Health Benefits of Boiled Eggs

Medically Reviewed by Zilpah Sheikh, MD on February 21, 2024
8 min read

Boiled eggs are those that are cooked by immersing them in boiling water. Soft-boiled eggs are boiled only until the white is cooked but the yolk remains runny. Hard-boiled eggs are cooked longer until both the white and the yolk are fully cooked.

They're tasty, filling, and good for your health at any age. Along with milk, eggs contain the highest biological value (or gold standard) for protein. One egg has only about 77 calories, but 6 grams of high-quality protein, 5 grams of fat, and 1.6 grams of saturated fat, along with iron, vitamins, minerals, and carotenoids.

The egg is also a powerhouse of disease-fighting nutrients such as lutein and zeaxanthin. These carotenoids may reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in older adults.

Here are some more examples of the health benefits of boiled eggs.

Weight loss

Hard-boiled eggs are an excellent source of lean protein. They'll fill you up without packing in too many calories, which is helpful if you want to lose weight.

Prenatal bone strength

The protein in hard-boiled eggs also works alongside vitamin D to promote prenatal development. These elements support your baby’s teeth, bones, and general growth throughout pregnancy.

Nutritious snack

Boiled eggs are small nutritious packets of food. One large, hard-boiled egg provides your body with many nutrients, such as:

  • 6.3 grams of protein -- adults should have about 50-175 grams of protein daily.
  • 25 milligrams of calcium -- adults should have about 1,000-1,200 milligrams per day.
  • 0.595 milligrams of iron -- adults should have about 8-18 milligrams per day.
  • 63 milligrams of potassium -- adults should have about 2,600-3,400 milligrams per day.

Source of choline

Choline is important for cellular maintenance and growth, and hard-boiled eggs are the top source of it in the U.S. diet. Choline may enhance brain development and memory.

Eye protection

Lutein and zeaxanthin, which are found in boiled eggs, have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that help maintain your eye health.

Increased mental energy

The combination of healthy elements such as protein and choline in hard-boiled eggs helps to get your brain going, especially just after breakfast.

Boiled egg nutrients per serving

One large, hard-boiled egg (one serving) contains:

  • Calories: 77
  • Total Fat: 5.3 grams
  • Saturated fat: 1.6 grams
  • Cholesterol: 186 milligrams
  • Sodium: 62 milligrams
  • Carbohydrates: 0.56 gram
  • Sugar: 0.56 gram
  • Protein: 6.3 grams

Hard-boiled eggs are also a source of vitamins A and D.

Things to watch out for

Eggs, no matter how they are prepared, are a source of saturated fats and can raise your LDL, or “bad,” cholesterol levels, although not as much as some other foods. Food preparation also plays a role in how nutritious your eggs are. For example, many people add salt to their hard-boiled eggs. This will increase the amount of sodium you eat. Other methods of preparing your eggs can also affect their nutrition. For example, if you fry your eggs, you will add saturated fat (unless you don’t use any fats at all). Boiling eggs preserves most of the nutritional benefits.

In terms of preparation, the only difference between soft-boiled and hard-boiled eggs is how long they have been cooked. There are plenty of nutrients in boiled eggs regardless of how long they're in the heat, but harder-boiled eggs are a better bet when it comes to avoiding harmful bacteria such as salmonella.

Preparing boiled eggs is quite simple, although sometimes some people find it challenging to get the right balance between cooking duration and the desired firmness of the yolk. It may take some trial and error for you to find your timing sweet spot.

How long does it take for boiled eggs to cook?

Place the egg along with its shell in boiling water until the inside is cooked. The longer you leave it in the water, the more fully cooked the egg will be. It takes about 10-12 minutes to fully hard-boil an egg.

Hard-boiled eggs in the microwave

If you prefer to use your microwave to hard boil your egg, here is how to do it. Keep in mind that different microwaves have different settings and powers, so you may need to experiment to get your timing right.

  • Spray or wipe a small amount of cooking oil inside a small microwave-safe container, such as an egg cooker, ramekin, or mug. Sprinkle a few grains of salt at the bottom.

  • Crack open an egg and place the contents into the container. It’s important to use a fork to pierce the yolks and whites (four or five times), or else the egg may explode while in the microwave.

  • Cover the container with some plastic wrap, but pull it a bit aside so there is a vent for the air to come out during the cooking process.

  • Set your microwave on high and cook for 40 seconds. Don’t remove the cover for another 30 seconds.

  • If the egg isn’t cooked to your liking, turn it over in the container and microwave for another 10 seconds at a time until it’s done.

Air fryer boiled eggs

As air fryers become more popular, you may want to try this method for your hard-boiled egg.

  • Heat your air fryer to 250 F to get started.

  • Then place your egg or eggs into the air fryer basket and place it in the air fryer. Set the timer for 15 minutes.

  • When they are done, plunge the eggs into cold water for about 8-10 minutes to cool them off.

Steam-boiled eggs

Using a steam-boiled technique is similar to boiling the eggs, but you use steam for the cooking.

  • You need a steamer insert that will fit into your pot. Fill your pot with water, ensuring it's just below the bottom of the steamer so that eggs don't touch the water.
  • Heat your water until just before it boils.
  • Add your egg or eggs into the steamer basket, cover the pot, and let water simmer, steaming the eggs for 15 minutes.
  • Transfer the eggs to a very cold or ice water bath for about 20 minutes.

Instant Pot hard-boiled eggs

If you have an Instant Pot or similar pressure cooker, you can boil your eggs this way:

  • Pour 1 cup of water into the bottom of the pot.

  • Place a steamer basket or trivet (something that will keep the eggs out of the water) into the pot. Place your eggs on the basket or trivet and seal the pot, ensuring the pressure-release valve is closed.

  • Select the manual function and set it for 5 minutes.

  • Release the steam and remove the eggs, placing them in cold water to cool.

Boiled eggs are a handy snack or meal ingredient that can be prepared ahead of time. However, eggs can dry out or get bacteria and viruses on the shells, which can transfer to the inside when peeling. So, it’s important to store the eggs safely.

It's worth keeping storage safety in mind, as many people boil eggs before dyeing them for Easter celebrations and egg hunts. The FDA recommends that hard-boiled Easter eggs not be eaten if they have been hidden or played with, as they can have bacteria and viruses.

How long can hard-boiled eggs stay in the fridge?

Hard-boiled eggs can be kept refrigerated for up to 1 week.

How long do unpeeled hard-boiled eggs last unrefrigerated?

Hard-boiled eggs should be eaten right away or put in the fridge for storage. Unpeeled hard-boiled eggs shouldn't be left unrefrigerated for more than 2 hours. This is another reason why hidden Easter eggs shouldn't be eaten.

How long do soft-boiled eggs last?

Unpeeled soft-boiled eggs can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.

Can you freeze boiled eggs?

It isn’t recommended to freeze hard-boiled eggs, although you can separate the cooked yolk and freeze that part. Technically, you could freeze the whites, but they usually become tough and watery if they're frozen.

Some people have their favorite way of peeling a boiled egg. Here is one way that usually provides good results:

  • Crack the egg gently on the counter, rotating the egg so cracks form all over.
  • Pick up the egg, holding it upright. Roll it back and forth between your hands a few times. This will loosen the shell.
  • Starting at the larger end, begin to peel the egg. If the peel is difficult to remove, try running the egg under cold water or dipping it into a bowl of cold water.

Boiled eggs are a great, nutritious snack or part of your breakfast. They are easy to cook and can be prepared using several methods, such as boiling in hot water, air frying, or pressure cooking. Boiled eggs are also handy to keep around because they can be stored in the fridge for up to a week.

Is it healthy to eat boiled eggs every day?

Healthy people who don’t have heart disease or high cholesterol can eat one whole egg a day. However, if you do have heart disease or you’ve been told that your cholesterol level is high, you should limit your egg intake to no more than three or four per week.

What are five benefits of eating eggs?

Eggs are nutritious and provide several benefits if you eat them regularly. They:

  1. Can raise your “good” cholesterol, which helps balance the “bad” cholesterol that can lead to strokes or heart disease.
  2. Help preserve your eyesight.
  3. Provide you with various vitamins, such as several types of vitamin B, as well as vitamins A, D, E, and K.
  4. Are low in calories.
  5. Are filling and can keep you feeling satisfied between meals.

Are boiled eggs a superfood?

Boiled eggs may not be called a superfood, but they do have a lot of things going for them. “Superfoods” aren't clearly defined among experts, but are known as foods high in nutrients considered beneficial to your health. Eggs are still a nutritious food that comes in a small package, and depending on your health, they may be part of your daily diet.

How many daily boiled eggs should I eat?

You should limit yourself to one boiled egg per day. If you have heart disease or high cholesterol, you shouldn’t have an egg every day.