Jacques Pépin's Trick for Telling if an Egg Is Fully Cooked

Leave it to the legendary chef and master of French cooking to show us a new tip for making hard-boiled eggs.

Jacques Pepin's Deviled Eggs
Photo: Abby Hocking

Jacques Pépin needs no introduction. The legendary chef, author, and TV host is known the world over, and, as former Food & Wine restaurant editor Jordana Rothman reminded us at a panel at the 2018 Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, long before he was cooking stateside, he cooked for three French presidents. Appearing in the very first issue of Food & Wine magazine, which also celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2018, he's been part of the F&W family since day one, and in 36 years, he only ever missed the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen three times.

At the 2018 event, Pépin and his daughter, Claudine, demonstrated dishes from his 2017 book, A Grandfather's Lessons: In the Kitchen with Shorey, and unsurprisingly, they both offered a host of cooking tips that any home cook would do well to heed. Among them was an interesting trick for determining if an egg is cooked. When he showed it off to the audience as he was preparing deviled eggs, it got him a loud round of applause (and in our book, any egg-cooking technique that garners a round of applause is worth paying attention to!).

If you're hard-boiling an egg and aren't sure if it's fully cooked through, spin it on the countertop. If it's wobbly or doesn't spin, then the egg isn't cooked. But if you spin it and it turns like a top, then you know it's cooked.

As Pépin said, "You twist it and to know that the egg is totally cooked, it will stand up like a top. A raw egg doesn't turn."

That's because when the egg is fully cooked, the solid inside — as opposed to the liquid inside of a raw egg — gives it a stable center of gravity and makes it spin evenly.

Jacques & Claudine Pepin
Abby Hocking

Of course, the comedic duo — the pair was playfully teasing and contradicting each other the whole time — had other pointers for cooking hard-boiled eggs, too.

For one, you want the water to be at a gentle boil — not too hot. Claudine said that her dad always calls them "hard-cooked eggs," not "hard-boiled," and she always remembers that slight difference, because otherwise, she would boil them forever.

Second, in order to avoid any green color or sulfur smell, it's important to shock the eggs in cold water right away after you remove them from the heat. The cold water also makes it easier to peel those, ahem, hard-cooked eggs.

"Running water gets in between the shell and the membrane and the shell just slides off," Claudine explained.

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