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Can Eggs Really Explode?


The Incredible, Inedible Exploding Egg

My eighty-four year-old mom is a bit forgetful, which is why she doesn't cook much anymore. She's unable to stand at the stove for more than a few minutes and, unfortunately, sometimes forgets she's got something on the burner or in the oven if she walks away and gets distracted. But I did give her a small, handheld timer for the rare occasions she does want to prepare something she can't cook in the microwave. And one of those things is hard-boiled eggs.

Unfortunately, mom fell asleep on the couch and didn't hear the timer ... which she'd forgotten about and left on the kitchen counter next to the stove.

So the water all boiled out of the pan, leaving six very hard-boiled eggs behind. And do you know what happened?

Well, I told my Facebook friends how, when I stopped over my mom's house, I ended up having to clean egg off the ceiling. But can you believe, my friends doubted my integrity, implying that I'd EMBELLISHED about the exploding eggs? Hmpf! Sure, they said, eggs can explode in the microwave, but not out in the open in a pan when the water boils away.

What do you think? Did I exaggerate to make my Facebook post more interesting? :)

What Do You Think Of My Exploding Egg Story?

The Exploding ... Or, Rather, Exploded ... Egg

Yep, this is what can happen in a microwave for sure. But that's not where my mom's boiled eggs exploded.

Egg explosion

Egg explosion

Exploding hard-boiled eggs

Exploding hard-boiled eggs

And The Answer To The Exploding Egg Question IS.....

Yes, eggs can and DO explode on the stove. And I'm not the only one who says so.

Posted by Mythman99 on the Discovery Channel forum (now gone):

"I exploded 2 eggs today. Put them on to boil, walked away, and forgot about them. About an hour later I hear BAM, like a pan fell on the floor (thought is was my son doing something downstairs). A few minutes later BAM. No I go to see what happened and smelled the burning odor. The kitchen was covered with egg shrapnel. On the ceiling, the floor, the walls, the cabinets. It was egg mush everywhere. I found one piece over 20 feet away. After all the water boiled away the eggs continued to cook, didn't crack, and I'm guessing gained a lot of pressure up by the way the stuff was everywhere. Sounds like a myth test to me...or at least a chance to blow eggs up and make a mess!"

But WHY Do The Eggs Explode?

An explanation:

At high temperatures, water inside an egg, mostly in the white albumen, vaporizes even as the albumen solidifies. If the pressure inside the egg exceeds the breaking strength of the shell, the egg will explode. (Which is why you should poke several holes in an egg if you're going to microwave it.)

The reason some pierced eggs still explode might be that the membrane inside the shell was not actually broken. Or perhaps the cooked contents of the egg block the small holes before any pressure is released.

The Exploding Egg Experiment

Why things happen the way they happen

I know this isn't exactly the same as what happened with my mom's exploding hard-boiled eggs, but it's directly related anyway....

How To Boil an Egg the CORRECT Way - There IS some science to it.

  1. Place eggs in saucepan large enough to hold them in single layer. Add cold water to cover the eggs 1 inch. Heat on high just to boiling. Remove from burner, and cover the pan.

  2. Let the eggs stand in hot water for about 15 minutes for large eggs (12 minutes for medium eggs; 18 minutes for extra large).

  3. Drain the eggs immediately and serve the warm. OR, cool completely under cold running water or in bowl of ice water, then refrigerate.

Get Your Boiled Eggs Right Every Time - I'm Thinking Mom Needs This For Christmas

One really cool feature about this gizmo is that eggs in the same batch can be combined to cook soft, medium or hard boiled ... and none of which will explode!

Other features of this great gadget....

  • Prepare up to 7 eggs, exactly the way you like them
  • Convenient egg tray can be lifted with one hand for rinsing under cold water
  • Electronic timer with audible ready signal; on /off switch with indicator light
  • Brushed stainless steel design, comes with egg poaching dish
Scroll to Continue

And if You're Hard-Boiled Eggs Come Out Just Right - Here's what you can make....

Tasha Tudor's Stuffed Eggs

Tasha Tudor is an American icon -- a great storyteller as well as an excellent keeper of the home. She enjoys cooking and, when I found her book at the library,...

These are fairly basic stuffed eggs--with one SPECIAL INGREDIENT (curious now?)--but there are other, more creative and yummy stuffed egg recipes listed on this page as well.

Get the recipe here.

© 2010 Deb Kingsbury

Have YOU Ever Blown Up Food Stuff? - "A friend" of mine once blew up a pressure cooker full of beef stew.

walter allen on January 07, 2018:

yes I blew up my five eggs today after the boiling water in my glass pot evaporated and i forgot to close the burner, I had egg schrapnel on the ceiling , cabinets and the kitchen floor and of course the stove. I'm 86 and this is not the first time! timer doesn't help if or when I don't hear it . Big noise too!

TravelingRae on February 10, 2012:

I've done the pressure cooker full of beef stew, too. :) (one of my neighbours recently forgot about his boiled eggs; what a stink!)

Nancy Tate Hellams from Pendleton, SC on January 15, 2012:

Love your Exploding Egg story and especially love your subtitle

SaintFrantic on October 07, 2011:

I haven't blown anything off but I used to burn quite a lot of thing when I was young

jodijoyous from New York on September 03, 2011:

I never have, but my dad exploded a milkshake, and my grandpa blew up a pressure cooker full of split pea soup.

blanckj on June 13, 2011:

I've never exploded an egg before but I did blow up a peep in the microwave. Does that count?

Philippians468 on June 10, 2011:

the longest i've ever left an egg in the water was for about 15 minutes so i wouldn't know how they would react if i soaked it longer! nevertheless, i believe what you said! cheers

anonymous on May 31, 2011:

I always say that someone with an experience has it all over someone with only a theory. I prefer to learn from you and your Mom's experience rather than experimenting with this one. I like your solution to perfect eggs. Chef's Choice will get the job done safely every time. I have had a baked potato explode in the oven, will never forget to pierce them again, I hope..

religions7 on April 04, 2011:

no, I haven't. However, I have caused explosions in the (chemistry) class room. Don't worry: totally controlled.

Anyhow, lensrolled to: How do you know the cheese on frozen pizza is actually cheese?

yourgoldenfuture on January 20, 2011:

not so far happily saying

dahlia369 on January 13, 2011:

Eggs, more than once... ;)

magicgeniewishl on December 27, 2010:

Haha, I'm so going to have to try this!

MargoPArrowsmith on December 04, 2010:

I once blew up a baked potato in a microwave

spunkyduckling on November 01, 2010:

Beautiful topic and well put together lens. Totally enjoyed it and knew it from the very beginning. i have never experienced an exploding egg but came close enough to notice that when the water dry out they crack open.

Virginia Allain from Central Florida on October 22, 2010:

@CCGAL: I left a jug of apple cider in a hot car and it exploded. The carpet smelled of vinegar for months.

Virginia Allain from Central Florida on October 22, 2010:

I almost set our shared college kitchen on fire when we put frozen shrimp (with ice crystals) into really hot oil. The ice crystals made the oil bubble over onto the gas burner and a column of flame went all the way to the ceiling. It made a black spot there. The landlady wasn't happy.

emmaklarkins on October 02, 2010:

Haha, this is great! I blew up coffee... you know, when you superheat it in the microwave, and then add sugar? It didn't exactly fountain out of the cup, but it did completely overflow and get all over the counter and floor.

anonymous on October 01, 2010:

yes, I have exploded eggs. all it takes is an absent-minded half hour.

drifter0658 lm on October 01, 2010:

It wasn't that long ago I had SIX eggs explode in a pan. What was really cool was putting cold water on them...I was not a science major.

CCGAL on October 01, 2010:

I've burned many a pan, but the only time we actually had something explode was my Dad's fault. We got a juicer one year, sometime back in the 70's, and we had a bumper crop of apples. Dad juiced up a bunch of apples, and filled up a dozen or so empty quart sized soda bottles. I think he intended to make hard cider, but I was just a kid, so I don't really know. However, he put lids on the bottles and didn't poke a hole for gas to escape ... and we woke up in the night thinking somebody was shooting a gun in the house! It was those pop bottles exploding. I will never forget the mess, but I have never made that mistake, either. LOL

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