Why Jacques Pépin Spins Hard-Boiled Eggs Before Using Them

There are myriad versatile foods out there, but no single ingredient can compete with the shape-shifting superpower of eggs. Whether you're in the mood for a super crispy fried egg at breakfast time or a savory quiche as a pre-supper snack, the textural transformations an egg can go through are a prime example of culinary magic. One of the most popular ways to enjoy an egg is to boil it. Be it soft-boiled, hard-boiled, or somewhere in the middle, a boiled egg is the key to egg salad, deviled eggs, and one of the most convenient, protein-packed snacks around. Boiled eggs are actually a bit unique compared to other styles in that they cook inside the shell. 


This poses a problem since there are no visual clues on how cooked the egg is. Luckily, all you have to do to find out is give the egg a spin. This trick comes courtesy of celebrity chef and restaurateur Jacques Pépin. According to Pépin via Food & Wine, after carefully pulling your boiled egg out of the water, spin it on the countertop. If "the egg is totally cooked, it will stand up like a top. A raw egg doesn't turn."

The difference between wobbly and well done

You can easily test this experiment yourself the next time you're making a batch of boiled eggs. First, grab a raw egg and twist it on the countertop. It should rotate in a very wobbly fashion, if it does at all. Compare that to a boiled egg, which, when cooked through, spins quickly and steadily. The physics behind this are fairly simple; when you spin a raw egg, the centrifugal force causes the liquid white and heavier yolk to slosh around the shell, throwing everything off balance. Alternatively, a boiled egg has a stable, non-liquid structure and will spin without issue.


Unfortunately, this hack won't help you differentiate between soft and hard-boiled eggs. (That will take practice and time — about eight minutes for soft-boiled, and ten for hard). There are plenty of other ways to make cooking hard-boiled eggs easier, like using a steamer basket or only boiling older eggs. And as long as you're simplifying the cooking process, don't forget to take the stress out of peeling the eggs as well. Hopefully, your head isn't spinning from all these tips and tricks — save that for the eggs!