How to Steam Hard Boiled Eggs

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Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Pssst! You want to know the best way to make hard boiled eggs? Steam them! That’s right, forget about boiling the eggs, just steam them in a steamer basket.

Some of the air from the hot steam permeates the egg shell making the egg more easy to peel. 

Now I love my tried and true method for cooking hard boiled eggs, mostly because I can space out on the timer and the eggs will still turn out fine, not green and overcooked. But sometimes they’re hard to peel.

If I truly must have easy to peel eggs (for making deviled eggs or something else that requires beautiful peeled eggs), then I steam them, and pay attention to the timer. Even with perfectly fresh farm eggs, I’ve never had difficulty peeling a steamed egg.

How to Steam Hard Boiled Eggs

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  • Prep time:
  • Cook time: 15 minutes

The steaming time will vary depending on the size of your eggs, how cold your eggs are to begin with, the altitude of your location, how vigorous the water is boiling, if your eggs are in a single layer or are stacked, and how soft or firm you like your hard cooked eggs. So you may need to experiment to find the right timing for your situation.

A steamer basket is convenient, but not necessary.

Method

1 If you are using a steamer basket, fill a saucepan with as much water as needed to reach the bottom of the steamer basket (about 1 inch or so).

If you are not using a steamer basket, just fill the bottom of a saucepan with 1/2 inch of water.

2 Heat the water on high heat until it is boiling and producing steam. Turn off the heat and gently place the eggs at the bottom of the steamer basket or the bottom of the pan. Turn the heat back on again to medium high, and cover the pot.

This method works best if the eggs are in a single layer, but you can double them up as well, you'll just need to add more time to the steaming time.

3 Set your timer for 6 minutes for soft boiled, 10 minutes for hard boiled with a still translucent and bright yolk, or 12-15 minutes for cooked-through hard boiled. If you have doubled up the eggs in the pan and they are not in a single layer, you may need to add a couple minutes or so to the cooking time for hard boiled. The size large eggs used in these photos were cooked to my satisfaction after 15 minutes when I cooked 6 in a single layer, and 17 minutes when I cooked 12 in the pan.

Note that many things will influence the steaming time, including altitude and the size of the particular eggs you are using. I recommend removing one egg a couple minutes before you think it should be done, rinsing it with cold water, and breaking it open to see if it is done enough for you.

4 Remove eggs with a slotted spoon to a bowl of cold water or ice water, or run cold water directly into the pan to cover the eggs and quickly cool them down.

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Links:

Forget Hard Boiling Eggs, Steamed Eggs are Easy to Peel from Michelle Stern of What's Cooking with Kids

Showing 4 of 79 Comments

  • George

    12 minutes did not cook them all the way through for me. I only did 6 large eggs in a single layer. The yolks were semi-firm with a runny core, and the whites weren’t even fully set. I do not live at a high altitude either. I would go for the 15 minute side of the 12-15 minute recommendation given here. Personally I’m going for 16 minutes next time.

  • Bobby Parnell

    I love hard boiled eggs. I’ve done the steaming method before and liked the results. But recently I started doing them in my smoker. That is now my go to method for hard “boiled” eggs.

  • Becky Bixler

    The steaming method for hard boiled eggs is one I have used for years! People always look at me kinda funny but all I know is, it works beautifully!

  • Kirk

    As mentioned, make sure you have the water at full boil, especially if you are using a large steamer as it is going to take a little while for the metal to get heated. I used a big stainless steel steamer with the pasta strainer insert, simply because that was what I had available. Once steam was rapidly coming out of the vent, I removed it from the heat, loaded 6 large eggs in (right from the fridge), put it back on the heat, set at Medium-High, covered, then set the time for 12 minutes. I took them out immediately at 12 minutes with a spoon into cold water. PERFECT PEELING…cooked through but still nice and orange. And one thing…not one egg cracked, so if you plan to decorate them later…! Thanks for this helpful time saver!

  • Sergio Di Martino

    Fail. Followed these directions to the letter and ended up with totally uncooked eggs. Ended up having to boil them. Pretty disappointed. Won’t be trying it again.

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