How to Steam Hard Boiled Eggs

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The best way to hard cook eggs? Steam them! That way they peel easily.

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.

Video! How to Steam Hard Boiled Eggs

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

  • 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.


1 Prepare pot and steamer basket:  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 water to boiling, add eggs to pot: 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 and steam the eggs: 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 to a bowl of icy cold water: Remove eggs with a 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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Forget Hard Boiling Eggs, Steamed Eggs are Easy to Peel from Michelle Stern of What's Cooking with Kids

Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

More from Elise

177 Comments / Reviews

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  1. Teresa Shere

    When I worked in a restaurant they would cook up a dozen or so a day and after peeling them they would put them in a container of cold water in the cooler so you have one to grab for a chef salad or something. stay fresh longer after cooking. I also learned that instead of putting in cold water when done cooking–dump any water out of the pan and cover eggs with ALL ICE and it will chill them faster as the ice melts!!

  2. Madzi

    I have been sick and tired of boiling up “foolproof” eggs and therefore, didn’t make family favorites with hardboiled eggs. It was always so disappointing to anticipate deviled eggs or, even more appreciated in my family, pickled eggs (which require PERFECT hardboiled eggs) only to have them look ugly and, worse, not at all. I just steamed two dozen eggs in a steamer pot–double-layered the eggs– and not ONE of them had the shell stick!
    This is good news to family and friends who will benefit from perfectly hardboiled eggs from now on.


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  3. Jillian

    I share this article with anyone who asks the best way to make hard boiled eggs. It’s perfect!!! Tonight I made 2 dozen eggs for purple eggs for a birthday party on Sunday. I did them all in one shot. I used the noodle strainer in my large stock pot. I put them on for 17 minutes, then put them in an ice bath and they came out perfect. Light yellow yolk without a green ring. And easy to peel!! Perfect every time. My parents have chickens, and this works great on farm fresh eggs, too. Forget boiling eggs, steam them!!


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  4. Kris Riccobono

    I will include this hack in my next hard boild egg recipe. I found a great egg recipe for National Egg Day here and I will make this delicious Florentine Recipe I found there together with this productivity hack from you. Thanks a lot for this awesome tip. I will let you know how my recipe went later.


  5. Sharon

    This is the easiest and best way for removing shells without the membrane, which ruins the appearance if serving them as deviled eggs! This recipe deserves 5+ stars


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