Hard boiled eggs are easy to make and require only eggs, water, and a pot big enough to hold them, and there are numerous recipes for and ways to prepare them. Though many argue the finer points of making hard boiled eggs, there is really nothing simpler. To hard boil eggs, simply place eggs with unbroken shells into a pot and add enough water to cover them to 1 inch (2.5 cm). Bring the water to a boil, reduce the heat, and maintain a low boil for approximately 13 minutes.
When the eggs are done cooking, there are two ways to cool them. You can let them cool naturally in the pot until they are cool enough to peel, or you can speed cool them by draining off the hot water and rinsing them with cold water until they can be handled. Some cooks recommend speed cooling the eggs if they are going to be peeled and used right away. This is because the rapid cooling shrinks the egg slightly inside the shell, making it easier to peel.
In addition to Easter egg dying and eating, many recipes call for hard boiled eggs. They can be diced up for use in fresh vegetable salads, meat salads, and spreads, and they are also used to make the hors d'oeuvre deviled eggs. Deviled eggs are made by splitting hard boiled eggs in half lengthwise, removing the yolks, and mashing them with a combination of mayonnaise, mustard, and seasoning. The yolk mixture is then placed back inside the vacant hollows of the egg halves.
Hard boiled eggs are good eaten warm or cold. They are a healthy way to add protein to a green salad, and they are excellent diced up in potato salad. These eggs are also frequently used when pickling beets; many people like to drop whole, hard boiled eggs, along with onion, into the pickling mixture.
Whatever your purpose for hard boiling eggs, be sure to cook them for at least ten minutes, as undercooked eggs are extremely difficult to work with because the yolk is still runny. You can store them unpeeled and covered in the refrigerator for up to ten days safely. Peeled eggs should also be covered and eaten within three days.