eggs. Once the water just begins to simmer, turn off the heat and cover the pan. Set a timer for 8 minutes (or more or less time based on your preference). When the eight minutes is up, the eggs should be cooked perfectly (to my taste anyway) - completely cooked white with a dark orange creamy, not runny, center.
  2. Transfer the cooked eggs immediately to ice water to cool them completely. If you skip this step, the eggs will continue to cook and be overdone. Reserve the cooking water.
  3. While the eggs are cooling, turn the heat back on under your original cooking pan and bring the cooking water to a boil. Once the eggs in the ice bath are completely cool, use a ladle or spoon of some sort to transfer them one at a time to the boiling water. Immerse each egg individually in the boiling water and count to 10 then remove it and peel it immediately. The shell should come right off! Continue doing this with each egg one-by-one until the entire batch is cooled. It helps to have a buddy who can heat eggs while you peel then switch off to peel while you heat.

Why does this work?


Because you cooled the egg completely, the molecules are contracted tightly. When you transfer the egg to the boiling water for just 10 seconds, it's enough time for the shell to expand but not enough time for the inner egg to heat up and expand with it. Expanding the shell creates airspace between the shell and the white, mimicking the air pockets in the older store egg - MAGIC!! Well, science, actually.

Now you can make those beautiful deviled eggs you've been dreaming of. Eat your heart out, Aunt Martha!

Do you have a secret trick to peeling fresh eggs? I'd love to hear it (mostly, I just love reading comments so I don't feel like I'm talking to myself).

Be sure to read our post about the glories and trials of farm-fresh eggs here.