Introduction: Perfect Hard Steamed Eggs

I originally learned to cook eggs in a steamer basket from Alton Brown on an episode of Good Eats. This method reliably provides hard cooked perfection and it's super easy too! You will need:

  • pot with tight fitting lid
  • steamer basket
  • eggs (at least four)
  • large bowl
  • ice
  • water
  • tongs
  • paper towels

Step 1: Set Up Equipment

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Add about an inch of water to the bottom of your pot-- but not so much that it rises to the level of the steamer basket, which you'll place in the pot next.

Step 2: Add Heat and Eggs

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Stick the pot on the stove with the lid on (high heat), and watch it for small bubbles to form as the water begins to simmer. When steam is coming out of the pot, reduce the heat to maintain a steady simmer (but not a rolling boil), and add at least four eggs to the steamer basket using a pair of tongs. Clamp the lid on tight.

Step 3: Put 12 Minutes on the Clock

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Press GO on a 12 minute timer. If you don't have a dedicated kitchen timer, cell phones and microwaves commonly have built in timers you can use.

While the timer counts down, prepare an ice bath by filling a large bowl with ice and adding water to cover.

Step 4: Ice Bath Time

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When the timer is finished, immediately turn off the stove and use tongs to carefully move the eggs to the ice bath. Not only will this stop the cooking, but the combo of quickly heating and quickly cooling aids in peeling later. Leave them in the ice bath for at least 5 minutes, then dry them off and store in the fridge.

Step 5: Easy Peeling

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To peel your hard cooked egg, tap it on a hard surface and gently roll it around to crack up the shell around the "equator". Pick at the shell to remove it where cracked, and the two hemispheres should come off the ends of the egg easily.

Step 6: Enjoy!

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Slice your egg or bite into it to discover the buttery yolk inside. Season with salt and pepper and enjoy!


jack.springer.393 (author)2016-06-28

Why not just put the eggs on the wire rack in a 325 degree oven for 30 minutes? Eliminate all those steps and dirty dishes and pans.

There is a better way to make hard 'boiled' eggs. They come out perfect every time.

fred_ (author)jack.springer.3932016-07-16

It's not as likely to be as reproducable for a few reasons. Every oven is different, pretty much nobody calibrates their oven (or even knows that your can). Every spot in the oven is different and the temperature swings as it cycles might be 50 degrees. Steam or boiling gets everyone to get similar results. A little more goof proof.

If you're getting 90% or better clean peeling eggs don't change :)

Steam or already boiling water gets you a few things. The size of your burner is mostly out of the equation. The faster start then the cold water start method gives slightly less time for the egg white to bind to the shell membrane. Mostly the change in ph as the egg ages makes them easier to peel. I go with the boil cover and let sit for 10 minutes with the lid on method. Then crash cooling in an ice bath prevents over cooked green tinged smelly yolks and rubbery whites and helps older easy peeling eggs make a nicer egg shape when their larger air pocket in the shell rapidly shrinks (for deviled eggs)

.02 if you're lucky enough to have right out of the chicken eggs don't waste em by hard boiling hard to peel eggs. BTW don't wash them if anything dry wipe them. Leave the protective film on the egg intact.

There are so many ways to hard cook eggs! Since it's summer and my oven counteracts my air conditioning, I prefer the stovetop method. No dirty pan since it was just simmering water! =]

Much easier in the oven -- no mess at all.

Burning electricity for 30 minutes as opposed to 12 minutes loses the appeal for me .... that and I don't have an oven!

How does a person not have an oven?

Hah, check your priveledge!

CF7 (author)jack.springer.3932016-06-30

Steamed eggs are easier to peel

CarinH (author)2016-07-13

I boil my eggs and they're never overcooked. The trick is to bring them to the boil, then cover them and turn off the heat. Leave them sit in the boiling hot water for at least 10 minutes, but they can stay in there until the water has cooled enough to handle and they'll be perfect.

I do this same thing with boiled white rice, leaving it in the pot at least 20 minutes.

RoboDon2 (author)2016-06-30

If you have a rice cooker (Asians and Cajuns know all about them) you just put in the amount of water for rice, put eggs in steamer basket and hit GO. I'll have to try the ice bath but mine have not been hard to peel. I do them the night before so they'll be ready for breakfast.

Phoghat (author)RoboDon22016-07-11

They just started appearing in my city in Mexico, could figure why they weren't available here. Mexico IS rice ( and beans too)

ClareBS (author)2016-06-30

Steaming eggs works. It's easy and they peel every time. I first learned about this on after adopting three hens. Fresh eggs are even harder to peel when boiled than the old ones from supermarkets. I've tried to convince friends to steam but some are stubborn and prefer to be frustrated trying to peel unpeelable eggs.

Spread the word—steam hard cooked eggs! It will take a little stress out of your life.

Phoghat (author)ClareBS2016-07-11

Thanks. I had heard about fresh vs old but couldn't remember which was easier. I was just about to ask which was which

sheripres (author)2016-06-30

I heard about this on NPR's Science Friday and I am hooked. I actually just put about half of an inch of water in the pot, put my eggs in there, cover them, put the heat up high and let them steam for about 10 to 12 minutes.

Why is this better? Every single egg is cooked perfectly. They peel in two halves and your yolk is vibrantly yellow.

I know that I cannot seem to boil my eggs perfectly every time. By steaming them, you can't mess it up.

bekathwia (author)sheripres2016-07-05

Yeah I kept messing them up when boiling in water too, steaming seems to yield much more consistent success!

nonobadog (author)2016-07-03

Why not just get one of those cheap little egg cookers? They cook with steam and have been around for 20 years or so. They work great.

bekathwia (author)nonobadog2016-07-05

If you've got it, use it! I personally don't have too much space for specialized tools in the kitchen, prefer tools that can work double or triple duty.

JayD55 (author)2016-06-30

Great instructable! I eat a marinated egg for lunch every day, so I've steamed lots of eggs like this, perhaps someone can benefit from my experience. All of the following were done in a zojirushi rice cooker.

12 Mins - super hard-boiled, completely solid, a little dry for my taste

10 mins - IMO the best fully hard-cooked egg time, perhaps the very middle of the yolk will be a little creamy instead of hard

9 mins - my personal favorite, leaves the egg yolks cooked but jelly-like

8 mins - really runny yolk, solid whites. Good if that's what you're looking for

7 mins - at this point the egg isn't cooked well enough to even peel reliably, this is a really undercooked egg, not recommended at all!

HazelL2 (author)JayD552016-07-03

Most helpful. Thanks.

ElkoGlasser (author)2016-07-01

I started steaming my eggs in my electric pressure cooker. Works every time, LOVE IT.

davidhalfpenny (author)2016-06-30

Please tell me why this is better than just boiling the eggs in a pan of water? Thanks, D

ClareBS (author)davidhalfpenny2016-06-30

It's better because they peel very easily every time.

billbillt (author)2016-06-30

YUM!!... Thanks for sharing!..

MarilynZ3 (author)2016-06-30

I steam my eggs for 20 minutes and then immediately plunge them in ice water. This is the greatest thing ever if you are cooking a couple of dozen at a time OR if the eggs are fresh from the store since they will peel nicely.

You can also bake eggs in the oven, but I've never tried it since I have never needed more than 2 dozen at a time.

If you had to cook hundreds of eggs, say for an egg hunt, the oven would be the place to do it.

BTW, I do not leave the eggs out to reach room temp beforehand.

meanblackbike (author)2016-06-30

Yeah that is the best way. I knew and use many times already - maybe 2 years till know.

Just to give you some hints :

Leave the eggs in the room for time that they will have room temp. So not to crack of fast temp changes.

If you leave them (on the table not in fridge) for 2-3 days they will peal much easy after boil.

You don't need nothing else then : pot, 1/2 inch (1cm) deep water in the it and eggs boiled for 12 mins.

One more hint: Use induction hotplate for fast boiling process and it's integrated timer. (You can also use pressure cooker but on low settings, I use 800Wats)

slapphappe (author)2016-06-28

After trying all the usual ways I now steam cook my eggs to perfection per Alton Brown. Just six minutes for a nice soft-boiled egg.

djo4 (author)2016-06-27


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Bio: Becky Stern is a content creator at Instructables. She has authored hundreds of tutorials about everything from wearable electronics to knitting. Before joining Instructables, Becky ... More »
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