How to hard boil farm fresh eggs

Obviously we eat a lot of farm fresh eggs around here or we wouldn't have a flock of chickens, right? Or maybe we eat so many eggs because we have chickens? Hmmm, either way I've had to become pretty skilled at cooking eggs, with easy peel hard boiled eggs being my favorite.

hard boiled and peeled farm fresh eggs

I sorta stumbled into my preferred method for cooking farm fresh hard boiled eggs, but unfortunately I've heard that it doesn't always work for everyone! So, I'm going to explain my method and tell you every hard boiled egg method that I know of. Sound good?

All my life I had always put the eggs into the water and shook some salt in there with them, then put them on the burner. I never had a problem with them peeling, but they were from the grocery store so that's not uncommon.

Once I started raising my own chickens I found fresh eggs harder to peel. They were never horrible, but I did lose some egg white as I peeled them. I think my cooling method helps minimize that, but I was still losing egg each time so I wanted to try something else. 

I had read about the different egg boiling methods and I was nowhere near frustrated enough to go out and buy a steamer or rice cooker or any other gadget that was working for everyone else! If I was going to try something new, it was going to have to be something I already had. I'm cheap like that!

Easy peel hard boiled eggs

So one day I stuck a spoon in the baking soda container and scooped out some and threw it in the pot instead of salt. Those eggs peeled clean! I figured I was on to something so I tried to replicate it, and it worked!

Here is exactly what I do to cook hard boiled eggs that are easy to peel....

Fill pan with hot tap water and refrigerated eggs. Just pop them in the fridge for a few hours first if you don't normally refrigerate your eggs. They don't have to get ice cold, but you want them to be chilled. 

Add a spoonful of baking soda, about 1 tablespoon. More if it's a huge pot full of eggs. 

add baking soda when boiling eggs

Bring eggs to a boil and cook to your desired doneness. Don't overcook, that makes them hard to peel also.

Drain water off of the eggs and cover with cool water and ice. Allow to sit about 10 minutes, then peel. Super easy!

hard boiled eggs in ice water

Ok, I normally do that last step in the pan...but I am in serious need of new pans and they just look so much better in the bowl, don'tcha think?

The cup analogy 

Now there is a reason I like to use refrigerated eggs and it might not be right, but it makes sense to me. Have you ever tried to get 2 cups that are stuck stacked together, apart? They say (well, even Lifehacker says) To put a little ice inside the top cup, while setting the bottom cup in warm water. 

The ice causes the top cup to contract slightly, the warmth causes the bottom to expand slightly and with both reactions, the cups pop apart. 

So my mind says, a cold egg has contracted already and the shock of the warm water causes the shell to expand slightly pulling the shell and membrane away from the egg white. As the egg cooks the rest of the way, it's already pulled away from the shell enough to not be stuck. 

Is that actually what happens? I wish a scientist would tell me! lol But for now, it works so I keep doing it! 

Unfortunately, what works for me has not worked for everyone else so if you're just not getting the desired result with my method, try one of these!

Other ways to hard boil farm fresh eggs

Baking in muffin tins: I tried this (in the interest of research) and it did work though it heats up the kitchen in summer. I followed this tutorial by Alaska From Scratch.

Steamer: I don't have a steel steamer basket so I haven't tried this one, but Jill over at The Prairie Homestead has with great results!

Instant pot/pressure cooker: I do not have either of these appliances, so obviously have not done this, but Amy over at A farmish Kind of Life has! Check out her post on Hard Boiled eggs you can actually peel for all the details.

Salt: adding a dash or two of salt to the water does help the eggs to peel better, however this hasn't been enough for farm fresh eggs. It's great for store bought eggs.

Vinegar: I tried this method a few years back when I printed Easter eggs with silk ties. In order to get the color to transfer to the eggs you must cook the eggs in water with vinegar added, while wrapped in fabric. After cooking, drain and allow to cool. 

I chilled mine in the refrigerator before peeling and they peeled very easily. Obviously you'd skip the fabric part unless it's Easter! lol

Check out this method of hard boiling duck eggs from Celebrating a Simple Life that makes them easy to peel and perfectly done every time. There's absolutely no reason that wouldn't work for chicken eggs too.

Poking a hole in the shell: in theory, this is supposed to let water in between the shell and membrane helping to separate the two so the eggs peel easily. In practice, I had egg all inside my pot of water! After all that mess, the eggs didn't peel that well anyway.

Now you know my method for hard boiling farm fresh do you boil your eggs?


Related reading: Do 'As seen on TV' egg gadgets work on farm fresh eggs? I tried them all and here are my results!

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  1. An Old Timer taught me to run cold HB eggs in hot water. The shell separates nicely!
    Good luck 😁

  2. I have 99.9% success with adding cold eggs into boiling salted water (with a slotted spoon. Boil for 13-14 min. Drain and put directly into ice water.

    1. That is awesome! I will try this way. Thanks for sharing!


  3. Hi I have never hard-boiled my farm fresh eggs but have been wanting to. I was just curious do you wash your eggs at all before you cook them? Thanks for the info!

    1. I do not wash fresh eggs before I cook them, but I also don't cook them with the shell on if they have any debris on them. I use those for scrambled eggs and such.


  4. When we first started boiling Fresh eggs it was a nightmare. My husband was told to get your water boiling first then add your eggs in one at a time, carefully. It worked. also after they are cooked we put them in ice bath. I will try the baking soda trick and see how it works.

    1. Yes...Boiling farm fresh eggs can be a nightmare! I hope this works for you!


    2. This is how I do all of my eggs. They can be totally fresh from the coop and still peel perfectly. I learned this from Tammy at Collard Valley Cooks. Add room temperature eggs to boiling water. Boil 12 minutes, drain and then put in cold or ice water. Works every single time.

  5. An InstaPot is my ways to go, and has been for about 4 years! My daughter-in-love says that if she didn't use her InstaPot for anything besides hard boiling (our) fresh would still be worth having one!

    1. I need to try this! I wonder if an old fashioned pressure cooker would work to hard boil eggs? hmmm....I'm trying it!

  6. I have always brought my water to a boil first and then added my eggs. Cook to desired doneness and drain water. Put hot eggs into ice bath for same amount of time cooked. Never added salt or anything else (baking soda). I have never had an issue peeling eggs this way, they just peel right off!