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. 

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.

Watch the video on steaming hard boiled eggs!

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

130 Comments / Reviews

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  1. John

    This method is amazing. My brother-in-law at Easter put eggs in the pressure cooker. It was more of a steam bath which worked well. I used the cheap vegetable steamer that you stick in a pot on top of the stove. I brought the water to a boil. Steam the eggs for about 12 minutes. Put them in a cold water bath for about eight minutes. Crack them rolled them under my end. And the shells came off the egg with no problem whatsoever. I give the egg a little rinse to get any tiny pieces of shell off of them I put them on a paper towel to pat them dry. 6 large eggs fine dice half small onion dozen or so capers drained and squeeze out extra moisture chip fine. Fine Chop two small celery stalk with leaves. Two tablespoons sweet relish drained. Use see salt and fresh cracked tricolor pepper. Mix all the chop ingredients. Cut eggs length wise turn and cut again toss in the bowl. Use a S wire type masher and mix all together don’t over mash it. Leave it somewhat chunky. Add at least 2 tablespoons of Hellmann’s mayonnaise. Mix with a spoon. Add more salt or pepper to taste. Using a metal bowl or glass put it in the refrigerator for a few hours to incorporate the flavors. Oh I almost forgot I need at least a tablespoon of plain yellow mustard too. Sometimes I will add a small spoonful of drained horseradish. Anything that has a liquid you should drain it first otherwise your egg salad will be very runny and mushy .


  2. Kathy

    I am 59 years old and this is the first time my eggs have peeled easily! Thank you!


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  3. Tom

    Elise – Thank you! What a fantastic find – once you try this method you’ll be hooked! No more struggling to remove the shells. They come off so easily . I’ll be making deviled eggs more often now. Thanks again.


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  4. Kristin

    18 medium eggs, big pot drop-in steamer basket (2 layers of eggs), 18 minutes – perfecto! They’re fresh eggs and I needed them to be easy to peel for Easter. Thank you!


  5. Mary

    Thank you! Have been trying every recommended method even baking. This is by far the best!


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