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Volume II
May 31, 2006

Hard Boiled Eggs in Colorado

eggsHow do I adjust the 18 minutes for perfect eggs at 5000 feet here in Colorado?  19?  20?

Wes Nelson
Broomfield, CO

Hi Wes,

I couldn't find any concrete answer on how long to boil the eggs in Colorado.  I think this first posted tip below will be a good guide.  I've included other links to more articles on cooking at high altitudes.  The last few had tips specifically dealing with boiled eggs. Your best bet, though, would be to ask some of your neighbors in your area.  Chances are, they have just the right formula for your altitude, or just some great stories! :-)

Hope this helps,

Desi @ DVO

And if you live at high altitude, you need to boil them a bit before letting them sit. I'm at 7400 feet, and I find that if I let them boil for 5 minutes, then let them sit for 15, they are perfect. But at sea-level, I'm certain that would result in overcooked eggs.

The boiling point is the temperature at which the pressure of the water vapor equals atmospheric pressure and the bubbles of water vapor are able to break through the surface and escape into the air. If the atmospheric pressure is less, the temperature required for water to boil is less (Table 1). Therefore, cooking food in water boiling at this lower temperature takes longer. A "3-minute egg" will take more time. Also, a bowl of boiling soup is not as hot.

Table 1: Approximate boiling temperatures of water at various altitudes
Altitude Temperature
Sea Level 212 degrees F
2,000 ft. 208 degrees F
5,000 ft. 203 degrees F
7,500 ft. 198 degrees F
10,000 ft. 194 degrees F

information on the chemistry behind cooking at high altitudes

Problems at Altitude

Boiling eggs becomes progressively more difficult the higher up you are, due to the lower air pressures in higher altitudes. As a result, if you are living up 'high', then you would have to alter boiling times. So:

At 5000 feet/1800 meters above sea level - it's about double the required boiling time

At 9000 feet/3000 meters above sea level - it's probably best not to bother. The water will boil and evaporate before your egg has even begun to cook. At this point, it may be best to consider an omelet or a scrambled egg


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