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

148 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Belle

    I live in the mile high city of Centennial, on the outskirts of Denver.
    My eggs are fresh, and have been at room Temperature for 35 minutes.

    Initially my plan was to cook 9 eggs in my Instapot Mega.Not wanting to be cooking in any way, shape or form, 45 mins from now, I decided to go into a time warp and do something I’d never heard of before: Steaming my eggs.

    I put an inch of water into my 10.5 inch All-Clad skillet &
    pulled out my 45 year new bamboo steamer.
    –Being a biologist & chemist at heart, I always have to tweak what is known in some way! Wish sometimes this wasn’t so, but tonight I’m grinning ear to ear over what many of you have already discovered.
    — Upon feeling the steam at my side, I substituted my Instapot yellow 9 egg boiler (which doubles as many different items), placed it on top of my my Instapot wire rack paraphernalia .

    Next the eggs were loaded in (some upside down, so as to test this system).
    Turning on my computer, and locating this site, I followed your rec’s.
    –Slipped an egg out of the circle at 6 mins, into ice water, for a half-minute,
    then onto my plate.

    –Cracking the egg slightly, the ease with which my egg slipped out her shell has never before been seen by me! The egg was hard-boiled, yet the yolk washout solid.
    –When I finished my egg inspection, my watch read 8.0 minutes since I started these “eggscapades” (gotta enjoy life!). I added more ice and water to the cooling pyrex dish .
    –At 9 mins exactly, the stove was turned off, pot slipped onto a cool section of my stovetop, delivered one egg at a time via silicone coated tongs to the ice water bath. Voila! The shells slipped off the 8 eggs, the eggs were perfect.

    The eggs are delicious, hard boiled, with a nearly very firm bright yellow yolk. Thus, 1 out of 9 really was perfect as described at 6 mins steaming, and at 9 mins, 9 eggs were fully steamed through.

    Thank you for the EGGSCELLENT instructions, Elise! Belle


  2. H0ckeym0m

    Turned out Perfect! Thanks!


  3. Brittany

    Worked like a charm. Used my usual cream of tartar in the water but otherwise didn’t mess with the recipe. Far easier than the whirlpool method. Now I just need to figure out the proper timing for room temperature eggs.


  4. Melissa

    This was so cool, and very easy. My new way to cook my hard boiled eggs! This excites me very much!


  5. Terri

    Should the eggs be brought to room temperature first? Or cold, straight from fridge to pot?

    Show Replies (1)
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