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.

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

101 Comments / Reviews

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  • Lee Thayer

    I steamed 7 eggs using my tiny rice cooker with a steamer basket, 15 minutes, run under cold water for about 10 minutes, perfect hard boiled eggs. Thank you Elise for another great recipe!



    Love this way. Tried steaming for the first time and the eggs were perfect hard cooked.


  • George

    Steaming made a noticeable difference in the ease of peeling the shells for me. At 15 minutes (hard) steaming I would recommend the ice-water bath over just running cold tap water over it, because they will cool slower and possibly begin to develop green yolks, as happened to me one time when I did not use an ice-water bath. However I don’t have an ice maker in my freezer, so oftentimes I have no ice handy. What I started doing was slightly decreasing the steaming time (14 minutes worked well for me) and then running cold tap water over them in a bowl (changing the tap water out frequently for three minutes so the warm eggs cool faster) before putting them in the fridge. You may need to fiddle with it to find what works for you, but if you always have ice handy then just do the ice bath.


  • Al Mayberry

    Question; Are the eggs easier to peel because of the steaming or because of the ice water bath immediately after??

  • Nancy G

    I have been steaming eggs for over a year and I will never go back. I have had eggs break but only if I forgot to turn down the heat. I like them cooked through for deviled eggs or decorating so go 14-15 minutes.They peel so easily after an ice water bath! We need to spread the the word because so many people are frustrated and end up buying the rubbbery pre-cooked eggs in the store.

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How to Steam Hard Boiled EggsHow to Steam Hard Boiled Eggs