With their shells still on, hard-cooked eggs promise tender whites and uniformly opaque (but not chalky) yolks. But as soon as they’re peeled, the truth is revealed: overcooked yolks, rubbery whites, and a torn, mangled appearance, thanks to the stubborn shell. Even if the eggs are cooked well, they can sometimes be hard to peel.
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- Start the eggs in hot water: Starting the eggs in hot, rather than cold, water causes the whites’ proteins to seize and bond together, preventing them from sticking to the shell membrane so that the peel slips right off.
- Steam, don’t boil: Steaming doesn’t lower the temperature of the water, so the eggs will cook evenly every time.
- To peel immediately, shock then shake: If you want to peel the eggs right away, prepare the ice bath in a plastic container with a tight-fitting lid. Once the eggs are chilled, pour off half of the water and, holding the lid in place, shake the container vigorously using a vertical motion (the eggs will hit the top of the container) until the shells are cracked all over, about 40 shakes. Peel, rinse, and use as desired.
The Best Steamer Baskets
OXO Good Grips Pop-Up SteamerRoomy and collapsible, this basket comfortably held fish, broccoli, and dumplings. (If you do lots of steaming, our other overall winner is Joyce Chen 3-Piece Steamer Set holds considerably more food than any other model we tested.)
The Best Saucepan
All-Clad Stainless 4-Qt Sauce PanOur longtime winner excelled, with uniform, steady heating and good visibility inside the saucepan to monitor browning. Its cup-shaped stay-cool handle was easy to grip, and a helper handle provided another grabbing point when the pan was full.
The Best Storage Container
Rubbermaid Brilliance Food Storage Container, Large, 9.6 CupOur new favorite passed every test and looked good doing it. Its clear, lightweight Tritan plastic material stayed as clear and stain-free as glass, and its audibly snug seal didn't leak, even when we turned the container upside down and shook it hard.