Easy-Peel Hard Boiled Eggs in the Pressure Cooker

VideoInstant PotPaleoHard Boiled Egg

Hard boiled eggs that are easy to peel? Use your pressure cooker! Perfect, easily peeled eggs every time.

Photography Credit: Emma Christensen

Like many of you, I abandoned the dream of finding one surefire method for making consistently perfect hard boiled eggs some time ago. After trying a few too many “foolproof” tricks with spotty results, I relegated easy-peel eggs to the same category as unicorns and cheap airfare: nice to fantasize about, but if they were truly real, you’d think we’d have heard about it by now.

But that’s the thing about myths — just when you’ve thrown your hands in the air and walked away, something new comes along to rekindle your hope. Like Fox Mulder, we want to believe.

For me, that something new was my pressure cooker and a friend’s improbable suggestion that I try using it to make a batch of eggs. Just like that, the dream was alive again.

Why The Pressure Cooker Works

I’ve actually been sitting on this revelation for a few months now just because I didn’t trust the evidence of my own eyes: Two eggs or a dozen, fresh eggs or weeks old, white eggs or brown eggs, it didn’t matter. The shells slipped easily off each time, leaving a smooth and pristine hard boiled egg.

There are a few theories for why this is. Some say that, similar to steaming eggs, the pressure cooker forces steam inside the egg’s shell during cooking, causing it to separate from the egg white. Alton Brown’s theory is that it’s more about the rapid temperature change inside the sealed pot.

Either way, it works. Making hard-cooked eggs in the pressure cooker is the only method I’ve found that has worked for me every single time.

Easy Peel Hard Boiled Eggs in the Pressure Cooker

How to Cooks Eggs in the Instant Pot

I based my eggs on the popular “5-5-5” method for hard-cooked eggs in the Instant Pot. The idea is to put your eggs into a steamer basket and seal them inside your pressure cooker along with a cup or so of water. It takes about five minutes for the cooker to come up to high pressure, five minutes to cook the eggs, and then five minutes of natural pressure release before removing the eggs from the cooker — hence the “5-5-5” method.

I found that this basic formula worked just fine, though it typically takes my pressure cooker closer to 10 minutes before fully pressurizing.

I also decided that I like the texture of 4-minute eggs better than 5-minute eggs. At four minutes, the whites are firm but soft and the yolk is cooked through but still creamy; at five minutes, I felt like the whites started to become rubbery and the yolk was a little chalky. Give it a try both ways and see which you prefer.

Stovetop Pressure Cooker Instructions

For those of you with stovetop pressure cookers, I recommend a quicker 3-minute cook time. Stovetop pressure cookers can reach a higher pressure than electric cookers and tend to cook food more quickly. (For reference, a friend of mine tested this recipe with her stovetop pressure cooker and her verdict was that 4-minute eggs were fine, but tasted slightly overcooked.)

Easy Peel Hard Boiled Eggs in the Pressure Cooker

One Caveat to Pressure Cooker Eggs

The only un-perfect thing about this way of hard boiling eggs is that, every so often, one of the eggs will crack its shell during cooking. When this has happened to me, it’s usually been during the 5 minute “natural release” period after the eggs are already cooked, so the crack is only superficially cosmetic. Not ideal if you’re planning to dye a bunch of Easter eggs, of course, but perfectly fine for deviled eggs.

If your eggs seem to be cracking more often, or are cracking earlier during cooking before the whites are set, try cooking them at low pressure instead of high pressure. My own tests at low pressure gave inconsistent results, but every pressure cooker is a little different and you might have better luck with yours.

The jury is still out on unicorns and affordable airfare, but easy-to-peel eggs, at least, are real.

Don’t have a pressure cooker? Try steaming your eggs on the stovetop!

More Essential Instant Pot Recipes

Watch the video for how to make pressure cooker hardboiled eggs!

Updated June 20, 2019 : We spiffed up this post to make it sparkle! No changes to the original recipe.

Easy-Peel Hard Boiled Eggs in the Pressure Cooker Recipe

  • Cook time: 4 minutes
  • Pressurizing and natural release time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 1 to 12 eggs

Check your pressure cooker manual for the minimum requirement of liquid in the pot, and add at least that amount. If no instructions are given, add 1 inch of water.

If your pressure cooker didn't come with its own steamer basket, you can use a standard metal or silicone steamer basket in its place. (If you don't have a steamer basket, you can skip it, but you may get a greater number of cracked eggs.)

Avoid stacking eggs on top of each other since this can also lead to more cracked eggs. If you need to cook more eggs than will fit in a single layer, I suggest cooking multiple batches.

Ingredients

  • Large eggs, cold from the fridge -- at least 1 egg or as many as will fit in a single layer in your pressure cooker

 

Special equipment:

Method

1 Prepare the pressure cooker: Place a steamer basket in the bottom of your pressure cooker. Add 1/2 to 1 inches of water (1 to 2 cups) to the pressure cooker (check your pressure cooker manual for minimal liquid amounts). The water level should be just below the steamer basket.

Instant Pot Hard Boiled Eggs - you'll need a steamer rack Instant Pot Hard Boiled Eggs - add water to the pot

2 Add all the eggs: Use cold eggs, straight from the fridge. You can cook as many eggs as you like at one time, but be careful of wedging eggs too firmly against one another or stacking eggs on top of each other since these can cause eggs to crack.

Instant Pot Hard Boiled Eggs - add all the eggs to the instant pot

3 Bring the pot up to pressure: Close the lid on the pressure cooker and make sure the steam valve is set to the "sealed" position. Set the pressure to high and set the timer for 4 minutes for electric pressure cookers (3 minutes for stovetop).

The pressure cooker will take 5 to 10 minutes to come to full pressure and then being cooking. Cooking time begins once the cooker has come to pressure.

Instant Pot Hard Boiled Eggs - make sure the release valve is closed Instant Pot Hard Boiled Eggs - Cook for 4 minutes

4 Let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes. After cooking is done, let the pressure cooker sit for 5 minutes with the lid on and the steam vent "sealed" to allow steam to begin releasing naturally. (If you're using a stovetop pressure cooker, remove it from heat.)

Instant Pot Hard Boiled Eggs - natural release for 5 minutse

5 Quick-release the remaining pressure: After 5 minutes of natural release, flip the steam valve to "venting" and quick-release any remaining pressure.

Hard Boiled Eggs in the Instant Pot - release the steam

6 Cool the eggs. Transfer the eggs to a bowl of cold water to cool (add ice for more rapid cooling, but ice isn't necessarily for making easy-peel eggs). Change out the water as it warms until the eggs are cool, then refrigerate the eggs until needed.

Instant Pot Hard Boiled Eggs - After cooking Instant Pot Hard Boiled Eggs - Cooling after cooking

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Emma Christensen

Emma Christensen is the Editor-in-Chief of Simply Recipes, and has over 10 years of experience creating food and content for web and print. She was formerly the recipe editor for The Kitchn and is the author of three books on home-brewing, True Brews, Brew Better Beer, and Modern Cider. Emma is a graduate of The Cambridge School for Culinary Arts and Bryn Mawr College. She lives in San Jose, California.

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66 Comments / Reviews

No ImageEasy-Peel Hard Boiled Eggs in the Pressure Cooker

Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Shawn

    Worked perfectly! Easy to peel, and didn’t waste half of the egg by trying to get the shell off. I do like a little softer center, so I’ll probably try 3 minute next time to see what happens. Thank You!!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  2. Davilyn Eversz

    I have the Ultra which has an egg setting. Its foolproof. The default is 5 min. I let it go to warm mode for three minutes and release, because I have duck eggs and they are really big. Then I put them in ice water. These are same day laid eggs so I was impressed they do so well in the IP and peel like a dream.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  3. Adele

    I’ll never boil eggs any other way. Perfect, unblemished eggs that don’t look like they were peeled by a toddler.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  4. Wendy

    It worked great at four minutes.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  5. Joy

    I’ve always enjoyed hard boiled eggs – either on their own or in other dishes. However, I always dread peeling them. It just makes the whole process feel difficult. I remembered someone telling me I could make them in my pressure cooker, so I googled it and found your page here. I used y our 5-5-5 process. It worked out perfectly, and they pealed easily. They did not feel overcooked or under-cooked. Thanks for all the tips!

    xxxxxyyyyy

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