Sous vide is one of those chef techniques that has finally made it into the home kitchen. The equipment, once beyond the financial reach of the home cook, is now ultra-affordable, and more and more home cooks are looking to experiment. While there are lots of great ways to use your sous vide machine, the first—and easiest—way to take advantage of it is by using it to hard boil eggs.
First, How Sous Vide Works
Great cooking comes down to confidence
The most important thing to know about sous vide is that it translates to “under vacuum.” While the cooking part takes place in a water bath, the key to sous vide usually is the preparation of the food that will go into that bath. This requires either a fully vacuum-sealed bag or a properly prepared zip-top bag.
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Why Eggs Are Perfect for Sous Vide and Vice Versa
It turns out that the hard shell of an egg is as good as a vacuum bag for sous vide cooking. No bags required, in other words.
And if you like hard-boiled eggs in your weekly menus—fast, portable healthy protein for snacks or meals, great additions to kids’ school lunches, not to mention the ever-present desire to whip up a plate of deviled eggs or a bowl of egg salad—sous vide hard-boiled eggs deliver perfectly cooked eggs every time, with no rubbery whites or overcooked yolks, no pots to watch or ice baths to create to stop the cooking.
RELATED: 5 Things You Should Know About Cooking Sous Vide Before Trying It at Home
How to Sous Vide Hard-Boiled Eggs
1. For hard-boiled eggs, set the sous vide to 165° and cook for 40 minutes. This will give you a solid-but-not-rubbery white, and a yolk that is cooked, but still yellow and tender, not pale and powdery. You can cook two eggs or two dozen.
2. When lowering the eggs into the water bath, use a perforated spoon to gently place them at the bottom of the vessel, or you risk dropping and cracking them and getting loose egg in your sous vide. Not dangerous, but not ideal.
3. To retrieve the eggs, you can use the same spoon you used to immerse them. However, a spider (a shallow wire basket on a handle) or a small sieve will allow you to get 2-4 out at a time (and speed up your process). You can also use tongs, but consider putting a rubber band around the middle of each gripping surface to add a little more, well, grippiness. You’d hate to drop a slippery egg.
4. After retrieving your eggs from the sous vide, place them in a colander and run cold tap water over them for a few minutes to stop the cooking. Don’t forget, you have been cooking them at a significantly lower temperature than you would have with boiling, so there’s less carry-over cooking going on. If you need to peel your eggs right away, however, you might want to use an ice bath for faster cooling (for your fingertips’ sake).
5. Once cooled, you can store in the shell in a bowl in the fridge or peeled and in an airtight container. In-shell eggs will last a week, while they’ll last peeled for about 4 days.
Insider Tip: Why Older Eggs Are Better for Hard-Boiling
While there is no foolproof way to get eggs to peel easily, older eggs have a better shot at it. The air pocket that is naturally formed inside the shell is a bit bigger in an older egg, and will therefore help to get them to peel easier. Want to make sure your eggs peel prettily (like for that deviled egg platter you need this Sunday)? Buy them a week before cooking.
If you're ready to try cooking with sous vide, you can get Amazon's top-rated machine here.
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