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How to Make Perfect Boiled Eggs Without the Green Ring

Left egg is properly hard-boiled with gold coloration while a green discoloration covers the yolk on the right egg when it is overcooked.


With Easter only days away, dozens of eggs will fly off the shelves of the grocery store in anticipation of the egg hunt we probably all remember as a child. You may remember someone hiding the eggs, you hunting them, and them being hidden again. You may even remember eating them from your Easter basket.

If you plan to eat your decorated Easter eggs, be sure to use only food grade dye. For an Easter egg hunt, avoid cracking the egg shells. If the shells crack, bacteria could enter and contaminate the egg inside. Also, hide eggs in places that are protected from dirt, pets, and other bacteria sources; and keep hard-cooked eggs chilled in the refrigerator until just before the hunt. The total time for hiding and hunting eggs should be no more than two hours. Then be sure to refrigerate the "found" eggs right away until you are ready to eat them. Eggs found hours, or days, later should be thrown out, not eaten!

Making hard-boiled eggs for your Easter egg hunt seems easy enough, but what if your hard boiled eggs end up with a green ring around the yolk when you crack it open? What did you do wrong? Is it safe to eat?

Actually you may not have done anything wrong. The green ring is caused by a chemical reaction involving sulfur from the egg white and iron from the egg yolk, which naturally react to form ferrous sulfide at the surface of the yolk. The green ring is harmless and occurs when eggs have been cooked for too long or at too high a temperature.

The American Egg Board suggests that you cook eggs in hot, not boiling, water, and then cool immediately to minimize the green ring.

So how do you cook the perfect boiled egg? It’s easy; arrange eggs in a single layer in a saucepan. Add cold water, not hot like you may have been taught, to cover eggs by 1 inch. Turn heat on high heat just until almost boiling.

Remove the pan from the stovetop burner and cover the pan. Let the eggs stand in the hot water for about 12 minutes for large eggs, 9 minutes for medium eggs and 15 minutes for extra large eggs.

After the appropriate time has lapsed, drain immediately, peel and serve warm. To make them easier to peel, run cold water over the just-cooked eggs or place them in ice water, not standing in water, until they are cool enough to handle. The fresher the eggs, the more difficult they will be to peel. I try to peel them almost immediately after putting them in the ice water. Just keep dunking them as you peel or peel them under running water.

Then refrigerate the eggs until you're ready to use them. If you aren't serving the eggs right away, leave them in their shell and store them in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

TIDBIT: Backyard chicken flocks are a growing interest. Although not all of us can have a chicken coop in our backyard. If you are one of the many who purchase your eggs at the store or farmers market, Arkansas farmers thank you. In Arkansas, we are ranked 10th in the nation for layer hens, a bird used to produce eggs. If you consider that one hen lays an average of 325 eggs per year, and we have over 12 million layers, you can see how we are easily ranked 10th in the nation in egg production.

For more information, contact the Miller County Extension Office, 870-779-3609 or visit us in room 215 at the Miller County Courthouse. We're online at, on Facebook at UAEXMillerCountyFCS/CarlaHaleyHadley, on Twitter @MillerCountyFCS or on the web at

By Carla Haley-Hadley
County Extension Agent - FCS
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Media Contact: Carla Haley-Hadley
County Extension Agent - FCS
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
400 Laurel Street, Suite 215 Texarkana AR 71854
(870) 779-3609


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