Baking Soda Can Help You Effortlessly Peel Boiled Eggs

Rich in high-quality protein, vitamins, and minerals, hard boiled eggs are a satisfying addition to any meal, as well as a great snack in their own right. All you need to make a batch of hard boiled eggs that will last the whole week is a pot of boiling water, making them an excellent choice for meal prep or people who barely have time to grab their breakfast in the morning. There's also tons of possibilities for incorporating hard boiled eggs into different recipes. One of the most classic uses of hard-boiled eggs is making deviled eggs, and while the traditional method of mixing the yolks with mustard, mayo, and paprika is great, there are plenty of other ways to upgrade this appetizer. You can make barbeque deviled eggs by adding a drop or two of liquid smoke to the recipe, or give your deviled eggs a southwestern twist by adding in jalapeños and cumin. Whether they are chopped into a salad, slathered with mustard, or simply sprinkled with salt and black pepper, hard boiled eggs are an excellent, convenient part of a balanced diet, but they do present one problem: they can be incredibly annoying to peel.


The eggshell's tendency to adhere stubbornly to the egg white can make peeling hard-boiled eggs a messy and time-consuming process. After painstakingly attempting to cleanly remove the shell, you may still be left with a dented and damaged egg, and a lot of edible bits still stuck to the shell in the trash can. Fortunately, there's an ingredient that's likely already in your kitchen that can make peeling hard boiled eggs much easier: baking soda.

The science behind this hack

To make peeling hard boiled eggs instantly less aggravating, all you have to do is boil a pot of water and add to it a teaspoon of baking soda. Baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate, is an alkaline compound that will alter the pH level of boiling water. The baking soda increases the water's alkalinity, which breaks down the proteins in the egg white and causes the egg whites to bond less strongly with the shell during the cooking process. As a result of the weakened bond, the egg white separates more easily from the shell, allowing for easier peeling. Adding baking soda to water is the easiest way to make it alkaline outside of buying a fancy filter or pH drops. Interestingly, if you don't have baking soda, you can also make eggs easier to peel with acidic vinegar. The mechanic through which vinegar works is a bit different; instead of weakening the bond between the egg and the shell, vinegar softens the shell itself, allowing it to be removed with ease.


The fact that eggs with higher pH levels are easier to peel is also why it is a good idea to hard boil old eggs. The pH level of an egg naturally rises as time goes by, so old eggs, once hard boiled, can be peeled with much less frustration than new eggs. Combine older eggs with a spoonful of baking soda, and removing the hard boiled eggs from their shells should be a breeze.

More ways to make peeling eggs easier

Part of taking the stress out of peeling hard boiled eggs comes down to how you prepare them, and that starts with putting them into the water. Instead of raising a pot of water to a boil with the eggs already added, gently lower the eggs into the water after it has begun to bubble. After your eggs have boiled for enough time (about ten minutes is enough for eggs that are thoroughly cooked through), use a strainer to immediately move them to a bath of ice water to shock them out of cooking. You can also try Jaques Pepin's hack for cleanly peeling eggs: stick a thumbtack into the air pocket at the bottom of the egg. These techniques will help you be more exact when determining how long the eggs have been cooking as well as make them easier to peel.


When it's time to start peeling your hard boiled eggs, do so with the egg submerged in a bowl of water. The water should get in between the shell and the egg white, helping the two diverge effortlessly. Peeling eggs underwater will also keep all the eggshells off your counters. By following these methods and adding baking soda to boiling water before making hard boiled eggs, you'll be able to crack into one in no time.