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.

Method

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

160 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Bonier

    What does “hard boiled with a still translucent and bright yolk”
    Is that a set yolk or runny?

    Show Replies (1)
  2. Gregg

    Thanks this was great and easy!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  3. Valarie

    Works perfectly – here at 4500 feet we just need to add a minute

    xxxxxyyyyy

    Show Replies (1)
  4. Marie

    Thank you for this method!

    Question: Why wouldn’t you remove the steamer basket from the pot after measuring the amount of water needed? Then you fill the basket with eggs and lower it into the pot. No turning the heat on and off. Am I missing something?

    Show Replies (1)
  5. Olli C. Wolf

    Accidentally saved my last comment to the page before finishing up my last bit of my 1st post x.x Anyway, after about 12+ hours and checking the 10 minute eggs vs. the 8 minute eggs, the shell on my 2nd egg came off in about 15 seconds. It was amazing! I then cut down the center and the whole thing had hardboiled all the way through with the extra 2 minutes. I’m near the equator, and like I said previously… using smart burners that have a cast iron top and a numbered dial for the burner which goes up to HI (10). I set on 9 and use hot water from the tap to start with now on these odd little burners…

    xxxxxyyyyy

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