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.

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).

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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.

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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 66 Comments

  • Patricia Almes

    I just tried this after messing up so many shells and it was perfect. Thank You.

  • Daniel

    I have found that taking the bottom side of a spoon and gently tapping all the way around an egg helps it to peel easier. Also, if the peeling is hard, I simply run my peeling and and the egg under the water tap to give it a tad more slipperiness.

  • Gretchen

    I’ve never made deviled eggs (until just now!). I tried this steaming method and it was a breeze! 13 min for a single layer of large eggs, then straight into ice water. No fuss. They were perfect. So thankful for this — now I won’t make a fool of myself at Easter dinner!

  • Michelle (What's Cooking with Kids)

    Thank you so much for linking to my post, Elise. You wouldn’t believe how many of our fresh eggs I destroyed by trying to peel after they were hard boiled. This was the best solution ever :-)

  • Moon

    I have heard that leaving the eggs out for a couple hours, to warm to room temperature, before boiling will help to center the yolk for perfect deviled eggs. Does anyone have any experience or ideas on this?

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