How to Steam Hard Boiled Eggs

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.

  • Prep time:
  • Cook time: 15 minutes

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).

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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.

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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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Comments

  • 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 .

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Kathy

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

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • 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.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • 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!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Mary

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

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Linda

    Love this. They came out perfect and tasty!! Thank you.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Joy

    My secret ingredient is I add about 1/4 teaspoon of pure horseradish, a dab of sour cream and a bit of bacon along with the mayo, mustard etc… to mine and get compliments every single time

  • PammySue67

    Perfect hard boiled eggs both times I’ve used this recipe. Steaming the eggs is now my favorite way to cook them. I’ve also noticed that the shells peel off so much easier than my old way of cooking eggs.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • [email protected]

    A…maz….ing! 11 out of 12 turned out perfectly. I’m 75 and just proved you can teach an old dog new tricks. Tx and Merry Christmas

  • Rebekah

    I was sceptical the first time I tried this. I have diabetes and need a quick protein and after steaming and peeling, I can keep this in the fridge. Quick and easy snack.

  • Derek Vaughn

    That’s cool-thanks for the anecdote

  • Jessica

    oh….my….goodness!!!!! I am doing the happy dance right now! Thank you so much for this advice on how steaming eggs helps with peeling them. I am making two 18 pack eggs (deviled) for Thanksgiving Dinner and was dreading the task of peeling them. This recipe WORKS!! I will be using this method forever now :) Happy Thanksgiving ((((HUG))))

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Annemarie

    Magic!! Awesome!! It works…shocking to see the eggs peel so easily.
    Thank you!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Dan

    The best recipe in the world! 15 minute timing for the perfect yolk color. I’ve tried all the techniques on the interweb. All those boiling tricks just don’t work. this is the greatest thing since sliced bread!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Cinda

    I have to admit, I was skeptical about this method but tried it anyhow. Nothing else had worked. I’m so glad I did. It actually worked with 1 day old fresh farm eggs! Anyone who has fresh eggs knows they are not easy to peel when boiled in water. I’m totally amazed! They peeled perfectly! Thank you!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Trish

    Absolutely wonderful!

  • Suzanne Parker

    I just steamed 20 brown free range organic eggs, fresh from the grocery. Because I live at nearly 7,000 feet, I steamed them for 15 minutes, then tossed them ( literally tossed to crack the shells) into ice water until cooled. The shells just slid off them! Thanks so much!!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Diane neely

    Slightly confused, step 2 says turn burner off place steam basket in pan, turn burner back on. Why turn burner off turn burner back on?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Dianne, it’s so you have less chance of burning your hands with the hot steam as you gently put the eggs in the steamer basket.

  • Connee Collins

    This is fabulous!! I am almost 76 years old. I have been cooking and making my own recipes since I was a little girl. At 17, I prepared a banquet for 200 diners. Yet I never realized about steaming eggs. I just soft “boiled ” one. It was terrific. I live at 5000 feet. I steamed it for 6 minutes. It was perfect. I’ll never “boil” eggs again.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Kurt

    Will never go back to boiling again. 10 minutes was perfect for me; yolks were gooey and delicious. Shell came right off. Even after sometime in the fridge, the shells were easily pealed with no sticky membrane.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Sarah

    Life changing! I eat hard boiled eggs every morning and I like to cook up a bunch and store them in the shells in the fridge to use as needed. Often I cook extra because I ruin a couple when I get frustrated with peeling. I have tried so many methods to fix this problem and none have worked.. except this one… perfect every time.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Ginny

    I just steamed a dozen eggs that are only one day old – shells peeled off no problems, I will never boil another egg.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • John B.

    Was stunned at how much easier they are to peel. Will never boil again, have steamed the last five batches, perfect every time.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Annie

    Just tried this steaming method today, with fresh eggs and it worked perfectly. 15 minutes for 8 eggs, them plunged into ice water for about 15 minutes. Rolled the eggs along their centers to crack, and the shells all came off in two pieces. Amazing, and so easy! Thank you!

  • Ms. Sunga

    This actually works for fresh chicken eggs collected TODAY. I can’t believe it. Thank you!!!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • TheBeaverDen

    Just tried this method for the first time and it was perfect. Did a dozen eggs in 17 minutes. So glad I looked up streaming. I have a streamer basket. Placed it in a small stock pot with about an inch of water. The eggs peeled so easily and looked great. Can’t wait to make my deviled eggs now. Thank you!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • 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!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • CINDY

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

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • 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.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Al Mayberry

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

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Al, they’re easier to peel because of the steaming.

      • Al Mayberry

        How do you know that? There are other blogs about making easier to peel eggs that say to give them an i.e. bath after boiling to make them easier to peel.

        • Elise Bauer

          A ice water bath after boiling will help boiled eggs peel more easily. I haven’t found it necessary for steamed eggs. I think it may have to do with the higher energy steam molecules forcing air through the permeable egg shells to create some separate from the shell and the egg.

          That said, after steaming eggs, they’re hot! I always rinse mine in cold water just to cool them down so I can more easily handle them.

        • Lavender

          Hard to peel eggs happen when the egg white sticks to the membrane. Plunging the eggs directly into hot steam causes the egg white proteins to shrink, and stick to each other instead of to the membrane. Et Voila! Easy to peel.

          • Paula

            Another tip: vigorously shaking the eggs prior to placing in steamer helps separate the membrane from the shell.

        • George

          Here’s how I know with just simple observation: I started doing hard-boiled eggs the usual way (in the water) and always finished with an ice bath. I did it this way for weeks. Then I started using the steaming method to cook them and still used the ice bath at the end. With both cooking methods I used the ice bath at the end (the same way every time) but after I switched to steam-cooking them, the eggs were easier to peel. The only difference was that I switched from boiling to steaming – there were no other variables, so whatever help the ice bath provided, the steaming made it even easier.

    • Jennifer

      My daughter has chickens. Can’t get eggs any fresher and this steaming method works beautifully. I have battled trying to peel the eggs with the resulting mess. Her eggs peeled beautifully after using this method. I steamed them about 13 minutes and the yolks were still slightly moist. I would suggest another minute if you were using for deviled eggs. Thank you so much for this “recipe”. It works!!!!

      • Elise Bauer

        Hi Jennifer, I’m so glad you like the method! Yes, I would just steam for another minute.

  • 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.

  • Jerry Jones

    1 dozen extra large eggs…..steamed exactly 15 minutes in a single layer over a steamer basket in a large pot, covered with lid, removed with bbq tongs to an ice water bath……did it 3 times now….they peel easy and clean.
    I Love Egg Salad.

  • Assia

    On Amazon I discovered a perfect tool for cooking eggs in pressure cooker. It’s EggAssist. With this you don’t have worry about the eggs rolling around inside the pressure cooker.The egg holder can also be used as a hot pad. I absolutely fell in loved with this purchase.

  • Ellie

    This is a great way to hardball eggs but each time I’ve tried it at least one egg cracks and its innards ooze out as it steams. Am I doing something wrong?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Ellie, I haven’t seen that happen. It could be the brand of eggs you are getting? Maybe the shells on those eggs are thinner than others?

      • Ellie

        That’s a possibility. Thanks, Elise.

    • Joseph

      Also, if using a basic stove-top pan/basket method, you don’t need to continue to boil on high heat. It just produces a greater amount of steam at one time, rattling the eggs around, which increases the potential for cracking.

  • George

    12 minutes did not cook them all the way through for me. I only did 6 large eggs in a single layer. The yolks were semi-firm with a runny core, and the whites weren’t even fully set. I do not live at a high altitude either. I would go for the 15 minute side of the 12-15 minute recommendation given here. Personally I’m going for 16 minutes next time.

  • Bobby Parnell

    I love hard boiled eggs. I’ve done the steaming method before and liked the results. But recently I started doing them in my smoker. That is now my go to method for hard “boiled” eggs.

  • Becky Bixler

    The steaming method for hard boiled eggs is one I have used for years! People always look at me kinda funny but all I know is, it works beautifully!

  • Kirk

    As mentioned, make sure you have the water at full boil, especially if you are using a large steamer as it is going to take a little while for the metal to get heated. I used a big stainless steel steamer with the pasta strainer insert, simply because that was what I had available. Once steam was rapidly coming out of the vent, I removed it from the heat, loaded 6 large eggs in (right from the fridge), put it back on the heat, set at Medium-High, covered, then set the time for 12 minutes. I took them out immediately at 12 minutes with a spoon into cold water. PERFECT PEELING…cooked through but still nice and orange. And one thing…not one egg cracked, so if you plan to decorate them later…! Thanks for this helpful time saver!

  • Sergio Di Martino

    Fail. Followed these directions to the letter and ended up with totally uncooked eggs. Ended up having to boil them. Pretty disappointed. Won’t be trying it again.

    • Elise Bauer

      Sounds like the water in your pot wasn’t boiling hard enough. The steam needs to have energy. Either that or you are at elevation, in which case you will need to cook them longer.

    • tori

      This method definitely works. This was a case of user error. There is no way one can subject eggs to steam (from rapidly boiling water) and have uncooked eggs as a result. If you get your water up to a rapid boil BEFORE adding the steaming basket of eggs, this will not result in uncooked eggs. Try it again.

      • Al Mayberry

        There is a way this can happen–At higher altitudes steam is not nearly as hot as water boils at a lower temp cuz of lower air pressure. This is mentioned several times in the article.

  • Mike Morse

    OK Party People. My wife and I have been making Deviled Eggs for Memorial Services at our church for some time and they are always a big hit. Not sure why the Devil’s Eggs are so popular at Church but they are. Lately I have been frustrated with how poorly the eggs peel. I have that old eggs peel better, but I have not been able to find out what is considered old. Additionally memorial services are not something that is planned out several weeks so that I have the eggs sit around and age. As I said eggs have not been peeling well and they end up looking like the surface of the moon when I am done. So tonight, I decided to try something I have read about online and it has changed me. Steaming eggs! The eggs were purchased about 5 days ago. Not old and they peeled like a dream. Never, yes I said NEVER will I boil eggs again. Not only did they peel beautifully, but it took less time. Seriously people, give this a try.

  • Lauren

    Thank you! So amazingly simple! I won’t hard boil eggs any other way now.

  • Dakota123

    AMAZING!!! Finally my husband won’t talk like Yosemite Sam when the eggs don’t peel good at the holidays! I used this method on fresh farm eggs and all of them peeled perfectly! This recipe is saved as a favorite for sure! Thanks

  • Patricia Almes

    I just tried this after messing up so many shells and it was perfect. Thank You.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Daniel

    I have found that taking the bottom side of a spoon and gently tapping all the way around an egg helps it to peel easier. Also, if the peeling is hard, I simply run my peeling and and the egg under the water tap to give it a tad more slipperiness.

  • Gretchen

    I’ve never made deviled eggs (until just now!). I tried this steaming method and it was a breeze! 13 min for a single layer of large eggs, then straight into ice water. No fuss. They were perfect. So thankful for this — now I won’t make a fool of myself at Easter dinner!

  • Michelle (What's Cooking with Kids)

    Thank you so much for linking to my post, Elise. You wouldn’t believe how many of our fresh eggs I destroyed by trying to peel after they were hard boiled. This was the best solution ever :-)

  • Moon

    I have heard that leaving the eggs out for a couple hours, to warm to room temperature, before boiling will help to center the yolk for perfect deviled eggs. Does anyone have any experience or ideas on this?

    • April

      Night before flip them over. The yolk will be more centered. It is what we do and it has always worked.

  • Dajayosan

    Forget the baking soda or vinegar – you don’t need them! Steaming the eggs rather than boiling them worked absolutely perfectly!

  • Carol

    This worked PERFECTLY!!!!!!! Thank you so much for sharing!!!!

  • Renee

    I am seriously so excited about this. I just tried your method of steaming and it worked like a charm! One of my biggest issues with past hard boiled eggs is they are always so difficult for me to peel. I was astonished how easy these eggs from your recipe were for me to peel! :)

    Thank you so much!! Now I can make dread-fee deviled eggs! :)

  • Kristi Schirtzinger

    Great technique! This really works.

  • Kathy

    Hi y’all I don’t know if its true or not but I heard that if you put thin coating of vegetable oil on your eggs they will last longer is this true?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Kathy, good question! I’m guessing that a layer of fat around the egg would help keep out airborne bacteria. Would love to hear what others have to say.

      • Mark

        Yes you can do that. If an egg is kept refrigerated @40F it will generally dry out before it actually spoils. Coating the egg inhibits evaporation but it should still be kept in the fridge. Some sites say you don’t need refrigeration but remember…the cuticle/bloom has been washed away and oil will not kill bacteria. I would not suggest vegetable oil as it can go rancid.
        People who do this generally use mineral oil and it’s what egg producers use. I have heard of petroleum jelly being used and the eggs remaining edible up to a year. I would also not suggest leaving oiled eggs out at room temp as some web sites say you can for as long as they say. Mineral oil will not kill salmonella. It simply slows down evaporation of water from the egg.

        Mineral oil will make the eggs unusable for meringue and other similar kinds of baking where you need fluffy egg whites.

        An egg that floats is not an indication of a bad egg. It just indicates that a portion of the water in the egg has evaporated out i.e. it’s an old egg. That a bad egg floats is just more misinformation that people keep putting out there.
        So using mineral oil will slow evaporation and the egg will sink making you assume it’s fresh.

        The USA and much of the rest of the world handle their eggs differently. Many people don’t understand this and make blanket statements that can come back to haunt…or they simply don’t know all the gotchas.

        It may be safe to go three to five months with an oiled egg in the fridge. Some sites claim a year but think that’s pushing it. If you get sick, it’s on you but most likely you’ll smell a bad egg before it ever gets to your mouth.

        I’ve never seen anything official on this from the USDA other than a light coating being used in the wash process but even with that, mineral oil is not on the list of approved wash agents. The wash process is meant to sanitize and mineral oil doesn’t do that.

        One site says to warm the mineral oil. That’s a no-no. If there is bacteria in the pores of the shell, the warm oil will push it into the egg. It emphasizes my point that you can never be sure if people know what they are talking about.

        If all you want to do is slow down the evaporation to make the eggs last longer and you keep the eggs in the fridge, you should be able to go 3 months easily, probably 5 is safe. Three to 5 weeks is the recommendation for non-oiled eggs.

        If you want to go further, that’s your choice. I am not telling you to leave oiled eggs out for a year and everything will be hunky-dory.

        • Rob M

          Thank you for your very helpful post, Mark. I bet that this will help many people who have trouble finding good information.

          • Fork Lift Operator

            The key is remembering that in the USA eggs are washed and the protective cuticle/bloom is gone while in other parts of the world it may actually be illegal to wash the eggs…two different ways of keeping the eggs safe.

            Another trick…for commercially produced eggs in the USA, look for the “secret” Julian date on the carton. It tells you when the eggs were actually packed. It’s different from the “best when used by” date.

      • Rita S.

        My Dear Dad in World War II was in Europe and he used to get sent hard boiled eggs from home packed in lard. He said they were fine and tasted great.

    • Ming Roberson

      If you want your eggs to last a long time out of refrigeration, use this recipe. Use a large sealable glass or crock container. Use 1 quart of purified water to 1 oz of HYDRATED lime (approx. 3 T), not garden lime. Put 2 to 3 oz of dry hydrated lime in the bottom of the container. Fill the container with your fresh eggs (uncooked). Mix your lime and water until thoroughly blended. Pour over eggs. Make sure eggs are covered with this mixture, with liquid 1″ above the eggs. These eggs will keep for a minimum of 8 months. This recipe was used in the 1700s and 1800s to keep eggs with no refrigeration.

  • Lynette

    If you like to use room temp eggs, instead of leaving eggs unrefrigerated, why not put them in warm water for a few minutes to take off the chill. I do this when making cakes.

  • Jennifer Cripe

    I have never been able to make hard-boiled eggs. They either weren’t cooked enough, turned green, or tore up when I tried to peel them. This morning I steamed the eggs for 15 minutes as instructed and they were absolutely perfect! I am astounded! Thank you so much.

  • Kathy Torkelson

    I steam about 10 medium Yukon Red potatoes for Potato Salad and save some to chill and grate for hash brown potatoes. One day I threw 6 x-large eggs on top, just out of fridge, brought the water to the boil and took the eggs out in 13 minutes, let the potatoes steam for 10 more minutes until fork tender. Put the eggs immediately into cold water. All of them peeled easily overtime. I kept them in water in my largest Pyrex measuring 6 cup and had them everyday, not one of them was difficult to peel. Have been doing this ever since. And I like doing steamed carrots with a few eggs as well. Double duty.

  • Penny

    I put six eggs in the steamer and forgot to set the timer; when I realized, I set the timer to 9 minutes. When it went off, I turned off the heat and tested one egg and the yolk was awesome; still custardy in the center, which I love. The next egg from the batch cooked a bit longer, obviously, but still had a beautiful, soft yolk. Peeling was a breeze, needless to say. :)

    So my method was not exactly scientific, but I’ll never boil another egg – thanks for this!

  • Marissa

    Elise, you knocked it out of the park (yet again!) with this recipe. I’ve always had trouble with boiled eggs but this worked PERFECTLY. They were done to my liking (runny yolk with a cooked white) at 7 minutes 30 seconds. You are the best!

  • Amy

    OK Ladies & Gents- We had a SUCCESS! Using this steaming method was quick & easy. They came out flawless and they were very fresh eggs to start with.
    What I did do after steaming them was place them in a big bowl of ice so the membranes would contract away from the egg, making it easy to peel. It was time to empty my freezers ice bucket so I used this opportunity to use the old ice for this experiment.
    I have tried boiling, baking, blowing, microwaving, ALL methods, but this really works for me. I recommend it.

  • Amy

    I’ve got some steaming right now as I type. Also, regarding the refrigeration of eggs. Unless they’ve been washed there’s no need to . They have a natural coating that seals them unless you wash it off. That’s why big operations wash their eggs then spray them with an oil or sealant.
    Buzzer rang. I’ll let you know how they turned out for me.

    • Mark

      In the USA virtually all eggs are washed. The USDA requires all eggs sold in the US be washed. So for US consumers, the cuticle/bloom is irrelevant. They must keep their eggs refrigerated at degrees 40 F. Mineral oil is generally used to reduce evaporation and extend shelf life. It’s not a bacticide. The other things used in the wash generally do not leave residues and are not “sealers”.

      Even if the egg is organically produced, it may be sanitized with chlorine/bleach, sodium carbonate, ozone, hydrogen peroxide or peracetic acid (vinegar and hydrogen peroxide).
      Vinegar is an effective sanitizer and is derived from natural sources.

      Also some countries vaccinate their chickens against salmonella which can carry over to the egg. If salmonella is inside the egg, the wash doesn’t matter. Currently the US does not require chickens be vaccinated although I believe it’s under study.

      Salmonella is actually one of the more benign bacteria out there. You can kill it with a temperature of around 130F. People don’t generally die from salmonella. They just may find themselves spending some “quality time” with their bathrooms though.

      Even the temp of the wash water has to be matched to the temperature of the eggs. Wash water that’s warmer than the eggs will push the “junk” in the porous egg shell into the egg due to the pressure differential.

      Be careful about what information you put out lest you get people sick. It sounds like you’re not in the US.

  • Herb Klug

    Thanks Elise!!! I have been struggling for years to figure out a way to get the shells off of the cooked eggs without ruining half of the white. I tried everything I could find on the subject and every time more white stayed with the shell than remained on the egg. Then you published this article on steaming them. I’ve done it twice so far and had 100% success the first time. The second time, one egg was stubborn and had a cratered surface when the shell was removed. I am so happy to learn this technique!!! (Deviled eggs are my favorite treat.) Thanks so much for sharing what you know.

  • JJ Johnson

    I have a Cuisinart egg cooker and this is what it basically does. Great to know this when having to do a larger volume of hard cooked eggs! Great tip :-)

  • Tova Shai

    Hi, Elise!

    Thank you so much for sharing this!! I am NOT a cook at all, but needed to make something for a family gathering this weekend, and offered to make deviled eggs, plus eggs to dye… which I hadn’t done in several years. I literally googled “how to boil eggs” Saturday morning and found your site, which had the link to this article. Because my eggs had just been bought on Thursday, I decided to steam them, and I am a believer!! I steamed two batches of 18 eggs- 20 minutes for the 1st batch, and 25 for the second. I think the first batch cooked more quickly because I started with the water REALLY hot, then brought it down to medium, and it was on medium the whole time with the 2nd batch.

    I also put each egg immediately into cold water when they were done, and after a few moments “crackled” the shell by rolling each one on the counter, then ran it water to loosen the shell.

    The eggs cooked so evenly, peeled so beautifully, and were so good, I’m planning to make deviled eggs again for a church event next week! :)

    THANK YOU!! :)

  • Marianne

    Worked like a charm, thanks. I have tried the pressure cooker method but timing it right was pretty hard. This one was easier.

    • Annette

      Can you elaborate about the timing? Because hard-boiled eggs are pretty forgiving, so a minute more or less isn’t really desastrous.
      Here’s the procedure (did it just yesterday): put minimum amount of water in PC, put steamer basket and eggs (on their little bottle caps) in, put lid on, bring to high pressure, start timer for 6 min (yesterday I had 8 medium-sized eggs straight from the fridge – if they had been large, I might have cooked them for a minute or so longer), when timer rings, take pot off burner, wait five minutes, open pot, put eggs into cold water. Done.
      (As if you couldn’t tell already: I heart my pressure cooker.)

  • Katie Gagnon

    As soon as I saw this post I had to try it. I went out bought a steamer basket and this totally worked! I have tried several methods over the years to get a clean peel and nothing has worked–baking soda (powder? idk; it didn’t work!), new eggs, old eggs, farm eggs etc. Now I want to try that bottle cap trick!

  • Sandal

    Such a great way to fix hard boiled eggs! Used it today and they were the BEST hard boiled eggs I have every made! Will be using this method every time! Thanks so much!

  • Juliana Inman

    I steam them 17 minutes (from refrigerator directly to boiling steamer) for extra large eggs – then ice water bath. Love the idea of using bottle caps!

  • Dave

    Preheat oven for 325. Bake for 30 minutes with the eggs sitting in muffin tins. Ice bath for 15 minutes. Perfect every time

  • Melanie B.

    My aunt uses her rice cooker (once that is also a veggie steamer) to steam her eggs, and they always come out perfect. The amount of water to use (which determines the time it will steam) is listed in the instruction book. Don’t have my rice cooker anymore, and with 13 laying chickens out back, I will have to use this method!

    • Elise Bauer

      That’s a great idea Melanie! If your Aunt shares the instructions with you, would you please share with us?

      • Michelle

        I just used the rice cooker this weekend – I put 1 cup of water, plus the steamer basket in then layered a dozen eggs on top. Put on the lid and turned on the rice cooker – it took about 20 minutes and they were perfect and SO easy to peel. It is my go-to method now.

  • Deborah

    I tried this and it really works! For the first time in my life I got 6 perfectly peeled hard boiled eggs. Now someone tell how to not have the yolk to close to the surface on one side. :)

    • Annette

      Me, me – oh, let me!! I’m afraid you need a steamer basket, though, preferably a flat one. For example, one of those bamboo basket for steamed dumplings will do.
      Set the eggs on metal bottle caps – I’ve used those from bottled water; if your eggs are quite large, use Campari bottle caps (or olive oil, if you can get the plastic out – I can’t).
      Now the eggs are upright during the steaming process – voilà!

      • Elise Bauer

        Brilliant!

        • Annette

          In all honesty, I also got the bottle-caps idea from Laura’s website. (My only original contribution is the Campari because I have not been able to eviscerate olive-oil caps, even with pliers.) So the brilliance is all hers.

  • Sue Bell

    I have an egg cooker that steams them for me, and it works great. One of my favorite kitchen gadgets. So easy, always done right, and yes, they peel very easily.

  • Cindy

    Tried steaming just 4 eggs to see how this method would work . Straight from the fridge into steamer basket for 15 mins. Ran cold water over them did another chore and peeled them later …. Perfect .

  • Walter Underwood

    Steaming and boiling both work. The hot start is the critical thing. Read this for an insanely detailed experiment on the best way to hard-boil eggs.

    http://www.seriouseats.com/2014/05/the-secrets-to-peeling-hard-boiled-eggs.html

    • Annette

      Thanks for the link – very interesting! I am however baffled by the author’s statement “There is absolutely zero correlation between cooking eggs in a pressure cooker and ease of peeling” because it completely and totally contradicts my experience (and that of Adam Paul, above, and of all the people who commented on Laura’s website). Weird!
      I can’t say that I found the egg whites rubbery, either – they seem fine to me. (But then, I’ve never set up the elaborate comparisons that the article mentions.)
      I’d still say: give it a try and judge for yourselves.

  • Vicki

    I have a microwave steamer, can I steam eggs to hardboiled using it?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Vicki, I don’t think so. Microwaves tend to make eggs explode.

  • florence friedman

    My experience has been that, fresh or not, running the cooked egg under cold water or soaking in ice water until really cold makes shelling the eggs a breeze.

  • Eileen

    Yes to steaming!! I have chickens so we are talking very fresh eggs. I tried everything (except pressure cooker and had no luck. My eggs are about “large” and I just cooked one to get the timing right. Exactly 12 minutes then into ice water bath. Perfect eggs every time Btw, love this site. Always reliable recipes

  • Adam Paul

    I agree w/Annette – just got a pressure cooker and am amazed at how easy to peel they are when hard-boiled this way. Over several dozen eggs so far, mostly very fresh, every single one has peeled perfectly!

  • Kate @ Framed Cooks

    Carting your hardboiled egg into work and having half of it come off with the shell is NOT the way to start your morning, and this happens to me SO MUCH! Your recipes always work for me – I’m going to steam my eggs!

    • Colleen

      You have to peel your eggs while they are still warm. If you wait until they are cold, you won’t be able to peel them as easy and you will loose parts of your egg with the shell.

      • Elise Bauer

        Hi Colleen, actually I think the opposite may be true. From research that Serious Eats did on hard boiled eggs, they found that the more chilled the better in terms of peeling. My experience is that if you crack the eggs while they’re still warm and then peel them under running water, they’ll peel more easily. That said, if you are working with very fresh eggs, they can be difficult to peel no matter what you do if you boil them. Steaming farm fresh eggs gives much more consistent results.

        • Mark

          Personally, I think fresh eggs being hard to peel is a myth that keeps getting repeated and perpetuated, enough so that people start believing it. You can buy peeled hard boiled eggs in the store. Surely they have a process that produces perfectly peeled eggs every time? I doubt that they are throwing the bad ones away. I would guess another one of their products is egg salad. ; )
          I have also seen professional chefs poke a hole with a needle in the fat end of the egg prior to boiling. I am not sure if that actually works. It seems like so much of this egg stuff is pure voodoo. But if you have something that works for you, by all means, use it.
          The only difference between a fresh and old egg is the size of the air pocket.

          Other egg fun facts…

          If a recipe does not specify what size egg to use, a large is assumed.

          If you buy a dozen eggs, not all the eggs in that dozen need to be the same size. The weight of the entire dozen is what counts. The eggs can vary in size so long as the total weight matches this chart…

          1 dozen jumbo eggs = 30 ounces.
          1 dozen extra large = 27 ounces
          1 dozen large = 24 ounces
          1 dozen medium = 21 ounces
          1 dozen small = 18 ounces
          1 dozen peewee = 15 ounces

          Young chickens do not lay large eggs. If you buy big eggs, they were laid by an older chicken.

          Commercial eggs have two dates on the carton, a “sell by” date and a “hidden” when packed date. The when packed date is in Julian format i.e. 365 is December 31st. Eggs may not be packed the same day the eggs are laid and it will take a few days for the eggs to get to the store. If the egg sinks in water, it’s fresh.

          One day of keeping a washed egg at room temperature is equivalent to one week of refrigeration. Washed eggs should be kept at 40 degrees F.

          Small farms are not covered by many of the regulations that apply to large commercial operations. That said, the USDA requires all eggs sold in the US be washed.

          Many producers include mineral oil in the wash, however, mineral oil is not on the list of approved substances for washing eggs.

          In 2014, the per capita consumption was 263 eggs.

          …just egging you on.

  • Awads

    I have not had success with this method. at all. I’ll stick to my tried-and-true method (bring eggs to boil; turn off heat; sit for 14 minutes, covered; ice water bath). Older eggs are easier to peel than fresh eggs, fwiw.

  • Jody K

    Laura, the folks at Cook’s Illustrated have said that commercial eggs have had the protective layer scrubbed off of them and do need refrigeration. Straight from the hen, they aren’t so vulnerable. I have independent corroboration from a farm wife.

    Elise, do you start with eggs straight from the refrigerator? Does it make a difference whether they are cold or room temperature? I like this idea.

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Jody, I refrigerate my eggs so yes, they are straight from the fridge. Starting them at room temp or chilled will affect the steaming time.

      • Mark

        Hard boiled eggs are like pizza…if you ask a million people how to make it, you’ll get a million different answers. I put my (jumbo, I live a block away from a farm that sells eggs year round) eggs in a pot with just enough water to cover them. I turn the heat on full blast. As soon as I get a raging boil I put the cover on, turn the heat off, leave it on the hot part of the stove and set the timer for 5 minutes. That will leave the yolk just slightly translucent in the middle. At 5 minutes I drain off the hot water and rinse in cold just enough so I can handle the eggs. I peel them warm. The trick is to get the side of your thumb underneath the membrane between the shell and the egg. When you’re under the membrane you’ll notice the slick feel of the egg white. The feel is different if you’re on top of the membrane and your egg will look like the far side of the moon. The only benefit I see for steam is that steam can get hotter than 212 degrees, especially if it’s under pressure. That’s what allows pressure canners to kill things like botulina.

        P.S. Never take a cold hard boiled egg from the fridge, microwave it and then bite into it. You will have a nasty steam burn on your lip. Been there, done that.

        • Emma

          I bought this microwave egg cooker thing (sorry I don’t remember brand) at Bed Bath, TjMaxx etc. It looks like an egg but has feet and a chicken face. I was doubtful that it would work but it did! And now I think I know why. When you take top off to put in the egg, there was a tiny cup you put in a t of water. I figured it somehow stopped the exploding egg dilemna, but I’m betting it is steaming the egg. Îts a pain if you need lots of eggs at one time, but it did work great one at a time. I see other “microwave hard boiled egg cookers” but most seem to be poached. It was pretty cheap so maybe worth a try. Since I now have induction burner I am going to try the metal basket in a cast iron Dutch oven steaming since I like to do a load at one time and refrigerate for later.

  • Laura ~ RYG

    Ok, so I have no idea if this is true, but my mom tells me that eggs do not need to be put in the fridge. She said I can leave them in the sunroom or even just the counter and that I will not get sick. But that just seem to impact the time I will need to steam them. I really like this idea. Anything that simplifies my life (Duh Laura this site IS called Simply Recipes…what was I expecting?) is a go! We tend to use a lot of boiled eggs for deviled eggs and salads and go through them!

    • weston deboer
    • againstthegrain

      I live in the US but I’ve food shopped many times in the UK, Europe, and NZ. Regular eggs are always stocked on unchilled shelves when I shop for them outside the US, though it took me a few trips to stop looking for eggs in a chilled case (eggs cartons in NZ say to refrigerate the eggs once at home).

      I buy unwashed “urban backyard” eggs from a roadside stand currently – some I refrigerate and some I don’t, depending on how I’ll prepare them and how soon I plan to use them.

      Chilling does extend egg freshness by several weeks, especially in hot weather, but in the short term, it’s find to store eggs at room temp provided it isn’t hot enough to melt butter. ;-) What it isn’t good for eggs is to is chill, then set out, then chill again, etc. The up and down temp change causes condensation and faster egg degradation. It’s ok to let chilled eggs sit out a little while before preparing them if the temperature is a factor in the preparation.

      • Mark

        The USDA requires that all eggs sold in the USA are washed. That removes the cuticle or bloom from the egg. That is natures way of protecting the egg content from bacteria. Once the bloom/cuticle is removed, the egg must be refrigerated. In the UK it’s illegal to wash eggs. Because they are not washed, they do not need refrigeration. In the UK there are fewer cases of salmonella poisoning from eggs than the US. Most commercially produced eggs in the US are also coated with mineral oil. That reduces the evaporation of the water inside the egg and extends shelf life. The big producers often have to ship eggs very far. I have heard of sailors coating eggs with petroleum jelly and the eggs lasting up to a year.By the way, if an egg floats in water it is not bad. It’s just old. A fresh egg will sink to the bottom in a pan of water. As it gets a little older it will stand up vertically but still sit at the bottom. Older still, it will float to the top. It’s a myth that floaters are bad. If you have any doubts, crack the floater into a little bowl and smell it. If it smells bad, then it probably is. Bad eggs typically have a very noticeable sulfur smell.

  • Annette

    My favorite way of preparing hard-boiled eggs I learned from Laura Pazzaglia’s Hip Pressure Cooking site: they come out easy-to-peel and perfect! The principle is the same (though I would definitely use a steamer basket here, so that they don’t roll around and smash into each other). Time under pressure is 5-7 minutes, depending on size, number, and temperature (straight out of fridge vs. room temp). Extra bonus: even if they crack (and they rarely do), they don’t make a mess.
    Try this if you own a pressure cooker – you’ll never go back!

    • againstthegrain

      Me, too. I’m hooked on cooking soft, medium, and hard boiled eggs in the pressure cooker. So easy to peel, even the soft boiled eggs (I peel soft boiled eggs instead of poaching eggs). Eggs en cocotte are great in the pressure cooker, too.

      • Annette

        Tell me more – I ‘ve never attempted soft-boiled, thinking that the window of opportunity would be waaay too narrow.
        What do you do – use low pressure and a stopwatch?

    • againstthegrain

      Even very fresh eggs peel easily when pressure cooked!